Mayor Daley's performance at the opening on Thursday of the new French Market in the Ogilvie Transportation Center was a good example of why many people call him petty.
Despite 12 aldermen who stood in opposition, Daley's recent $6-plus billion budget easily passed the city council.
Still, Daley felt the need to call out the aldermen who had the audacity to vote against it.
“I really appreciated those 38 aldermen who stood with me and the taxpayers of the city of Chicago, because the other ones are not going to convince me to raise taxes or raise fees," he said at the event, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"I don’t care what they told me. I don’t care what excuse. Not one of ‘em gave me one amendment to cut basic services or their theory as to raise taxes. Not one of ‘em. So, be proud. If you voted no, then be proud of it, and I’ll debate any of ‘em any time, but they won’t. And we’re one of the few cities in America that balanced our budget.”
Way to not be defensive about an easy victory.
And way to elide the truth.
First, Daley has spent years raising taxes and fees - and this year will be no different when you consider the impact of his cherished tax increment financing districts, which freeze property taxes but force other taxing bodies like the schools to hike their rates to make up the difference.
Second, while no alderman went through the futile exercise of offering an amendment to Daley's budget, plenty of aldermen offered alternatives. Tom Allen, who gave a lengthy speech on the council floor prior to the vote doing just that.
Third, Daley surely won't debate anyone at any time about anything.
Fourth, I'm not aware of a city in America that doesn't require a balanced budget, but maybe there is one out there.
But Daley wasn't through. See, the French Market is subsidized by $8 million in TIF money, so Daley took the opportunity to chide TIF critics, as well.
"[W]hen we announce it's being used, everybody loves it. Even though they're against it, they'll take pictures with me," Daley said, according to the Sun-Times.
Standing nearby was Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), who opposes Daley's plan for an East Loop TIF because TIFs are supposed to be used only in areas that are defined as "blighted," which the East Loop isn't.
Then again, the Ogilvie Transportation Center probably doesn't meet the definition of blighted, either.
But Daley's demeanor? Definitely blighted. Is there a politician in America who is as angry and bitter as the nation's most powerful big-city mayor?
Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.