Saturday, January 26, 2019

Will Ed Burke be ultimate beneficiary of Solis “snitching” to the G-men?

Perhaps it’s the ultimate evidence of how superficial some people can be when they determine just who to cast a ballot for, but there’s a part of me that wonders if the recent reports of 25th Ward Alderman Dan Solis will ultimately work (at least in the short term) to the benefit of Edward M. Burke.
SOLIS: Cooperating to cover own tracks

Burke, of course, is the half-a-century member of the City Council who now is the target of federal investigators who are digging into all sorts of political corruption. It seems much of the evidence they’ve accumulated against Burke comes from Solis.

IN THE FORM of Solis wearing wiretaps for the FBI so that he could get close to Burke and allow “G-men” to catch him on tape in the act of saying something self-incriminating.

Reports of Solis engaging in such activity with the FBI (as part of a deal by which they’ll agree to lesser criminal charges for things that Danny has done) came out this past week, and the reaction of many aldermen was shock, if not outright contempt, that one of their own would try to cover up his behind at the expense of a council colleague.

I’ve seen a lot of people quoting the ideals of organized crime, as expressed in films such as “Goodfellas” or “The Godfather” – the ideal of omerta and keeping silent about what one really knows.

Which to my mindset almost sounds like the real comparison ought to be to street gang culture and the idea of “don’t snitch,” particularly to law enforcement.

ALL OF WHICH means I can easily envision people wanting to think of Danny Solis or anybody like him as somehow worthy of retribution. How can “we” act in a way to make it up to Ed Burke?

Which makes me wonder if Solis’ Mexican-American ethnic origins will wind up coming into factor. Because Burke is the guy who’s facing all these allegations of his own alleged corrupt behavior at a time when he’s facing a re-election challenge.

With his challengers being people of Mexican ethnic origins themselves who are basing their campaigns against Burke on the idea that it’s time to dump the Irish guy whose ward is now an overwhelming (nearly 80 percent) Latino majority population.
BURKE: Could he become sympathetic figure?

I have no doubt that the non-Latino voters in that district will be motivated by the idea of keeping things the way they are. Will there also now be added an angry overtone of turning out in force on Election Day to keep those Latino voters from gaining any influence?

IT’S A STUPID, shallow and completely superficial line of logic. But it’s also something that would totally be in character with Chicago’s neighborhood mindset.

A Latino like Solis gets fingered as a significant part of FBI investigators and their case against the all-powerful, long-time alderman who had the influence to tell mayors what they ought to do within city government.

So now, the voters will think it somehow just to take it out on the three aldermanic candidates of Latino origins themselves who (as they probably see it) have the nerve to think they can run against Burke for his City Council post.

Combine it with the mindset of those such as the Fraternal Order of Police, which recently voted to endorse Burke’s re-election bid in the Feb. 26 municipal elections, and the significant campaign stash that Burke has accumulated for his own benefit – and I can easily see how Burke’s legal predicament can be overcome.

THAT IS, FOR now. Because it’s very likely that any effort to get an indictment against Burke with criminal charges more serious than the current allegations that he tried to shake down a Burger King franchise owner in his neighborhood will come up following the election process.

Burke could easily get re-elected, then indicted, before we reach the peak of the baseball season this summer.
So while I personally have an interest in the growth of Latino political empowerment and would be intrigued by changing ethnic demographics playing a role in Burke’s political downfall, I’m skeptical.

It’s more likely that ethnicity will somehow benefit Burke in the short-term – and that fact could wind up being most embarrassing to Chicago.


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