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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Fierce Dictator Calls it Quits

No, I'm not referring to what has happened in Tunisia and Egypt.  I'm not even referring to what could happen in Yemen or what will Be'ezrat Hashem happen in Iran.

I'm talking about Chicago's Mayor Daley.  Yes, the Melucha is over.  First, it was Richard J. Daley, who was mayor from 1955-1976.  As the Wikipedia entry for Chicago Democratic Machine puts it:
Worried about the power of the reform movement, the organization turned to Richard J. Daley, who brought the Cook County Democratic Organization to the height of its power and notoriety. Daley took the reins of the machine in 1955, and successfully put himself on the machine's slate for mayor. He won election fairly easily, and ruled the city and machine for the next twenty years.
We then had a 13-year Daley hiatus, consisting of "I don't know how to get rid of the snow" Bilandic, "I only won because of the snow" Byrne, "I only won because Byrne and Daley split the white vote" Washington, and "I only won because the city council elected me after Washington died" Sawyer.

Then, in 1989, we were back to Daley - namely, Richard M. Daley, the son of Richard J. Daley.  While the mayor is likable - his personality seemed to get him elected many times - his style, like his father's, were arguably dictatorial.  His middle-of-the-night closing of Meigs Field (a lakefront airport) by having bulldozers putting Xs on the runways and his unpopular decisions of leasing out the Skyway and parking meters come to mind as decisions that sealed his fate as ruler of the land.

The Daley Dynasty may not be over after the upcoming Chicago mayoral election, though.  The mayor's brother, William Daley, is President Obama's Chief of Staff, replacing Rahm Emanuel, the candidate most likely to become Chicago's mayor.  (Gotta love it.)  And the Daley legacy - Chicago's Democratic political machine - got Emanuel himself back on the ballot, some say.  But, with Mayor Daley about to retire, we can now hope for a Chicago that is led by people with democratic values, not Democratic values.

And while we're talking about the election, here are 3 of the leading mayoral candidates talking to the Chicago Jewish News:

Rahm Emanuel
Gery Chico
Miguel del Valle


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