Liberal darling Robert Redford is planning a new documentary series on Chicago where he will showcase the city in all its glory. He will be filming the start of the freshwater sailing race, “Race to Mackinac,” but perhaps he ought to be training his cameras on a different race, although it’s anything but fresh.

State Representative Deb Mell finally officially announced her desire to be “considered” to replace her father as Alderman in Chicago’s 33rd Ward.

Deb Mell is the daughter of Dick Mell, who has for 37 years “represented” that ward. Dick Mell is the quintessential Chicago pol in every Obamaesque sense; for example, today the Chicago Sun-Times ran a front-page piece about his role as a silent partner with a convicted felon in a Joliet landfill business. Mell denied any involvement in the past.

It’s a race that reeks of the stale old Chicago way, with so many corrupt characters involved that it almost “strains credulity,” as Andrew Breitbart would have said.

Dick Mell’s announcement that he is retiring leaves a vacancy to be filled in the Chicago Way, by a 5-member panel appointed by Mayor Emanuel. Here is the description of the members of Rahm’s panel:

– Felicia Davis, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement
– John Friedmann, Vice President, North River Commission, Longtime 33rd Ward Resident
– Michelle Harris, City Council President Pro Tempore
– Iliamar Isaac, Community Activist
– Ricardo Trujillo, Principal, Roosevelt High School

Mayor Rahm “Caligulus” Emanuel (thank you, Paul McKinley) waxed poetic about the firsts that Deb Mell would “achieve” as a lesbian and a breast-cancer survivor:

State Rep. Deb Mell is not guaranteed a job in City Council because she would be the first [openly] lesbian [alderman] or because she had breast cancer. But, she’s not excluded because she would be the first lesbian and the first woman, as [far as] I know, that has breast cancer. I remind all of you [that] she was endorsed by both papers when she ran for state rep.

So the person appointing the panel to select the replacement certainly has his preference.

Deb Mell does have more famous connections than just her father. You would be forgiven for not realizing that Deb is actually the sister-in-law of imprisoned former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, currently serving time on corruption convictions. Neither the Chicago Tribune’s piece on the race by John Byrne nor the Sun-Times’s article by Fran Spielman mention the fact. Less surprising: the local left-wing blog “Chicagoist” failed to note the connection in their post by Chuck Sudo.

Deb’s father Dick Mell recently publicly and proudly reminisced about the days when he could buy votes by getting rid of parking tickets. From the Sun-Times:

During a 90-minute swan-song and other farewell interviews, Richard Mell longed for the days when he could non-suit a pile of parking tickets for supporters and place his top precinct captains in cushy bridge tender’s jobs, where they could either sleep or study the night away.

As for Deb’s performance as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, according to Ballotpedia she received a D- rating from the Illinois Opportunity Project. Perhaps one of the 13 other people who are vying for the Aldermanic spot might be worth considering.

Sounds like good fodder for a series on Chicago, Redford.


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