Alderman and Person Running Her Ward Are, Like, BFF
By Alicia Dorr in News on Sep 29, 2006 7:11PM
If you really think about it, most of the aldermen in Chicago don't do much. They'll make a stink for ten hours in a City Council meeting about how much they hate this or that, or how another street should be named after the guy who founded the Billy Goat Tavern, but in the end, it adds up to them raking in a city salary for being incredibly long-winded. The reason why people care (or, at least, should care) about who they have as an alderman is because they have the power to give jobs to people in their wards. The people who do these jobs, in turn, affect the voters' daily lives, etc.
That's why we were really annoyed when we read that Ald. Shirley Coleman didn't dispute the claim that her best bud, real estate consultant Tracy Williams, runs her 16th ward. It came to light recently that a middleman in a land deal was sitting with the pair last year when Williams made the claim, and Coleman apparently did little more than giggle (and, we guess, gurgle while looking with great fascination at her fingers and toes). Her only comment was that she and Williams were the "best of friends." How dandy.
In the past we might have wondered "well, why the hell doesn't she just run, then?" Now, of course, we realize it's because of teensy weensy issues like the big real estate scams Williams would have had to cover up. A federal lawsuit was filed against Williams, her company, and, of course, the alderman, too -- for allegedly scamming investors out of a half a million dollars or more.
So if the alderman isn't running the ward, and this is the kind of business her "best friend" who runs the ward does, well, we guess we have a problem. Not as big of a problem as Oprah Winfrey foisting all her friends on American society (so help us, if we hear Rachael Ray's voice again...), but a problem, just the same. So ... what are we going to do about it?