Every time Chicago’s City Council is set to vote on whether it needs a fully empowered inspector general, someone brings up former Ald. Robert Shaw, 9th. It might as well be me.
“Members of the City Council aren’t the only crooks in town,” Shaw said in June 1989, arguing against Mayor Richard M. Daley’s plan to create a watchdog to oversee all of city government, including aldermen and their staffs.
Shaw was joined in opposition by then-Ald. Burton Natarus, 42nd, who declared that the flock of aldermanic felons — 18 of them had been sent to prison in 16 years — “indicates the system works as it is.”
By that standard it’s still working just fine. Federal prosecutors are all over the City Council these days. Does anyone think the proper response is to applaud them for a job well done?
We’ll find out on Wednesday, when aldermen consider an ordinance that would subject them to the oversight they’ve been ducking for 30 years.