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Chicago Sun-Times

An Independent Newspaper

Parking perks for .aldermen? C'mon

Chicago has done it again. The city made network news because of a story so typically Chicago that the Eastern-' based television news editors couldn't resist broadcasting it. We're talking about the City Council's vote to give aldermen the right to 'park 'in no-parking zones. Yes, yes, we've heard the caveat that this .prf;(IlTm,. would be' operative only when aldermen: are on "official business," but we also know that aldermen parking anywhere downtown almost always are on "official business." This is the type of perk taxpayers talk- about when they rage about politicians taking care of themselves, The public should note that Ald. Niles Sherman (21st), a supporter of Mayor Washington, was a key sponsor of this special privilege, and that Ald. David Orr (49th) was responsible for keeping the measure from slipping into law as part of a catchall ordinance without 'a vote on this specific provision.' , Because Orr was able to secure a roll-call vote. the public now knows the perk was enacted with the help of 18 pro-Washington aldermen and 10 identified as mayoral opponents. Opposed were seven pro-Washingt nd 14 anti-Washington 'members of the Council. It's as confus-, ing aIineup as we're likely to see' in the present Council.' . The niaY0J:'ssu no favclrwith tlns vote. "-J"r-tHeres a egitimate argument for key aldermen, such as committee chairmen, to enjoy special parking privileges, that's one thing. It's another matter entirely to autfiorize all 50 aldermen to park in no-parking zones. Isn't there enough of that ojng on already? .. Washington would score big with taxpayers by vetoing this one. Washington must.share Orr's view that "special privileges for aldermen discourage them from understand; ing and experiencing how the average person lives." Enough said. .
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