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*** UPDATED x3 - Blago lawyer wants House seat - Ald. Mell hedges *** Rep. Mell to replace her father on city council

Friday, Jan 4, 2013

* Sun-Times

The Chicago City Council is about to lose its second-longest serving member — and a healthy chunk of its colorful personality and institutional memory.

Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) — powerful chairman of the City Council’s Rules Committee and father-in-law of convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich — has told associates he is preparing to step down within the next few months after 38 years as a Chicago alderman.

Sources said Mell, 75, who lost his wife in 2006 and recently got engaged, already has persuaded Mayor Rahm Emanuel to appoint the alderman’s daughter, State Rep. Deb Mell (D-Chicago), to replace him in the City Council.

*** UPDATE *** Maybe not?

Among the myriad political parlor games at City Hall, one of the longest running is the annual speculation about whether Northwest Side Ald. Richard Mell will finally step down.

Mell, 74 and the second-longest serving alderman on the City Council, said today that he’s always thinking about retiring, and nodded to the boy-who-cries-wolf nature of his yearly decision.

“I’ve been retiring for the past five years,” said Mell, 33rd. “Sure, it’s tempting. I think it’s tempting for everybody (on the City Council).”

“This is premature,” Mell said of a report he was on his way out. “I haven’t made any decision, and I may not make a decision (to retire).”

*** UPDATE 2 *** And it begins

Now that there’s talk of Rod Blagojevich’s sister-in-law vacating her state House seat, someone else with ties to Blagojevich says he may want to take her place: Blagojevich’s lawyer.

Aaron Goldstein, who headed Blagojevich’s second trial, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday that he is “seriously considering” running to replace Deb Mell after the Sun-Times reported that Mell’s father, longtime powerful alderman Dick Mell (33rd), told associates he was preparing to step down within the next few months. […]

Goldstein was involved in both Blagojevich’s trials and was the lead attorney in Blagojevich’s second trial. He cross-examined key witnesses, including numerous former colleagues of the onetime governor.

“I’ve always had the interest, I think what (the Blagojevich trials have) done, I’ve experienced so much. Obviously, there’s a certain side of it that I want nothing to do with, the political indictments,” Goldstein said. “I realistically learned how politics works for better or for worse.”

*** UPDATE 3 *** Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged Friday that he’s talked to Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) about the alderman’s plan to retire and about Mell’s desire to engineer the appointment of the alderman’s daughter State Rep. Deb Mell (D-Chicago) to replace him in the City Council.

Emanuel said Deb Mell has done a “tremendous job on her own as a state rep” and “wherever she goes in public service, she’s gonna be an addition.”

But, the mayor said Dick Mell has “been retiring for five years” without ever pulling the trigger on resignation, leading Emanuel to say he’ll believe it when he sees it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


15 Comments
  1. - Steve Bartin - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 9:57 am:

    Even supporters of Rod Blagojevich need representation on Chicago’s City Council. It’s not like she’s a Republican or something.


  2. - ChicagoR - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 10:03 am:

    I don’t blame her too much for voting against impeachment for Rod. When you know he’s going down in flames anyway, a symbolic vote of support for your sister is pretty understandable. Not that it was the right thing to do, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen.


  3. - Meanderthal - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 10:04 am:

    This is a situation where every real reform minded, progressive Democrat should stand up and shout “No!”. Enough of this politics as a family business and sense of entitlement for these people.


  4. - Skeeter - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 10:16 am:

    I keep waiting for Deb Mell to put the good of the state and the good of the district over the good of her family, but I haven’t seen it.

    She’s the liberal version of Lipinski.


  5. - Esquire - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    Dick Mell was truly colorful — he was an opponent of gay rights until his daughter and heir apparent came out of the closet and he maintained an impressive collection of firearms while Chicagoans were denied the right to own handguns by local ordinances which have been since declared unconstitutional. What a card!

    Illinois has really so much to be thankful for when it comes to Mell promoting his employment challenged family members to political offices. Let us not forget that Little Debbie had to beat back a lengthy challenge to her candidacy for the Illinois General Assembly when she forgot to register to vote after changing addresses and filled out her nominating papers incorrectly. She will fit right in with the goofs in the City Council. Chicago ain’t ready for reform.

    This is too funny.


  6. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 10:22 am:

    In many states, moving from the state assembly to a city council would be viewed as a step down.

    In Illinois, however, it is apparently viewed as a step up by some.

    Strange world.


  7. - BMAN - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 10:24 am:

    Just another example of maintaining the staus quo. Government transparency at its worse. Give the people in the ward a chance to choose their own alderman. When will this BS stop?


  8. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    Is anyone really surprised?

    I would be shocked if no one saw this coming…..


  9. - Jake From Elwood - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 10:27 am:

    Looks like Mell is backtracking now on whether he is retiring.


  10. - langhorne - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    as paul green says, chicago pols go to the general assembly for training or punishment. hopefully, deb has learned about the legislative process and she can do a good job for her constituents in the city council. at least she will have a nice office allowance and an easier commute. madigan says jump, you jump. emanuel says jump, you jump.


  11. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 11:12 am:

    Mell works it to the end. He’ll retire when he can squeeze every last benefit out of it.

    Anyone ever wonder why the U.S. Attorney never laid a glove on him or Burke? I can’t imagine why.


  12. - State Employee (District 1) - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    Thank you for your contribution of Rod Blagojevich. He single-handedly ruined Illinois for generations.


  13. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 12:41 pm:

    @Formerly, Roman Pucinski moved from Congress to the Chicago city council, barely missing a beat after losing a U.S. Senate election in 1972.


  14. - Original Rambler - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 2:15 pm:

    ChicagoR;

    I always wondered how Mell and the other freshman reps could even vote on the impeachment since the trial was conducted before the previous GA.


  15. - Bill - Friday, Jan 4, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    No big deal. What qualifications does anyone need to vote yes to whatever the mayor says 100% of the time?


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