Twenty-two members of Chicago City Council sent a letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot Thursday asking her to “honor and consistently follow” the body’s rules of order after a meeting the day before devolved into chaos before abruptly adjourning.
The following aldermen – nearly half of the 50 total members of City Council – signed the letter:
- Ald. Daniel La Spata, 1st Ward
- Ald. Sophia King, 4th Ward
- Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward
- Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th Ward
- Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th Ward
- Ald. Ed Burke, 14th Ward
- Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th Ward
- Ald. Stephanie Coleman, 16th Ward
- Ald. David Moore, 17th Ward
- Ald. Jeanette Taylor, 20th Ward
- Ald. Michael Rodriguez, 22nd Ward
- Ald. Silvana Tabares, 23rd Ward
- Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, 25th Ward
- Ald. Roberto Maldonado, 26th Ward
- Ald. Rossana Rodriguez, 33rd Ward
- Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward
- Ald. Gilbert Villegas, 36th Ward
- Ald. Andre Vasquez, 40th Ward
- Ald. Anthony Napolitano, 41st Ward
- Ald. Jim Gardiner, 45th Ward
- Ald. Matt Martin, 47th Ward
- Ald. Maria Hadden, 49th Ward
“We, the undersigned members of the Chicago City Council, hereby call on you – in your current capacity as Presiding Officer – to honor and consistently follow the 2019-2023 Rules of Order and Procedure of the City Council,” the letter begins.
“We have witnessed numerous occasions in recent meetings where the various rulings made by you as Presiding Officer have been inconsistent and/or in direct contradiction with the Rules of Order and Procedure,” it reads.
“The Rules of Order and Procedure were adopted by the body to ensure a fair and transparent process for legislative movement,” the letter continues. “Any deviation from them is not only unacceptable and illegal, but also a manipulation of our democratic process.”
The aldermen sent the letter one day after a City Council meeting devolved into chaos before ending abruptly, delaying both the confirmation of Lightfoot’s nominee as corporation counsel and a contentious vote to rename a portion of Lake Shore Drive.
The bizarre meeting ended not long after several disruptions, beginning with a move to stall the confirmation of Celia Meza as the mayor’s top lawyer.
Some aldermen objected to Meza’s role in the city’s refusal to negotiate a settlement with Anjanette Young, whose home was wrongly raided by Chicago police in February 2019.
“Clearly the mayor is not happy but too bad,” Lopez said in an interview after the meeting. “Our department must work our residents and make it right for Miss Young.”
“Stop playing the game of mistreating people in our community,” Taylor said.
Lightfoot called Taylor to the back of the City Council chambers where they held an animated conversation with pointed fingers that ended with Lightfoot waving Taylor off as she returned to the podium.
“Communication works both ways and I’m not a child,” Taylor told reporters after the encounter. “Don’t talk to me like I’m a child. I am not a child. You saw me tell her to put her hands down. I’m a grown woman like she is. We are coworkers and clearly she doesn’t understand that.”
Lightfoot and Burke also tangled over the rules of the council before the meeting was abruptly adjourned, with another scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Lightfoot later canceled her news conference planned for after the meeting, releasing a statement in which she blamed “a small group of alderman” for creating a “spectacle.”
“Our residents expect the City Council to pass critical legislation that impacts their daily lives. However, today, a small group of Aldermen brazenly created a spectacle and did a disservice to their constituents, instead of raising their concerns through the appropriate forum,” Lightfoot said.
“As a result of their cynical actions, the City Council failed to pass protections and relief for our hotel workers, primarily Black and brown women, who were most impacted by the pandemic, and our small businesses,” she continued. “On Friday, we look forward to continuing our work on behalf of Chicagoans.”
Matters that were slated to be handled Wednesday but will now likely be taken up Friday include Meza’s appointment as well as a measure to rename a portion of Lake Shore Drive for Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable. Du Sable is widely regarded as the first non-Indigenous settler of the area that would ultimately become the city of Chicago.
Ald. David Moore has been one of the leading advocates for the move to rename the iconic street, and said Tuesday he believed he had the votes to do so.
Lightfoot, who has voiced opposition to the plan to rename Lake Shore Drive, has offered a series of proposals as a compromise, including the creation of an annual festival and a park in his honor.