Richard Daley wins again. Not that anybody is surprised, but it is noteworthy that he will have run the city for longer than his father when he completes this term. Yes, that’s right: A father and son combined have held Chicago’s top executive slot for almost half a century.
As a Chicago-area native, as one who lived in the city for several years, as one who holds it near-and-dear to his heart, it is easy to compare Chicago and DC.
Both cities are undeniably corrupt, but the differences in execution and approval, are remarkable. It is a commonly-known fact in Chicago that a little grease helps move the skids when the broad shoulders get down to work. People understand it, and they look the other way unless there are clear problems to safety, health, or community. The city Just Works, and the minor corruption greasing the skids is accepted because of it. In DC, corruption is seen as rampant, and attempts to root it out have entrenched it only further. The city doesn’t work, and the blame is pointed squarely at the malfeasance of the public servant.
Both cities feature scandal-ridden dynasties of public servants. Daley was beset with hiring scandals, fundraising scandals, and a myriad of other minor Machine accusations. But in the meantime, Chicago has been transformed from rust, crime, and grime into a shining jewel. Mr. Barry was set up for a cocain sting by a hooker, imprisoned, and elected to the city council. The city still suffers from many of the same crime and class problems it did twenty years ago, despite the major re-awakening of many areas of the city.
Both cities have floundering school systems. This just seems to be a major problem for everybody. :-)