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A miracle occurred on Sept. 8, 2010 - a miracle that amazed me and a lot of others who follow local politics. A miracle so profound that historians will analyze it for decades to come. And even those who were the recipients of the miracle will forever ponder it in retrospect, amazed at what a difference less than 24 hours can make.
What was the miracle that engulfed our local politicians that has me so in awe? It was the sudden discovery of vocal chords in politicians who found themselves no longer suffering from 21 years of Daley-laryngitis. You know, the condition that afflicted almost 100 percent of our local politicos who until that day never raised their voice in any significant manner against anything the mayor did. They never had anything but kind words to say, even as he demolished Meigs Field, sold off the Skyway and parking meters, and basically anointed himself despot.
But the simple words that came out of Daley's mouth on Sept. 7, stating that he will not seek election for another term, sent a shockwave of words blubbering forth from politicians who want his job. Aldermen regained their critiquing voice and began pontificating that they, too, can and should be the next mayor of Chicago. The city clerk changed his re-election petitions to ones that indicate he now wants to be mayor. Congressmen, state senators and representatives were miraculous in their praise of the mayor on one hand while taking jabs at what he had been doing in order to make themselves appear more palatable to the voting public. Even retired politicians stumbled in front of television cameras to say that they, too, could be mayor even if they have hadn't been active in politics in decades.
The entire scenario of scrambling for the mayor's job would be hysterical if it weren't for the near bankrupt state this city is in. Yes, folks, it is that bad. Every boarded up and vacant home is money not being paid in property taxes. Every empty storefront is one not sending sales taxes downtown. Even the proposed WalMarts can't cut the deficit looming over the city budget. The next mayor of the city of Chicago will have to have plans that involve an influx of money from both inside and outside the city. That means people spending money within the city limits and outside meaning more than just city residents will need to do the spending.
As our local politicians jockey for position in the mayor's race, here's something to keep in mind. Alderman or city clerk, they will have to give up running for that position in order to run for mayor. So those are very serious candidates - willing to lose one job while seeking another.
If the person is a state senator, state representative or congressman, they still have a job. So we need to ask them to be serious in seeking the job of mayor. That seriousness should involve a willingness to give up their current position in order to seek the new position. I've already been told "that ain't gonna happen," but it is still a valid question to ask. I tire of politicians who get elected to one job and then seek another, all the while knowing they have the safety net of their current position to fall back on. They take no risks in running for a different office. How may employees in the private sector can spend time looking for another job on the company's dime without risking the wrath of their employer? Well, we taxpayers are the employer of all these politicians, and if they are so unhappy with their current position, then resign from it and let the voters know they are that serious about the new position. Otherwise we're being played.
Another question to ask these Johnnies-come-lately is why they had nothing to say on Sept. 6 and everything in the world to say on Sept. 8? Prior to that time, the only declared candidate for mayor was Bill Dock Walls, whom I have supported every time he has run. To those who call him the "perennial candidate," I counter that had Dock not run, there wouldn't have been a single voice against the mayor. I dismiss the candidacy of Dorothy Brown because as many of us know, she was just a shill for the mayor. Interestingly, hers is not one of the names being touted for mayor this time around.
Ask for detailed plans on what these candidates want to do and don't accept the generic fluff response, "I want to bring more jobs." When they do that, ask them, "How?" If their answers don't make sense, then they're offering nonsense, and it is not what's needed. Even if the responses make sense, ask for specifics. Make your vote one that is servicing your best interest.
Lastly, this Sunday, Sept. 26 from 4 to 7 p.m., the NAACP will host a candidate forum at Christ the King School, 5088 W. Jackson. It will involve those running for governor, lt. governor, U.S. senate and a few more. Everyone needs to come out and learn what is going on with those who want to make the laws that affect your life.