Last week, a Northwest Side attorney used a little-known city rule to directly introduce into City Council an ordinance that would create a recall provision for Mayor. The rule used by John J. Lag, who has offices in Jefferson Park, is seldom used, according to the Clerk’s office. Lag’s ordinance has been referred to Rules Committee, where it is unlikely to see the light of day without a Council sponsor.
Lag’s city loophole is approved by the City Clerk, and if correctly formatted, the Clerk will allow “just about anything” to be introduced as an ordinance or resolution to Council so long as Chicago citizens present their draft in paper form at City Hall Room 107.
“We vet it for correct formatting, not for content,” said Clerk spokesman Pat Corcoran.
In 2013 a sign company, GreenSigns, used the rule to directly introduce sign ordinances to Council. Since sign ordinances are typically passed out of Committee dozens at a time, Aldermen did not realize what they had passed until unfamiliar signs began going up in their wards. To stop the loophole, Council instituted a nine month moratorium on new small signs.
Lag says he learned of the process since he’s, “been around for a long time and as a community activist.”
He’s dabbled in politics a bit here and there too. In 1992, Lag ran for Cook County Circuit Court Judge and lost. Lag also says he prepare to file to run for 32nd Ward Alderman in 2007, but dropped out before the filing deadline.
Lag has used the citizen introduction rule before. On June 23, 2005, the Council’s Journal of the Proceedings mentions a, “proposed ordinance which would prohibit any elected city official from knowingly accepting, receiving or retaining any benefit, either directly, or indirectly of monies or services or in-kind political contribution, or any other valuable consideration from the Hispanic Democratic Organization” from a Mr. John J. Tag, which Lag says was a typo of his name.
Lag’s anti-HDO ordinance was shunted into Rules Committee, never to be seen again.