SPOOKED: Uptown Alderman Live Tweets Ideas From Budget-Saving Meeting (But He Leaves One Out)

Cut the size of the Chicago City Council in half.

Uptown Alderman James Cappleman failed to include that idea from a citizen in his live Tweet of a city budget-cutting brainstorming meeting last week.

The alderman happily Tweeted a dozen other ideas garnered from the audience. But, somehow, he couldn’t bring himself to Tweeting the idea that maybe—just maybe—he and 24 other alderman should find another job.

Perhaps he was so stunned by the idea that he temporarily lost control of his Tweet-related motor skills.

Chicago’s 50 aldermen are each paid an annual salary of over $100,000.

They also each receive a $1 million fund to spend on community projects in virtually any way they wish. They get a pension and money to spend on staff, office space, and expenses.

Oh, yes. And the job is mandated by law to be part-time employment.

By comparison, the Los Angeles City Council has just 15 members even though the city’s population is 40% greater than Chicago.

New York City, with three times as many residents as Chicago, has just one more seat on its city council—51.

Slashing the size of Chicago’s council sounds like a grand idea.

Here are the ideas that the alderman found suitable for sharing with the public on Twiter:

• Using crowd sharing to pay for large public benefits like big new parks
• Citizen led efficiency and watchdog group
• Incentivize employees to reduce waste
• Movable solar panels to power street lights
• Reduce the number of employees on City of Chicago garbage trucks
• Have means testing for senior discounts
• Increase fees for street fairs that close  streets and require police and streets and sanitation
• Legalize marijuana to increase revenue for the City of Chicago
• Have a Chicago casino
• Have licenses for bicycles to increase city revenues
• Make sure amusement tax money is coming back to the 46th Ward
• Recommendation to use TIF funds to reduce the City of Chicago budget deficit
• Enforce current laws by ticketing for things like dogs off leash, littering, and shoveling in winter to increase revenue

The alderman did include the idea in a meeting re-cap that was emailed to constituents. The only other idea in the email that didn’t get Tweeted live: “Bring down the costs of hiring police officers by relying on them mainly to address crime and have other staff with responsibilities of only ticketing.”


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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com