Instituting historic reforms, he helped transform Chicago from a place that had been beset by scandal and racial divisiveness to one of America’s best-run cities. He promoted mass transit and bikes and ignited the cultural scene with public art and green initiatives, paving the way for other cities to follow. His focus on aesthetics and quality of life permanently transformed the physical face of the city. (Rana Florida/Huffington Post)
CHICAGO, August 9, 2012— Rana Florida gushed over former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley in her blog on Huffington Post. She scored a dinner interview with the former mayor and was mesmerized by his charm and passionate malapropisms. Her ignorant enthusiasm is appalling. After her bone headed comment, and an introduction into Daley’s quality of life measures, the rest of the article consists of softball questions Daley’s public relations people could have written.
Ms. Florida evidently knows nothing about Chicago or Mayor Richard M. Daley. She really needs to explain how mass transit, bikes, the cultural scene with public art, and green initiatives reformed a racially divided Chicago beset by corruption.
Scandal, racial divisiveness, and corruption are Chicago’s shared values. That is the Chicago Way. Daley putting perfume and lipstick on that pig changed nothing.
Chicago’s traditional culture of corruption is repulsive, despicable, illegal, and unethical.
Ms. Florida wrote this for the Huffington Post, a vociferous defender of all things corrupt in the Democratic Party. Rana Florida works in public relations so maybe she was trolling for new clients. Daley now works for an international business law firm.
Corruption is endemic in Chicago. The city is still racially divided. Citizens are paying a very high price for Daley transforming the physical face of the city. All those decorations were done at extremely inflated costs with very profitable and allowable cost overruns.
The cost of living in Chicago was driven higher and higher due to escalating taxes and fees under Daley’s rule. The cost of doing business rose exponentially driving the cost of goods and services up.
Chicago is one of the most beautiful least affordable cities to live in thanks to Richard M. Daley and the Democratic Machine.
Ms. Florida has no concept of the taxpayer rip-off City Hall is. Chicago is the most corrupt city in the nation. City Hall is merely profit center for those elected or appointed to serve the citizens. They serve and enrich themselves. In Chicago a poor politician or bureaucrat is a stupid one.
It has been that way since Chicago was incorporated. The citizens suffer by paying higher and higher taxes and fees.
Nothing really changes in Chicago except the sophistication of corruption and stronger obedience to the Eleventh Commandment- Thou shalt not get caught, another shared Chicago value.
Mayor Daley presided over this city for 22 years. Nothing in the corrupt political environment changed. Within a short period of time he disappointed and fooled all who supported him, except the big money guys, organized crime contractors and unions who profited. City Hall was corrupt when he took over and was more corrupt when he retired.
Where did Ms. Florida get the wild idea he reformed anything? Daley probably told her. She seems gullible enough to believe anything.
When Richard M. Daley took office Chicago was racially divided. It was racially divided when he left office 22 years later. Nothing Changed, except the poor got poorer, what few businesses and manufacturers were left disappeared, taking their jobs with them. Black neighborhoods are still blighted with acres of vacant land and buildings.
When Daley took over Chicago was beset by scandal. When he retired Chicago was beset by scandal. The only change was the names of the scandalous.
Yes, the city looks prettier. Yes the city is cleaner. But at what cost? Corruption is an oppressive tax on citizens.
Chicago under Mayor Daley was no better than it was under any other mayor. The city is more dangerous, more violent, and the schools are still some of the worst in the nation. Chicago never changes.
It is not all Richard M. Daley’s fault. He had partners in crime. There are the fifty aldermen who are greedier than pigs at the trough. There are the heirs of organized crime and political families who run the unions, various contractors and vendors who do business with the city. There are real estate entities, insurance companies, law firms, and other professional services owned and operated by friends and families of politicians. Entities you must use to get even the simplest permits to do business in Chicago.
Then there are the people of Chicago who keep voting for and reelecting these known criminals to public office. There is plenty of blame to spread around.
Daley did nothing to change the culture of corruption. He wallowed in it. His friends and family benefitted by it. Daley covered it up with paint, concrete, flower boxes, grass, trees, public art, and other amenities. He pasted over the visuals but the reek and stench of corruption still remain.
If Ms. Florida had performed even the simplest Internet search she would have found scandal after scandal that occurred under Daley’s 22-year reign. She would have discovered ties to organized crime. She would have discovered the truth about the Daley regime.
She would have discovered the names of all the politicians, bureaucrats, and city employees who left city hall for their new career as federal prisoners. She would have discovered that the Chicago office of the F.B.I. has the largest corruption squad in the nation. She would have discovered the same political, business, and criminal insider families have been running Chicago for over 100 years, in the public and private sectors.
The only passion Daley brought to his work was keeping the cornucopia of corruption alive and well in Chicago.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.