Raw tape #33 for Vito Marzullo documentary. "City Council with Vito wired #3." Continuation of previous footage. This rare video lays bare the inner workings of a city council meeting, where hot topics and business dealings find no place at the public podium, but reside in the hush-hush realm of private side conversations and personal maneuvering. Marzullo's wireless microphone picks up all the intriguing details.
00:00Copy video clip URL Marzullo comments on the deal he just attempted to make with 43rd Ward Alderman Martin Oberman just moments before (see raw tape #32). “If he would support [Mayor Michael] Bilandic, I would support him for Alderman. Anything wrong with that?” Marzullo says. “That means no one would run against him,” director Weinberg says. “That’s right,” Marzullo admits, chuckling.
00:48Copy video clip URL Marzullo takes his seat again, striking up a conversation with the alderman sitting next to him. The sound is largely inaudible, but they seem to be commenting on Mayor Bilandic and on the proceedings. Marzullo then speaks to another alderman, but again is largely inaudible. Marzullo then reads a stack of documents at his desk, completely ignoring the official proceedings which include a resolution to honor Mayor Michael Bilandic on his first year in office.
06:07Copy video clip URL Making the rounds, again ignoring official proceedings, Marzullo checks up on business deals with other aldermen, one of whom compliments street repairs that Marzullo’s son provided for him. They joke that Marzullo raised such a large family (6 children, 19 grandchildren) to ensure votes. Marzullo votes “yes” on the resolution discussed, even though he obviously wasn’t listening to the speakers who introduced it. Tape cuts out briefly at 10:53.
11:00Copy video clip URL When the tape resumes, Marzullo is again wrapped up in a side conversation with another alderman, strongly advocating that the alderman hire someone he knows for a specific job. Their conversation provides an eye-opening glimpse into the inner workings of Chicago’s patronage system.
14:05Copy video clip URL Marzullo wastes no time after discussing his deal with the alderman, and turns directly to his microphone to second a resolution that was being discussed. The pressing topic? Honoring the recently deceased wife of an alderman.
16:10Copy video clip URL The tape skips again. When it resumes, Marzullo is speaking at his microphone, introducing a resolution honoring the deceased wife of a local judge. The woman was a resident of his ward.
17:10Copy video clip URL Marzullo discusses a proposed ordinance with a colleague in a private side conversation. The two talk about a proposed land deal. Marzullo also comments on the noticeable absence of many alderman and complains about the room’s stifling heat, thanks to a broken air conditioner.
19:05Copy video clip URL A third man joins their conversation, and the politicians coordinate their strategy for an upcoming meeting about public transit. The third politician (standing) seems anxious about the meeting and implores help from Marzullo, Chairman of the Committee on Local Transportation. “Monday morning at 9 o’clock, he’s going to tell you what to do. You do what he tells you,” another politician advises. The unfolding scene reveals the essence of back-door politics.