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Our View: Don’t try to take back the vote

Updated: January 13, 2013 11:08AM



A legal challenge that has no basis in the law has as much chance of succeeding as a Republican mayoral candidate in Chicago.

That’s why a Cook County judge last week quickly and justifiably dismissed an attempt by some unhappy Country Club Hills aldermen to thwart the will of voters and keep the city council at 10 members.

Voters on Nov. 6 strongly approved (58 percent majority) a referendum proposal to trim the council to five members. That was a wise decision because a city of about 16,000 doesn’t need two aldermen per ward, and the savings is substantial — about $260,000 per year in aldermanic salaries, expense accounts and related costs.

But the aldermen were upset with the referendum outcome because five of them are going to lose a really nice gig that has a $31,000 salary and $9,000 expense account for part-time work.

So they sued to try to nullify the vote, contending that the wording on the ballot did not make it clear that all 10 council seats would be up for election in April and that more voters might have opposed the halving of the council if they knew that.

That’s illogical. We don’t think many voters would’ve been swayed by the knowledge that 10 aldermen would be running in April rather than five. Why is that a big deal if you favor cutting the council to five anyway?

It turns out the ballot-wording issue apparently is moot. The judge ruled that, under state law, when voters approve a reduction in a city council all members must stand for election at the next scheduled election. Thus, there was no need to refer on the ballot to the measure’s impact on the aldermanic terms.

So that’s settled and everyone involved can move on. Nope. The aldermen say they plan to appeal the judge’s ruling. We urge them not to. Save the time and money and accept the voters’ wishes.

We understand their unhappiness with the Nov. 6 vote and five of them having to run next year instead of in 2015. But the law’s the law.



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