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Daley Swings Back At Fritchey (Sort Of) And Media Over TIFs

By Kevin Robinson in News on Aug 26, 2010 2:00PM

Mayor Daley pushed back at State Representative John Fritchey's proposed TIF legislation in characteristic Daley fashion - full of bluster and accusation. “Everybody wants to raid something,” Daley told the Chicago News Cooperative. “I’m not going to listen to state government for financial advice. I’ll tell you one thing: The city of Chicago should not listen to the federal or state government for financial advice. We would be bankrupt today. We [should] not listen to them, your state senators or representatives. No way. Look what they’ve done with the state budget and now they’re telling us what to do with the city budget. No way.” Daley didn't limit his attacks to the general assembly, though. He took on (one of his favorite targets) the local news media, telling Dan Mihalopoulous that he wouldn't ask the Sun-Times or the Tribune for financial advice, either. Citing the Tribune's bankruptcy and layoffs of reporters, he pointed out to Mihalopoulous that he "worked there before and they let you go.” Mihalopoulous replied that he quit the Tribune and wasn't laid off. “Oh, didn’t they? OK, well, you were on the waiting list then.”

Daley closed his rant with one for the history books, indicting the federal government for the Asian Carp drama: “Asian carp was brought here by the federal government,” he said. “The federal government, in their wisdom, said that you can purchase Asian carp to clean out all the catfish farms in Arkansas and in Mississippi. They allow you to legally own Asian carp. So they’re legal to all. They’re legal to put in rivers and lakes. You can do that all over the country. You can’t have them illegal in a river and illegal in a lake. It’s impossible. They’re going up the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Ohio River, the Illinois River - all these rivers. They’re all over the country because they’ve been legally accepted in the United States. This is not the fault of Chicago. It’s not the fault of Illinois. The federal government has allowed this.”

Daley wasn't done, though, as he was then whisked off to a South Side school where he announced an online math and reading after school program, available to a select number of Chicago school children. The project uses $5.5 million in federal stimulus funding but Daley - as well as CPS CEO Ron Huberman - evaded questions about who or what will fund the program in the future and took one or two shots at the media before turning to the schoolchildren standing at his side and saying, "Sorry, kids." Whether he was apologizing to them for the bombardment of questions from reporters or for digging the city and school system into such a deep financial hole that the students will wind up paying the consequences for the rest of their lives remains unclear.