Daley says he will not run for re-election as mayor of Chicago
September 7, 2010 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Richard M. Daley announces he will not run for re-election as mayor of Chicago in 2011. In the past half-century, Chicago has had only 13 years when a Daley was not mayor. Is this fallout from RMD's botched, and, many say, ill advised, Olympic bid? Or just the fact that the city is more strapped for cash than ever? Should be interesting.
posted by zadermatermorts (87 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Rat, sinking ship, etc.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:52 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Obligatory onion article.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 12:55 PM on September 7, 2010

Not to say any other reasons aren't correct, but it should also be noted that his wife is battling cancer.
posted by auto-correct at 1:03 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Friends on the inside said months ago that he wasn't going to run. Is wife is sicker than the press is reporting.

Sad. Love him or hate him, he made downtown beautiful. I really don't want to know what Chicago will turn into after he's gone. I don't think it will be a good. Please don't let Stroger run.

Let the carnival begin.
posted by stormpooper at 1:07 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Will Rahm jump in?
posted by ericb at 1:10 PM on September 7, 2010

I hope Rahm is foolish enough to try.
posted by enn at 1:14 PM on September 7, 2010

Speculate all you want, but I'm sure Chicago's next mayor was predetermined a while ago. We just have to go through the media circus and have an election to keep up appearances.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:15 PM on September 7, 2010

So Rahm ("fuck the progressives", "fuck the UAW") will run, which means he'll be out of the White House, which means a slim chance that President Obama can try to be what Candidate Obama promised to be.
posted by orthogonality at 1:17 PM on September 7, 2010

Yes, orthogonality, and the best part is that he'll lose the mayoral election too, though he doesn't seem to realize it.
posted by enn at 1:21 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Good riddance.
posted by phaedon at 1:23 PM on September 7, 2010

It’s strange to think of Chicago with a mayor other than Daley-I’m 25, and he’s been mayor since I was four. I can only remember a handful of times that someone got enough signatures to appear against him on the ballot-it was impossible for anyone else to be elected. Whether or not he was a good mayor seemed to beyond the point: he just was, and he defines the city as much as anything ever did.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:23 PM on September 7, 2010

Maybe we can try democracy. It's a long shot, but I'm told by Voice of America that it's an effective form of government.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 1:27 PM on September 7, 2010 [8 favorites]

Don't let the door hit you on the ass...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:32 PM on September 7, 2010

So who's next?

I'm reading the speculation on Capitol Fax and and they are all over the place — Rahm, Hoffman, Waguespack, Gutierrez, Schakowsky, Dart, Houlihan, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Claypool.
posted by enn at 1:36 PM on September 7, 2010

Maybe they can figure out how to reopen the airport that Daley illegally demolished in the middle of the night.
posted by Nelson at 1:39 PM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best of the web?
posted by eustacescrubb at 1:42 PM on September 7, 2010

Schakowsky would be AWESOME. But I would miss her on the Hill because she's one of the few up there who I can stand to listen to.
posted by jeanmari at 1:43 PM on September 7, 2010

Nelson, I don't agree with HOW he did it, but WHY on earth would we want to open that airport back up? I never understood why it was such a loss (to anyone but the BCBS executives who used it to fly between their palatial offices downtown and the call center in Bourbonnais...)
posted by jeanmari at 1:46 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I put bulldozing Meigs Field in the plus column.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:49 PM on September 7, 2010

I remember Chicago with Bilandic, Byrne, Washington, that dude who was after Washington and no one remembers, and it was all shit for 38 years. The South Loop became safe with Daley, the parks became beautiful with Daley, and yes Meigs Field became useful for more than the rich and the private.

He may be corrupt.
He may have the worse press presence ever (but man, it is funny).
But he made Chicago absolutely beautiful, clean, and safe.
And I hate to see any of that go away because no one else will know what they're doing.
posted by stormpooper at 1:53 PM on September 7, 2010 [5 favorites]

But he made Chicago absolutely beautiful, clean, and safe.

The loop is not Chicago.

In my neighborhood, the library is barely open anymore, the trains run less frequently, and bus lines have been cut. It takes weeks or months to get a broken pedestrian walk light replaced. And I live in a neighborhood with an alderman whose explicitly stated policy is to back Daley in exchange for his support on delivering ward services. It's much worse in other parts of the city. Fuck the Bean.
posted by enn at 2:00 PM on September 7, 2010 [11 favorites]

And I meant to add: Every big city in America became safer during Daley's term in office. Every big city in America saw property values soar. Why Chicagoans are so quick to ascribe these changes, in the particular instance of Chicago, to Daley's leadership has baffled me since I moved here. Perhaps it's because so many of the mid-size cities that lost population are nearby — Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis. But if you look at the country as a whole, it's those cities, not Chicago, that are the exception to the trend. It's not that Chicago would have been Detroit if not for Daley, it's that it might have been New York.
posted by enn at 2:06 PM on September 7, 2010

Nelson, Meigs is basically gone. That ship has sailed -- or, should I say, that gate is closed.
posted by me3dia at 2:11 PM on September 7, 2010

can we have our parking meters back now?
posted by kakarott999 at 2:22 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding enn - Daley made a small area of Chicago beautiful. It's the area where rich people live, work, and shop--the area you see photos of when you see news packages or read magazine articles about "Chicago." He didn't do much for the rest of the city except bankrupt it. Good riddance.

(I have a feeling that enn and I share an Alderwreck. At least she isn't running again either.)
posted by tzikeh at 2:43 PM on September 7, 2010

an alderman whose explicitly stated policy is to back Daley in exchange for his support on delivering ward services

This. The mayor is supposed to have some form of balance of power with the City Council, but aldermen across the board have had to support every whim of Daley's in order to get their streets plowed and their garbage picked up.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:55 PM on September 7, 2010

I remember Chicago with Bilandic, Byrne, Washington, that dude who was after Washington and no one remembers, and it was all shit for 38 years.
Um, you mean 13 years? Theat was the interregnum between Daleys' pere et fils.

He may be corrupt.
But he made Chicago absolutely beautiful, clean, and safe.
And I hate to see any of that go away because no one else will know what they're doing.

You forgot "And at least the trains run on time." Oh wait, that was another great leader of a single-party state.

He may have the worse press presence ever (but man, it is funny).
Having grown up during in Chicago during Daley I, I still have to hand it to pops. "The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder."

Only when I was older did I realize how Daley & pals deliberately sabotaged the original low density public housing plans and insisted on building the projects that came to symbolize the contempt he had for African Americans in his city, evidenced especially Robert Taylor Homes. His blatant double cross of martin Luther King to forestall integration was another feather in Richard J's cap.

Sorry, as someone who experienced the "protection" of the CPD on a couple of occasions, I can't sing the praises of Richard J. I never lived there under Richard M. I can't speak to his corruption, but there's another place where, although never personally implicated in any scheme, father excelled the son.

Although its writer was undoubtedly biased, Royko's The Boss remains a classic.
posted by beelzbubba at 3:26 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow, never realized that the opinions of the Reader carried so much weight on MeFi.

Totally stirring the pot here, but people's reactions to Daley have always had a total 'they're all crooks ring to it'. To say that he prevented Chicago from becoming Detroit is largely, but not entirely unfair. Look at the difference between Daley corruption and Kilpatrick corruption.

Machine politics certainly has its drawbacks, but our city could have fared much worse than it has under Daley. And I wish people could see through the HL Mencken-inspired moral outrage to see that.
posted by graphnerd at 3:44 PM on September 7, 2010

Amen, enn

I for one, am REALLY HAPPY about this.

Daley should be run out of town based on the parking meter fiasco alone.
posted by Windigo at 3:44 PM on September 7, 2010

This is a good thing for our city. Daley has made the city an attractive tourist destination and therefore deserves some credit for buoying the city's economy since tourism is our biggest industry.

But what he hasn't done is shown any kind of responsiveness to the citizens he supposedly leads. Every scandal that comes along, he just shrugs and denies it, knowing he is too powerful to be brought down. Most of the aldermen are in his pocket and the ones that aren't are shut out (plus I live in Hyde Park and my street never gets plowed in winter). We haven't had a real, democratic, outcome-not-foretold election in over two decades. People are incredible disengaged from the political process. The needs of the poor are ignored. The police are brutal and never have to answer for their brutality (even in the Burge case it took decades). Daley appointed Ron Huberman, who made a miserable mess of the CTA, to lead the schools although he has no educational experience. Blocks upon blocks of houses city empty but we lack adequate affordable housing.

I could go on and on and on. Yeah, we could do worse than Daley I guess. But I am hoping we will get a chance to do better.
posted by mai at 3:46 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

His father was a force of nature, it was like God dying, when it came over the radio that he died, it was almost sortof hard to believe. I'd guess that's how those of you younger than I feel about the junior Daley.

I don't stay in outlying neighborhoods in the city when I stay in Chicago -- I stay downtown. If I ever moved back there -- I won't, but if I did -- I'd live in the heart of it again, close to the pulse, even if I had to share a small place or whatever. When I lived downtown, early 1980s, it was clearly a city in decline, dimming and dirty. Detroit south. It was not safe. Nothing worked. It's light was flickering, going out.

I can scarce believe it's the same city now, it's beautiful, it's so much safer, it's clean; I've never been to any Canadian cities but I suspect that they feel like Michigan Avenue in the summer. There are flowers everywhere, I can and do walk around at night -- late night even, like real late, which is a great hour to walk that city. Fuck the bean? Okay, sure, but when you want to take someone to the museums, or catch a show, or just to bop around in the heart of it -- you do bop around there, right, you do spend some time in that splendid city, right? -- when you take someone from out of town into the heart of it or take a date or go to a game, notice that it's working, and that you're mostly pretty damn safe, notice how cool your city is, and what a desirable place it is.

I do believe that Daley did that, maybe -- probably -- there were and are other forces also but largely it's the love he has for that city and his ability to pull it off, he's got the jam to do what needs done. He's nowhere near as brash as his father, just lots smoother, definitely better for TV than his father, who just didn't give a damn about anyone and would run down anyone he wanted any time he wanted; probably junior does the same but behind the scenes; he's polished. Both of them love(d) that city, both of them have left huge marks all over it, I'm sorry that he's leaving but glad that he served -- he gave so much.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:50 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wish the next mayor of Chicago the best of luck. He or she will definitely need it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:56 PM on September 7, 2010

That is a very romanticised version of downtown, dancestoblue. In my opinion, downtown has it moments but the actual heart of Chicago is its neighborhoods. You can definitely count the Loop as a neighborhood but Chicago is a hundred times more than just the Loop. Unless by downtown you mean all of Chicago within the city limits, as I've heard suburbanites use the term.

I have to admit I wasn't here for the bad old days but I have suffered a decade of Daley's reign and I can honestly say I've never hated anyone more. Mai is right, he doesn't give a shit about the citizens and what they want. He wants to showboat around how supposedly wonderful he made our downtown for the tourists and that's it. He's petty and stupid and the shit he gets away with makes me want to cry. He has no respect for the democratic process. We don't even have a working recycling program for crying out loud.
posted by Jess the Mess at 4:18 PM on September 7, 2010

he's got the jam to do what needs done.

There are many, many things that this city-- particularly its poorer, southernly parts-- desperately needs that Dick Daley has never seemed to care two bits about.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:21 PM on September 7, 2010

Chicago: "Hey, at least we're not Detroit!"
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 4:46 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would've loved to hear what Mike Royko would've had to say about today's news.
posted by WCityMike at 4:56 PM on September 7, 2010

Things are going to get very interesting for the next while in Chicago. I simply can't wait to leave Berlin and Paris behind for that jiggling pile of fun.
posted by LMGM at 4:59 PM on September 7, 2010

I wonder what the signature requirements will do the the race . You need 12,500 signatures to appear on the mayoral ballot in Chicago-for comparison, NYC only requires 7,500 and Houston requires 587 (Daley decided the number for Chicago, of course). The rush of candidates to get on the ballot will seem like a primary in and of itself.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:08 PM on September 7, 2010

The next few terms without Daley will have a mad, power-jockeying city council that will be hard-pressed to get much real work done. It's almost inevitable, as the city council hasn't had to do much work without a monolithic Daley power structure around.

Love him or hate him, the council will be stumbling for a few years before it learns to walk on it's own without a big daddy Daley at the top.
posted by chambers at 5:49 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Worth noting that the people in this thread who hate Daley the most seem to have been the people who didn't live in Chicago when it was really headed to hell.
posted by paisley henosis at 6:06 PM on September 7, 2010

Seconding Royko's Boss. It's a pretty amazing look into Chicago under Daley the elder. It gives great detail about Chicago machine politics, and I imagine (since the main purpose of the machine seems to be keeping the same people, or group of people, in power) that the machine is alive and well.

I'm not in or around Chicago anymore, but I still think of it as home. About five years back, I went home and all of my friends were living in condos near where my aunt and uncle had moved away from, gushing about restaurants I grew up eating at (RIP Zephyr), and talking about how the area was so much safer now. When I went back last year, nearly every one of them had a story about how the place wasn't nearly as safe, and they were thinking of moving. I guess gentrification kind of stalls out when the economy sucks.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:19 PM on September 7, 2010

It's amazing that the names being bandied about as potential candidates are all white; Rahm Emanuel, Tom Dart, ...Bob Fioretti?

Luis Guitierrez used to mumble about a potential mayoral bid but I think he has joined Bobby Rush and Danny Davis in enjoying the life in a safe congressional seat in a district gerrymandered to assure re-election unless they are caught with a live boy or dead girl. I think the daughter of former alderman, William Beavers, wife of a congressman and daughter-in-law of a former presidential candidate, now alderman in her own right Sandi Jackson will run (and probably win).

William Beavers is now on the County Board and is an ultimate insider. The white ethnics are no longer a voting block but the south side still is. And he knows where every body in northern Illinois is buried. The combination of the Jackson name with the Beavers clout could well be unbeatable.

Personally, I hate to admit how much I like Richie Daley. I can't condone the workings of the machine, but remember he is just the visible face on a long running, money-chewing machine. If it is an consolation the city is crooked but the county is even worse. I will miss his maudlin sentimentality and how high his voice gets when he's excitable.
posted by readery at 6:47 PM on September 7, 2010

And your point, paisley henosis? There's a "you must have lived here before THIS date" rule before we're allowed to have opinions on what's going on in Chicago here and now? Or is it that just because it was worst years ago, we're not allowed to be unhappy with various current issues until they sink back down to that level again?
posted by Windigo at 6:48 PM on September 7, 2010

I fully support Rahm Emmanuel leaving Obama's ear canalrunning for Mayor of Chicago.
posted by DU at 6:50 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Under Daley, we haven't been able to get a recycling program off the ground, we've seen the rapid deterioration of one of the best public transit systems in the country, the school's have been failing, Soldier Field was turned into some sort of toilet/spaceship abomination, the parking meters were auctioned off to private interests at a fraction of their actual value, and a really dumb rave law was put into effect that is (admittedly) more of a personal grudge than a huge problem facing the public.

Overall, crime has gone down, but violent crime and murder has gone/is going up.

His dream of getting the Olympics to Chicago cost hundreds of millions of dollars, even though we didn't have the infrastructure in place to hold an event of that size, studies showed that the benefits from having the event here would be short-lived, and might not even outweigh the costs, and Chicagoans weren't that excited about the prospect.

Millennium Park was maybe the greatest thing he did for the city, but it took years longer and was, again, hundreds of millions of dollars overbudget.

I'm not sure how much of that I can attribute directly to him and how much just happened under his reign, but I'm super excited that for the first time in my life, I'm going to maybe have a chance to cast a vote for mayor that isn't just a vote against Daley. Hell, in the last couple elections, he refused to even debate the other candidates. God, I hate that smug bastard.
posted by elr at 6:56 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oops. Forgot to close italics . That's how angry I get thinking of Daley
posted by elr at 6:57 PM on September 7, 2010

My mistake Sandi Jackson isn't related to Beavers, just from his ward. But I still think her aldermanic seat was positioning her for an eventual run for mayor. Especially since Jesse Jr 's brush with big trouble when he almost, but not quite bought a senate seat.
posted by readery at 7:04 PM on September 7, 2010

Worth noting that the people in this thread who hate Daley the most seem to have been the people who didn't live in Chicago when it was really headed to hell.

Funny; I was just thinking that the people in this thread who like Daley are the ones who haven't lived here recently, or at all.
posted by enn at 7:09 PM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

Bullshit. I've lived here for twenty five years, and I've known both. Daley was instrumental in saving Chicago from sliding directly into the toilet. Anyone who hates Daley hasn't bothered to consider what the alternatives would have been like.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 7:23 PM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

Daley being better than the alternatives 21 years ago does not mean that he isn't terrible & awful now. It actually doesn't even mean that he wasn't terrible & awful then.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:35 PM on September 7, 2010

The alternatives are on view in just about every other large former-industrial center city in the US -- Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Milwaukee, etc. Daley had a lot to do with putting Chicago on a different path.
posted by Mid at 7:37 PM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

I think it's more a case of having Daley in office meant that eveyone else fell into place, there was no wasted energy of seeing who would be mayor next. I don't know if everyplace is as corrupt; I have only lived here, but I bump into major corruption regularly. Don't even get me started on shell companies that have token minority ownership to be first in line to do business with the city, county and state. Look into corruption at the County Assessor's Office and Board of Review. Any taxing body draws corrupt politicians like flies to shit. It isn't just Daley, he just gives a face to power that corrupts.

And yes, he could be worse. He does love the city. The old time pols believe that everyone has his or her price and that is too often borne out as true. As Paddy Bauler said "Chicago ain't ready for reform" which is only true when you and yours think you haven't had a chance to get your share yet. So clean up is put off until your relatives get a chance to ghost payroll.

While looking up Paddy Bauler for his famous quote I found this article and yes, even Saint Harold Washington started out as a ghost payroller.

So while I hope Forrest Claypool upsets Joe Berrios in the Cook County Assessors race and if the force of good even cuts the rate of corruption in half in local commercial property taxes, I don't think the city is ready for radical change. As has been previously said, the present council have never really worked as a legislative body so there would be quite an adjustment. Would people know how to get things done without the byzantine promises of favors owed and paid?
posted by readery at 8:24 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

The alternatives are on view in just about every other large former-industrial center city in the US -- Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Milwaukee, etc. Daley had a lot to do with putting Chicago on a different path.

Enn's point was that many major cities saw a lot of improvement over the same time. He specifically mentioned Detroit, Cleveland, and St Louis as outliers.
posted by delmoi at 10:05 PM on September 7, 2010

It's very hard to imagine Chicago without Daley. You have to go back to old-timey endless-term big-city mayors like Tom Bradley in LA or Vincent Cianci in Providence or Coleman Young in Detroit to think of any legitimate comparisons. And none of those guys towered in quite the same way that Daley has.
posted by blucevalo at 11:17 PM on September 7, 2010

If anything, this news at least lets me know which MeFi users are from Chicago.
posted by SouthCNorthNY at 11:46 PM on September 7, 2010

Here's Chicago blogger, embittered liberal, sci-fi fan and entertaining writer Driftglass on the Daley resignation.

My favourite line : "In other news, the Chicago City Council will meet in emergence session later this week to consider changing the City motto from "Urbs in Horto" to "Après moi le deluge""
posted by Grimgrin at 2:16 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

Delmoi - I read enn's comment, but it conspicuously lacks any examples of cities that saw similar improvements over the past 20 years, other than NYC which is arguably a special case (the financial center of the country) and, in any event, is only one example versus several counter-examples of cities like Cleveland. Lots of cities experienced drops in crime and some new development in downtown, but it is hard to think of any that saw improvement on the same scale than as in Chicago - particularly in the old manufacturing centers of the midwest, where the trend in many cities went the wrong way.
posted by Mid at 4:44 AM on September 8, 2010

Or - to put it more directly - why are St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee "outliers"? They're all midwestern rust belt cities that depended on manufacturing jobs that have disappeared, just like Chicago. Why is New York not the outlier?
posted by Mid at 5:03 AM on September 8, 2010

The next mayor is so boned - they're gonna have to pay for the removal of about 9,000,000 "Richard M. Daley, Mayor" signs.
posted by crepesofwrath at 5:32 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

You need 12,500 signatures to appear on the mayoral ballot in Chicago

Wow. In London you need 330, ten from every borough.
posted by ninebelow at 5:51 AM on September 8, 2010

@Enn, I understand but a Mayor can't clean up every neighborhood. My parents live in Marquette Park. Ya think that's Gold Coast living? Nothing like burned down homes, bars on windows, graffiti, cars stolen, worried they're going to get a break-in and get robbed/killed; they just had their garage door kicked in and the snow blower stolen.

Sorry but my comment still stands. My parents' neighborhood going to utter shit isn't Daley's fault. It's economics and police control.
posted by stormpooper at 6:45 AM on September 8, 2010

You need 12,500 signatures to appear on the mayoral ballot in Chicago

Wow. In London you need 330, ten from every borough.

That's valid signatures, too. You're probably going to need three times that number to have enough to stand up to your opponents challenging every signature. At that point, we're talking one signature from every hundred residents- just to get on the ballot.

Sorry but my comment still stands. My parents' neighborhood going to utter shit isn't Daley's fault. It's economics and police control.

Well, in theory, the Mayor can put someone competent in charge of the police. Economics plays some part-remember a few years ago, when people were talking about Pullman becoming gentrified? But it's not the whole story.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:54 AM on September 8, 2010

I will say this -- the fact that Chicago has more murders per year than New York (murders, not murders per capita) is a total failure by Daley, despite other successes. I do not believe there is some regional or socioeconomic explanation for why Chicago could not have achieved the same successes as NYC on this score; something is just wrong with the way Chicago polices the more violence-prone areas.
posted by Mid at 6:59 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

something is just wrong with the way Chicago polices
posted by shakespeherian at 7:50 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

jeanmari, I wouldn't worry about Schakowsky running since she lives in Evanston, not Chicago.
posted by kgander at 8:19 AM on September 8, 2010

A breakdown of the players

Don't hate the playas, hate the game

Now I think Dorothy Brown. She's well know for being Clerk of Circuit Courts and if the worst they can come up with as a downside is charging $2 per employee for the right to wear jeans on Friday, she will win just by being the least objectionable. And the 2 buck thing is kind of quirky and endearing if spun the right way.

The various factions will work harder to keep the opposition's candidate down than get their guy in and she is not a leader in any big faction as far as I know so will squeak by.

posted by readery at 10:21 AM on September 8, 2010

I picked up a Tribune & Sun-Times when I was in Chicago in July and a front page article in the Trib talked about a poll whose results showed that the majority of Chicagoans wanted Daley's reign to end, and the lowest approval/electability numbers he'd ever had. The conclusion at that time--(here) was that in the absence of any credible challenger, Daley would probably still win, but get someone other than Lar Daly to run, and Daley's future looked bleak. My guess is, he didn't have the "fire in the belly" to go for another term. He has served as long as his father did, and, bonus for him, he probably won't be ending his term the same way.

Listening to those grim blow-by-blow accounts of Da Mare's death on the radio in December 1976 was chilling, no matter where you stood. I remember we were all transfixed, listening for the latest news--more details. Then the posturing, the free-for-all, the deal making in the City Council that, when the smoke cleared, left the bland Michael Bilandic as his successor. The back room deals that were cut during that week between Wilson Frost, Ed Burke, Fast Eddie Vrdolyak, and Daley's muscle, Tom Donovan put the apparently unambitious Bilandic in the mayors seat. Bilandic invoked Sherman's pledge, which he reneged upon nearly as soon as his appointment as Daley's successor was sealed.

Richard M's successor will have an advantage over Bilandic and over Gene Sawyer; filling the chair of a mayor who dies in office is damned hard work. If you succeed, it is because of your predecessor; fail, and you fail alone.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:21 AM on September 8, 2010

You can put someone competent in charge but it doesn't mean those who follow are competent. I think Chicago is just too big to take care of it all. When my parents' car was stolen 2 years ago all the cops in Englewood said was "your parents live in gangtown. They need to move." I know that. They know that. But they're the last of the whites in that area. They're not moving. So what are cops going to do? Patrol down their block because they're special and they won't move away from gangtown? Nope. Someone gets shot. They'll be there. In the meantime, I just get a call from Englewood to come on down and get his car.

I'm more pissed that the place I grew up has turned to shit. There won't be gentrification. Who wants to move to the SW side unless your a cop/fireman and those neighborhoods that they live in are doing just fine. It's the forgotten Marquette Park et al. that no one gives a rats ass except to use the excuse "well move".

Once they're gone, I won't ever go back unless I'm taking a flight to Midway. Other than that, there is no need for me to be there. And that is the exact thinking cops and Daley has for that area.

They're too busy to take care of and clean up all neighborhoods. But the good they did do is pretty apparant.

We'll see what happens next. If I could, I would be moving far away from Chicago/SW burbs.
posted by stormpooper at 12:17 PM on September 8, 2010

My father, however, feels way differently. He hates Daley sr. for killing the neighborhoods in the UIC area for expansion. He lost the home he grew up in. And he hates Jr. for well, being Irish.

Yea. You can't take the SW side thinking out of a 85 year old Italian man. :)
posted by stormpooper at 12:20 PM on September 8, 2010

But they're the last of the whites in that area. They're not moving. So what are cops going to do? Patrol down their block because they're special and they won't move away from gangtown?

Crazy thought, but what if the cops... served the whole city, not just white people?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:34 PM on September 8, 2010

Stormpooper, you don’t think that the police torture scandal has anything to do with why a cop wouldn’t want to take a call in Englewood? That’s an example of a systemic problem, which is the responsibility of those at the top of the administration-the police commissioner and the Mayor.

I also really doubt that your parents are the only 'civilians' on their block, much less in all of Englewood-gangtown or not.

If it’s that Chicago’s too large-why is it that larger cities do it better?
posted by dinty_moore at 12:49 PM on September 8, 2010

Here's one advantage the younger Daley will have over his father: he'll get to experience life as an ex-mayor. If given the choice between "Chicago's longest-serving mayor" versus "former mayor Richard M. Daley," I believe that the younger Daley would prefer the latter.

One comparison that's worth making between Chicago (where I grew up in its suburbs and lived for three years in the Lincoln Square neighborhood) and Saint Louis (where I've lived for the last five years) is the form of government in both cities. Chicago has a strong-mayor system with a weak city council; Saint Louis has the opposite. I don't know if STL would have benefited from having a strong-mayor setup; in fact, I think a lot of the post-WWII racial problems that STL experienced may have been made worse had a Daley-type mayor been in charge. I don't believe you can effectively manage a city the size of Chicago under a weak-mayor/strong-council system, as there would be many warring factions within the council bollixing up the works.

@Ghidorah Zephyr = great ice cream, great decor, crap food in my opinion. I'm sad to see yet another McFakey Irish bar in its place (seriously, like the North Side needs another Irish-themed bar?), but I'd bet that their limited food selection beats what Zephyr served.
posted by stannate at 1:03 PM on September 8, 2010

@dinty. My parents don't live in Englewood. They live in Marquette Park. Their car was stolen at the local shopping mall and wound up in Englewood. I had to go drive them to the cop shop there to get the car and file a report.

No they're not the only civilians. They are the last of the white people on that block. I know it. They know it. The cops know it. That's why the cops pointed out "why the hell are they living there?". Because even the cops realize if you can move out of that neighborhood, you should move out. My parents are old school, can't explain why, stubborn. And I hate it. Now I have to worry about two eldery, sick people -- one with terminal cancer and the other with a heart condition.

I don't think other cities do it better. You mean to tell me that cop coverage is equal no matter the economics? I doubt it.

Shakespeherian--go to the SW side of the city. They're serving those that get shot, robbed, homes that are burned down, graffiti, and the like because that is what that neighborhood is.

It wasn't that way from 1971 until the late 80s when I lived there. It started to turn by the time I got in college. And by the time I moved out, it was a 100% transformation for the worse. They are the last people I know who lived there during that time period. Everyone else moved out.

And yes, in a great world, all cops all over should serve equally but you know, they don't. When you live in a crappy neighborhood, they'll wait until they get a 911 someone is shot call. No one has the time to serve the neighborhood in downtime because in that area, there is no downtime.
posted by stormpooper at 1:18 PM on September 8, 2010

I's not like Marquette Park hasn't been a crappy neighborhood as far back as the 60s. But for different reasons, I guess. Back then, it was a place where George Lincoln Rockwell (YT NSFW) could reliably get a sympathetic crowd.
posted by beelzbubba at 6:40 PM on September 8, 2010

@beelzubba, true but it was tolerable. I could at least walk down the streets to friend's houses without getting shot. Now I see my friends' houses boarded up, graffitied, trashed, etc. It's just so depressing to go back when I visit them.

It's a shame too since it's so close to downtown, the houses aren't THAT bad although really, really small. I think our sq ft was something like 865?

My mom always, always hated the area but my dad wanted to walk to work near Nabisco. The fool should have moved when he got transfered to Riverdale. The whole thing is just sad.
posted by stormpooper at 6:48 AM on September 9, 2010

I've been to the SW side several times. I'm fairly certain the number of times I've been shot is zero.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:09 AM on September 9, 2010

Hee, Shakespeherian-I grew up on the SW side for 18 whole years in the 80’s-90’s, and I never once was shot! You too can go to Ford City and come back hale and healthy! Not sure why you’d want to, but it’s possible.

I’ve got to admit, Stormpooper, that your descriptions made a lot more sense when I thought you were talking about Englewood. Unless things have changed drastically in the past four years, Marquette Park/Chicago Lawn is a lot safer and more diverse, not that it matters. But high crime rates are still the responsibility of the police-there is nothing inherently ungovernable in the area. Did white flight hurt the neighborhood? Yes-and I can’t blame Daley the son for that. But the culture of the Chicago Police in the past twenty years certainly hasn’t helped matters.

And there are larger cities that do it better. NYC and LA have lower homicide rates, and I’m pretty sure they have lower violent crime rates overall. Is there still some disparity in policing? Yes, but it’s not as bad. I’m not expecting perfect, but I am hoping for better. And when the example of 'better' is the LAPD, there's some catching up to do.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:45 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

Daley had some hits and misses. And it's hard to untangle his influence from the other variables in the system (the economy, etc.) And graft? Yes. Corruption? Yes. It's pretty endemic and will be very, very difficult to eradicate. The public transportation mess and the Chicago Public Schools debacles are ridiculous, however, they are also enormously complex problems that I can't even get my head around.

Something has done quite a bit to cause people from the suburbs (or from other cities) to move back into the city in the last 20 years, though I can't tell you if it is or isn't due to Daley. I used to do the reverse commute to Oak Brook from Lincoln Park in 1990-1994, and then to Lincolnshire from Lincoln Park in 1994-1998. During that span of time (8 years), I went from flying down 290 or up 94 on the way to/from work, to a slow crawl. The number of people living in the city seemed to just expand quickly. This was all before Millenium Park, but during his administration. I saw big companies moving IN to the city instead of just moving out. A lot of tech work and white collar jobs quickly picked up where manufacturing had started to die (reminiscent of a Renaissance II Pittsburgh). Was it Daley? The economy? If it was the economy, why not St Louis or Detroit?

The governing structure of Chicago is notoriously set up for gridlock. Daley was a tyrant, a bully, and I can't say I'm bemoaning his departure. But he plowed through our horrifically inefficient city council system and got stuff done. Whether it was good stuff or bad stuff, the guy got stuff done. It's going to be difficult finding someone else who leans way towards the democratic and kind, and can also charge through the mire of ward politics and the council.

(And yes, I forgot that Jan lives in Evanston. But other people are talking about recruiting candidates from other cities so, I can still dream.)
posted by jeanmari at 10:49 AM on September 9, 2010

Chicago has a strong-mayor system with a weak city council

Actually, structurally and on paper Chicago does have a strong city council and ward system with a weak mayor. Mayors like Daley Jr. and Sr. used machine politics to give themselves power that was officially lacking.
posted by jeanmari at 10:53 AM on September 9, 2010

I think that's exactly right, jeanmari. One of Daley's main achievements, I think, was to latch on to the whole get-people-to-move-downtown idea long before it had taken hold in Chicago or other places. For example, I believe the School of the Art Institute Dorm got underway in the late 1990s with big support from Daley. I remember that an explicit part of the city's support at the time was to "get more people living downtown." Similarly, I remember that the big push to revive and expand a "theater district" around State Street was to "get people downtown after dark."

One of the main things that you hear about other cities that have not fared as well is "everything closes up at 5 pm." I think Daley was way ahead of the curve in attacking that issue in Chicago.

Now, it's fashionable for nearly every city to have some new condo development downtown, but it wasn't that way 20 years ago.
posted by Mid at 6:46 PM on September 9, 2010

While jeanmari touches on some of the elements that helped Chicago become more attractive as a place to work and live during the younger Daley's rule, I think that Richard M got lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. He benefited from the improved economy of the 1990s, as well as from significant changes in demographics. The aging Boomers were looking to downsize their suburban homes now that the children were off to college. They were not content to buy a smaller house in whatever subdivision they were currently in; instead, they wanted a shift toward less maintenance due to their age. They were too young for senior housing, but were getting bored with having to drive everywhere when they wanted to dine out or see a movie/play/concert. Many of these aging Boomers had city ties in their youth, so naturally, they started to look back to the city as a viable option for living. Mix in empty office buildings due to various factors--relocation, mergers, bankruptcies, etc.--and sad residential areas that were still trying to recover from their demographic shifts, and the results spoke for themselves*.

Richard M had enough foresight to take advantage of the changing demographics, and at first, I think he had a lot of success with reforming State Street. Removing the urban mall concept revitalized State Street to the point where it could act as an anchor for the Theater District; the latter could not have happened without the former. However, that success came at a price, as it encouraged Daley to think that he could duplicate this formula elsewhere in Chicago: sprinkle some shopping, add some entertainment, and BLAM! Instant neighborhood! Eventually, the formula became heavy on retail, and less on entertainment to the point where suburban-like shopping malls became the norm--look at Clybourn, or the massive mess that is Clark north of Diversey. Hell, the new Target at Wilson Yards is nothing more than squeezing in a mall I'd expect to find in Wheaton onto a weirdly-shaped triangle that's hard up against the Red Line. And this is where I think Daley let Chicago down: by encouraging these types of developments in Chicago, he brought the suburbs to the city. To make the city more friendly toward the suburbanites who flocked into its borders, he allowed the developments to make parts of Chicago look like the suburbs.

The above isn't unique to Chicago, as all of the hand-wringing around Times Square in Manhattan has shown, but focusing on the city as being heavy on entertainment and retail eventually makes the entire enterprise ring hollow. If the people are looked at as being nothing more than consumers, then their wallets can easily be picked clean by the city for the privilege of being their entertainment fodder. Yes, someone has to pay up, but after a while, it begins to feel like a shakedown. Much of the anger directed at Daley for his bone-headed Olympic plan was due to it being seen as yet another thing that Chicagoans would have to pay for so that others could enjoy their city. Again, not a Chicago-only thing, but after various gimmicks of trying to keep all those plates spinning (high hotel taxes, Soldier Field, Millennium Park, high sales taxes, $8 for a pack of Camels) to fuel the entertainment juggernaut, one can't help but feel wrung out from supporting Daley's Blanche DuBois-like view of Chicago.

*Offer not valid south of Cermak except for parts of Pilsen gobbled up by UIC, some parts of Bronzeville, and all of Hyde Park.
posted by stannate at 1:44 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

...beelzubba, true but it was tolerable. I could at least walk down the streets to friend's houses without getting shot. Now I see my friends' houses boarded up, graffitied, trashed, etc. It's just so depressing to go back when I visit them.

I think I get what you're trying to say, stormpooper, I just can't shake the feeling that your Marquette Park nostalgia was a product of a time that was unhealthy for Chicago, arguably one of the most segregated by race big cities in America.

Anecdata: I am white and grew up in the near-western suburbs. Mine was at that time as insular as Marquette ParK. We had Maywood to the north Riverside to the south, Berwyn east, and Westchester west. I went to dances at Proviso East, and never felt uncomfortable. I went to UIC and hung out in jukes on the Maxwell Street side and at friends homes in Lawndale. But those same friends didn't feel comfortable even driving through MP--and the only time I had bottles or rocks thrown at my car was in Marquette Park, because some of my passengers were black.

YMMV, and I don't doubt that it does. I am not calling MP as solidly racist--like most places it is the work of a staunchly committed few. What I am saying is that the Chicago put in place by Daley I and his minions worked to successfully pit the races against each other while doing the bidding of the Swearingens and the McCormicks, Swifts, Armours, and Schwabs. And honestly, Daley I inherited those policies from the "toddling town" days of massive industrialization of Chicago from 1890-1920 (give or take).

So, I'm with the crowd that says Daley II was in the right place at the right time, knew whose apple to polish to the great detriment of the citizens of Greater Chicagoland.
posted by beelzbubba at 7:55 AM on September 10, 2010

@Dinty. When was the last time you were at Marquette Park? Diversity isn't something that is going on at all. West of Kedzie to 63rd--Hispanic. East of Kedzie and South of Lawndale--Black.

Just got back from the peeps' house. The neighbor two doors down had metal windows with airholes.

Now THAT'S diverse.
posted by stormpooper at 6:29 PM on September 12, 2010

Not sure why you keep on pushing the diversity angle-but I made that point that it was diverse compared to Englewood. Wikipedia has Englewood being 98% black, >1% hispanic, and >1% white. Chicago Lawn/MP, by contrast, is down as 52% black, 35% hispanic, and 10% white.

I'm not saying that MP is a bastion of diversity, or that it's a good neighborhood. It's just that it's not as bad as Englewood-Marquette Park's the safer, wealthier, and more diverse neighborhood (really, it is-Englewood is just that bad). The way you corrected me on the neighborhood-as if your family being from MP made it worse, not better, seemed strange. None of this helps to explain why the police can't seem to do anything in either of these neighborhoods-or throughout the city in general.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:46 AM on September 13, 2010

"Claiming he'll reopen Meigs Field on Day One in office and bring a riverboat casino to the city, State Sen, Rickey Hendon has announced he's running for Mayor, adding yet another name to a growing list of candidates."

huh? Does he live in the same city I do? Reopening Meigs is crazy talk and where the heck would you put a riverboat casino?
posted by readery at 9:57 AM on September 15, 2010

“I’m like the black Sarah Palin,” Hendon said, meaning he intends to use a grassroots effort to get elected. He said it’s about the people of the city, not who has the most money.

Now this is getting ridiculous.

Hendon is known for pushing people's buttons, most notably Barack Obama's

posted by readery at 8:23 AM on September 16, 2010

where the heck would you put a riverboat casino?

They could probably turn Goose Island into a riverboat.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:12 AM on September 16, 2010

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