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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Joel Connelly, Chicago Fan

posted by on August 9 at 8:59 AM

Joel Connelly’s column in the PI the other day sang the praises of the Savage hometown and its political ways. The Brother has often said to me that he’d gladly trade Chicago’s corruption—where at least things get done—for Seattle’s Deep Process paralysis, where anything worth doing gets talked to death and then not done anyway.

But the costs of corruption are real: high property taxes, a police force riddled with members who consider themselves above the law, and organized crime (just one example of the overlap of these things: a former Chicago Chief of Detectives is serving time in Federal prison for running an Outfit-connected jewelry theft ring.). Looking back fondly at the last voters’ revolt in Chicago—28 years ago!—Connelly fools himself into thinking that Chicagoans can be as tough on pols as our pols are on each other, or on contractors who probably paid them off for the city work in the first place.

Wrong. Mayor Richard M. Daley owns this town, and we have a different form of political paralysis, the grim reality that Daley has co-opted all rivals and will reign until he dies, retires, or is indicted by the feds. As federal prosecutors keep getting closer to Daley’s inner circle, my money is on the third option.

Finally, Joel, you really shouldn’t try passing off the work of a better writer, Finley Peter Dunne, as your own. When you write that “Chicago runs on the premise that politics ain’t bean bag,” you ought to credit Dunne’s Mr. Dooley, Irish immigrant barkeep-philosopher of Mayor Daley’s home ward, Bridgeport, who said “Politics ain’t beanbag: ‘tis a man’s game, and women, children ‘n’ pro-hy-bitionists had best stay out of it.”

Given the prohibitionists who run things in Seattle, though, maybe the whole quotation would have struck too deeply.

RSS icon Comments


Seattle had a phase of corruption (until Chris Bayley and his crew cleaned things up). Right now out here in the upper left of America we've got politicians who reflect our values. And nothing's better than that!

Posted by Pensioner | August 9, 2007 8:57 AM

Nice catch on the beanbag quote.

Posted by Fnarf | August 9, 2007 9:19 AM

Ahh, nothing like a little corruption to spice up local politics. Seattle might aspire to "big city" status, but alas, I don't think we have nearly enough elected criminals.

Posted by Original Monique | August 9, 2007 9:24 AM

Connelly did correctly point out that in Chicago they know how to deploy the police. Here we have cops getting lap dances while thugs hang at 3rd and Pike. In Chicago, police would swarm the area.

Posted by Algernon | August 9, 2007 10:47 AM

Nope, I'd still prefer Daley. Chicago looks better than it has in years and it's all Daley's doing. Our snake in pussy's guise Mayor is bent over by developers and able to hide it all behind an endless string of YEAH/NAY propositions done and undone by the hoi polloi. While Seattle is still "considering" whether it's a big city, it's got BIG city problems. And I don't buy this "let's think about the issues." It's just pure passive aggressive NIMBYism, wearing a hemp t-shirt.

Posted by Chi-lover | August 9, 2007 10:58 AM

Corruption, as CF (I think) points out, doesn't necessarily negate progress--and while I love and miss Chicago, I'd still rate New York higher in terms of actually getting things done more or less legitimately.

Besides that--what the fuck is going on with the el? Last time I was in Chicago, the whole system seemed to be falling apart.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | August 9, 2007 11:26 AM

The El is NYC's subway, only above ground. You claim to be from NY - have you ever ridden that shittube?

Your mayor would rather spend his time worrying about strip clubs and nightclubs than a goddamned decrepit viaduct or daily shootings in Pioneer Square. Oh, and nice transit system.

And crooked cops? I'm glad to know Seattle has none of those. Type Seattle+cops into google and see what you come up with.

Posted by Real City | August 9, 2007 11:43 AM

Connelly is just one of many Democrats who don't believe in democracy anymore. Hence why he adores Teddy Roosevelt the imperialist.

Posted by wf | August 9, 2007 11:59 AM

@ 5: Yeah, that's because the only people Daley cares about pleasing are tourists and developers. Those of us who live here and want to say, take the CTA or own a house can go fuck ourselves. But CF is right, he ain't going nowhere. Just like the rest of America Chicagoans like our leaders cavalier and condescending.

Posted by chi type | August 9, 2007 3:08 PM

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