Chicago

Chicago Aldermen Whine and Skip Work Because They're Not Getting Cheap Cubs World Series Tickets

80 percent of Chicago aldermen blew off the annual ethics board hearing after it ruled they had to buy tickets on the open market like everybody else.

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Buy your own damn ticket.
LBJacob09/Wikimedia Commons

Tonight the Chicago Cubs will play the first World Series game held in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field since 1945. The cheapest price for a standing-room-only ticket on Stubhub is currently $1,700, and some season ticket holders are reportedly seeking upwards of $1 million for a chance to see the lovable losers take on the less-lovable historically-losing franchise known as the Cleveland Indians.

The Cubs and Wrigley are both institutions of Chicago culture, and the team's first National League pennant in several generations is something even non-sports fans in the Windy City are understandably excited about, which is why some Chicagoans of means are willing to shell out thousands of dollars to watch a baseball game.

But spare a moment of sympathy for Chicago's aldermen, those public servants making six figure salaries, who until very recently enjoyed the perk of being able to buy Cubs' postseason tickets at face value, rather than on the open market, like the rest of us commoners.

The Cubs have long made a practice of providing politicians at every level the chance to buy tickets at face value, but according to Illinois Policy, the Chicago Board of Ethics ruled last week that city aldermen may only accept this perk if they are "performing a public, ceremonial duty, such as throwing out the first pitch or delivering a speech."

Announcing the ruling, Ethics Board Chairman William Conlon said, "It is inappropriate under the circumstances for a group that has governance over Wrigley Field — everything from vendors to hot dogs to improvements to the stadium and building adjacent to the stadium — to accept preferential treatment from the Cubs," according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Alderman Roderick Sawyer reportedly responded as any precious snowflake would, arguing that he and his fellow politicians "should be able to take advantage of history." But even this tone-deaf sentiment was topped by Alderman Milly Santiago, who according to the Chicago Tribune is "a former journalist who campaigned for office on a platform of reform and anti-corruption."

Santiago first complained that the playoff tickets she was previously able to purchase for a fraction of the price the public had to pay "were all the way in the upper deck…that's how bad those tickets were." Santiago added, "It's kind of embarrassing in my part…Those of us who would like to get a chance to go to one of those games and be part of history, we should have that choice."

But Santiago has a choice, despite her statement that she is "a poor alderman" who "cannot even afford to buy a $1,000 ticket," despite earning a $116,208 annual salary. She could easily watch the Cubs game across the street at a Wrigleyville bar with the rest of the little people. And for a self-described reformer like herself, avoiding potential ethical entanglements should be of greater concern than whether or not she is able to attend a wildly expensive private event for pennies on the dollar. Santiago has since walked her complaint back, saying she "never intended to offend anybody" but insisted she's not rich "compared to so many people."

Writing for Illinois Policy, Jon Kaiser says, "Chicago aldermen aren't used to being told 'no.'" Kaiser adds:

Despite the city being dubbed the corruption capital of the country, aldermen have worked hard to shield themselves from any sort of oversight. They let former Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan's contract expire without a replacement ready in 2015, thus making the office obsolete, and a group of aldermen changed a February ordinance to limit auditing powers of Inspector General Joe Ferguson.

Aldermen's track record, though, would suggest oversight is needed. In the past 40 years, 33 of approximately 200 Chicago aldermen have been convicted of federal crimes, such as bribery, extortion, embezzlement, conspiracy, mail fraud and income-tax evasion. Telling these politicians they can't receive a luxury not afforded to the public should not be an issue, but a level playing field with the public seems foreign to aldermen.

As if trying to make a point about how unnecessary their jobs are, two Chicago aldermen reportedly blew off budget hearings earlier this week to take a road trip to Cleveland "in an SUV with a lobbyist and fundraiser" to watch Game 1 of the World Series, according to the Tribune.

And because irony is apparently dead, 40 out of 50 Chicago city aldermen did not attend yesterday's annual ethics board meeting, according to Chicago Now. The Board of Ethics, which reportedly receives $850,000 in annual taxpayer funding, received no questions from the few aldermen who bothered to attend, and the meeting lasted five minutes.

In a petulant display, Alderman Anthony Beale, reportedly played a "Go Cubs, Go" chime on his cellphone to protest he and his colleagues' loss of an elite perk previously reserved only for stewards of good government like himself.

NEXT: The Punk Show at the Mental Hospital

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  1. I hate Chicago aldermen. Heck, even the word “alderman” rubs me the wrong way.

    1. I hate Illinois nazis

  2. Despite the city being dubbed the corruption capital of the country, aldermen have worked hard to shield themselves from any sort of oversight. They let former Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan’s contract expire without a replacement ready in 2015, thus making the office obsolete, and a group of aldermen changed a February ordinance to limit auditing powers of Inspector General Joe Ferguson.

    Aldermen’s track record, though, would suggest oversight is needed. In the past 40 years, 33 of approximately 200 Chicago aldermen have been convicted of federal crimes, such as bribery, extortion, embezzlement, conspiracy, mail fraud and income-tax evasion. Telling these politicians they can’t receive a luxury not afforded to the public should not be an issue, but a level playing field with the public seems foreign to aldermen.

    I blame the one Republican alderman.

    1. LOL, there really *is* one (R) out of 50.

  3. The fans of whichever side loses this series will be heartbroken, but they will not hate the fans of the winning side.

    1. It’s actually a welcome alternative to the politics. Cleveland’s a hellhole and I wouldn’t begrudge them winning both the Championship and the Series. And either way, TBH, I hope the Series gets clinched there; not as much stuff to burn down and seeing the river on fire again would be cool.

    2. I have it on good authority that if Cleveland wins the series, Chicago will not concede and will contest all results.

      1. Well, that one Republican guy will.

  4. This is the world Barack Obama brought to the white house. And yet, it is chickenshit compared to the Clinton Foundation.

    1. At least Hillary is from NY, not Ch-

      Oh.

    2. kinnath, you beat me to it. I told people back in 2008 that anyone who thought a politician that came out of the Chicago machine was a reformer was a fool.

  5. You can be so tone deaf if you’re a Chicago politician. What’s the repercussion? I’m surprised an ethics board did anything about it in the first place.

    1. What’s the repercussion?

      Re-election of every single one of them?

      1. Yeah; “Careful, you might only be re-elected with a 50 point margin of victory instead of 70!” What a bunch of scumbags.

        1. I suppose the (D) primaries are where the real battles are, or do they make agreements ahead of time so that even those are not very contested?

          1. In NYC it’s completely driven by inertia and identity politics. Re-election is guaranteed unless you find yourself not matching the current demographics of your district. They’re all from the same pool of union shills and “activists” so maybe there’s some back-room dealing going on but it’s not really necessary.

  6. ” the Chicago Board of Ethics ruled last week that city aldermen may only accept this perk if they are “performing a public, ceremonial duty, such as throwing out the first pitch or delivering a speech.””

    Later…

    “And now, ladies and gentlemen, please rise as the Democratic members of the Chicago City Council sing the national anthem.”

  7. Not really related, but If I remember correctly alderman can take a law enforcement class which gives them arrest powers and the ability to carry a pistol.

    1. So they can arrest themselves?

    2. This was true, but I’m not sure if they changed the law on it (stopped caring once CC came to IL)

      In Illinois, Aldermen are considered conservators of the peace, and if they take the appropriate course can pack a gun. I rather suspect that most Chicago aldermen carried a gun but skipped the course.

      Legend has it that one Dorothy Tillman (famous for her hats, and senility) regularly carried and in once instance pulled out her .38 and threatened some people at a meeting with it.

      1. This is true. Tillman did pull out her pistol at a meeting

        The politically connected could always conceal carry by becoming auxiliary deputies for the Cook County sheriffs department. You know how many people were given that authority ? No one knows, because the sheriff’s office didn’t keep track.

        Ain’t Illinois politics grand.

  8. Since when is it a bad thing for government officials to skip work?

    1. if only they’d do it without pay

      1. if only they’d do it without pay any compensation

        FIFY

  9. “But… Muh special treatment!” /Chicago aldermen

    Fuck off, slavers.

  10. Which party do these guys belong to? I’m sure it’s mentioned in the article and I just missed it.

    1. uuuh… It’s chicago… I think the writer assumed it was so self evident as to not need mentioning

    2. It’s rah rah, Team Blue.

  11. I went to game 1 in Cleveland.

    It was incredible. My father, brother, and I sat in the upper deck between home and first.

    1. Game 2 was even better 🙂

  12. 50 alderman at $116K a pop? I suppose that’s a drop in the budget bucket, but the citizens of Chicago is are not getting its their money’s worth.

    1. Hey they need that for the like 20 days of work they do all year!

  13. I enjoyed the few years I lived in Lakeview many years ago, but their government is as corrupt as the day is long. And nobody seems to care.

    When it came to voting, your choices were the corrupt Democrat that leans to the left and the corrupt Democrat that leans further to the left.

  14. My last month paycheck was for 11000 dollars… All i did was simple online work from comfort at home for 3-4 hours/day that I got from this agency I discovered over the internet and they paid me for it 95 bucks every hour… This is what I do

    =========================== http://www.4dayjobs.com

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