Friday, January 18, 2013

Who’s the “boss” in South Shore?

It seems the self-proclaimed “first lady of the Illinois Second Congressional District” thinks she’s still the boss of the Seventh Ward – even though she technically resigned the aldermanic post as of early this week.
JACKSON: Clinging to control

The vacancy has political significance because it is the first City Council post that Rahm Emanuel will have the ability to fill without going through the process otherwise known as an election.

THE MAYOR GETS to pick a replacement to finish Sandi Jackson’s aldermanic term (running through 2015). Whoever he picks will have to run for re-election just like everybody else.

But that person will have the benefits of incumbency by then. They should be capable of taking advantage of the generally apathetic nature of local voters who all-too-often pick the incumbent without giving it much thought.

And Emanuel will have at least one alderman who will have to admit that they likely would never have got the post had it not been for the mayor’s sense of “generosity.” That person will likely be an Emanuel ally for their term in the City Council.

That was a large part of how Richard M. Daley developed his power within city government. He was around so long and got to fill so many vacancies that ultimately more than half of the aldermen were people who would not have been in the City Council had it not been for the son of Richard Joseph.

TALK ABOUT A reliable rubber stamp. That’s the way it works.

That is what makes the new squabble developing along the lakefront south of the Hyde Park neighborhood (or north of South Chicago, depending on one's directional bearings) so amusing.

Emanuel is going out of his way to make it seem like he’s going to do things differently. He’s talking about accepting applications from people interested in being an alderman via the Internet. The Chicago Tribune reported that a website will be up and running by Friday.
EMANUEL: Thinks he's the boss!

Use your computer to fill out the form, send it in via e-mail, and hey, Rahm may just be impressed enough with your credentials, your personality, or maybe just the fact that you can spell properly that he may call you in for an interview.

WHICH MAKES IT sound like one is applying for a job selling suits at Carson, Pirie Scott – and not a political post.

Somehow, I’m skeptical enough to think that Emanuel already has a clue as to whom he’d like to see appointed to replace Sandi Jackson, and that this individual (I don’t have a clue who that person is) will somehow winnow his (or her) way to the top to be picked by the mayor to be an alderman.

But Jackson, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, is telling people in the ward that she is still in charge politically, and that the new alderman will be her chief of staff – Keiana Barrett.

Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if that did happen. For political tradition often picks someone’s chief of staff to replace them if the old politico has to move on for some reason.

JUST LOOK AT the Illinois Second Congressional special primary election – where various polls indicate the top two candidates to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr., in Congress are former Rep. Debbie Halvorson and state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields.

The latter was once chief of staff to Halvorson back when Debbie was a member of the Illinois state Senate. The significance of the Democratic primary could well be that it is the time when the “pupil” surpasses her one-time “master.”

But I’d also suspect that Emanuel is looking to make a break from the Jackson family – which could mean that this aldermanic process will become a poison pill.

Is Rahm willing to take on the family of the Rev. Jesse Jackson? Could we get pickets of City Hall if Sandi’s wishes are not honored? Will we get vocal denounciations of the Jackson family from Emanuel? Will Sandi Jackson literally keep all the office furniture (she says her campaign funds paid for it all) for herself if she doesn't get her way?

IT’S NOT LIKE Sandi had political influence of her own. Her position was entirely due to the fact that her husband was in Congress, and he used his wife as his way of asserting his authority over matters occurring back home in Chicago and in the Illinois Second Congressional.

If there’s anyone not in a position to pressure the mayor these days, it may well be Mrs. Jackson. If anything is likely to become the vocal bloodbath for 2013, it is the Seventh Ward.


No comments: