Monday, July 8, 2013

Mell’s still keeping the real post of significance, probably ‘til he departs

A lot of people have been making a big deal about the fact that one of the longest-serving aldermen, Dick Mell of the Northwest Side’s 33rd Ward, is talking retirement.

MELL: Not really leaving
He says he wants more time to spend with the grandchildren – including the two granddaughters who are the children of incarcerated former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whom the soon-to-be former alderman is helping to care for.

YET THE KEY to truly understanding the significance of what is happening is the fact that Mell plans to keep his title as Democratic committeeman from the 33rd Ward. Because that’s the position of significance politically.

It is the one that will give him a say in the ward’s activities. It is the one that means his opinion will have to be listened to in terms of his daughter – state Rep. Deborah Mell, D-Chicago – being picked as his aldermanic replacement.

It means he will have an actual say in terms of picking a new state representative, should Mayor Rahm Emanuel decide that Deborah will be his pick for the City Council.

Even if Emanuel should decide to pick somebody else as 33rd Ward alderman, the fact that Mell remains the committeeman means that the new alderman will have to acknowledge Dick’s views on issues. Probably to the point where anyone as alderman other than Deb Mell would be made to feel very uncomfortable in the post.

ALTHOUGH IT ALSO means that a 33rd Ward Alderman Deborah Mell would have to listen to her father in a way that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan doesn’t necessarily have to acknowledge her father; Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago.
DEBORAH MELL: A future alderman?

But I have to admit that bringing up Deborah Mell and Lisa Madigan in the same breath strikes me as being natural, in large part because the two of them have always struck me as being among the few political siblings who had the innate intelligence that they probably would be qualified for their political posts even if their fathers weren’t politically connected.

Meaning, I wouldn’t be offended by the idea of a new “Alderman Mell,” even though I realize that some people remain miffed that she refused to vote “yes” to impeach her brother-in-law – and, in fact, was one of the few people who were on record as supporting Blagojevich.

I’d take Dick Mell’s talk of retirement more seriously if he were giving up the committeeman post. As it turns out, he’s keeping the position that often is the source of a government official’s true source of power.
ANDRADE: A future rep?

THE GOVERNMENT OFFICE is the position that pays the salary that gets acknowledged to the Internal Revenue Service as the main source of income. The political party post is the one that gives an official their true source of power within their respective wards.

It makes me wonder if Dick Mell is determined to become the 33rd Ward equivalent of Dick Daley or Harold Washington – both of whom held the mayor’s post until the day they died.

In the case of Washington, he literally died at his desk at City Hall.

Not that I’m predicting an end to Mell’s stint on this Earth any time soon – although at age 75, who’s to say what will happen; or when!

OTHER THAN TO have to admit that regardless of how the circumstances shake down (a new “Alderman Mell” and “state Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago,” if Dick gets his way), there isn’t going to be any dramatic change in the way things operate up around the Logan Square neighborhood.

For Dick Mell will still have the political post he has held since the days when we were all awash in the red, white and blue of the Bicentennial.


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