New Life for Aldermanic Petition?
Too often, discussions of Chicago's budget deficit focus on selling civic assets: With the Skyway and parking meters leased, perhaps the water system is next.
This is precisely backward. We have finite infrastructure, so instead of leasing its assets for generations to come, Chicago should cut its liabilities and unload its excess. What does the city have way more of than it needs?
Aldermen. And alderwomen.
Half of the City Council should be eliminated.
Not literally, of course. But if Chicago wants to save tens of millions of dollars a year, one strategy is dead obvious: Go from 50 wards to 25.
This idea is not solely mine: A local blog, Second City Cop, rallied its readers to petition for a non-binding referendum on this topic in the 2010 primary, and its volunteers got more than 11,000 signatures — in about three weeks. And there is a Facebook page dedicated to "Reduce Chicago Alderman," and they don't mean a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Such a change would require the state Legislature to amend Section 21-26 of the Revised Cities and Villages Act of 1941, which set our current number of wards, but it could be done.
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Labels: city politics