Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wow!!! 'Ex-aldermen crash college ribbon-cutting ceremony'

You know I don't frequently read John Kass' columns in the Chicago Tribune, but I've read enough to know that Mayor Daley has a tendency to turn on people when they are not of any use to him. And I'm not saying that this happened to these ex-aldermen one of whom had the mayor's support for re-election and still lost, however, they're not in office anymore and they're certain to of any use to the mayor any longer. Also if they were involved in the planning process for the new Kennedy King College, shouldn't they be invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony?

Look that's not to say I'm a big fan of either Alderman. I believe Ald. Coleman was mostly there for the ride and didn't do much for her ward (as far as I know) and Ald. Troutman well she does have a federal indictment against her, but she certainly had things going against her before that. Still they were the incumbent when the new college was being planned and built they could have been invited. If they had been they certainly wouldn't have stormed the stage upset. From the Chicago Tribune...
Mayor Richard Daley has officiated at scores of groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings since he became mayor in 1989, most of them prosaic and forgettable affairs.

But a ceremony Wednesday at the new Kennedy-King College promises to be scorched permanently onto the mayor's mental hard drive after two angry ex-aldermen crashed the party in the midst of the congratulatory speechifying.

"Didn't even get an invitation to come!" exclaimed Shirley Coleman, interrupting the speech of a City Colleges of Chicago official as she took a vacant seat on the stage a few spots down from the mayor. "Just found out 10 minutes ago!"

From behind dark glasses Coleman fixed a steady glare that appeared aimed Daley's way as she was joined onstage by former Ald. Arenda Troutman, who took the seat next to hers. The mayor looked straight ahead.

When they represented the adjacent 16th and 20th Wards, respectively, Coleman and Troutman were involved in planning for the long-awaited $254 million college at 63rd and Halsted Streets. In 2003, they used a parliamentary maneuver to delay consideration of a zoning change, complaining that not enough of the construction work would be going to African-American firms.

Though she had Daley's support, Coleman was defeated in her re-election bid earlier this year by challenger JoAnn Thompson. Troutman lost to Willie Cochran after her indictment on federal corruption charges.

Officials who spoke Wednesday before the arrivals of the two former aldermen boasted that 174 workers from the neighborhoods around the new six-building campus had worked on the project and that about $90 million in contracts went to minority firms.

"It can be done," Daley said of the minority participation in remarks delivered before Coleman and Troutman invaded the stage. "Remember that. It can be done on every project, public or private."

Daley did not mention either of the former aldermen in his speech.

Montel Gayles, executive director of the public building commissioner, which oversaw construction of the $254 million project, sought to smooth ruffled feathers.

"We believe we sent you an invitation," he said to Coleman and Troutman as he stood on the stage near them. "Whether we sent it or not from my heart I apologize for you not receiving one, but we would not be here today if it wasn't for the work these two aldermen put forth. With no hard feelings and no regret, I am glad they are here. I am glad that they are here to share with us the success of this day. Now with that said, let's move on with our program."

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