It's an interesting concept -- at least as it was fleshed out for us
last week by Aldermen Scott Ogilvie
of the 24th Ward.
But not everybody in City Hall backs it.
Yesterday, Aldermen Samuel Moore of the 4th Ward
the told us what he thought of the idea. (Spoiler: He freaking hates it). Daily RFT
: So you oppose shrinking the Board of Aldermen?
Alderman Samuel Moore
: I'm totally opposed to it. We're the first
line of defense. We're the direct connect to the people. We are the
boots on ground.
The state senators and state reps don't have
that direct connect. We do. We have to live right where the people live.
If people are complaining, we can't run off to Jefferson city. We're
right there, all the time. But that's the job description the
supporters want to change. Shrinking the board, they're saying, will
force the remaining aldermen to leave stuff like trash collection to
city service providers, thereby freeing up the aldermen to concentrate
on bigger policy issues.
My community is a Third-World
community. We live like the Flintstones compared to the Jetsons. We're
yabba-dabba-doin' all day long. We are struggling
in here, man. We got
crime. We got 3,500 empty buildings, 2,900 empty lots.
Service providers - some of 'em - are just riding around, slumping down in their seats, doing nothing.
constituents] call me about police matters. They say, 'Alderman,
there's a shooting over here.' My reply is, 'I don't have my
bullet-proof vest on, nor helmet. Did you call 911?'
They say, 'Yeah, they're taking too long.' So you see what's going on.
constituents] don't call the Citizens' Service Bureau. They don't call
the neighborhood stabilization officer. They don't call the nuisance
compliance officer. They don't call the building inspector. They call
When you tell them it's not your job, that you're
not the service provider, they get mad and tell you they won't vote for
you again. But that's just it: This shrinkage wouldn't take effect until 2021.
What should we do this November, city voters? Should we completely redraw our political map and cut our Board of Aldermen from 28 members to only 14 members by 2021?