Many Chicagoans stood in a long line to tell Mayor Daley goodbye. I didn’t get an invitation to bid him farewell in person. So I’ll do it via this column.
First off, I want to thank the mayor for the years, months, days, hours and minutes that he spent using every resource the city had to defend Jon Burge. When I saw all those black folks standing in line to tell him goodbye, I mentally flashed a corresponding picture of the efforts the city made on Burge’s behalf. Not once was I ever fooled into believing or seeing the city support of Burge as something other than what it was. Those black folks standing in line waiting to grin at the soon-to-be ex-mayor proved that you can fool some folks all the time.
Next, while downtown Chicago looks beautiful, I want to thank Mayor Daley for keeping black neighborhoods looking the same or worse than they did when he first took office over 20 years ago. He spoke about creating new TIF (tax increment financing) districts to help downtrodden black neighborhoods, but he never ever showed us a successful TIF district that benefited from it. Those TIF tax dollars helped to make downtown look like it does and for the 1-2 times a year I get downtown to see it, I just gotta appreciate what my tax dollars have done.
I spent over a decade on the 25th District housing subcommittee. It was an official CAPS subcommittee to deal with problem houses and buildings. For years I met monthly to hear from homeowners who had spent their last dimes to buy a house or property and then watch in horror as unscrupulous landlords turned the bungalow next door into a six-flat. I heard the pleas of elderly neighbors, who had all their money invested in a property, as their once stable and beautiful block became a haven for overcrowding.
Even when I took real estate ads to the budget hearing for the mayor to see bungalows being advertised as having 12 bedrooms, three kitchens and three baths, nothing was done to resolve the issue. Rather, the committee I was on was rewarded for our efforts by having our meetings reduced from monthly to quarterly while giving us a revolving door of persons to whom we should look for solutions. I eventually tired and gave up on the committee.
Thanks, Mayor Daley, for showing us how much you cared about the bungalow belt. Then again, you moved out of it years back to a ritzy new development in the South Loop. The writing was always on the wall. Thanks for having me waste 10 years of my life.
I also gotta thank the mayor for the years I spent being involved on the advisory council for the parks. If the parks functioned liked their mission statement said they should, tons of young people would have a place to go and something to do. But for many inner-city residents, the parks are not the recreational center of the neighborhood. The mayor appoints the park district president, and he/she does the mayor’s bidding. If the parks didn’t function, it was because the mayor didn’t want them to.
Thanks, Mayor Daley, for making sure you kept generation after generation out on the streets to create havoc and mischief. As a former state’s attorney, you know the prison-industrial complex needs new bodies to replace the one being let out. Mission accomplished.
All props to da’ mayor. You be ober the skool sistem makin’ sho da’ kids get an edumacation. You overlooked an educator like Barbara Eason-Watkins every time, while giving us Arne Duncan, Michael Scott and Ron Huberman. None of those three had education as their forte. And even though the Chicago Public School budget is larger than the budget for the entire city of Chicago, we still have children who can’t read. You’ve left us without a core curriculum for every child while creating educational classism by having folks believe their still-uneducated children are doing better because they are in an experiment (charter schools) as opposed to quality neighborhood schools.
Mayor Daley, you managed to tax everything except the air I breathe. Oops, I may have given you an idea. Hopefully you can’t get that through before leaving office.
Good bye and good riddance.