The Final Daley City Council Love-In: A Recap
By Chuck Sudo in News on May 4, 2011 7:20PM
Some of you expressed curiosity that Mayor Daley's final City Council meeting might tackle some tough city business. We'll just call you eternal optimists, instead of "silly." Though Ald. Ed Burke did propose a measure in today's meeting requiring cell phones contain a special feature built into them allowing parents to block their kids from what called an "epidemic" of teens texting while driving, much of the session was reserved for what 30th Ward Ald. Ariel Reboyras called the "resolution of all resolutions" - two hours of praise for the outgoing Elective Majesty. The aldermen even pooled their allowances together and gave Daley a parting gift of a crystal bowl engraved with the city seal, the start and end dates of Daley's time in office and the names of the 129 City Council members with whom he served. (We don't know if there were asterisks next to those who were indicted.)
Burke, whose slow as molasses speeches should be used by the CIA as enhanced interrogation techniques, kicked things off with an old Irish saying:
"'You have to do your own growing, no matter how tall your father was.' For 22 years, no one exemplified that more than Mayor Daley. He sought to establish his own agenda. Today, Mayor Daley stands tall in his own right, by his own achievement and his own hand."
Burke also pointed out that "very few occupants of the Fifth Floor leave voluntarily" and that Daley will share that rare distinction with Ed Kelly; that the 600,000 trees he planted during his mayoralty will be an "become an irreplaceable inheritance" for future Chicagoans; that Daley has been "has been fair, strong and objective, and an example of modern urban leadership" who "altered the rhythms of modern life and made Chicago the most livable city in the nation."
"Depart this chamber as you entered - with dignity, respect and good will." Burke concluded.
From there it was a endless queue of aldermen, some in their final City Council meeting with Daley, offering best wishes and Godspeeds. To a man and woman, all of them expressed a unifying theme - that Richard M. Daley, regardless of what you think of the job he did, loves this city
Daley, finally given a chance to speak, joked, "this is the longest I've ever sat in this seat" before reiterating his often stated belief that being Mayor of Chicago is the greatest job in the world. In that moment, the man looked as though he was ready to, in the words of 29th Ward Ald. Deborah graham, "backpedal" on his autumn announcement not to seek another term.