Revision Street roundup: Regime change in Chicago

Revision Street roundup: Regime change in Chicago

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In this Revision Street: America special edition, I ask some of our favorite interviewees—those who have no interest in the mayoral seat themselves, but certainly do have something to say about it—what they think about the announcement that Daley will not seek re-election. I’ve also added in comments from previously published interviews, and links to the interviewees’ full stories.

(photo by the_mel)

To my surprise I feel we are losing the devil we know and I am a bit apprehensive about the devil we don’t know replacing him.

Bruce Williams

I’m kind of ready for this administration to leave. I was a big fan of Daley’s way back when, and it’s really disheartening to me as I get older. It seems like we are corrupt in every, every arena. Every layer of it. They put in a light over somebody’s pool, this one’s driving drunk in this state car. Is there anybody who’s just in it for the pure good of a city? Every time I turn around now, there’s something else that’s coming up from this administration. For the love of god, I thought we were over this. I’m tired of voting against people. I’d really like to vote for people… . I wish my son could play outside. I played outside when I was a kid. I wish my son could play outside without me hovering over him. I long for safety to be back in our lives.

Abby Smith (first published here)

Human civilization is clearly moving away from the kingship model to a more participatory leadership model. All adults are looked to by children as leaders. All adults should be trained to be leaders. This is a healthier model not only for the society at large, but for the leaders themselves. The kingship model puts 100% responsibility onto one person (as Harry Truman said: the buck stops here). This is not fair to that person and it doesn’t work for the community.

Working on the two-year State Task Force (under the Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Act), we came to learn that State of Illinois departments do not talk to each other. I have asked department heads pointedly: Does the Governor of Illinois have a cabinet? Does it meet regularly? The answers that I got all indicated that Gov. Quinn (and I believe governors before him) do not regularly have advisory meetings where every department head is sharing and coordinating with the others. This is a dysfunctional model of policy implementation and of management.

Another version of the kingship model is the “knight in shining armor” model, which especially puts pressure on male leaders to be the lone ranger, the stoic Messiah, the guy who stands or falls all alone. This is why female leadership is needed at the table.

At the age of 59 years, I now believe that every leadership position should be a “co” leadership. In fact, we do elect our President based on his/her spouse’s qualifications as much as his/her own qualifications.

The question is, how do we train all adults to become leaders? I believe that Ald. Joe Moore’s participatory budgeting process (completed in April of this year) describes a key method.

Debbie Hillman

Of course, [Wal-Mart has] done an amazing, enormous PR campaign. I know people over here that probably gained a few pounds in the past six months because of all the dinners and lunches and breakfasts and balloons and knickknacks and stuff they’ve been given by the corporation. They’ve been courted by them, and have gotten on this bandwagon and believed that if we don’t get Wal-Mart then we’re not going to have anything. We’ve got to do this: it’s now or never. All the clichés, and all the hoopla and lies, fraudulent ads in the paper saying Pullman wants Wal-Mart, Pullman needs Wal-Mart, people from here have to go all the way to Country Club Hills for fresh produce. We talked to people around here. Most of the people in this community don’t know where Country Club Hills is. For them to take a full-page ad in the Chicago Sun-Times that Pullman people have to go to Country Club Hills to get fresh foods is bald-faced lie.

And you know they get away with it, and the Sun-Times have endorsed them of course, and so has the Trib, because they spend so much money and they can steer opinion. That’s what we’re up against here.

But the issue about the labor, this traditionally has been a strong union area. I know that unions are much less strong today and the numbers have dwindled, less than 15% or something of people across the country are union members, and today there are very few jobs and very few union jobs. Mayor Daley was on the early morning news, and he was talking about the jobs that this was gonna bring: It’s gonna bring jobs, it’s gonna bring jobs, we need development… .[But] I’ve seen a study from Loyola University and another one from University of Chicago, I think, that recently came out. One deals with the Wal-Mart that’s on the West Side and how many jobs have were gained as opposed to lost, and it’s pretty much a wash when you count the businesses that have had to close because of Wal-Mart, or people that have left those jobs and came to Wal-Mart. So you have two studies out there that prove there’s not a real gain in jobs.

Tom Shepherd (first published here)

I don’t believe in royalty, which means I can’t vote for [the] Daleys.

Padraig O’Hara (first published here)

I guess I am cynical since the last great mayor we had was Harold Washington.

Yes, it is great that Daley is not running but someone from the machine will run and it will be more of the same ol’ privatizations and selling of the public domain. Have things really changed from Bush to Obama? Reagan to Clinton?

Reagan could not get the Glass-Steagall Act* repealed because of the savings and loan crisis so Wall Street got Clinton to repeal it, and here we are now in this financial mess. With the exception of Wisconsin’s Senator Feingold no politician is talking about reinstating Glass-Steagall and repealing Gramm.**

Sladjana Vuckovic

We’re celebrating another regime change today over here on Revision Street: our faithful transcriber and assistant Rebecca Lederman is moving on to other projects, but she’ll continue to update the excellent blog she keeps of drawings of all our interviewees—based solely on their stories and voices. Rebecca is being replaced by the affable Kelly Pope. We wish them both a great deal of luck in the coming months! Especially Kelly.

*The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, also known as the Banking Act, established a barrier between investment banks and depository banks. Its repeal in 1999 allowed for the trading of mortgage-backed securities with inflated ratings and, eventually, the housing boom that presaged the recent foreclosure crisis.

**The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, or the Financial Services Modernization Act, was a partial repeal of Glass-Steagall which made it possible for commercial and investment banks, securities firms, and insurance companies to consolidate.