Study Finds Rise In City Council’s Appeals To Mayor Emanuel’s Proposals

CHICAGO (CBS) — A new study shows the Chicago City Council is not marching in lock-step with Mayor Emanuel’s wishes so much.

The study for University of Illinois Chicago’s Political Science Department shows twice as many alderman have been voting against Mayor Emanuel than they did in their first term. WBBM’s Political Editor Craig Dellimore has that story.

Political Science professor and former alderman, Dick Simpson said it was rare at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first term as mayor when any aldermen voted against his proposals, but things are different now.

“In shorthand terms, the rate of voting against the mayor, on at least important issues, has doubled in this administration versus the other one,” he said.

Simpson said the Mayor has not lost any rollcalls, but it’s not just about the votes.

“Aldermen are more willing than in the past to produce their own legislation and propose solutions to city problems without clearing their ideas with City Hall,” he said.

dick simpson Study Finds Rise In City Councils Appeals To Mayor Emanuels Proposals

Prof. Dick Simpson discusses City Council votes as study co-author Maureen Heffern Ponicki looks on. (WBBM/Craig Dellimore)

Alderman Scott Waguespack, a leader of the City Council Progressive Caucus, agrees they are inching towards representative government.

“There’s a little bit of light in the tunnel here, to get a little bit more independent and I wouldn’t say we are going full swing toward independence, but we have been working really hard over the last few years to show aldermen that there is an alternative way to look at things,” Waguespack said.

And he said Mayor Emanuel has been more willing to compromise.

Alderman Brendan Reilly acknowledges a slight move towards independence.

“I don’t think any mayor should command a 50-to-nothing rollcall, day in and day out,” Reilly said. “So I think the fact that we are having healthy debate is a good thing.”

Simpson said the Mayor has lost popularity amid rising violent crime and other controversies. But points out the Mayor has still not lost a vote.

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