Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Goodbye Chicago, hello Tokyo!

     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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  1. He’ll resign when Trump is re-elected...

    I take it that was a throwaway line for shock effect. If Trump should pull off a second hideous fluke, we'll have bigger things to worry about than who is ambassador to Japan.

    1. Exactly. If we aren't viewing that as a distinct possibility, then we've learned nothing from the past five years.

  2. That offhand reference to the Biggest Loser getting re-elected, along with Phil Kadner's disturbing valedictory column in the S-T should be enough to depress me for the rest of the day. :(

  3. I never though Rahm was a bad mayor. Like all of them he was a victim of circumstances, but he put the city on a better financial path. His closing of schools could probably have been handled better, but none of the dire forecasts of kiddies being gunned down crossing gang territories panned out, and it kept the system from being saddled with excess infrastructure.

    He'll make a good ambassador if for no other reason than that he is close to the President.


  4. Closing of the schools should never have happened. It cut to the core of one of the most serious problems the city has. Making young kids travel further to more crowded classroom is a huge step in the wrong direction.
    I can think of numerous projects other than dressing up the riverfront that would have improved the overall quality of the city.


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