The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Dumke, Hinz Sum up the State of the City

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jun 25, 2009 3:40PM

Photo by DCE
In a column run yesterday on Crain's Taking Names blog, Greg Hinz pretty much summed up the mess Mayor Daley is returning to here in the City by the Lake.

The city budget is hundreds of millions of dollars in the red. The mayor's asset privatization honey pot went bye-bye with the meltdown of the parking-meter deal and financial collapse of the Midway Airport lease. Financing for the rest of Mr. Daley's huge expansion of O'Hare appears stalled, rogue cops get a slap on the wrist when they pull stuff like body slamming a petite barkeep who's just doing her job, and just when federal prosecutors are backing off the mayor's nephew goes and instigates a new City Hall probe.

Hinz points out that most mayors, faced with "a list of horrors like that" would be planning an extended vacation, set to begin after the next election.

But Chicagoans aren't like that. At least not historically. And Hinz seems to think that Daley "has what it takes to pull his government out of its current funk. I think. I hope." Mick Dumke at the Chicago Reader, though, has other ideas. Using an email sent out by Dick Mell as an opportunity to critique the current state of affairs in the city, he poses the open-ended question that is on many Chicagoans mind these days: Should we move ahead or should we discontinue our fight for the 2016 bid? After picking apart the political math behind Mell's email, 33rd Ward resident Irving Birkner answers Mell's (and Mick's) question.

The mayor seems unwilling to change his mind or fully respond to concerns on this, so why ask the question? It seems far too late--the city is not going to withdraw its bid now, and if we're awarded the games in October, I hardly think we're going to turn the IOC down.

As near as I can tell, the City Council seems utterly incapable of due diligence or serving as any sort of check on the executive office. The Olympics, the parking meters, Midway, etc. all seem to be presented to citizens as faits accomplis and then after the fact your colleagues all claim they didn't know or fully understand.

Personally, I think the idea [for the Olympics] is nice but the execution is appalling--I'm not really surprised that I'm on the hook for this. Either way, the time for outrage seems long past, so like many citizens of Chicago, I guess I'll accept it along with the negligence and corruption that got us here.

Dumke, for what it's worth, has become an essential read on both the Olympic bid and, along with Ben Joravsky, on the parking meter debacle.