Chicagoans get rare chance to chat with their longtime mayor

May 9, 2011

Download Story
(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
Chicagoans go through security Monday on their way to meet outgoing Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Hundreds of Chicagoans lined up at city hall Monday to say goodbye to retiring Mayor Richard Daley, who leaves office in one week. Some praised the mayor, some critiqued him and some asked him for help.

On Monday morning, the mayor greeted an invited list of VIPs, and in the afternoon, he met the uninvited. Admirers from around Chicago and the suburbs, city workers - retired and current, and residents who just wanted their moment with the mayor, even if they weren't 100 percent thrilled with him.

"I'm just going to wish him well. Good riddance," said Donald Miller. "I hope the next mayor [does] better. I don't have no grudge against Mayor Daley. I just don't like some of...the things that he [did] for the city. But I'm not hating him. I wish him well."

Standing in the city hall lobby, Georgia Patsoureas was glowing after her few moments with Daley.

"I told him how beautiful the work was that he did, his dad before him. And he also all this time he was an excellent mayor," said Patsoureas.

The mayor didn't say anything back.

"He just gave me a little peck," she said. "Right on the cheek."

Emma Heady also had another motive for waiting to meet Daley.

"I'm hear to take a view of [his] fifth floor [office], see what it looks like," Heady said. "Never been up there, always wondered about it."

Others, including MacArthur Davis, wanted to ask Mayor Daley for some help before he leaves office.

"Help obtaining a job. Going back to a good school. Things like that," Davis said. "So I can get back on my feet."

And, Davis said, he plans to come back next week to ask the new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, for help when he holds an open house.