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Chicago Mayor Daley Feels The Heat, On Corruption
August 14, 2005
Chicago's political corruption has reached a new peak - or would that be nadir? - under current Democratic mayor Richard M. Daley.
The famous line in Chicago politics, carved in stone during the reign of his father, the famous Mayor Richard J. Daley, was always, "We don't want nobody nobody sent."
Tony Soprano would unnerstan'.
Connections, clout are all. Growing up in Chicago, and working for a good government group investigating municipal corruption, then as as a student intern GOTV organizer for an independent 48th Ward (Edgewater) aldermanic candidate who defeated a Chicago Democratic Machine opponent, and later as a community organizer, policy researcher and media relations specialist on airport issues in nearby suburbs and Chicago, I've had more than a small taste of the Chicago Democratic power imperative.
Now, Chicago, under Daley I's son since 1989, seems more hopelessly corrupt than ever - as the last week's, month's and half-year's news stories illustrate. The ceaseless black arts of politics were one reason I was happy to leave Chicago for Seattle in 1994, but it just keeps getting worse.
True, under Daley II the city has developed a more progressive veneer. Lots of flowers, bike and walking paths, attention to troubled public schools, and so forth. But, old habits die hard. Daley II is teetering, as corruption scandals mount.
The Christian Science Monitor reports:
A once mundane, now quickly growing, investigation into Chicago City Hall hiring and contracting practices has become a relentless drumbeat of indictments, convictions, and front-page headlines that threatens to topple one of America's most monarchical mayors. It's not that Chicagoans are at all surprised about the idea that patronage, money, and political connections influenced who got jobs. No, what's new this time around, they say, is that people are going to jail for it.
Even the ultra-liberal pro-U.S. Democratic Party British paper The Guardian weighs in with this: "Pressure Grows On Chicago's Teflon Mayor:"
Aaron Wortman aced his interview for the post of truck driver with Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation. There was only one problem: he was serving with the United States Army in Iraq when the interview was supposed to have taken place. Another candidate also performed well in an interview for the post of equipment dispatcher in the city. Once again there was a snag. On the day of the interview he was dead.
The sooner the better. The stench is reaching even to Seattle.
TO COMMENT: The regular comment feature is not in operation now. However, you can e-mail me your comments on this post, at the address under "Contact," above. I'll add them, here.
Posted by Matt Rosenberg at August 14, 2005 09:57 PM
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