Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: Can We Stop Naming Things After the Daleys Now, Please?

Ald. Jim Balcer (11th) introduced an ordinance to rename the Cultural Center

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Let’s get one thing straight: no one loves the Daley clan more than I do.

    The truth is, for as much fun as Mayor Rahm Emanuel can be—and, trust me, I hear he can turn anyplace he goes into a party—for my money you just can’t beat Richard J. and Richie M. for the essence of true Chicago politics.

    In fact, I sometimes miss that little giggle Rich the son used to give when he was asked a question by a reporter he thought was stupid.

    Or the thunder of his rants at alderman who dared to suggest he might be wrong.

    And his miraculous ability to forget almost everything he ever did when asked about insider deals when he was in office.

    As for his dad, Richard J. Daley, who ruled over this city for 21 years? Suffice it to say I’m one of the few people left who keeps a book of his quotations by my bedside for inspiration each night.

    But now comes word that some want to name the Cultural Center after Eleanor “Sis” Daley, wife of the first mayor Daley and mother to the second.

    Ald. Jim Balcer (11th) introduced such a measure during Wednesday’s City Council meeting, and later said it was at the request of former Mayor Daley himself.

    The rationale being used is his mother once convinced her son not to tear the now 116-year-old building down when it was slated for the wrecking ball. Which all may be true, and a noble deed as well.

    But, at the risk of being a cranky old blogger, I say: Enough.

    The Daleys are more than well represented enough in this town for their decades of political reign.

    As Chicago Tribune blogger Eric Zorn pointed out in 2012, the first mayor already has a government center, its adjacent public square, a playground, a bicentennial plaza, a public library branch, a boat launch and a community college named for him.

    For his part, the son has a library with his name on it in West Humboldt Park. And his wife, Maggie, has a park being built and named after her right across the street from the Cultural Center.

    That’s 10 things—double digits—before we get to Sis.

    So I say no to Ald. Balcer’s proposal. Or barring that, attach a provision to the ordinance making it against the law for another thing in this town to have a Daley name put on it.

    Unless, of course, someone wants to name something in Chicago after me.

    Then we can talk.