Monday, December 31, 2018

How time flies by; or, the 20th Century seems like it was just yesterday

I’m feeling a tad bit oldish this Monday, largely because I recall exactly what I did 19 years ago this very day – and it sure doesn’t feel like it could have been that long ago.
19th Century survivor lingers in new Millennium. Photos by Gregory Tejeda
The day sticks in my mind because it was Dec. 31, 1999 – as in the final day of the past century (the one in which my own life feels predominantly a part of, no matter how long I live into the 21st Century). It also was the end of the old millennium, and there’s just no way I’m going to continue to exist into the years 3000.

I REMEMBER WALKING around the city around Michigan Avenue where it intersects with Chicago Avenue. I remember trying to take in the sights of everything at that was around me – almost as though the coming of a new millennium would bring about new things and I’d want to forever remember what Chicago had evolved into at that point in time.

Heck, my own strongest memory from that date is of checking out the Water Tower Building while bearing with the winter chill (it was late December, after all), and recalling the childhood stories about how it was the lone structure to survive the Great Fire of 1871.

Thinking to myself that there was a certain grandeur to our home city that had developed throughout the years – and also wondering how long would it all last before Chicago changed even further with the passage of time.

Just as I’m sure someone from the mid-19th Century Chicago wouldn’t recognize much of anything that exists now, I wonder how much it will all continue to change into a something that won’t be the least bit relevant to me or the lives of my contemporaries. 
Downtown view from inside Pritzker Pavillion
IN FACT, WHAT I find myself thinking every time I come into the downtown area these days is just how much the city resembles the mental picture I took that day – and just how much new stuff has developed throughout the passing years.

For while it feels like that date of my mental picture could have come about just days ago, the reality is that we are now about to move 19 years into this current century -- which, of course, was supposed to be the end of civilization as we knew it (remember all the computers crashing that was supposed to occur?).

We actually have a generation of people now developing into fully-productive adults who are entirely products of the 21st Century. I have two nieces who fall into that category, and often think to myself they don’t know what they missed by not being around in the 20th Century.
How much of this architectural mixture will survive into 22nd Century?
Although both of them would be the first to snap back with a sarcastic retort about how out-of-touch and old fogeyish I come across with such thoughts.

SO NOW, WE’RE about to approach the end of this century’s second decade. The coming of a new year that shows just how time continues to fly by – and my own thoughts turn to wondering at times just how much longer I will have to continue to exist.

And just how much more will things change to the point where I won’t recognize that toddlin’ town I call my home; either because of continuing construction and development, or the advancement of senility (if not both).

Not that all change is bad. I find myself wandering through Millennium Park from time to time and enjoying the spectacle of it all, while also gagging every time I see that monstrosity of a structure that Donald Trump felt compelled to erect in our city back in his real estate developer days. One that actually has me missing the tugboat-like structure the Chicago Sun-Times once called its home.
How much from this century-old postcard image survives today?
Of course, there’s one aspect of this ongoing change that does bring me a tiny bit of comfort. It’s knowing that even the most annoying and obnoxious of aspects about our city are not forever – even the Trump Tower will someday be just a tacky, bad memory.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Fioretti showing persnickety mindset in wanting to dump Daley Plaza name

During the time he served as an alderman, Robert Fioretti was one of the people willing to speak out and say whatever he thought – regardless of how contrary his thoughts were to the establishment that set policy for municipal government.
Fioretti takes political pot shots at Daley son … 

Not that he was someone who got things done. If anything, he was somebody that reporter-type people could turn to whenever they needed a quote saying how absurd the mayor or other officials were being in their actions. Not somebody who could talk about serious policy questions or details.

SO IT WASN’T a shock that city officials used their last redistricting process of ward boundaries to put Fioretti into a ward without many people who’d be inclined to support him.

And that when he tried running for mayor in 2015, he was viewed by the city’s political establishment as the guy they most wanted to see go down to defeat.

He was a loud-mouth who wouldn’t get anything accomplished, but would also make other people feel awkward and miserable while they tried to go about their actions.

And now that Fioretti is trying once again to run for mayor, it seems his temperament hasn’t changed one iota.

FOR FIORETTI DARED to make the most sacrilegious of suggestions – taking away the name of the ultimate Hizzoner, Richard J. Daley, from the Civic Center that serves as the Cook County courthouse.
… for suggesting Dan Ryan name change … 

What would the Daley Plaza be, other than a place with a half-century-old Picasso sculpture that most Chicagoans still can’t say exactly what it is.

Fioretti on Friday suggested that the Daley Center building be the Chicago structure that gets renamed to honor Barack Obama – the former president who made his adult life in the Hyde Park neighborhood.

Now in all honesty, Fioretti doesn’t expect anybody to take his suggestion seriously. He doesn’t really want to have the identity of the Big O himself become tied to our civil courthouse and future generations of lawsuits that get filed within the city of Chicago.
… to a tribute to Barack Obama

WHAT HE’S REALLY doing is taking pot shots at Daley’s son, William. Who’s also among the masses of candidates wishing to run for mayor, and who is the one who suggested that the Dan Ryan Expressway be renamed for Obama.

In short, he’s trying to p’ off the powers that be who still hold the name “Daley” as something sacrosanct and sacred.

Maybe he even thinks he’ll gain a few votes for his mayoral bid from the kind of people who were always eager to trash the Daley legacy and who view the idea of a third “Mayor Daley” as an absolutely abhorrent concept for Chicago to have.

It’s political trash talk; rancid rhetoric of the finest kind. It’s all about stirring up the partisan pot. Which may well be why Fioretti is a long-shot to actually become mayor, and probably wouldn’t be capable of competently serving as mayor even if he could win an election.

FOR EVEN WHEN he offers up a somewhat legitimate point, his rhetoric comes off as so antagonistic that it prevents anybody from taking him seriously in the least.
Richard J. isn't about to lose his namesake tribute

Yes, I actually think renaming the Dan Ryan is ridiculous. Then again, I tend to think we should try to avoid naming streets and buildings for people who will be forgotten a couple of generations from now. It only ensures that the few who bother to remember will take great offense.

Just think if we did name something now for Barack Obama, how much of a stink would develop some time around the year 2070 when someone suggests ditching the name to honor somebody who likely doesn’t even exist yet.

So it may be so that Bill Daley is being short-sighted in even suggesting the renaming of the Dan Ryan Expressway. But Fioretti’s willingness to go for the punchline as part of his own mayoral dreams may well show us why he’s no better qualified to work out of Richard J.’s one-time City Hall office.


Friday, December 28, 2018

Illicit narcotics sold in rural Illinois, yet locals insist on viewing them as ‘Chi’

I couldn’t help but get a chuckle from reading a downstate newspaper account of how a central Illinois man was found guilty of criminal charges related to his selling of cocaine and heroin to people in and around his hometown.

Of course, the locals want to believe that such substances don’t really exist in their community. Somehow, this has to be some sort of alien presence infecting them. Because there’s no way the locals would ever engage in such actions (either selling narcotics, or using them).

SO NATURALLY, THEY turn to the fallback accusation. Blame Chicago!!!

For as the headline in the Bloomington Pantagraph (of a story originally published by the State Journal-Register of Springfield) told us, “Lincoln man convicted of selling cocaine, heroin he bought in Chicago.

It seem the man, who is 38, was found guilty last week in Logan County court of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance. Prosecutors claimed during his two-day trial that he made several trips to Chicago (about a three-hour drive up Interstate 55 from his hometown of Lincoln, Ill.), where he bought the drugs.

Then, he’d bring them back to his hometown (about a half-hour’s drive north of Springfield), where he’d sell them from his house. To add to the comical nature of this criminal enterprise, the man lived in a house located two blocks from an elementary school.

WHICH UNLESS YOU believe means that six-year-olds are stopping by his house on their way home from school to satisfy their fixes, could almost be seen as irrelevant.

Although I don’t doubt it feeds into the need of those people who are all too eager to believe that our beloved home city is representative of all that is wrong with and corrupt about our society.

This almost strikes me as being the kind of tidbit that Donald Trump himself would link to in another of his inane, nonsense-style Tweets on Twitter when he feels a need to get back to bashing Chicago.

Of course, Trump would have also felt the need to document that the drugs originated in Mexico, before going to Chicago, before being put into the hands of people who were then providing them to “real” Americans who comprise all that is just and proper about our society.

WHICH IS SUCH a nonsense thought to have – even though I don’t doubt there are situations where that very scenario could have happened.

To me, the sad truth of narcotics use is that there are people in all walks of society who have allowed themselves to become addicted.

Think of it this way, if there wasn’t a need felt by certain types of people, there wouldn’t be a market for those so-called despicable ghetto types from Chicago to be able to sell such product.

Then again, that image I just presented is equally as absurd as the one of so-called real Americans not using such substances to begin with.

THIS KIND OF story presented in such a manner merely feeds off stereotypical images that don’t do anything to truly inform us about the “scourge” that certain illicit substances can have upon us.

As for this particular case, it seems the man in question faces sentencing come February – and could get between six and 30 years for a prison term. With four previous convictions, he is regarded as a “habitual criminal,” which could make a sentence near the high end of the range likely.

Which as far as I’m concerned merely means crime and illicit behavior is capable of occurring just about everywhere.

And for all I know, when this man eventually winds up being sent to prison, his fellow inmates who happen to hail from Chicago will probably view this guy as an example of the kind of riff-raff they’ll be exposed to that will be a part of their punishment!


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Do we over-react to, and in effect empower, very notion of Farrakhan?

A part of me becomes amused every time I learn of an incident where someone becomes offended by the very concept of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
We won't see encore come January of 2017 women's march in Chicago
Then again, another part of my essence is bothered by people who want to demonize Farrakhan as the ultimate example of antisemitism in this country.

BECAUSE MY OWN thought is to think of the group with their mosque down around 73rd Street and Stoney Island Avenue as a fringe element – one that almost borders on irrelevance in the daily lives of the bulk of our society.

Do we manage to elevate their significance every time we try to portray Farrakhan as some sort of demon presence? Are we managing to over bloat the egos of those people inclined to think of Elijah Muhammad as a grand historic figure (and Malcolm X as some sort of renegade)?

And are we feeding into the victim mentality of modern-day Nation of Islam members into thinking they are the ultimate victims – being picked upon by the masses of our society.

Particularly by all those white people amongst us, including the many who do have their racial hang-ups.
FARRAKHAN: Seems to enjoy offending masses

THOUGHTS OF THE Nation of Islam popped into my head on the Day After Christmas when I read news accounts of how there won’t be a Women’s March next month in Chicago.

The event that in recent years has cropped up in placed across the nation to give women a chance to express themselves and show they’re not going to be intimidated into submission in our society was to be held locally on Jan. 19.

The past two years have seen the women march in great numbers (several thousands of people) through the streets of downtown to Grant Park – with the crowds being so great that some marchers hadn’t even begun their walk yet while others were already gathered at the park on the lakefront.

But not in 2019.

IT SEEMS THE Chicago activists who would have coordinated the local version of the Women’s March are upset that the national leadership have expressed support for Farrakhan.

Or maybe it’s that they haven’t thoroughly repudiated Farrakhan enough to satisfy certain elements of society – particularly people who are bothered by the fact that Farrakhan himself gave a speech earlier this year where he both praised Women’s March Inc. leaders, while also blaming “the powerful Jews are my enemy.”

Or, quite possibly, it’s that a whole lot of disparate groups are upset thinking that somebody else is trying to usurp the position they think they ought to have as the ultimate victim?

I’m wondering if the Chicago activists (who say they’ll hold their own event to be held separate of the Women’s Marches that will take place in Washington, D.C., and other cities across the nation) are really doing nothing more than empowering the Farrakhan followers.

GIVING THEM MORE reasons to think he’s a great man worthy of dignity and their respect – instead of just another crackpot saying whatever he thinks will gain him some public attention regardless of how ridiculous he sounds or how offensive he comes off as being.
Farrakhan followers congregate on Stoney Island, and nowhere else
And yes, I’m very aware that some people will read that last sentence and think I’m attacking Farrakhan himself.

Even though a part of me thinks we all tend to focus way too much attention on the man himself.

I’m sure the only real winners in all of this verbal brouhaha turns out to be that segment of our society that takes great pleasure from this Age of Trump we’re now in – as I’m sure they view the constant haggling amongst the majority of us as evidence of their own narrow-mindedness having a touch of legitimacy.


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Political challenges can hurt even if candidates successfully fight them off

Much is being made of the fact that two of mayoral hopeful Toni Preckwinkle’s political challenges to opposing candidates failed to get the opponents kicked off.
Would like to exchange county seal for city

It’s supposedly exposing Preckwinkle herself to be little better than the political hacks she’d like us all to think she will challenge, should she manage to get herself elected mayor in the upcoming Feb. 26 election (and likely April 2 run-off).

YET I’VE SEEN enough partisan politicking throughout the years to realize there is a strategy to a candidate challenging would-be opponents to try to get them kicked off the ballot.

Yes, it may seem that Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza and former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot WILL be on the ballot for the Feb. 26 election. Voters will have a legitimate option to pick either of them.

Those two are not in the same league as someone like Ja’Mal Green, who did manage to get booted from the ballot for inadequate signatures of support on his nominating petitions.

They’re certainly in a different league as people like Conrein Hykes Clark or Catherine Brown D’Tycoon – whose challenges by the Preckwinkle people are still pending.

BUT NO MATTER how people try to spin it, the Lightfoot and Mendoza mayoral campaigns have taken a blow – one they may not be able to overcome during the next couple of months.
Lightfoot lives to fight another day, … 

The fact is that I’m sure both would have preferred to have used the past few weeks since filing their nominating petitions trying to gain public attention and build support amongst would-be voters.

They would have liked to have talked about themselves and tried to spread the message about why people should seriously consider casting a ballot for their candidacies.

Instead, they have had to spend time in consultation with attorneys who guided them through the legal morass that predominates the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. Election law can be an arcane process – one with a confusing mess of law that really can be vague enough to allow for people to be kicked off the ballot for whatever obscure excuse the political people concoct in their minds.
… as does Mendoza

IN SOME CASES, the petition challenges are filed knowing they may not succeed. But instead may cause enough chaos to knock a campaign from gaining any traction. Meaning the person who might have had a serious shot at prevailing instead flounders.

Which is something that could happen to both Lightfoot and Mendoza – both of whom have their supporters who seriously think the two would make fine public servants.

But that may not be enough, and it could be what causes them to fall behind in such a crammed field of candidates to where they can’t even qualify for a run-off election. For Feb. 26 will be a day in which finishing third won’t be any better than coming in eighth or ninth or however far back amongst the candidate field one can sink.

It’s going to be Numbers One and Two who will make it to the head-to-head challenge against each other – unless, by some political miracle, Number One manages to gain so much support they can take an immediate majority and avoid the need for a run-off.

AN INSTANCE NOT likely to occur.
Who will be Chicago's next mayor?

As for Preckwinkle, I suppose there’s the chance that her challenging tactics will offend so many people that when they cast their ballots for a run-off, they get it in their heads that they’ll vote for Anybody But Toni!

But I can also see how those people would be so un-unified that they won’t be able to agree on anything. It may well be that the eventual winner of the Chicago mayoral election of 2019 will be someone whom a majority of would-be voters right now would feel complete apathy for.

Which means we should start preparing now for the four years of contempt we’re going to feel for our city government – being fueled in part by these endless rounds of challenges to try to keep people from running for office to begin with!


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Happy Holidays; now Log Off!!!

This being Christmas, it’s time for my annual holiday diatribe for you to log off your computer, laptop or whatever other device you might be using to read this.
A city-wide holiday greeting. Photos by Gregory Tejeda
For it being Christmas, there really are better things you could be doing with your time on this Tuesday, rather than reading through the Internet. All this rubbish will still be here Wednesday. You can catch up on it then.
Do you believe this scene occurred? Or did someone shop at Macy's?
SERIOUSLY, I’M INCLINED to believe that this holiday is one that we ought to be spending together, enjoying whatever semblance of family or friends you may have. There really are more significant things than looking up cutesy pictures of pets who were dressed up by their masters in elf costumes.
Chicago's official holiday tree for 2018
If anything, that would be evidence of animal cruelty, not cutesiness.

So come back here later this week, in search of significant commentary and analysis of the happenings in our world. I’m going to give myself the day off. Or before you log off, check out this old video snippet that many of us originally saw back in the days of Garfield Goose or Ray Rayner and Friends on Channel 9.
Although I won’t be amongst those making the trek up to the Music Box Theatre – where for one day only Tuesday, the classic cinematic production up for viewing is none other than “Fiddler on the Roof.” Does that mean viewers will then be encouraged to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant, while humming the tune "Matchmaker?"


Monday, December 24, 2018

EXTRA: 94 days ‘til Opening Day

Since we’re no longer counting down shopping days ‘til Christmas (unless you’ve waited until the absolute last minute – which case the count is “zero”), we now set the clock for a new target.
Some people began countdown to Opening Day before old season ended
As in only 94 more days ‘til Opening Day. For baseball in Chicago, that is.

THE COMING OF the major league baseball season is the symbolic arrival of springtime – even if those first couple of weeks of baseball in April are likely to be chilly and some fans are bound to be as heavily dressed as they are now for winter.

Anyway, it’s only 94 more days until the Chicago White Sox take on the Seattle Mariners to begin the 2019 season.

And for those of you deluded enough to spend time watching the Chicago Cubs, it’s 98 more days ‘til the Opening Day at Wrigley Field – with the Cubs taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates.



Will we be able to get a federal budget deal before coming of New Year?

The worst that could occur is happening – our federal government is closed for business.
No matter what he says otherwise, it's Trump's fault

And not just because of the fact that our members of Congress want to extend the Christmas holiday weekend into a period of being off-from-work as long as possible.

YET THE FACT that this shutdown is coinciding with the winter holidays (a phrase I’m sure will irritate the very sensibilities of everybody who thinks President Donald Trump is justified in his actions) may well be the reason Trump will be able to get away with it.

For those who haven’t paid too close of attention to detail – it became a fact on Friday that there would be no agreement by all of Congress and signed off by the president towards a federal government budget.

This time, we really can’t blame our rank-and-file of the membership of Congress for being unable to get their act together.

This inability to get things done is something for which the totality of blame can be laid at the feet of Donald Trump himself.
Trump would like our national border to be something … 

IT COULD BE that Congress could piece together something resembling a spending plan that nobody really likes, but would keep the government going. But Trump is insistent that a federal budget include federal funds for what seems to be the most important of all the trash-talk rhetoric he has spewed during his presidency.

The border wall!

As in he’s determined to have that barricade erected along the U.S./Mexico border regardless of how stupid or trivial the idea truly is. It has become a matter of personal pride – he’s determined to erect a U.S. equivalent of the Berlin Wall of old.

At this point, I don’t even think it’s about appeasing the ideological nitwits who back him in large part because they like to hear trash talk that implies those “foreigners” are to blame for everything that is wrong with their lives.

I ACTUALLY THINK it is a personal thing with Trump – as though he thinks his presidency would be regarded historically as a complete and utter failure if he can’t get that wall erected.
… similar to the Berlin Wall of old?

In reality, there are so many other issues so much more important that will be the reasons why Trump will be regarded as a failure as president. The fact that he’s obsessed with a border barricade is just one tiny piece of the Trump puzzle.

The problem with a border wall is that for a large segment of Congress, it is a debate-stopper. When one considers that a new House of Representatives with a Democratic majority will be taking power soon, it is safe to say there’s no way there ever will be funding for a border wall approved that Trump can sign into law.

It ain’t a gonna happen.

YET TRUMP LIKELY figures this issue is more about trash-talk rhetoric – figuring that by continuing to tout a wall that won’t do a thing to keep people out of this country (that’s the reality, no matter how much the ideologues want to deny it), he’s ticking off people who were never going to vote for him or support him in any significant way.
When will negotiation resume on Capitol Hill?
But we’re in the holiday weekend this week. As in the federal government will be closed Monday and Tuesday, and likely would have been running on limited shifts this week and next – with full-time work crews not expected back until after New Year’s Day.

Meaning if something can happen in terms of political procedures by then, it would be as though the federal government didn’t really close. Kind of like that line of logic that asks if a tree falls in the woods and nobody’s around to hear, does it make a sound?

My guess is that Trump is counting on the populace not paying any attention this week – meaning he can ask if government REALLY shuts down under such circumstances.


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Will Chicagoans have to choose between memory of Dan Ryan, Obama?

Will Dan Ryan subside someday … 
Bill Daley’s campaign for Chicago mayor is trying to gain some attention these days with a suggestion that a city-based expressway be named (renamed, actually) for Barack Obama.

Daley offers up a line of logic that other Chicago expressways are named for John F. Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower – so why not give a president actually from Chicago the same honor?

… to Barack Obama?
ALTHOUGH SOME PEOPLE are speculating that this gesture by Daley is merely something meant to try to sway a share of the black vote to actually think about casting a ballot for him. Something with symbolic value, but little to no actual value in terms of public service.

But what is really causing a stink amongst some people is that Daley is suggesting a portion of Interstates 90 and 94 be used as the Obama Expressway. As in the same portion of highway that for years has been known as the Dan Ryan Expressway!
I-90/94, northwest to O'Hare

State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, who led the effort to rename a central Illinois part of Interstate 55 for Obama, claims that the law prohibits Ryan’s name from being removed. Although Illinois Department of Transportation officials say there are procedures that could allow for the name change.

I-290, west to Tri-State
Although they also told the Chicago Sun-Times they discourage too many changes, saying it can cause confusion amongst the driving public.

SO WHAT’S GOING to become of the Dan Ryan Expressway? Has Dan really outlived his usefulness as a namesake for THE major street cutting through the South Side leading people into and away from the downtown area.

I-55 southwest to Obama Expy

Has it truly been so long that Ryan’s name no longer has political significance? Is “the Ryan” in reference to a daily commute going to be an example of someone thinking in a 20th Century reference.

Will people living in Chicago in the late 21st Century think of “the Obama” as the main way of travelling from 95th Street all the way into the heart of the city – with that view of the one-time Sears Tower looming in the distance; growing taller and taller as we drive closer and closer to it?

Or is the name “Dan Ryan” too sacred to Chicago’s character that it would seem sacrilegious to think of changing it. What next; taking the name “Harold Washington” off of the main building of the Chicago Public Library?

Is Rkchard J.'s name sacrosanct?
OR REMOVING “RICHARD J. Daley from the downtown Civic Center (as in the building with the ‘Picasso” statue out front)?

Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that many people don’t know who Dan Ryan, Jr. (there also was a Sr. who was politically significant) was.

Both served on the Cook County Board, with Jr. serving as a commissioner from the 1920s to 1954, when he became county board President – a post he held until his death in 1961.

During his time as an elected official, he took a special interest in the development of highways through Chicago, which is what caused the county board to think him worthy of presidents and a former governor (Adlai E. Stevenson II) when it comes to being namesakes for the city’s expressway system.
Will William gain support from Obama move?

NOW IF DALEY (as in William) winds up losing the upcoming mayoral election, this could wind up becoming a moot point. Who knows if anyone else will feel compelled to take up this issue.

It may strike some as an issue far too trivial to expend much time and energy on.

Although I must admit to having one reason to kind of hoping that an Obama Expressway in Chicago becomes a reality someday. We’re in an age where some amongst us are determined to do whatever they can think of to erase memories of Obama or his legacy from our society.

The idea of a highway in Chicago that is federally funded and named for Obama? It would almost be the equivalent of a middle finger in the faces of all those who find things to admire about this Age of Trump we’re now in.


Friday, December 21, 2018

What does a deputy governor do?

J.B. Pritzker has started the process of appointing the people who will serve in his gubernatorial administration, but the people he’s picking are more about trying to create a particular impression – rather than finding individuals who will bring something unique to Illinois government.
STRATTON: The lt. (not deputy) governor

For Gov.-elect Pritzker on Thursday announced his choice for deputy governor.

ACTUALLY, HIS CHOICES. For Pritzker has decided he wants to have three people serving in the post.

One of them is one-time Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes, who himself tried running for governor back in 2010, but lost the Democratic primary to Pat Quinn and hasn’t held elective office since – although he is a part of the Democratic National Committee.

Another is state Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, who also has held positions within the Illinois Democratic Party structure, and former Chicago Board of Education Vice President (and Illinois State Board of Education chairman) Jesse Ruiz.

News reports took the angle that Pritzker picked a trio of political heavyweights who will assist him in governing Illinois. Although I have to admit; seeing a trio of consisting of a white, Irish politico from a family with long-standing ties to the Chicago political scene, an African-American legislator with his own ties, and a Mexican-American with his own political aspirations makes me think this is more about creating the impression of a racially, ethnically mixed vision of politics.
HYNES: Back in state govt. (sort of)

I MIGHT BE offended at such blatant use of race to try to score political points (although I’m sure some will wonder where’s an Asian to throw into the mix). But then again, I remember this is merely for deputy governor.

Which is one of those posts that has no real assigned duties, and is more about rewarding people with a position that sounds (sort of) that it has something significant about it.
MITCHELL: Continuing rise to top

If anything, being deputy governor is even lower on the political food chain than being lieutenant governor – which is an Illinois Constitution-mandated position and has the task of being the one who gets called upon to take over state government in the event a replacement is needed.

That is the role that Juliana Stratton was chosen for in last month’s elections.
RUIZ: Part of a multi-ethnic trio

DEPUTY GOVERNOR IS not a post that puts Hynes, Mitchell or Ruiz on track to become – in the event of a tragedy – Illinois governor. It’s a reward for past favors done for Pritzker.

Or perhaps it’s meant to give them the impression of significance without actually having any real responsibilities.

Not that I’m saying Pritzker is doing something inappropriate by picking the trio of politicos for the post. Keep in mind how soon-to-be-former Gov. Bruce Rauner used the position.

For he had a deputy governor when, in 2017, he decided to have another. With that person being Leslie Munger.

SHE WAS THE woman whom Rauner tried to make Illinois Comptroller following the death of Judy Baar Topinka. But the special election to pick a replacement wound up giving us Susana Mendoza, a Democrat, instead.
MUNGER: A consolation prize

Rauner wound up giving Munger the deputy governor post as a consolation prize of sorts. And now, she’s being replaced by the political equivalent of the United Colors of Benetton. All about creating an impression of inclusion within Illinois government – regardless of how Pritzker actually intends to conduct himself as governor during the next four years.

If anything, the most significant appointment Pritzker made Thursday was that of Alexis Sturm as state budget director. She’ll be the one who has to oversee the details of putting together a state budget for Pritzker come 2019.

Sturm was a financial advisor on Mendoza’s staff as Illinois Comptroller, which could make her the personal tie between the mayor’s office and the governor – IF Mendoza actually manages to prevail in the February and April municipal elections  to become the “big boss” at City Hall.


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Daley the big bucks (sort of) candidate this time around in ’19 election cycle

I’m not sure what to think of the fact that William Daley’s bid for Chicago mayor is the one that has the campaign fund overflowing with largess.
DALEY: The 'big bucks' guy of '19

The Chicago Tribune reported that Daley’s fund now exceeds $3 million – more than any of the other people with dreams of serving as mayor of the city of Chicago. Daley’s list of donors even includes a Kennedy – it seems that one-time Rep. Joe Kennedy II, D-Mass., wrote out a check for $10,000.

BUT CONSIDERING THAT in the last mayoral election, Rahm Emanuel managed to raise some $24.4 million for his own benefit (much of which paid for all those television spots that asked voters to give Rahm a “second chance” as mayor back in 2015), it would seem that Daley is lagging behind.

Then again, we just finished a gubernatorial race that saw the two candidates – incumbent Bruce Rauner and ultimate victor J.B. Pritzker – come up with in excess of just over $200 million to pay for their campaigns.

By those standards, Bill Daley and his $3.1 million is nothing but a political pauper.

Then again, it is evidence of just how ridiculously wealthy the two governor candidates were, and how both probably suffer from delusional personality characteristics that they were able to spend so much of their own personal wealth in order to try to get elected to office.
KENNEDY: Kicked in cash to help elect a Daley

SO MUCH SO that the Illinois governor race of 2018 is a record-setter – at least until someone in 2020 decides to waste away their own fortune to try to buy a political office for themselves.

Neither Daley, nor any of the other candidates running for mayor in 2019 seem capable of doing quite that. Instead, they seem intent on funding their campaigns the old-fashioned way.
PRITZKER: Used to be Dem donor

As in soliciting donations from politically-motivated people who may, or may not, be hoping to buy political goodwill from the people they are giving money to.

If anything, it hurts that Rauner and Pritzker spent so much on themselves. Since in the case of Rauner, he had become the most significant financier of Republican candidates for office.
RAUNER: Would anybody take his money now?

WHILE PRITZKER HAS a personal history of being THE wealthy guy that Democrats turn to for checks of significant dollar amounts to pay for all those expenses that campaigns incur to try to sway voters to cast their ballots for them.

I suspect both men are now tapped out, financially and emotionally, from wanting to think about donating any funds to someone else. Plus, the fact that there are so many people tossing their names into the hat – so to speak – to run for mayor.

It’s going to be hard for any one candidate to build up a significant fund. This could wind up being a pauper’s election cycle – by comparison to recent years.

So maybe it makes sense that Daley, the son and brother of past Chicago mayors and a former White House chief of staff and cabinet member in his own right, is the one with significant political contacts that he’s going to have more money than anyone else at this stage of the mayoral game.

I CERTAINLY DON’T see someone like Lori Lightfoot, or even Susana Mendoza, being capable of making trips (as Daley did) to Boston and Washington, D.C., where he participated in fundraisers for his campaign for Chicago mayor and got donations from assorted Kennedy clan types and one-time Bill Clinton allies.
EMANUEL: Could have outspent everybody, IF he ran again

The trick is to figure whether this financial edge is an advantage or a millstone for Daley.

Because it could be that Daley will appear to be too far removed from the nitty-gritty of Chicago problems by associating with so many out-of-towners – the kind of voters who think city politics is the most important type of government because they pick up your trash or clear the streets of snow during the winter.

The kind of governing that his father, Richard J., so excelled at over all other issues, and which is the reason anybody bothers to pay attention to the Daley name when it runs for any other political post.