Ald. Emma Mitts and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa
After accepting an apology from Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), who was forced to resign from his Zoning Department chairmanship and as the mayor’s floor leader after he tried to block veteran Alderman Emma Mitts (37th) from entering the City Council. She voted not to censure him because she believes in giving people a second chance.
But she told the Chicago Crusader late Tuesday, November 7, that Ramirez-Rosa’s blocking her from entering the City Council chambers last Thursday, November 2, was a throwback to her days in the South where she had to say, “Yes, sir” to white men.
Born in Tippo, Mississippi, but raised in Arkansas, Mitts said, “It reminded me of being chastised like they (whites) would chastise you back then,” if you didn’t obey whites.
Referring to when Ramirez-Rosa grabbed Mitts and tried to block her from entering City Council chambers, Mitts said, “It wasn’t what he was doing. It was what he was saying. He was angry. He kept saying stuff, ‘You had your fun. Now you can leave.’ He was out of place in telling another colleague. That is not the demonstration of a floor leader,” said Mitts. “I told him that titles don’t make you. You have to make the title. He was being condescending.”
Though her colleagues voted to censure Ramirez-Rosa, Mitts voted against it. “I had publicly accepted his apology. I’m willing to give him an opportunity to correct his actions,” she told the Chicago Crusader.
She said an apology is one thing, but “actions speak louder than words, and for me to go and sanction him behind that would make me just as hypocritical and not straight forward.
“He needs an opportunity to correct his behavior. I believe in second chances. How can we make a better city if we don’t give second chances? If you don’t give a second chance in your family, how can you make them better?”
Asked about the status of the sanctuary city referendum proposal, Mitts said, “We have to come back for another meeting for that.”
But after suffering several defeats from his aldermen, Mayor Johnson did gain a victory when his “Bring Chicago Home” binding referendum for the March 2024 ballot was approved.
Voters will have the chance of approving if the City Council has the power to raise the real estate transfer tax on the sale of “high-end” properties, with the funds going to help end homelessness in Chicago. Mitts supports this referendum. “We’re going to hold them accountable,” she said.
Asked if the City Council will become more united, Mitts said, “There are several factions there, even among Blacks, Latinos and whites. “We have some difficult days moving forward. We even have division with the mayor on his ruling and how he’s going about following rules.”
Asked if she thinks the mayor is a dictator, Mitts said, “What we need is more transparency and better communication. We have to have a voice there because we are elected to represent our communities. The mayor should listen to all the aldermen and not just a few. Communication is a big problem.”
Alderman David Moore (17th), who voted to censure Ramirez-Rosa, said, “This is not the first time he bullied people.” Asked if Ramirez-Rosa ever tried to bully him, Moore said, “He’s tried to, but I push people up off of me.”
Referring to a proposed referendum for a flood litigation policy, Moore said, “We don’t need to vote on that because we know this is needed. They were just trying to crowd the ballot so there wouldn’t be room for the sanctuary city referendum to be placed on the March 2024 ballot.”
The mayor ruled the motion to censure his former floor leader was out of order because the incident with Mitts happened outside of City Council chambers; however, he was overruled by the aldermen.
And the mayor was checked by Alderman Brendan Reilly (43rd) who pointed to Robert’s Rules of Order that said the opposite. The incident happened in Room 201-A where it was captured by CBS2 Chicago.
Alderman Raymond Lopez (15th) told the mayor that the Robert’s Rules of Order take precedent. “When an individual is a subject of censure, they are not allowed to cast a vote about their future.” He said Ramirez-Rosa’s vote is not acceptable in this motion.
The mayor disagreed, but Reilly rose and said Lopez was correct. “The City Council’s lawyers are advising us, not the mayor’s lawyers.” The mayor again disagreed, citing Rule 50, which said, “Any member that is present is allowed to vote.” Reilly again disagreed and said Robert’s Rules should apply and told the mayor he would have a chance to make the tie-breaking vote.
After a five-minute break, Mayor Johnson saved Ramirez-Rosa from being censured after the City Council Black Caucus and others voted 24-24 to censure him for his actions against Mitts. Johnson made the tie-breaking vote blocking his former floor leader from being censured.
After Ramirez-Rosa apologized and hugged Mitts, who like the other members of the City Council Black Caucus wore a black and gold stole symbolic of Black unity among their caucus, she voted against censuring him, giving him another chance. It was Alderman Scott Waguespack (33rd) who led the censure movement. He said Ramirez-Rosa also threatened three other aldermen.
It was not the first time Ramirez-Rosa was accused of bullying his peers. Alderman Nicole Lee (11th) said he threatened to hold up her projects if she voted on whether the sanctuary city referendum should be placed on the ballot. “No one should be able to abuse their position to gain what they want.”