"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, November 10, 2006

The mayor and the tattler

Chicago’s Mayor Daley says convicted and sentenced 11th Ward politician Donald Tomczak “disgraced his family. Basically, he destroyed himself."  He talked that way just the other day about his former aide and current Cook County board commissioner Forrest Claypool, who did not endorse Daley’s choice for county board president.  It’s what comes to mind for Daley.  He thinks familially, or we should say tribally.  Tomczak stole money from the public, whom Daley is sworn to serve.  But citizens as a whole are not what come to mind for him.

Daley had hired Tomczak in 1989 after saying he’d fire him, because his people had muscled Daley’s in the just completed campaign.  But he apparently valued the man’s ability to get things done.  Asked about this, he said he did not “care what allegiance [people] had as long as they were doing the job,” citing what his father, the first Mayor Daley, had taught him, and his “church beliefs,” which enjoin that he “never be vindictive."  This is sickening.  Days after virtually threatening Claypool, he preaches forgiveness.

Chi Trib’s John Kass is buying none of it.  Daley “protected” Tomczak, who

ran trucks on water projects, took at least $400,000 in bribes and commanded armies of political patronage workers hired in violation of federal court decree.

He quoted a prosecutor:

"Clearly, some of Mr. Tomczak's crimes were condoned, they were facilitated and I believe in some respects they were honored by high-ranking portions of the City of Chicago.”

As for disgracing oneself,

When Daley's guys do federal time with their mouths shut [Tomczak's isn’t], the mayor praises them, or sends their sons $40 million in city contracts.

It’s Tomczak’s tattling that got him the mayoral condemnation.

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Meanwhile, back at the county, the interim board president has made higher-paying work for an employee close to the Stroger organization, billing it as reform.

Eighth-ward supporter Joann Robinson is set to get an $11,000 raise from her current forest preserve job. She'll be making $91,000 while overseeing a seven-person department that includes a newly-created deputy HR director who will be making $65,000 a year.

Her unenviable task?  To make sure hiring is on the up and up. 

“Business as usual,” said the soon to be destroyed Claypool, describing it as:

"Raise property taxes to pay for more bureaucracy and [lucrative] jobs for political patronage appointees. If this is indicative of the type of reform we can expect going forward, it's going to be a rocky four years."

Get ready.

1 comment:

Jay D. Homnick said...

When I moved from New York to Chicago in 1979, just as Byrne was succeeding Bilandic to the mayoralty, I was shocked at the culture of corruption that casually prevailed.

My favorite came when (780 AM) WBBM's reporter at City Hall delivered a breathless report on a vote by the aldermen to privatize parking-ticket collections. The contract was awarded to Tom Vrdolyak's company.

Without any hint of irony, the reporter then asked Ed Vrdolyak, who presided over the meeting, if he had some comment. (I may be mixing up the first names, but you get my point.)