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University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
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February 26, 2001 Contact: Bryant Payne (312) 355-2523; bpayne2@uic.edu


A new book by a University of Illinois at Chicago political scientist examines Chicago's mayors and their relationships with City Councils. Dick Simpson, professor of political science and former Chicago alderman, announced publication of his book "Rogues, Rebels and Rubber Stamps: The Politics of the Chicago City Council from 1863 to the Present," by Westview Press.

Essential reading for anyone interested in the City Council's historic reputation, the book classifies 15 councils into three types-fragmented, rubber stamps and council wars.

"Council wars only applies to the City Councils in the period 1983-86 under the late Mayor Harold Washington, where 21 alderman supported him while 29 opposed him," said Simpson. Fragmented councils were the norm before 1929 but are rare in Chicago's modern history. More common are rubber stamp city councils. Two of the nine rubber stamp councils examined in the book occurred during the reign of Mayor Richard J. Daley, father of the current executive, Mayor Richard M. Daley."

"Rogues, Rebels and Rubber Stamps" profiles some of the City Council's more flamboyant characters and describes the faults and strengths of Chicago's long-term and transitional mayors. Simpson also reveals the inner workings of the councils and offers perspectives on their divided roll call votes-a roll call when at least one alderman votes against the mayor's position.

"On one level 'Rogues' is a straight-forward history of Chicago's City Councils and how they interacted with various mayors," said Simpson. "On another level, it is a dispassionate analysis of the issues, policies and constituencies that influenced Chicago's politics and governance during its 167-year history."

Simpson's first venture into electoral politics came in 1968 when he coordinated Eugene McCarthy's Illinois campaign for president. Later, he helped elect William Singer as 44th Ward alderman in a special election in 1969 and campaigned for independent Constitutional Convention delegates in 1970. After redistricting placed Singer in the 43rd Ward, Simpson was elected in 1971 to represent the 44th Ward. He served two terms before voluntarily retiring in 1979.

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