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Monday, December 11

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Aldermen Tue Jun 30 2009


It's good to know that despite our impressions that our City Council has been completely absent from governing the city (see: TIFs, Parking meters, etc.), that at least Ed Burke, 14th Ward Alderman, silken-tongued financial expert, and Council War veteran has been hard at work. Well, to be fair, he's been hard at work enriching connected constituents and reworking zoning laws to his own benefit. Not only that, but he's been busy developing his own political dynasty, with his wife working as a state supreme court justice and his brother, "Quiet Dan," working the levers of power in Springfield as a state representative whose office is apparently not located in the 23rd district he "represents."

It's hard to find the words to describe the level of disgust that one should feel about the fact that the man who leveraged his considerable oratorical and parliamentary skill to support the unabashedly racist opposition to Harold Washington has now accumulated power at the state and city level to do nothing more than enrich himself and his friends and have a big house with special parking permits required to park in front of it. For far too long, the Burkes, both Ed and Silent Dan, have flown under the radar of Chicago politics, winning elections with developer money and the support of the precinct captains at whom they throw the crumbs of soon-to-be-cut city jobs. Both Burkes represent neighborhoods that have significantly changed over the long time that Ed and Disappearing Dan have used them for their personal enrichment. Not like either of the Burke boys care much.

It could be argued at earlier points in Chicago history that the machine served to incorporate immigrants in political and economic leadership in the urban jungle of the United States. Now the vestiges of the machine hold on like a lamprey to the body politic, providing little to nothing for the working class Latinos, Poles, and others they represent while acquiescing to the looting of the City by the Mayor and his obsession with short-term privatization schemes. As Steve Rhodes puts it:

Ed Burke gets what he wants because he's Ed Burke. And his wife is a state supreme court justice. She lives there too. They don't have to play by the rules.

It's time for us as voters to stop letting the Burkes, the Popes, fly under the radar. Our future as a city depends on it.

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