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Rahm’s Operative and Union Each Trying to Buy Chicago City Council

Written By : Warner Todd Huston
January 20, 2011

A political operative tied directly to Rahm Emanuel has raised $1 million to back Emanuel friendly candidates for City Council, reports The New York Times. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is investing over $2 million also to buy candidates that favor their issues. Both are struggling to buy a City Council loyal to them in hopes of emulating outgoing Mayor Daley’s lock on power.

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The Emanuel effort is being led by former Daley aide and Emanuel congressional campaign manager Greg Goldner. Goldner is grandiosely calling his fundraising effort For a Better Chicago. By “better” he means for a Chicago that will be at Rahm Emanuel’s beck and call.

Amusingly — nay perhaps insultingly — Goldner is insisting that his new effort has no connection with Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel’s campaign has also said that For a Better Chicago is not connected to his campaign.

… And I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

No, what this effort means to do is emulate the two Daleys chokehold on the Chicago City Council and build a new rubber stamp for a Mayor Emanuel. This is exactly how Richard J. and Richard M. Daley built their own rubber stamp City Council. They pumped millions into the pockets of compliant aldermen and ruled with an iron fist stuffed with cash.

It’s a good model if you don’t care about democracy or what’s really “for a better Chicago.”

Not to be outdone the SEIU is trying their hand at building a City Council that will jump to their tune, as well, by spending millions to buy its own slate of aldermanic candidates.

In 2007 the SEIU spent $2.5 million to do this very thing, but could not beat Daley’s lock on power. This year it intends to repeat that attempt assuming that it’ll have better luck now that Daley is retiring.

As I’ve written before, despite the unions slavish support of Barack Obama (Emanuel’s former boss) Emanuel is not the union’s favorite politician. So this is a fight to control the Council (with large amounts of cash) between the unions and Emanuel.

Who ever wins in this fight, the people lose…. though to be sure they’d lose worse if the unions win control.

And what is the saddest thing about this whole story? The saddest thing is that there isn’t a person in Chicago that thinks any of the aldermen are beyond being bought by the first group that comes to them with a fistful of cash. Everyone assumes that Chicago’s City Council is simply up for sale. And for the last 50 years there’s been no evidence to the contrary.

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