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Daley Mon Mar 01 2010

Daley In Urbs In Horto

This New Yorker article by Evan Osnos on Mayor Daley (subscription required) is simply a must read. What Osnos does so well here is capture the complexity of Daley's image both in and outside the city. Daley is at once a revered politician that has really improved the city and also the man at the center of Chicago Machine politics. Fair warning though, the first few pages of the piece are rather flattering for Daley. And for good reason. The younger Daley is not his racist and corrupt father and Richard M. has improved the city, bringing in major attractions like Millennium Park and urban accomplishments like the new magnet schools, and a top-notch environmental policy. The city really is a prosperous exception to the exhausted rust-belt it's part of.

At the same time, Osnos also notes that Daley is no saint --which any Chicagoan could have told you. The sales tax remains too high, corruption is still ubiquitous, the city is a recent site of police torture (which, Osnos notes with too much forgiveness, Daley pretty much shrugs off), public service layoffs are here to stay apparently, and the Daley Administration still has an iron grip on any real political positions in the city. What isn't there though is any mention of the Shakman Decree or Daley's corrupt hiring practices. That's a pretty big piece of the reason Daley is corrupt and yet none of it is mentioned in the piece. It's odd.

Still, Osnos truly captures Daley in this passage when he compares Daley's general interest in good governance to sanitary fast food joints:

"But there is conspicuously little outrage -- no sense that he will attack corruption with the same intensity that he displays toward flies at Dunkin' Donuts."

There's also a interesting bit near the end of the piece about Obama's early relationship to Daley. Here's a taste:

They discussed a number of options, including the mayoralty--after Daley retired, of course-- but quickly settled on the U.S. Senate.

...

Obama and Daley shared a basic approach to politics as a constant negotiation of interests and ideals --Chicago's brand of Realpolitik.

 
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J. Morgan / March 2, 2010 12:01 PM

Let's remember the updated and more accurate definition of racist:

RACIST: 1. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive term for a white person. 2: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities, if promoted by white people. 3: a belief that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race, if promoted by white people.

Joe Lake / March 2, 2010 7:25 PM

Daley In Urbs in Horto... This is a magnificent piece of literary journalism that only Evan Osnos and The New Yorker can bestow upon the Second City. We are not worthy. But we in the foxholes of Chicago's wards know there is a darker side. See Hired Truck Scandal, 'Corruption, Apathy and Red Tape., Jan. 26, 2004 to Feb. 14, 2008 'http://www.suntimes.com/news/hired/index.html Joe Lake, Bucktown

Joe Lake / March 2, 2010 7:28 PM

Daley In Urbs in Horto... This is a magnificent piece of literary journalism that only Evan Osnos and The New Yorker can bestow upon the Second City. We are not worthy. But we in the foxholes of Chicago's wards know there is a darker side. See Hired Truck Scandal, 'Corruption, Apathy and Red Tape.', Jan. 26, 2004 to Feb. 14, 2008 http://www.suntimes.com/news/hired/index.html Joe Lake, Bucktown

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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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Editor: Mike Ewing, mike@gapersblock.com
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