Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ald. Joe Moore's City Council Newsletter

Ald. Joe Moore is not from the Southwest SIde, although we might wish hard that he was, or that we might even have someone among the aldermen we do have who is as bright and progressive as he is -- excluding Ald. Burke who leads the council in the wisdom and experience categories for sure.

Anyway, here is a newsletter that Ald. Moore sends out that I thought I would share. Though it does not address the Southwest Side or suburbs, it sure touches on important topics we should all be aware of:
New! Alderman Moore's Report from City Council
Dear Neighbor,

Just ten miles south of Rogers Park lies City Hall, where I serve along with 49 other aldermen as a veteran member of Chicago's City Council. Although the City Council can sometimes seem more like a distant planet, important work is done there which directly affects the people of our ward. Starting with the most recent meeting, on July 19, I plan to share brief, timely reports on the City Council meetings and what they may mean to you.

If you attend a City Council meeting (and they are open to the public), you'll find that there is no written agenda(!) but they always follow the same formula. First there are the honorary resolutions in praise of heroic service by police officers and firefighters, followed by individual resolutions for other Chicago citizens. What follows is a reading of the ordinances, resolutions and other legislation introduced by Mayor Daley and committee reports, which consists of ordinances coming out of the various City Council committees for debate and vote.

The most important ordinance discussed and passed on July 19 established a new Office of Professional Standards (OPS) with authority over the Police Department. It was written in response to years of ineffective oversight of rogue police officers who have sadly coerced and abused citizens under the cover of their office. I was deeply involved in advocating for a more independent Office of Professional Standards and moved to have consideration of an earlier version of the ordinance deferred because I didn't think it was sufficiently comprehensive.

To his credit, Mayor Daley worked with us in the City Council to fashion a compromise ordinance that my colleagues and I felt we could support. Under the modified ordinance, the OPS will have the authority to investigate allegations of improper police coercion in addition to actual physical abuse. The modified ordinance also contains more stringent reporting requirements so that the public can more closely monitor the progress of police misconduct allegations.

Why is this ordinance important for the 49th Ward?

First, we depend heavily on the many good and honest policemen and women who serve us every day. Unfortunately, the misdeeds of a small number of officers taint the reputation of all and make the entire force less trusted and less effective. By enacting a means to more effectively discipline the few bad members, the entire force - and our safety - will benefit.

Second, there's the money. Rarely does a City Council meeting take place without millions and millions of dollars going to settle cases of alleged police misconduct. Think of what this money could do for housing and healthcare, our schools, our parks, and beaches? It's a waste of resources that must stop! The ordinance isn't perfect, but it's a solid step forward.

Finally, every meeting ends with the introduction of new ordinances by the members of the City Council. Along with Aldermen Freddrenna Lyle, Toni Preckwinkle, and Ricardo Munoz, I was proud to co-sponsor an ordinance that would void a new contract that the City made with a private airport security company. The reason is simple: their terms are in violation of Chicago's Living Wage Ordinance. Vigilance on behalf of Chicago's workers is constantly necessary and I continue to pledge to fight for fair wages for all citizens throughout our city.

I hope that this initial report has given you a glimpse of my "other life" at City Hall. A good Alderman works to provide needed local services and improvements, while legislating in the best interests of our ward and our city. My goal is to serve you to the best of my ability in both spheres.

As is tradition, the City Council does not meet in August. The next meeting of the City Council is scheduled for Wednesday, September 5th. Stay tuned for my report following the next meeting!

Joe Moore

Visit the website of the 49th Ward

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