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Countdown to Rahmageddon: Is Rahm Looking Ahead?

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 15, 2011 3:00PM

There was drama both mild and heavy at last night's mayoral debate on WTTW. Candidates Patricia Van Pelt Watkins and William "Dock" Walls sat in the Channel 11 lobby, demanding equal time and a presence at the debate. Carol Moseley Braun showed up with moments to spare before the debate commenced. Possibly the biggest surprise of the night was the mention of 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke's name. The powerful Finance Committee chair is in Gery Chico's corner, although he formally hasn't endorsed Chico. But that didn't stop the candidates, particularly Rahm Emanuel, from saying that, if elected, Burke would have to relinquish not only his ever present police detail, but some political power.

Emanuel talked about the need for reform in City Council. “There will be reform of the committees. There will be some committees closed, chairmanships will change,” including Burke's Finance Committee chairmanship. "The City Council has to share in the sacrifice because the residents will be sharing in sacrifice, which means if Ed Burke has six police officers, that just can't continue," Emanuel said.

Emanuel wasn't alone in singling out Burke. Miguel del Valle said City Council has developed "an unhealthy dependence" on Burke. “It shouldn’t be one-person rule — you can’t have everything going through one alderman," del Valle said, stopping short of suggesting Burke be relieved of his Finance Committee chair. "It does mean that Ald. Burke will have to give up a lot of that power that he has exercised to make the City Council a more democratic place.”

All four candidates said that they would work in tandem with City Council if elected to make charting the city's future a more democratic process.