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The Many Twist And Turns of Street Sweeping Reform

By Kevin Robinson in News on Mar 31, 2010 2:20PM

Photo by lobstar28.
It looks like Mayor Daley is backing down from his proposed "grid" plan for the city's street sweepers. Instead, there seems to be agreement on something of a hybrid plan, reducing the number of overall sweepers but allowing aldermen to maintain control of the sweepers four days a week. According to the Sun-Times, the new plan would retain 40 street sweepers (instead of the current 50 and the Mayor's proposed reduction to 33). As for the specific plan, The Parking Ticket Geek reports:

This most recent plan has the sweeper in the ward for two entire days. On two other days, the sweeper works the ward for five hours or so, before it’s assigned to work adjacent wards for a few hours. Then, just one day a week, the ward’s sweeper is assigned to work outside the ward after working with one or more other sweepers to quickly address that ward’s cleaning obligations for the day.

Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd) isn't sold on the idea, telling TPTG: “It really doesn’t make sense. It’s even more confusing than the grid system plan. Just pick a system like we had before. Make sure cars are moved and make sure we have enough vehicles to do the sweeping. The Mayor is trying to micro-manage it at the last moment because of a lack of proper management all these years.” Neither is Ald. Joe Moore (49th) who called for a special session of the City Council to be held today to address the issue. While Moore admitted the new plan was a compromise, he's moving ahead with the special session and told the Sun-Times, “I’m a little unclear about how this fifth day will be handled. It still sounds like an administrative nightmare." Joining Moore in the call for the special session are Willie Cochran (20th), and Ricardo Munoz (22nd). But as Hunter Clauss reports for the Reader, the challenge will be in getting enough aldermen to show up for the special session (which has its own Facebook Event page).

According to state law, the council has to have a quorum present—in this case, a majority, or 26 aldermen—in order to vote on anything. That means Moore, Cochran, and Munoz have to convince at least 23 other council members to show up on Wednesday—no small thing considering the council's longstanding deference to Daley. “We’re working on it,” Moore said Monday.

Cochran said he too had been lobbying fellow aldermen for their support, but he didn’t sound entirely optimistic. “I take their word, but we won’t know exactly if they’ll be there until that day,” he said.

Moore tried to bring the matter up at a special city council meeting last Friday, but was blocked by Ed Burke's parliamentary prowess. 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti, who supports the mayor's plans told Clauss that he'll be at the meeting, but doesn't think it will matter. “Whenever the mayor calls a special session, everyone shows up,” he said. “Whenever an alderman calls a special session, nobody shows up.”