Candidates for Chicago mayor — all 14 of them — have scrambled to be reformer-in-chief ever since the feds brought a corruption charge against Ald. Ed Burke, 14th, earlier this month.
Then there’s Bill Daley. He has signed on to the reform-minded group think, too. But Daley is taking it one step further with his proposal to reduce the size of the City Council from 50 to 15 members. Credit where it’s due: In mid-December another candidate, former Ald. Bob Fioretti, introduced to this campaign the perennial suggestion that Chicago cut its council to 25 members.
Earlier this month, Daley one-upped (or is it 10-downed?) Fioretti with his more dramatic call for a 15-member council. Daley went a step further Tuesday, calling for a citywide referendum in 2020.
Whether Daley’s idea can win popular support, only time will tell. There has been no evident public groundswell. And some aldermen already are critiquing the notion. After all, it would put their jobs on the line.
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David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.
Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.
Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.
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