The Dirty Business Of Street Cleaning
A vote shy of the number needed to call a special session of the city council, the Mayor’s compromise will move forward starting tomorrow.
“I’m glad they’ve come as far as they have the last couple of days,” said 47th Ward Alderman Gene Schulter, who flew back from his vacation in Florida for the special session.
“Whether this compromise will work remains to be seen,” said 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore, one of the organizers of the street sweeper rebellion. “I’m willing to give it a try. I appreciate Commissioner Byrne’s attempt to keep the street sweepers in the wards. There may be some bugs to work out.”
Moore thinks they’ll know within a few weeks if the compromise plan will work. If it doesn’t work, he says they’ll make another attempt to force the city to move back to the old system.
Just hours before the official start of Chicago’s street cleaning season, there still is no firm plan in place for keeping city streets swept and no comprehensive schedule that can tell residents what streets get cleaned when.
As of 6 PM Tuesday, sources say the Mayor has backed off his plan to push for a grid system for street cleaning.
Instead, there’s currently some sketchy hybrid plan being proposed where sweepers remain “in control” of the wards for four days (or 32 hours a week) out of five, with a fifth day where the sweeper works outside the ward for nearly the entire day.
This most recent plan has the sweeper in the ward for two entire days. On two other days, the sweeper works the ward for five hours or so, before it’s assigned to work adjacent wards for a few hours. Then, just one day a week, the ward’s sweeper is assigned to work outside the ward after working with one or more other sweepers to quickly address that ward’s cleaning obligations for the day.
“I thought it was kind of goofy,” said 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack about this alleged compromise plan. “It really doesn’t make sense. It’s even more confusing than the grid system plan. Just pick a system like we had before. Make sure cars are moved and make sure we have enough vehicles to do the sweeping. The Mayor is trying to micro-manage it at the last moment because of a lack of proper management all these years.”
Waguespack also believes this potential new plan will shred any ward street cleaning schedules that were in place before the proposed changes. So, with just 24 hours until street cleaning is due to begin, there is no street cleaning schedule in place anywhere in the city.
Despite this compromise plan being bandied about today, Ald. Moore still plans to move forward to call a special session of the city council to address this issue. Sources say Moore has enough confirmed city council members to meet a quorum. Although the Chicago Reader claims this quorum is tenuous despite Ald. Moore’s wife Barbara creating a Facebook event page for the meeting.
To add even more intrigue to the drama, another source claims city hall has been lobbying alderman Tuesday to boycott the planned meeting to suppress a quorum.
Another source close to city hall theorizes the compromise plan may just be a ruse to pacify just enough aldermen into not showing up so that the required 26 votes to make up a quorum cannot be met, and then the Mayor can then return to the grid plan he wanted all along.
Theoretically, hopefully, we’ll know what the outcome is tomorrow after the meeting.