Kass: Chicago has royal babies too

Here, politics is a lot like watching HBO's "Game of Thrones"

Rep. Deborah Mell had breast cancer surgery

State Rep. Deborah Mell, D-Chicago, on the House floor at the State Capitol in Springfield. (Tribune File Photo / November 8, 2012)

England has a new royal baby, Prince George.

But in Chicago, where English kings are frowned upon, we have plenty of royal babies of our own.

And they aren't mere figureheads. They're Democrats with real power, from great houses that grab public office for their descendants and collect the treasure such offices afford.

Here, politics is a lot like watching HBO's "Game of Thrones," except with more hard vowels and precinct captains smelling of Paco Rabanne.

We have Prince William Daley of Shortshanksia, running for governor of Illinois, and Princess Lisa Madigan of Madiganistan, the attorney general. There are also former state Comptroller Duke Dan Hynes of Hyneslandia, High Sheriff (state Senate President) John Cullerton of DeLeotopia, the many Berriosistas of his Cook County assessor's office, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski of Lipinskitania and the Zalewskis of Zalewskiville.

We would be remiss if we did not mention the Jacksonians, with those stuffed elk heads on their coat of arms; the Joneses of Upper Jonesistan; the Sawyeristas of the 6th; the Strogerons of the 8th Stronghold; the Joyces of the Southwest Lands; the Laurinos of Laurinotania; and so on and so forth.

To read all the names you'd need several scrolls.

On Tuesday, it was time for another noble child to be handed a public office in the name of democracy in Chicago. The mayor of Chicago called forth the people and made her alderman of the 33rd Ward.

And who is this lady of wealth and power?

The Debonheiress of Mellatonia. She's on top now. As her brother-in-law rots in a dungeon for real, pending the outcome of his federal appeal.

Or you can just call her Ald. Deborah Mell, daughter of retiring 33rd Ward Ald. Richard Mell, the old man being lord of Mellatonia on the Northwest Side.

"State Rep. Deb Mell is not guaranteed the job because her last name is Mell," said Emanuel the other day, pretending his decision involved merit, "and state Rep. Deb Mell is not excluded from the job because her last name is Mell."

Really, Mayor Rahmfather?

Let us imagine if her name were something other than Deb Mell. Say, Hulga Kraputnik.

Would the mayor have handed Hulga Kraputnik a six-figure salary, generous pension, expense account and real power over businesses and people in the 33rd Ward?

"I'm not sure why Chicagoans hate royalty," wrote Paul P., a reader, after my column vilifying the royal baby haters who criticize all the media attention lavished upon Little Prince George.

"With Daley I and Daley II, the Rahmfather and of, course, the Khan of Madiganistan and other assorted related princes and princesses, Chicago should be quite used to it, no?" Paul continued. "Or perhaps that's where the hatred (of the royals) starts."

In England there are many who don't like the royals. But in Chicago, if you don't like our local royalty, you might have trouble getting a liquor license.

Bill Cameron, the dean of the City Hall press room, put together a list of Chicago political nepotistas — public officials who've followed either parents or spouses into elected office since 1970 — and his total reached 31.

One who knows the ways of the Chicago nepotistas is former North Side Ald. Dick Simpson, now a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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