***Update: Mell Hesitates ***Mell to Step Aside For Daughter: Sun-Times

January 4, 2013

*** In a blog post on the Chicago Tribune’s Clout Street site, Ald. Dick Mell has done a backsy. “This is premature,” Mell said of a report he was on his way out. “I haven’t made any decision.” ***

Ald. Dick Mell is reported to be planning to retire from City Council. A Chicago Sun-Times report this morning says the alderman has already persuaded Mayor Rahm Emanuel to name his daughter Deb Mell to the seat.

Dick Mell has served in City Council since 1975. An author of the city’s gun ban, a law that was eventually rejected as unconstitutional in the McDonald v Chicago decision, in 2007 Dick Mell failed to register his guns as required by the law. Mell proposed an amnesty to allow further registration. Mell was among less than 30 people who benefited from the amnesty according to an account in Wikipedia.

Earlier, Dick Mell had opposed Mayor Harold Washington, joining the Vrdolyak 29.

A member of the rules committee, Dick Mell approved the parking meter sale, noting “How many of us read the stuff we do get, OK?… I try to. I try to. I try to. But being realistic, being realistic, it’s like getting your insurance policy. It’s small print, OK?”

Dick Mell’s long-time wife, Marge, died of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy in 2006. Dick Mell is credited with the starting the ball rolling on the impeachment of his son-in-law, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. However the decision to oppose his son-in-law led to personal problems that Mell later regretted.

The Sun-Times reports the date for a special election to fill the aldermanic opening has passed. As a result, the decision to fill the vacancy would be solely up to Emanuel.

Deb Mell, a state legislator representing the 40th District, has served in the legislature since 2009. The legislative database indicates Deb Mell was the prime sponsor for four measures that were approved in the 97th session that ends shortly:

  • HB1253 Required sex offenders and predator who were not required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act to register retroactively.
  • HB3155 Made various changes to a number of acts:
    • The Illinois Welfare and Rehabilitation Service Planning Act regarding the submission of agency plans to the General Assembly
    • The Alternative Health Care Delivery Act regarding licensure, demonstration program requirements and authorization for alternative health care models.
    • The Nursing Home Care Act to delete policies regarding the use of restraints and seclusion. Changed the annual date for the Department of Public Health to report to the General Assembly.
    • The Illinois Migrant Labor Camp Law had changes regarding applications for a license to operate and maintain such camps and for inspections of the camps.
    • The Poison Control System Act had changes to the provisions concerning regional center designations.
    • The Illinois Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act had changes regarding ‘certificates of free sale,’ health certificates and shellfish certificates.
    • The Grade A Pasteurized Milk and Milk Products Act had a change to the definition of ‘Grade A.’
    • The Alternative Health Care Delivery Act had a provision repealed concerning authorization for alternative health care models.
  • HB3184 This act became a ‘shell’ act. Introduced as a call for ethics, it would have required candidates for the General Assembly to certify completion of an ethics and campaign finance training program in the previous 12 months. However, that was gutted by the Illinois State Senate. Instead, the act amended the county code to require the county clerks to collect $5 from each civil union license, the funds to be deposited into a Domestic Violence Fund.
  • HR0423 This resolution urged cable companies to program for veterans.

In the 96th session, the representative introduced the following:

  • HB3962 The act as introduced would have targeted buildings used for the commission crimes such as child pornography, dog fighting, violations of the Liquor Control Act, the Humane Care for Animals Act and other crimes as a public nuisance. However, the bill was gutted twice in the Senate. When it returned to the House it prohibited tampering with public records with an intent to defraud.
  • HB5226 The act as introduced would amend the Environmental Protection Act to make loans available from the Water Revolving Fund. However, that was amended to authorize two other programs be included, the Water Pollution Control Loan Program and the Public Water Supply Loan Program. Those funds can now be used to fund projects that meet the grant requirements of the federal State Revolving Fund green project reserve.
  • HR1174 The resolution created the Clean Technology Task Force for Commercial Clothes Cleaning to ‘identify barriers to using environmentally friendly alternatives to perchloroethylene in dry cleaning operations.’
  • HB2573 The bill called on colleges and universities to post sexual harassment laws and policies.
  • HB2574 The bill called for treatment programs for persons convicted of a felony DUI, a felony violation of the Cannabis Control Act or of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.

Among Deb Mell’s first decisions in the legislature was a vote on whether to impeach her brother-in-law, Gov. Rod Blagojevich. She was the only vote opposing the impeachment.

In her first campaign, in 2008, Deb Mell ran against Christine M Nere-Foss (R) and Heather Benno (G).

  • Deb Mell 16,932 / 74.9 percent
  • Christine M Nere-Foss 3,399/ 15.04 percent
  • Heather Benno 2,276/ 10.07 percent

Deb Mell faced Joe Laiacona in the 2010 Primary. Deb Mell’s election effort hit a serious problem when opponent Laiacona protested that Mell had moved, but not updated her filing. However, this protest was overruled by the election authorities.

  • Deb Mell 4,335/ 65.91 percent
  • Joe Laiacona 2,242/ 34.09 percent

As detailed in a post in the Welles Park Bulldog, a Deb Mell supporter knocked her 2010 General Republican opponent, Lisa Reed, off the ballot for filing errors. The Republicans returned in 2012 with an art student who didn’t meet with any press and only began posting elections signs late in October. Puccio-Johnson was selected by the GOP after the primary to fill the ballot. The results for the 2012 General Election were predictable.

  • Deb Mell 21,744/ 81.58 percent
  • A. Puccio-Johnson 4,909/ 18.42 percent

Deb Mell, 44, is married to Christin Baker. She is a graduate of St Scholastica High School and Cornell College. She attended the California Culinary Academy.

The 40th District seat would be filled by the seven Democratic Ward Committeemen with votes apportioned according to the results of the most recent election:

  • First Ward – Joseph Moreno 0.16 percent
  • 30th Ward- Ariel E Reboyras 10.04 percent
  • 32nd Ward- Scott Waguespack 6.68 percent
  • 33rd Ward- Richard Mell 43.60 percent
  • 35th Ward- Nancy Schiavone 20.63 percent
  • 39th Ward- Randy Barnette 7.92 percent
  • 45th Ward- John Arena 10.97 percent

*** Updated 130104 1231 to note a report by the Chicago Tribune ***

Deb Mell is expected to be named 33rd Ward Alderman when her father resigns. Credit Illinois GA

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One Response to ***Update: Mell Hesitates ***Mell to Step Aside For Daughter: Sun-Times

  1. Todd Farkas on January 4, 2013 at 7:50 am

    The Mell family of Monarchs must end.
    You know how no one wants another Bush in office?? Well its the same thing here in the 33rd ward. The Mell family is corrupt to the core.

    Demand the Mayor appoint someone else. Call 311 and ask to leave a message for the Mayors office.