Saturday, June 6, 2009

Over by dere... -OR- Chicago, an alternative POV.

Dear Drifty

"You and me got an altogether different idea about a real good time."

With all due respect "Dad"...

It's easy to whack Chicago's big pinata. Forgetting the challenges he faced from the utter chaos of the 13 years between Daley's at City Hall. Bilandic, Byrne, HAROLD!, David Orr, Sawyer...
Council Wars, HAROLD v. The Vrdolyak 29. Fred Roti, Clifford Kelly, Tim Evans, Larry Bloom, Dick Mell, Eddie Burke, Burton Natarus, Roman Pucinski, Danny K. Davis, Bill Beavers, Marty Olberman... For 13 years all the strings of the master puppeteer who Richie called Dad were up for grabs in a veritable sea of reprobate grabbers who Dad had kept at bay.

In da beginning, da foal mare's bumbling buffoonery masked the reality that, despite being the eldest son of the Daley clan, Dad didn't mentor his brood. He wasn't divulging any of his udder family's secrets. Richie had observed externally, like the rest of us, but now he was sitting in Dad's chair for real.

What we witnessed was an attempt to mimic the things Richie believed his Dad did to run the show. Dad's ability to multi-task, track and remember every favor or slight was, sadly, not part of the genetic package. Dad didn't leave behind a notebook of top-sekrit formulas or a treasure map or even a scrawled schematic on a cocktail napkin. April 24th 1989, Richie inherited a big bag of shit. A 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle with only a fuzzy picture to guide.

He'd displayed some management talent as Crook County State's Attorney, even taking down a coupla his Dad's old cronies who'd gotten rich, greedy and stoopid cashing in
on their years of "service" to Hizzoner. He walked a tight-rope between da graft and da gimmees. Navigating the mine field while mindful as Sin-eater for the Daley family. Not an enviable position.

His first two-terms were downright f'ugly. Then a change began. He figgered some shit out. He quit trying to be like Dad. He started jettisoning dead weight. He started figuring out who was who and what was what. He trew some retirement pardies for da old boys as a final tribute to D.O.D.. His problem was trying to fill so many key positions when he had neither untainted in-house replacements nor enough competent applicants who nobody'd sent.

By the beginning of term tree, he tired of the holdover pond scum that dominated the payrolls. He wasn't the massah and they weren't HIS stooges. He started expecting competence and faced a daunting challenge to transform da ways tings woiked while the dawdling public and the Chicago fairy tale writers were portraying him as Richard J. reincarnated.

As I've said, dis was not his fadder's Oldsmobile. Some mayoral wannabes on the council girded up their ward organizations, and while not openly challenging Da Mare, used their lackeys on the city payroll to their own best advantage, triggering a string of scandals to which Da Mare had to respond.

This is not giving Richie a pass, not an excuse for what's happened, it's just a perpspective (sic) exercise. The Old Man constructed a machine out of random parts. Only he knew how they fit together, how they meshed, where the ass-covering explosives were mounted. Then thinking he had all the time in da woild, he wired it with a dead-man switch. After 10 years of trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, THIS Mayor Daley gave up and largely started over with the systems under his control. He didn't have the County like Dad. He lacked the clout in Springfield that Dad had so masterfully manipulated and he sure as hell didn't control the actions of the 50 Ward Barons anywhere outside of the council chambers.

It's been a long, sloppy, fuck-up filled slog from "Beirut by the Lake" to where we are today. For that, Richard M. Daley gets both the credit and the blame. For better and worse, which right now seem to be in some kind of eerie equilibrium, as though another mote of sand on either side might tip the scales, Chicago is still standing. TALL! Grand plans in waiting, grand scams and schemes being plotted and hatched.
Toddling, waddling along, rolling with the punches and, comparatively, thriving.

Given the lowered expectations, near constant cries that it couldn't be done and notwithstanding, the less than helpful contributions of Hall of Fame assholes the likes of Todd Stroger, Ike Carothers, Snow-Plow Al Sanchez, Rod Blagojevich,andonandon, Richard the Younger is sporting a pretty impressive won-loss record, a respectable E.R.A. and yeoman's batting average.
He's not the triple-crown threat t'was Dear Old Dad, but he's a lock to eclipse Dad's
21 years, 144 days in office. That record will fall in exactly 1 year 101 days.

1 comment:

Larue said...

Youse guys shur gots some serious history in ChiTown.

But SF, and Sacto, ain't schlumps, edder.

And we is ALL slaves to New Yahk.

Waddya mean, waddya mean?

Ya fuckin fuck . . . ;-)

All RIGHT already!