On Reddit, Alderman Waguespack Answers Almost Everything

January 25, 2014

Josh McGee,

CHICAGO — Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd) took to the popular online forum Reddit Friday afternoon to field questions from the public.

In the “ask me almost anything” conversation that lasted about two hours and received more than 200 comments, Waguespack addressed everything from what it’s like to be an alderman to criticism of a new ordinance banning electronic cigarettes users from smoking indoors.

Waguespack, one of the five aldermen to vote against the deal to lease Chicago’s parking meters, said the veiled process that resulted in the meter deal is repeated too often at City Hall.

“The point should be made that any project that is worthy should take time to make sure ALL stakeholders are involved and having discussions on the pros and cons or any project,” he wrote.

Waguespack said he favored a smaller City Council, and said he wasn’t sure what makes Mayor Rahm Emanuel tick, as one reader put it.

“I know he doesn’t often like other’s opinions but I guess we wouldn’t be a democracy if we didn’t have that,” Waguespack wrote.

Waguespack reiterated his support for an elected school board, even as the idea was tabled by the City Council.

“It can’t be worse than what we have now,” he said.

“Our efforts to even have a discussion in the Council [about an elected school board] were thwarted by the mayor,” said Waguespeck.

One commenter asked the alderman to shed some light on how the wards were drawn up, a contentious subject that researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology said violated the Civil Rights Act.

“Hands full of jello. Throw at wall. Draw lines,” Waguespeck deadpanned. “What might work better is what some people are pushing for, an independent commission that does the bulk of it. We are having discussions [with] some academic and civic institutions to set up a better process for redistricting after the next census.”

One reader asked Waguespack if his independence has resulted in someone retaliating by denying his ward services.

“If anyone ever did, I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve been amazed that some very high ups have said it would happen as if their life depended on the deal that was passed.”