There are 212 candidates running for alderman in Chicago's 50 wards. Some of you have money for campaigning and some are just in it for the experience. I wish you all well. But there is something that you should all carefully consider before you go to bed at night with visions of pinky rings circling above your heads.
Whoever of you wins, on the day you are sworn in, you can rest assured that a team of FBI Agents and technicians will be assigned to you. They will not be assigned to you as a joke or as a light-hearted matter. They will be assigned to you to trip you up and put y0u in prison. In the past, thirty-three Chicago aldermen have been convicted and sent to prison. There is another one about to be tried and of course, Alderman Burke, under indictment.
You should assume that all your comings and goings will be surveyed. Your phone calls can be intercepted, and your mail and electronic communications as well as those of your staff and family can be monitored.
They will be particularly interested in zoning and building permits. The reason for keeping local building zoning and permit issues in the purview of the ward is that this gives the alderman an extra source of income. The alderman will act like he is supporting the health and well-being of the community when in fact, what he is doing is looking for a way to make extra income out of the permit or zoning process.
Of course, many of the aldermen or women have extracurricular jobs or professions to make ends meet. As can be seen by the indictment of Alderman Burke, he allegedly was using his aldermanic clout to bring in income to his law firm. In the case of other aldermen, they or their spouses are in the insurance or real estate business. Of course, if an applicant wants a zoning change or building permit in an alderman's ward, do you think it would hurt to give the alderman's wife, brother, son etc. some insurance or real estate business?
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