Surreality check: Mayor Daley leaves office one week from today

May 6, 2011

Do you realize that Mayor Richard M. Daley's last day is next Friday?

One week left. Wow. That's hard to comprehend. Mayor Daley continues his farewell tour today by hitting up several areas of Chicago. Look at this schedule:

GENERAL EVENTS-MAYOR RICHARD DALEY: CHICAGO - Mayor Richard M. Daley visits site of new Garvy Elementary School addition on Northwest Side as part of his neighborhood appreciation tour. 9:55 a.m. 5225 North Oak Park Avenue. CHICAGO. Mayor Richard M. Daley joins community leaders and local residents for the dedication of the Chicago Public Library's new Dunning Branch. 7455 W. Cornelia Avenue. Mayor Richard M. Daley attends the 50th annual police recognition ceremony. 720 S. Michigan Avenue. No questions taken after these events.

It is interesting to gauge Daley's interest and passion for where he decides to stop on this tour. He's always had his favorite areas and, of course, pet projects. But this is bigger than that. In this case, he is almost backtracking through his administration.

This is how you should leave office. Really.

B story: I only touched on the aldermanic love fest that came out of Wednesday's council meeting. I was going to write up a nice snarky post in under 300 words, but the day got the best of me. So here's a truncated version of what happened. All the aldermen got up and made long speeches about Daley. Some highlights:

Alderman Danny Solis was an alter boy at Daley's sister's wedding.

Alderman Carrie Austin: "Best thing you ever said to me was I want Carrie Austin as my budget chair."

Alderman James Balcer read a poem by Teddy Roosevelt that was wasn't a poem.

Alderman Berny Stone: You made this city look great. I mean, you had a lot of help, but you made it look great. 

Alderman Michelle Harris cried and told Daley to hold his wife close. Illness is so hard to deal with.

Alderman Tom Tunney wants to take Daley to a Cubs World Series. Daley liked that a lot (lingering laughter).

Alderman O'Connor likes Daley's courage.

Alderman Schulter: Thanks for coming to all my parades.

Alderman Graham: I put myself in your shoes because I know the impact of making a big decision.

Alderman Moreno: I've shared some rides with you. When you see a pothole or a busted streetlamp, you write it down. 

Alderman Reilly: You should go on a speaking tour with former Alderman Burt Natarus (BIG LAUGHS!)

Alderman Mary Ann Smith: Her ward was infested with pigeons. (Ed. Note - she never finished the story, choosing to talk about other things for the next 15 minutes. Best speech of the council meeting). She did recall Daley at his first Gay Pride Parade: "I remember you in that little convertible wearing that sports coat with your hair slicked back having the time of your life." Daley responded, "I still have that convertible."

Alderman Reyboras: Best resolution ever, man.

Alderman Rice: If you ever need a driver, I'm your guy.

Alderman Moore: I know we disagreed a lot. But if you examine the record, you'll see we were in agreement more than disagreement (Daley, on mic: "Hmmmm").

Alderman Brookins: Before you, when you came downtown, it was a dump. You fixed it.

Alderman Colon joked about how ward night is so tedious, but I always remembered that Daley probably had it worse. He then made a Meigs Field joke.

Alderman Irwin: You've been in elected office longer than I've been living.

Alderman Fioretti: Your dad sent me a letter in 1964.

Alderman Mitts: Daley once told me, "If you can't help your family, you can't help anyone."

Alderman Rugai told the story of an international traveler from her ward. A few years ago, if you mentioned Chicago in a foreign land, you would get a "rat, tat, tat, tat mobster." Then it turned to "Michael Jordan." Last year the traveler was in Georgia and someone said "Ah, Chicago. A beautiful city. Mayor Daley."

Alderman Schiller: You did a great job as mayor, despite all the controversy.

C story: Two of my favorites in one place? Claire Zulkey interviews Steve Dolinsky today!

D story: Yesterday, I took my family to the Adler Planetarium. For three of us (including parking and a pizza/milk lunch for the toddler), the total cost was $75. Let that sink in. That's closer to $100 than $20. Rahm, if you are looking for something to champion when you take office, how 'bout the cost of museums? $75? Please. And that's with my city discount. I just want you all to remember that cost when the papers run their annual "museums need help because people just don't go anymore" story. And don't tell me to go to the library and get passes. That's not the point.

E story: 30 Rock mentioned our mayor-elect last night. Jack (Alec Baldwin) tells Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) about his wife's (Elizabeth Banks) toughness. "She's so tough....she once made Rahm Emanuel cry in an airport lounge."

F story: Tonight is the annual 'Lisagor' awards handed out by the Chicago Headline Club. It honors local news and journalism production. This site is up for 'Best News Site' and the whole blog network is up for 'Best Blog (affiliated)." We are up against the Chicago Tribune (news site) and Roger Ebert (blogs). Ebert is also receiving a lifetime achievement award. So it's a given that we are coming home empty-handed. That's okay. I think I get a chicken dinner out of it. Oh yeah, James Beards are tonight too. We aren't up for anything, but others in Chicago media are!

G story: The new government in Florida banned bestiality and baggy pants. What's your first move, Rahm?

Weather: Here come the 70s! No, I'm not talking about a disco anthology, I'm talking about Spring!

Sports: If last week featured the biggest day in Chicago sports history, then yesterday might have been the weakest. Cubs/Sox both had days off and the Bulls were heading to Atlanta. The worst part? When scrolling through the guide last night, I stumbled upon Versus, which just said on the guide "Stanley Cup Playoffs." I clicked on it - and it was Vancouver vs. Nashville. Ouch. Too soon.

Kicker: You've probably seen this already - Will Ferrell and Funny or Die report on the death of George W. Bush's gopher. Hilarious as always: