February 23, 2011

King Richard II & Me

Now that Rahm Emmanuel will officially become Chicago's next mayor it's finally starting to sink in that for the first time since I was 7 years old that someone other than Richard M. Daley will be mayor of Chicago. For as long as I can remember he's been mayor of my city, he's almost a strangely paternal figure. My parents always watched the six o'clock news when I was a kid and it seemed like he was turning red and yelling at someone four out of five nights a week. He's kind of like that angry uncle that's always yelling about how stupid everyone in the media and in politics is.

As a self-proclaimed progressive I probably shouldn't like him as much as I do. Corruption has never been hard to find at City Hall and that hasn't really changed under Daley's watch. There has been plenty of scandal, investigations, allegations and even convictions, but none of them ever got back to him officially. He's sort of like a mob boss in that way. Everyone that works for him has been tainted but he's been untouchable.

I think he gets a pass on the corruption because he's gotten things done. I might not like the people that have worked for him but for the most part I've liked his policies. He tore down the infamous Cabrini Green and Robert Taylor Homes. And even though it came in way over budget, Millennium Park is still one of the coolest open spaces I've ever been to. He also got people to actually invest in the city again, which wasn't happening before he got elected. In the middle of the night (and with no one's approval) he destroyed Meigs Field. As a result we'll eventually have yet another beautiful lakefront park instead of somewhere for corporate jets to land.

Most importantly though, we're not Detroit.

We're not Cleveland, we're not St. Louis and we're not Pittsburgh. We're the only Midwestern city to come out of the rust belt swinging and for his part in ensuring that Chicago will be a dynamic city for years to come I thank him.

Image taken from here: http://tammybruce.com/2010/05/chicagos-mayor-daley-threatens-to-shoot-a-reporter.html


  1. I always find myself amused by his antics, but I deep down, I really like the guy. Bob Sirott gave a commentary on the news the other night about what qualities our next mayor should have. At the end he said, I just described Richard M. Daley.

  2. I don’t have an opinion on Daley.

    He’s always kind of reminded me of one of those old school, cigar-chomping politicians wheeling and dealing in a smoke-filled back room.

    That’s a neutral statement. Those kinds of wheelings and dealings might not be democratic or egalitarian, but we sure seemed to get better leaders when things were determined that way…

  3. Chicago is the only midwestern city that I would consider living at.

    He reminds me of Patton, in his crass-ness and his attitude. It's kind of nice and refreshing, though I still don't agree with him.

  4. A blog where I can learn about world affairs. Cool. I never knew the mayor was in charge for so long. Amazing. Thank you.
    Nahno ∗ McLein

  5. HaHa... I lived in Chicago for 8 years and I like Daley for pretty much the reasons you listed... He's not perfect, but he gets the job done - and yeah, every other major city in the Midwest hasn't been able to get the job done.

    If I still lived in Chicago, I'd probably have voted for Rahm, even though he isn't the most progressive. I just get the impression that he'd keep the city alive and take care of it. But then again, I did vote for Rod Blagojevich so what do I know.

  6. yeah, those 'imported from detroit' car commercials make me gag... at least we can make fun of the cubs from out here...

  7. Oh wow I had no idea he had been mayor for THAT long. That's crazy. I don't think I've ever had the same mayor more than four years in a row. That would be a major change...good luck!

    PS. I noticed you used a blogger app a short time ago. Does it work? If so, what is it? I've been searching for one for my iphone for a long time...

  8. Ahem, I'm a former Pittsburgher and take affront to the thought that we are a mid-western city, nothing against Chicago of course, but I don't like my howetown being compared to Cleveland or Detroit. Pittsburgh is obviously alot smaller than Chicago and to compare it to the disaster that is Detroit is a disservice. Pittsburgh has reinvented itself and is now home to many tech and medical companies and one of the best universities in the States - Carnegie Mellon, I think they even snagged a Google office. So....rust belt my
    a(&, Pittsburgh is definitely no longer and has not been for some time....a steel town :)

    Good post other than than the dis to Pburgh.


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