Daleyist: Layoffs, Clout, and Iraq

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 13, 2008 6:05PM

2008_11_13_daley.jpgMayor Daley has many nicknames among Chicagoans, but we're going to start referring to him as The Harbinger of Doom. Daley announced that he has been informed by several CEOs to expect massive layoffs in the city's private sector as the nation's current economic recession deepens. "Huge layoffs are coming in November and December. And next year, there’s going to be [even more] huge layoffs. All the corporation CEOs have come in to tell me. That’s just the beginning. It’s not their end result." Oh, and that $420 million budget hole the city is facing? Turns out that's not the only bad news we're facing.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that Chicago will close the book on 2008 with an unreserved corporate fund balance of just $1.5 million, a dangerously low level that, Wall Street Rating agencies warned, threatens the all-important bond rating used to determine borrowing costs.

If already depressed revenues fall even shorter than expected, Moody’s and Standard & Poors warned that Daley could face a difficult choice: Raid the $500 million Skyway fund; establish a new line of credit to pay employees, contractors and retire debt; or order even deeper budget cuts, beyond the 929 layoffs already planned.

Daley insists he won't touch the Skyway fund, "unless everything goes into the bottom. Unless everything hits a Depresssion. That word is dangerous to use. But this is going to be a very difficult economy. I keep saying it. It’s very, very serious." Daley's 2009 budget is due for a November 19 vote and still faces an Aldermanic uproar. Said the mayor in this week's "No Shit" statement, “No one is happy with the budget."

Mayor Daley has also turned his attention to the current search to replace State Senate President Emil Jones. It seems Daley is making a play to ensure the new Senate President is from Chicago, a charge that Daley denies. Most of the speculation has been around North Side Chicago Sen. John Cullerton as one of the leading candidates, and he, for one, would welcome the Mayor's support: "He hasn't told me he's for me. But if he's for me, that would be great." The report originally surfaced in The Capital Fax but Daley swears it ain't true. "I haven't said that at all. I don't know who you're talking to. Who's Capitol Fax anyway?...I haven't said anything [about Jones' replacement]. I have enough problems with my budget. Let's first work on the budget."

But these aren't the only tussles Mayor Daley has faced this week. On Veterans Day, he butted heads with Ald. Ed Smith regarding an anti-Iraq War message Ald. Smith added onto a resolution honoring a local soldier killed in Afghanistan. The Mayor responded by lecturing Smith:

They represent the good of society. There’s evil in society. Right in Chicago, there’s evil….And men and women decide to stay on the side of good. They’re out there serving and protecting us all over the world and right here in Chicago…They’re doing that right now in dangerous conditions.

Just the last few weeks, we went to funerals for two police officers killed in the line of duty. They didn’t serve in vain. They served with great pride. They dedicated their lives [to] serving and protecting…No one likes war. No one likes violence. But there are evil people out there. And all those who have joined the military understand what evil is all about.

Daley's son Patrick recently returned from serving with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan.

A.P. Photo