Being a contrarian, I do not share the general consensus that Lori Lightfoot has accomplished nothing as mayor beyond grimly presiding over one disaster after another. In my view, that just isn’t true. For instance, she managed the neat trick of making Rahm Emanuel look good by comparison.
Think about it. The Riverwalk was Mayor Rahm’s baby. A glittering new facet to the city. Like Rich Daley with Millennium Park, Rahm reminds us that a single landmark bauble can almost outshine a garish jacket woven of blunders.
And at least you could talk with the man. Yes, that isn’t a quality that resonates with most Chicagoans. But it meant something to us inky wretches. Rahm was trying to accomplish stuff, and it gave the media a warm glow to be let in on the plan. The reason I can confidently credit Rahm with the Riverwalk is because, when he showed up and I asked him what he wanted to do in office, the first words out of his mouth were about improving the riverfront.
I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve gone over to Team Rahm. Yes, I am rooting for his nomination as U.S. ambassador to Japan to be advanced Wednesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — and not just because that would plant him about as far from Chicago as he can get without leaving the earth’s magnetic field. A certain generational sympathy is also at work. It’s hard to be a man in your early 60s trying to carve out a new career.
Or so I imagine; I’ve managed to cling to my own job with singular, barnacle-like tenacity for a third of a century. But I take a morbid interest in noting where those whose fingers are pried from their professional ledges manage to land. Usually, it isn’t pretty. Usually, there’s a splat.
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