Thursday, October 06, 2011

Shakman, Grid and Progressives the Imperial Triumvirate of Chicago

"The aldermanic role in service delivery should be ended and the focus of aldermanic activity shifted to legislation and oversight functions," the report says. Amen. Yes, those high-maintenance constituents will howl, but that's not what aldermen fear most. They're afraid taxpayers who learn they don't need 50 garbage districts will realize they don't need 50 aldermen.
Chicago Tribune Editorial Ending Any and All Debate on the Grid System

In Republican Rome, after each abuse of power by political strongmen( Marius and Sulla)and civic turmoil, arose a committee of three - a Triumvirate - literally three men. There were two Triumvirates - the first was Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey.

Caesar was a class warrior who took the side of the lower classes over the rich, though Caesar was a Patrician (rich guy) himself. Caesar managed public opinion and then exercised public control He was the original Op Ed opinion maker - Commentarii de Bello Civili et Commentarii De Bello Gallico - were Caesar's Dreams from My Father and Audacity of Hope.

Caesar ruled. Here in Chicago, Mayors came and went, until the 1950's and the decades of Mayor Richard J. Daley. Like Caesar Daley was popular and powerful. Mike Royko's book Boss portrayed Mayor Richard J. Daley as Caesar.

Caesar amassed power with the full approval of the Senate of Rome. Some Progressive Senators did not like that and sought to end one man rule. They Shakman'd Caesar.

When Mayor Daley died our home-grown idiots wrung hands and rent garments about such one man power emerging again and employed the Shakman Decrees - in my opinion the most moronic, mealy-mouthed and cynical dagger to the kidneys of the body politic ever crafted by a legal sneak. Nothing against the corporeal Michael Shakman, mind you, he had his agenda and shopped for the right judges. He and his enterprise is doing swell. The City of Chicago Post-Shakman? Not so hot.

Policy,not politics was the true exercise of power - Shakman was the knife. Progressives palmed that shiv and will twist it home with the Grid System that will effectively end any and all power within the City Council.

This is a Triumvirate of Power - Shakman, Progressives and the Grid System.

Chicago Aldermen, or City Council Members as they like to be PC addressed, have historically handed power over to anyone.

Question: What is an Alderman?

Answer: The City of Chicago is comprised of 50 wards or legislative districts, determined by census of the population. Each ward elects one alderman - at times there two. The 50 aldermen comprise the City of Chicago's Council, who with the Mayor of Chicago, are charged with governing the city. An alderman's term is four years. The Chicago City Council is gaveled into session regularly (usually monthly) to consider ordinances, orders, and resolutions whose subject matter includes traffic code changes, utilities, taxes, and many other issues

The Mayor of Chicago appoints. He appoints Department Heads - Water, Police, Fire, Streets and Sanitation City Departments. Likewise, the Mayor appoints the boards that govern Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Transit Authority, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, et al and thanks to Richard M. Daley and Illinois Legislature the the heads of the Chicago Public Schools.The Mayor is the President of the City Council and the City Clerk is the Secretary of the City Council.

The Mayor and the Aldermen serve four year terms following an April Election per the 1872 City and Villages Act.

Sounds simple? Read the papers. Read Chicago history. Chicago city government is designated a 'weak Mayor' system by Charter. Still is.

In practice, the Mayor's Office is virtually Imperial. Old Mayor Daley took the power of Budget from the City Council. Mayor Harold Washington signed the idiotic and Chicago Metro Unique Shakman Decrees. Shakman* killed Jacksonian democracy in Chicago.

That was the end of the Jacksonian intent. Andy Jackson, the Pappy of the Democratic Party, believed that if elected officials had more 'checks' on them, the less harm they could do - it is to giggle, Old Hickory.

Coming soon, will be the end of the City Council. The American Media have been at war with legislatures for decades. When the people vote, overturn the will of the people by Executive fiat or Shop for a Judge. Witness California's recent Defense of Marriage Vote. People 0; an openly Gay Judge 1.

Here in Chicago "Everybody Hates Alderman." You can see an Alderman; not so a Chicago Mayor. Aldermen go to jail ( 30 since 1972). Governors of Illinois go to jail ( Kerner, Walker, Ryan, Blago soon), but Mayors do great.

I know a couple of Aldermen. They are very hard working people. They are accessible. My Alderman is all over the Ward. Most voters like and appreciate him and some do not. I like my Alderman very much. Matt O'Shea elected last April to serve the 19th Ward. I see him out in the Ward almost every day. He knows what the needs and problems are and he can solve a few of them. Most of what can not be solved are due to the historical context into which he was elected.

The Grid System being considered for garbage collection in the City will most likely be a reality.

Waste Management, or some other private company, will be awarded a City Contract, much like the Parking Meter deal, or the one that went to the Australian Company that operates the Skyway Toll Booth, both were said to be Revenue Boosting and dollar smart. The Media wanted those; the BGA approved, and Progressives and Goo-Gos gushed! Executive Fiat!

Shakman and the Grid and the Progressives are the Triumvirate.

If you think Chicago has been an Imperial City, stick around.

* Shakman Decrees
In 1969, one man made his stand against the Chicago political machine. Michael Shakman, an independent candidate for delegate to the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention, battled against one of the most enduring traditions in Chicago's politics: political patronage, or the practice of hiring and firing government workers on the basis of political loyalty. With many behind-the-scenes supporters, Shakman's years of determination resulted in what became known as the “Shakman decrees.”

Shakman filed suit against the Democratic Organization of Cook County, arguing that the patronage system put nonorganized candidates and their supporters at an illegal and unconstitutional disadvantage. Politicians could hire, fire, promote, transfer—in essence, punish—employees for not supporting the system, or more particularly, a certain politician. The suit also argued that political patronage wasted taxpayer money because public employees, while at work, would often be forced to campaign for political candidates.

In 1972, after an exhaustive court procedure and much negotiating, the parties reached an agreement prohibiting politically motivated firings, demotions, transfers, or other punishment of government employees. A 1979 ruling led to a court order in 1983 that made it unlawful to take any political factor into account in hiring public employees (with exceptions for positions such as policy making). Those decisions along with companion consent judgments—collectively called the Shakman decrees—are binding on more than 40 city and statewide offices.
Roger R. Fross Chicago Encyclopedia

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