Tom Kuznar

 Chicago : East Berlin on the Michigan

It used to be a "Second City" known for Blues, Capone, the slaughterhouses, the1968 riots. It certainly never was a New York, London or Paris, not even L.A., but had vitality and a semblance of style. Not anymore.

The beating some idiot speculator friends of Daley took on their crooked land deals awaiting the "sure thing" Olympics was the only uplifting news here in the new Century. It is indeed quite possible that they actually believed this dump of a city had a chance in hell. Poetic justice... but otherwise :

Under the erstwhile administration of retarded thief Richie Daley, son of the original goon Mayor, it'd been turned into a petty little mini police state, where nothing gets done and public money is squandered on lame schemes, while whole city quarters lay a wasteland, business flight continues and the once proud Windy City becomes increasingly irrelevant.

The subway is a joke and a disgrace - Tirana has better one. In fact it's so bad, it's good - in a movie set sense. Rickety wagons squeak and squeel; negotiating one of the curves on ancient elevated tracks ranks up there with the thrill of riding the Cuzco express.

Constant resurfacing of the expressways never leads to improvements (such as adding a lane), it's just a bi-decade bakshish to the outfit companies that coudn't redo a driveway lest be it for burying a hit. The side roads are being ruined with idiotic speed bumps and bizarre "circles" - accidents waiting to happen. Instead of making angle parking spots, more and more traffic signs are being erected, all designed to enable police flunkies to write more tickets. Indeed, the whole raison d'etre for this 50,000 strong army of goons in uniforms is to bring more cash to the machine.

On its lowest level, Chicago is administered by "aldermen", who preside over their respective 50 "wards" and in theory are the "lawmakers" as well as local executives. That aside, the real wardens of the populace are police commanders of 25 little fiefdoms known as police districts. One look at the map of overlapping "wards" and "districts" tells the story.

Of the two, the district commander is a lot more powerful individual. On the other hand, he can be removed (or more often transferred, like Pappas of 17 th district) after his actions make too many headlines (and result in too many lawsuits). Although no lawsuits are no good either - the city's army of shysters must be occupied. Sheriff of Cook County Sheehan alone cannot employ them all, much as he's trying.

Both aldermen and police rely on a vast system of snitches, known as "community policing" or CAPS. Local busybodies court favor with the cops by informing on "illegal activity" on their blocks, usually limited to 2 pet Daley projects : parking and something called "illegal conversions". The elderly, the white trash and the stupid who make up most of these "involved citizens" vote early and vote often. In exchange, they have someone to listen to their whines on illegal immigrants, ungrateful youths and uppity darkies. Sometimes there are petty gifts from aldermen (paid by taxes of course) such as garbage cans or maybe a fixed pothole (a job guaranteed to last until the next rain).

It's a perfect throwback to another time, another country; a system so strikingly similar to Brezhnev-era Soviet Union the only question is : will it end the same way ? The purpose is, of course, to line pockets with public money and quash any dissent. In other words, they rob us and rub our noses in it.

Good government tries to fix problems too large for individuals to handle. A decent one doesn't make them worse. Daley's novel approach is not only to (1) profit from existing problems, but (2) to perpetuate them as well as (3) create new ones. For instance :

 Daley the Fence

- The city towed 170,000 cars in Chicago in 2003, of which 70,000 were sold for scrap metal at @ $ 130 each; to a towing company currently under FBI investigation.

- There are over 800 different street and parking signs, most are redundant and totally unnecessary, that appeared suddenly in the mid-90's. If the "great Chicago newspapers" were printed for what they should be printed, and not for entirely different purpose, there's a Pulitzer waiting : just find out who profited.

- Newest scam is creation of "traffic circles" in the middle of residential street intersections. These concrete monstrosities are not only accidents waiting to happen, they are also very, very expensive. On average, taxpayers are being charged $ 30,000 for each, while true cost does not exceed $ 500. Coupled with concrete bumps, these monuments to stupidity will tally additional millions the minute an ambulance gets delayed / hits / breaks down on one and someone dies. Another Pullitzer here, just follow the money.

- 7-28-99 : $ 100 M in contracts to John Duff Jr., a cartoon-like mob flunky : "The late mob boss Sam Carlisi and top mobster James Marcello, who is now in prison, bought real estate through a former Chicago cop, William Galioto, who is Marcello's brother-in-law, to hide their ownership, the feds believe. Galioto's name came to light most prominently in 1995, when Mayor Daley scotched a low-interest city loan to him and his partners to built a West Side movie studio. Galioto has denied any wrongdoing."

(Chicago Sun-Times, 8-25-02)

 Daley the Bizarre Social Architect
- There are virtually no public phones to be found anywhere in the city. Reason : the drug dealers use them (and now, I suppose, the terrorists).
 Daley the Social Commentator

- Daley's comment on 6-17-98, after drunken policeman killed a women in a hit-and-run : "Its human nature"

- On heat advisory, 6-24 : "Use common sense, don't wear an overcoat or anything"

- On report of a commission on police brutality : "there were very few that were maybe pushed or something.... the malcontents"

- On 3-1, after 4 crooked cops from area 5 were caught stealing : "They are only human"

- On 3-2 , after "sex scandal" in a firehouse , really incensed : "If someone dies, who pays - the taxpayers"