Monday, June 01, 2009

Do Chicago Alderman Have the Highest Felony Conviction Rate of Any Profession in America?

A local expert acknowledges that Chicago City Government is—in some ways—designed to cultivate the kind of abuses that 29th Ward Ald. Ike Carothers is accused of committing.

Carothers was indicted for bribery involving a zoning change that favored a developer.

UIC Political Science Department head Dick Simpson is the first to acknowledge that Aldermanic privilege that allows Aldermen to veto or approve projects in their wards can be a recipe for corruption.

Developers of high stakes projects could feel the so-called Chicago way of doing business means they may need to offer bribes to get their way. Simpson says there have been 31 Aldermen who've apparently succumbed in the last 36 years. They were indicted for corruption. That's nearly one a year, he says.

And Simpson—a former Alderman himself—says that’s a high crime rate. There are only 50 City Council seats, and only about 150 individuals have been there since he served. But, Simpson does not recommend taking power away from the Aldermen, just giving more to the communities.

Thanks to WBBM

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