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Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Stunning Hubris of Mayor Daley

On Friday, the Tribune published an expose that exposed serious corruption on the part of an ally of Mayor Daley. The ally is Michael Scott Sr. He's on both the committee to bring the Olympics to Chicago and he's the president of Chicago's School Board. It's been revealed that a real estate company he owns was able to secure a land deal near Douglas Park. Douglas Park, on the city's Southwest side, is the site of several Olympic events including swimming, biking, and moto cross. There will be significant construction in and around Douglas Park as a result. As such, the value of land near the area will almost certainly increase. At the same time, one of his aides was also recently tied to a scandal in which powerful influences used back channels to help family and friends secure spots in prestigious magnet and charter schools.

Later that day, the Mayor held his first press conference after the story broke.

Not surprisingly, Daley refused to answer any questions related to either of Scott's corruption probes. In fact, Daley dismissed the questions as "headlines" and said he wouldn't help contribute to the "headlines" of the newspapers. At one point when a reporter from the Tribune pressed Daley, Daley screamed at him "never insult me with that question"..."everday I'm here and you're never here."

The stunning hubris of Daley isn't that he thought that dismissing and bullying the reporters would make this story go away. His stunning hubris is this is how he makes all stories go away. Here's how Tribune Columnist John Kass described Daley's reaction.

For most of last week, Mayor Richard Daley was doing fine, calmly making pronouncements, issuing sweeping edicts, decrees and commands.

But then he released his inner Mayor Chucky.

And when the terrifying Mayor Chucky persona came out by week's end -- after a Tribune investigation about political insiders poised to cash in on Daley's plans of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games -- it wasn't pretty.

"I just saw it on TV," said a friend on the phone. "A reporter asks him a question about the Olympic land deal, and bingo. Mayor Chucky. Wow. It's scary."Positively Chuckified.

In fact, Daley's rants and bullying of reporters that dare to question his corruption and overall handling of the city are so common place that Kass has taken to referring to it as Daley's Chucky persona. Here's how Kass described another such rant. In this rant, Daley was responding to reports which showed that his nephew, Robert Vanecko, was able to secure a high risk land deal using city pension funds.

The Chumbolone Flu shall be known by this defining sign: The afflicted suffers from the delusion that everyone around him is a chumbolone who believes what he's told.Another symptom of the Chumbolone Flu is that the victim is often compelled to read a statement that was obviously drafted by lawyers, then almost whispers in a quiet voice: My statement speaks for itself.


Fran, things happen in families. That's it," said Daley, perpetuating the Sun-Times spin that the nephew can defy the mayor and still receive millions to invest.

"That's all I have to say."Then, with the stern voice of a strict nurse protecting a beloved patient, Daley's press secretary, Jacquelyn Heard, interrupted, saying, "Are there questions on any other topics? Otherwise, we're going to end the press conference."So I asked: You're not going to answer questions about your nephew?

He clenched his teeth but bravely repressed his inner Mayor Chucky, though he probably wanted to unleash Chucky on me."I answered questions," Daley said. "The statement speaks for itself."

What we have is not so much any more a mayor but a menace. Richard M. Daley is corrupt and that's pretty much settled. When I went to a recent town hall on the Olympics, Tom Tressor, of No Games Chicago, accused Daley of being corrupt at least five times (that I counted) and not once did the other side challenge that assertion. Talk about a statement speaking for itself, when such an accusation isn't denied or challenged, now that speaks for itself.

It's worse than that. We have a mayor that feels entitled. It isn't simply that he's corrupt to the point of absurdity. If anyone dares to challenge or question that corruption, he immediately denies, dismisses and bullies. How dare we mere peasants challenge him on how he runs this city? That's what the mayor is really saying each and every time he goes into "Chucky" mode when corruption is questioned and challenged. Not only does Mayor Daley feel entitled to run the city as he sees fit, no matter how unethical or illegal, but he feels so entitled that he considers it a personal insult when any citizen, journalist, or activist dares to question any of the waste and corruption.


Aly said...

Unbelievable, but not surprising, either. Let's hope there will be no Olympics in Chicago in 2016.

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