CITY HALL — Chicago may or may not be ready for reform, but suddenly everyone in city government is a progressive.
One day after nine aldermen proclaimed themselves the Progressive Reform Coalition, nine others formed the Paul Douglas Alliance before Wednesday's City Council meeting, saying they were "committed to progressive ideals and pragmatic policy solutions to move Chicago forward."
Emanuel, however, denied supporting one group over the other or working covertly to back Wednesday's rival bloc.
Douglas, who served in the Senate from 1949 to 1967 and died in 1976, "was committed to getting things done," said Ald. Joe Moore (49th) in explaining the name of the Paul Douglas Alliance.
The new bloc subtly suggested they were going to be less confrontational than the reform coalition, stating, "We take a nondogmatic approach to achieving those values and ideals because we want results."
Moore, however, insisted they were not in conflict with the coalition. "There's no disunity at all," he said. Other aldermen cheered over how almost 40 percent of the council has now proclaimed itself progressive.
"These things aren't mutually exclusive," added Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), a member of both progressive groups, who actually gave the Paul Douglas Alliance an extra member, with 10 aldermen.
Others in the Paul Douglas group include Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno (1st), Pat Dowell (3rd), William Burns (4th), Rey Colon (35th), Brendan Reilly (42nd), Michele Smith (43rd), James Cappleman (46th) and Harry Osterman (48th).
Where the coalition said it would work to free reform legislation from the Rules Committee, where it's been stymied by Ald. Richard Mell (33rd), the Paul Douglas group announced its intention to combine the two inspector-general positions.
It wants to put the City Council under the purview of the city inspector general, thus making the separate legislative inspector general unnecessary.
While laughing about the competing groups, Emanuel said progressive ideals were nothing to joke about.
"To me, it's a value statement," Emanuel said. "To me, it's a philosophy."
"It's somebody who believes in the affirmative role that government can play," Emanuel said, adding that he had worked for two U.S. presidents he considered progressives.