Monday, February 22, 2010

Ald. Berny Stone Defends Nepotism: "They All Hate Us Anyhow."

In the wake of a Chicago Tribune investigative report which showed that Chicago Aldermen were hiring relatives and political cronies from a $1.3 million stealth fund, the Chicago City Council voted Feb. 11th to discontinue the practice.

The little noticed Finance Committee slush fund enabled the Alderman to circumvent Federal Court oversight of the city's hiring practices and which outlaw such favoritism. By using the stealth account, Aldermen managed to hire at least 2 fathers, a mother and a daughter and a bevy of favored ward heelers including one on the city's "do-not-hire" list for sexual harassment charges.

Alderman Isaac Carothers, who recently resigned after pleading guilty in federal court to bribery charges, implied that the practice is more widespread saying, "All us Aldermen have family members on the payroll -- that's nothing new."

Chicago Aldermen have long been the subject of popular derision. Mike Royko, perhaps Chicago's all-time greatest journalist used to call them "Alderboobs" and pea-brained.

So it was no great surprise when, during the debate on the measure, one of the defenders of the nepotistic practice, Alderman Berny Stone (D-50th)should put forth one of the most novel defenses for shady political practices ever uttered by man.

"The general public's opinion of the aldermen themselves is so low, that if you are going to sit and worry about what their opinion is of hiring members of the aldermen's family, it's probably no greater than it is of the aldermen, "Stone said.

In other words: "They all hate us anyhow -- so why bother to reform?"

When you think of it, Stone's philosophic defense of the Chicago Way is kind of liberating. Kind of refreshingly nihilistic. It has kind of an Alfred E. Neumann, "What Me Worry?" tinge to it.

Reminds me of Randy Newman's satiric "Political Science" song from his 1972 Sail Away album. In it he advocated nuking the entire world.

"They all hate us anyhow
So Let's drop the big one now.
Let's drop the big one now."

Alderman Berny Stone (who has a daughter on his Aldermanic payroll)was first elected to the City Council back in 1973 when Randy Newman's debut album was first working its way up the charts.

Maybe that's what gave him the idea.


  1. I used to get so many hate comments on my post because of this very thing. People were trying to tell me that I just made it all up to make Chicago look bad.

  2. If you made up all of the stories about Chicago political corruption that turned out to be true, you would have to have an imagination and creativity that would surpass that of Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Lewis Carroll combined.


Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.