More Aldermanic Retirements on the Horizon?

By Kevin Robinson in News on Aug 4, 2010 2:20PM

2010_08_03_cityseal.jpg It's not just the Wicked Witch of Uptown that's riding off into the sunset. Chicago's City Council could see as many as a third of the city's aldermen leaving the council this election cycle, CBS2 is reporting. And while seven aldermen may be retiring, others could leave to run for mayor, or other elected office. 4th Ward alderman Toni Preckwinkle is running for Cook County Board President - she'll leave the city council if she wins. 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack has speculated publicly about a run for mayor, as has 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti and 38th Ward Alderman Tom Allen.

Meanwhile, at least seven aldermen besides 46th Ward Alderman Helen Shiller could be retiring soon. They include:

  • 11th Ward Alderman James Balcer, who recently had a health scare
  • 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith is thinking about calling it quits, according to the Sun-Times. He ran for Cook County Recorder of Deeds in 2008.
  • 48th Ward Ald. Mary Ann Smith told the Sun-Times that she's "back-and-forth, back-and-forth ... I'm really struggling with it.... It's been a lot of years. I've accomplished a lot of what I felt were the critical issues ... But, I've got a couple of big projects."
  • 43rd Ward Ald. Vi Daley told the Sun-Times that she'll be "saying something soon," although she may face a few challengers in her ward.
  • 50th Ward Ald. Berny Stone, whose son is running for mayor, will make a decision about his potential retirement by August 24th. "I may go again. My legs may be bad, but my mind is still good," Stone told the Sun-Times. He was chased into a run-off by Naisy Dolar in 2007 during a campaign that was fueled by anger among ward residents that Stone is unresponsive to their concerns.
  • 45th Ward Ald. Patrick Levar has prostate cancer, and while he's said he'll be running again, he's told colleagues that he may not be able to handle a tough campaign.
  • And 19th Ward Ald. Virginia Rugai of Beverly and 13th Ward Ald. Frank Olivio may be considering retirement as well. Olivio has said he'd like to retire, but Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan reportedly doesn't want him to. Madigan is the ward committeeman, and therefore calls the political shots in that ward.

Who stays and who goes remains to be seen, but one thing's for sure heading into this election cycle: voters are pissed off. Much of that anger is the product of decisions that Mayor Daley has made, but the fact that aldermen have backed those decisions, often without debate or dissent in the council, means that vulnerable aldermen could face a tough race this coming season.