Monday, August 26, 2019

Stakes are high as city waits for mayor to show her hand

     I’ve been around Chicago: inside the scoreboard at Wrigley Field and through the skybridge between the towers of the Wrigley Building. Up a communications mast atop the Hancock — now dubbed “875 N. Michigan Avenue” — and down into the 39 miles of freight tunnels under the Loop.
     So I believe I know a bit about the city. But I can’t recall a mayor ever giving a speech of any significance, at least not to match the potential impact of Lori Lightfoot’s “State of the City” address set for later this week.
      Oh, Rahm Emanuel once took out his top hat and cane and tried to tap dance around responsibility for covering up the murder of Laquan McDonald. Richard J. Daley gravely intoned his litany of lies during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. And don’t forget Harold Washington’s delighted cry of, “You want Harold? You got him!”
     Memorable? Certainly. But important? In the way that Lightfoot’s speech will reveal her strategy for dragging Chicago out of the deep debt hole her predecessors dug? Never.
     She’s calling her talk the “State of the City,” though I instantly dubbed it her “Sorry Kids, Christmas is Canceled” speech. Because we don’t need a lecture to know the news is bad. You want it plain and simple? OK, close your eyes, take three deep cleansing breaths and brace yourself. Here it comes, the unvarnished truth in seven words:
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  1. What she will say should not come as a surprise. There is no magic bullet. It will be a matter of mitigating the inevitable pain. Taxes will rise. City jobs will be lost. Services will be reduced. It’s all a matter of the extent. The needle has to move, however slowly, in the right direction. As long that is achieved and maintained, and the pain distributed evenly, Chicagoans will be able to accept it. There Is no other choice.

  2. If she raises taxes, she will be a one termer. We've had it paying for the inflated pensions of all these incompetent & unnecessary hacks the city employs & the corrupt cops that cost us millions every years in lawsuits because they cover up for the violent loons the rotten to the core police dept. has hired!
    When is some lawyer going to challenge the pension clause in the state constitution in FEDERAL COURT, not state court? That clause violates the equal protection clause of the US Constitution, because it makes government employees in Illinois, superior to all the rest of us by guaranteeing them a 3% COLA every year, when Social Security's COLA is often zero!

    1. Clark, I hate to tell you this, but there's no constitutional requirement for everyone to be paid the same wage, or get the same raises.

  3. Any solution to the City and State fiscal problems will be long term. However long it takes, plans must be made and adhered to, despite the pain. It will require great minds and courageous politicians. We have the ability to plot a course to fiscal responsibility, the great minds are out there somewhere. But unselfish and courageous leaders seem in short supply in Illinois.

  4. A classic conflict of interest: Does she protect herself or does she lay out for Team Chicago? Either way, it seems like a lose/lose situation. First of all, she's bound to get the Jane Byrne treatment sooner or soonest and that doubled or tripled because she's both African American and Gay. If I were her, I'd be praying for a time machine that would allow me to go back before the election and withdraw.


    1. Odds for a Time Machine only slightly longer than an actual solution.

  5. Sorry to hear about Chicago's fiscal woes. I thought Cleveland had it bad, but at least we aren't spending more than we take in. There seems to be plenty of loot available in the treasury for the hacks and politicians to divvy up.

    All we have to deal with is the usual misery: Out-of-control crime, gangs, guns, terrible schools, staggering inequality, stagnant job growth, thousands of abandoned structures, crumbling streets, a shrinking population, and a doofus in the mayor's chair. He will begin his fifteenth year in office in January.


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