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The [Friday] Papers

"The Chicago City Council is about to lose its second-longest serving member - and a healthy chunk of its colorful personality and institutional memory," the Sun-Times reports.

"Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) - powerful chairman of the City Council's Rules Committee and father-in-law of convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich - has told associates he is preparing to step down within the next few months after 38 years as a Chicago alderman."

His replacement has already been decided upon.

That's right: Deb Mell.

*

"Sources said Mell, 75, who lost his wife in 2006 and recently got engaged, already has persuaded Mayor Rahm Emanuel to appoint the alderman's daughter, State Rep. Deb Mell (D-Chicago), to replace him in the City Council."

Proving - as if we needed to - that Rahm the Reformer is every bit the reformer that Rod the Reformer was.

*

"As Rules and Ethics Committee chairman, Mell controls a $160,460 annual budget, along with a handful of coveted jobs, including the City Council's $91,180-a-year sergeant-at-arms.

"Sources said Emanuel plans to transfer control over those jobs to Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), the Council's president pro tem. That would make the Rules Committee job less desirable - especially now that a new ward map has been drawn."

Dick Mell, chairman of the ethics committee. Oh Chicago.

*

"Sources said [Deb Mell] was initially reluctant to accept a mayoral appointment for fear of following in the footsteps of other family political dynasties, including the Madigans, the Lipinskis and the Hyneses. But sources said Dick Mell has convinced his daughter that it would be best to get a leg up on the competition."

I'm sure Deb was absolutely torn.

"[T]he rookie legislator has already shown herself to be a bit of a mercenary," I wrote in 2009.

"Before even taking her seat and serving a single minute in the state House seat that she won in an election engineered for her by her father, Ald. Dick Mell, she contemplated running for the congressional opening left by the departure of Rahm Emanuel from 5th district."

*

And remember this?

"Deborah Mell - a Northwest Side state rep - is at risk of getting knocked off the ballot in her re-election bid because she is allegedly not registered to vote at the address listed on her nominating petitions. Oops!"

*

Then there was her priceless tweet from 2010 made even more priceless when sister Patti retweeted it:

Quinn not living in mansion as promised - chicagotribune.com http://shar.es/mjK9e 2:36 PM May 26th via ShareThis.com Retweeted by pblagojevich and 2 others

A valid point if only it didn't come from the women whose brother-in-law governed the state from his dining room table in Ravenswood - or the bathroom when he was hiding from his budget director.

*

So Deb Mell is a clown, meaning she'll fit right in.

As for her father, well, see the "The Lord of His Ward," the Tribune's show-off piece to the national political class visiting the city in 1996 for the Democratic National Convention, even if it pushes Mell's filth through a typical braggartly Chicago frame that results in passages like this:

He's a skilled organizer and a charismatic field marshal. And, if at times he's skirted the edge of propriety - using a gang leader as a campaign worker, and hitting up liquor licensees for political contributions, even as he threatens to close their businesses--well, you have to do what it takes to win.

In return, Mell has reaped the spoils of victory.

Take city jobs. The alderman has. Hundreds of them, for members of his political organization and his family.

Or city services. New curbs, new streets, new alleys, new water mains - Chicago's taxpayers have financed hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvements for blocks in the ward where Mell lives and owns property.

This isn't exactly democracy as the nation's founders envisioned it. But, when it comes to winning elections, Mell could teach Democratic Party leaders a thing or two.

It must be nice to get an investigative team's seal of approval on all your dirty work.

Programming Note
Posting will continue to be sporadic through the weekend until the Beachwood - including QT - returns in full on Monday.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Filthy.



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Posted on January 4, 2013


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