July 22, 2005

"the best city in the world"

How's this for a brush with celebrity: last Tuesday I was heading for the revolving doors of my firm's office building, having just returned from lunch. Some guy was coming out through the same door, so I squeezed in to take advantage of having someone else besides just me pushing on the door. My lunch companions were behind me, and as they entered the building they said "did you see Daley? He just walked out." It turns out the guy in the door with me had been embattled Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, and I hadn't noticed it.

Who knows why Daley was in our building; I don't think it had anything to do with our firm. We share the building with the biggest bank in Chicago, so he might have just been making a deposit. Perhaps he just needed to get out of his office for a few minutes, especially now that U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald of Plamegate fame has been arresting some of his top officials for fraud and corruption in city hiring.

In a press conference following the arrest of two top Daley administration officials, the man who's been Chicago's mayor since 1989 vowed to "continue the work of my life, which is to make Chicago the best city in the world."

I like Daley because of statements like that. He seems to really love the city, and he seems to have done a lot to make sure that Chicago remained world-class. The mayor's been credited with improving the school system and making sure that the city's public areas were as beautiful as the budgets allowed (which in Grant Park and along Michigan Avenue is pretty damned beautiful).

The problem is that allowing officials like Sorich and Slattery to commit what looks like pretty egregious fraud seems inconsistent with ensuring that Chicago remains the best city in the world. (Yes, I know. Portland, OR has a strong claim as well...) Should we cut the Mayor some slack here? Let's wait until more of the details come out.

Posted by Carey at July 22, 2005 06:10 PM
Comments

The problem is that allowing officials like Sorich and Slattery to commit what looks like pretty egregious fraud seems inconsistent with ensuring that Chicago remains the best city in the world.

That's as may be, but corruption is such an entrenched political tradition in Chicago that trying to stamp it out is probably as useful an exercise as trying to scoop up the oceans with a sieve. Just ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: Len Cleavelin at July 31, 2005 02:00 PM