CHICAGO - 16th Ward Ald. Toni Foulkes says she believes many Chicagoans would disagree with her ongoing defense of the city council. It's why she and others are responding to the federal attempted extortion charge against Ald. Ed Burke with a series of reform proposals.
The feds claim Burke threatened to harm a fast-food franchise unless the owner hired Burke's multi-million-dollar law firm. It's prompted new calls to ban outside employment for city council members, who are all paid up to about $120,000 by taxpayers.
“With Ald. Burke no longer in a position to block the measure, I’m confident that my colleagues will support the ban,” said 49th Ward Ald. Joseph Moore.
“First, we need to take the broom to City Hall and sweep out the mess,” said Paul Vallas, candidate for mayor. “Chicagoans, it's up to you. If you want change, you have to vote for it!"
Vallas says rivals, Toni Preckwinkle, Gery Chico and Susana Mendoza should drop out of next month's mayoral election because Burke has raised campaign money for all of them. Preckwinkle says she's returning more than $100,000 raised at an event hosted by Burke and his wife.
Vallas also said candidates who haven't released their full income tax returns should be disqualified from becoming mayor, notably including Chico, Garry McCarthy, and Bill Daley.
“My god,” said Vallas. “If you're not going to release your tax returns, what are you hiding? What are we going to discover with that hedge fund that Daley has been involved in?"
Based on what the feds have released so far, there is a widespread assumption they'll prove Ald. Burke is a crook. While that may not be fair to him, it may spur serious reform, unlike anything the city council's seen in years.