clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cut the Chicago City Council by half and save a bundle

When Chicago’s ward system was started in 1837, there were only six aldermen — two each for the North, South and West sides.

The Chicago City Council during a July 21, 2021 meeting.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

In the Sun-Times on Monday, a letter writer wondered: “What the heck is a ward?” So he looked it up. And he found that there are certain written guidelines for drawing the boundaries of Chicago’s aldermanic wards.

I then went to the website of the Illinois League of Women Voters and learned that the number of wards in Chicago — 50 — is “unusually large among major U.S. cities.” The League pointed out that each alderman represents fewer constituents “than in any of the other 10 largest cities.” Los Angeles, for example, has more than 1 million more residents but only 15 council members. When Chicago’s ward system was started in 1837, there were only six aldermen — two each for the North, South and West sides.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be approximately 350 words or less.

The League also noted that the Better Government Association has called for cutting the size of Chicago City Council in half. And I further learned, from the websites of the BGA and the Illinois Policy Institute, that Chicago’s aldermen last year averaged $115,442 in salary. The latest figure I could find for the entire City Council budget was $24.5 million — and that was for 2012!

Cutting the size of the Chicago City Council by half still would leave Chicago with 10 more aldermen than in Los Angeles. And wouldn’t the money saved —conservatively estimated to be at least $12.25 million — help those small businesses that are trying to recover or rebuild from the pandemic? The money could also fund more expressway cameras to deter expressway shootings.

Christine Craven, Evergreen Park

Fighting global warming is about our kids

Hearing only bad news about global warming, my mantra has become, “Well, I’ll be gone before that happens.” As if that’s an excuse to not pay attention or even care.

When global warming really begins to change life as we know it, we oldsters won’t be around, but the world’s children will be. When oceans become mortally clogged with plastic and other debris, the world’s children and their families will be the ones paying the price. When glaciers dissolve into masses of warm water, the people of nearby countries will have to flee from massive flooding.

Most of us living now won’t be here when all this happens, but we should take no solace in that. Present weather patterns are warning us that nature’s wrath will become worse and more deadly.

Happily though, it seems the world is awakening to the fact that our planet is not indestructible. There is still time to band together and save our common home. Our leaders now, and the leaders of tomorrow, must acknowledge that we are on a collision course with a destiny we created.

With what voting years I have left, I hope to select men and women who acknowledge climate change and who will work with leaders worldwide to save future generations.

Kathleen Melia, Niles