Da Mayor is done. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley won't run. The Daley regime, and the Machine(?) comes to an abrupt end.
He says its time. Makes sense. Some argue its been time for a while, or that it's good to end it on his terms before voters do, with his approval ratings at a new low.
I think he's just had enough. You can see the stress on his face in recent years. The combination of his wife's illness, the botched Olympic bid and an (perceived?) increase in crime seemed to do him in.
There's also the not so small matter of a cash strapped city with a $600 million Visa bill.
He was a successful mayor, no question. Chicago remains a world class destination due mainly to Daley's relentless leadership. Pro business, pro arts, pro development, particularly the lakefront and downtown. He contributed mightily to Chicago's reputation as a city with a great "front yard."
But the "back yard" has it's share of old tires and sinks.
Daley rules with the subtlety of a burlesque show, treating aldermen like the "Whack a Groundhog" arcade game. Witness the midnight raid of Miegs Field or the selling of city assets. Are naming rights next? How about the "Jersey Shore" Drive or "Oprah" Field?
And corruption is rampant, with over 40 members of Daley's administration indicted in recent years. Cronies constantly cut insider deals, cashing more chits than an Ivy League admissions officer. We're left to wonder the indirect cost of each foot of wrought iron fencing to cops, firefighters and teachers.
Chicago's next mayor is going to have a lovely, showroom quality car. Just don't peek under the hood.
Neil Giuntoli's brilliant play "Hizzonor" opens with Giuntoli, as Daley's father, kneeling in his Bridgeport church. The Priest says "peace be with you" and the congregation responds "and also wit choo." Pure Chicago. Pure Daley.
The city that works, like sausage.
A quick note as we begin Lovie's farewell tour. Jay Cutler is a nice quarterback, but I have the sinking feeling he will running from defenses like his hair is on fire. The line is brutal, and my fear is that they are Puppy Chow to guys like Lions rookie Ndamukong Suh (a beast who tosses QB's like the morning paper) and the Vikings Jared Allen.
I hope I'm wrong. Just sayin'.