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Chicago aldermen who yield to Rahm Emanuel on police accountability are sending a message to the electorate that they don't what the responsibility that comes with the job. Tell them they'll be voted out in 2019.
It is important to recognize that Rahm Emanuel's pitch on June 22 will count on the desire of members of Chicago City Council to sidestep the issue of police accountability and glide past the 2019 aldermanic elections.
On June 22, the Mayor will swear up and down that he's going to make this solution work; City Council will be glad that he's putting his name on it (instead of theirs). To their way of thinking, the worst that can happen is that down the road it's found unsatisfactory, in which case the Mayor will take the fall for it. And anyway, that will be after the 2019 elections, more likely than not.
But there's another possibility.
If (and only if) large numbers of constituents tell their aldermen (a) we're holding you responsible; and (b) we want to elect that police review board, then City Council will understand they can't take a back seat.
To repeat: aldermen have a very strong incentive to yield to the Mayor on this. They don't want to be accountable unless they're forced to.
Which is precisely why citizens need to pick up the phone and call their aldermen. Yes, it's about control of the police. And, yes, it's also about making aldermen accountable to their constituents.
By the way, I can understand if there are aldermen who say, "Hell, if I"m gonna hafta be accountable, let someone else have the job! It's too much work!" If that's how they feel, we should know it now, so folks who do want the job can step forward for 2019.
In fact, why don't we say this? "Any alderman who yields to Emanuel on June 22 is, in ffect, announcing that their seat is open for someone else to take in 2019."
Then, once the ones who plan to stay on have taken control of the issue, they can get to work with a real plan for citizen-controlled police accountability . . . and measures to start genuinely governing the city.
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