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.