CITY HALL — The new head of the City Council Rules Committee asked a little time and patience before people continue to label it "where good legislation goes to die."
"Well, I just got here, so I'm trying to get through reading all the ordinances to see what's in them," said Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) during a break in budget hearings this week. "It's a lot of old stuff in there."
A lot of old stuff that, not coincidentally, tends to be thorny to the administration.
Among the proposals languishing in the Rules Committee:
•An ordinance that would bring transparency to the privatization process sponsored by Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th).
•A resolution asking a moratorium on new charter schools sponsored by Ald. Matthew O'Shea (19th).
•A resolution on an elected school board sponsored by Ald. John Arena (45th).
•And an ordinance seeking to redistribute development funds to Chicago Public Schools sponsored by Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd).
The last of those prompted a Halloween protest last week trying to revive proposals "buried" in the Rules Committee. One of the demands of that protest was to invoke Rule 41, which calls on the committee chairman to address a piece of legislation it has failed to move on after 30 days.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Harris said Monday when asked about Rule 41.
"You ought to give me a chance to be there, give me a chance to figure out what we're gonna do with the community," Harris added. "And then you can pretty much label me what you want to."
The Chatham alderman took charge of the Rules Committee in July after the retirement of Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), the former Rules chairman who was notorious for sidetracking proposals distasteful to the mayor. The Rules Committee has not met since a brief session before the September City Council meeting, and Harris said there is no meeting scheduled before next week's council session.
"I'm gonna try to work with everybody," she added.