Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Has Daley Checked Out?

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Has Daley Checked Out?
Has Daley Checked Out?

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Casimir Pulaski Day never fails as a political draw in Chicago.

Credit the fact the Windy City is home to the largest immigrant population of Poles anywhere in the country. They're a powerful voting bloc.

Not surprisingly, a number of Chicago politicians hold annual speeches around the heritage event. This year Congressmen Mike Quigley and Dan Lipinski, Senator Mark Kirk and others proposed waiving visa restrictions for Poles traveling back to the homeland during a speech at the Polish American Museum. 

Notably absent, however, is outgoing Mayor Richard Daley.

Daley was listed on the program as a speaker, but the mayor of Chicago didn't show.

Absent Daley is starting to become a theme of post-election Chicago, though it started well before Emanuel collected enough votes to win the election outright.

The mayor was nearly invisible during a blizzard that crippled the city and Lake Shore Drive. When asked about his absence the day after blizzard clean-up, Daley told the assembled press to calm down.

"It was one day," he said. "I mean I love you, but it was one day."

But it's not one day.

Just before the election that swept Rahm Emanuel in to office, he skipped town to vacation in the British Virgin Islands, ostensibly to avoid having to comment on the race.

After the election, Daley became even more difficult to find.

He skipped a grand opening at a group of Sav-a-Lot stores on the South Side (but strategically showed up later) to travel to Wheaton College and call the U.S. a "city of whiners." Some suggested the Wheaton visit was a test-run for his soon-to-be speaking career.

Last week when Police Superintendent Jody Weis' contract was in question, Daley gave an aww shucks endorsement of the man he picked to head up the police department, and said he wanted the top cop to stay on board until his term ended.

Then, Weis left and Terry Hillard took over in the interim. The first time we heard Daley speak on the subject of his departure, he was addressing a reading group selecting a book for "One Book, One Chicago."

The only correspondence that came from the Mayor's office during Weis's departure was an oddly coordinated waltz of press releases from the Mayor's office and the Mayor-Elect's office.

Emanuel likes to tell the press it's "one mayor at a time." But when it comes to big decisions, it looks like he's assuming the role before May 16.

Daley did attend a Friday night event at the Navy Pier Flower and Garden Show to accept an award and an hour glass from the cast of Days of Our Lives. He didn't take questions.

The mayor's inconsistent schedule -- including canceling on events he's scheduled to attend -- begs the question: has Mayor Daley checked out of Chicago?

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