We will finally have the prospect of a new mayor on Tuesday, February 22. Richard M. Daley has been the mayor of Chicago since April 24, 1989; 20 days after I was born. And after living in the Chicagoland area for my whole life, I have only known one mayor of the best city in the world. I have had the pleasure of living in Chicago for the last 4 years and it is a very interesting time for the city.
The Daley Dynasty is a legacy that has it’s definite highs, and definite lows. The most recent was the parking meter fiasco. A definite low, and not a smart move. Looking at the fact we have the highest hourly parking in the United States, the company running the show is not working with the city residents, and their idea of working out disputes is ticketing the car. It is hard to defend that selling the meters was good for the city. Daley has continually tried to sell our airports, something I would never support. There was the city hall hiring scandals and who could forget this infamous Meigs Field debacle.
Meigs Field was probably my favorite controversial Daley move. I still remember watching the tapes on the news, and the planes using the taxi-way to take off. Meigs Field was the day I learned what kind of mayor Daley was. If there was something he wanted, and city hall was dragging it’s feet, he was going to get it done. It is the same model the Yankees use with going over the salary cap and hiring the best players. Daley would do what needs to be done. He made the field into Northerly Island, we can only use it 2 months out of the year, and the hit the city took from the quick travelers was not worth the lost. I don’t even like the idea of Northerly Island. But none-the-less, Daley flexed his arm and stuff got done. He has made Chicago beautiful.
There is not a place in the world like Millennium Park. It is a gem in the middle of the city. I know critics say Daley focuses too much on the business end of the city and not the residents. While that may be, the fact is that the city is driven by the businesses that are here. There would be no reason for half of the resources in the city without the millions of people that have to work in the high rise office buildings. I support most of Daley’s positions on gun rights. I do think residents should be allowed to have a hand gun inside their home, but Daley is looking out for everyone. I feel people forget we live in a city and we all live and work together.
Daley’s reign on Chicago is done. I just hope the next mayor is focused on keeping the city moving forward, improving the quality of life in the city, and encourages economic growth in the city. Join Eric P and Laura B Wednesday from 7p.m. to 9p.m. for a conversation on the Daley Legacy and hope for da new mayor.