Oh, What a Day; In a Surprise Move, Daley Walks Away From a Job That He Loves

Commentary

By Juanita Bratcher 

 

Three days ago, Mayor Richard M. Daley announced that he would not run for re-election. Certainly, it was a surprise inasmuch as many of us thought Daley would surely run for re-election. But Daley decided that 21 years as the City of Chicago’s Chief Executive was long enough, that it was time to throw in the towel, hang up the hat and ride off into the sunset and enjoy the fruits of his labor rather than to go through another four years of the same old same old.

It was a wise decision, because he can now walk out the door of City Hall knowing that he made the decision rather than being kicked out by the voters. However, I believe he would have easily won re-election. There’s an old saying: You should know when to hold’em and know when to fold’em. When making his announcement, Daley said “It’s time.”It’s not easy to walk away from a job that you truly love. And I really believe that Daley loves his job and the city of Chicago. He also has a passion for the city, and has a passion for the job. And there are many Chicagoans that felt comfortable with his leadership. No, Daley wasn’t perfect.  But show me a politician who is. Even when you feel that you’re doing the right thing, someone will balk or complain. But even with his missteps, he did more good for the city and its people than otherwise.

Former Illinois Governor James Thompson saw that quality in Daley some years ago when Thompson, a staunch Republican, gave his blessings to the mayor before Daley officially announced his candidacy for re-election. In CopyLine Magazine’s January 1991 Edition, it noted that “The governor’s (Thompson) actions ripped into the very fabric of electoral party politics – as we know it – in that it is highly unusual for a hard-line Republican Party faithful, or a hard-line Democratic faithful for that matter, to endorse an opposition party candidate. And, at a time when a Republican search committee was being formed to find its own mayoral candidate.

“In giving Daley a vote of confidence, Thompson said that it is his ‘honest belief’ that Daley has been an ‘outstanding mayor’, and that Chicago voters will respond at the polls on election day. In other words, it is a sure bet that the electorate will give Daley the green light for another four-year term.”

Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, Democratic Candidate for Cook County Board President, in a prepared statement in regards to Daley’s announcement that he would not run for re-election, stated: “I want to thank Mayor Richard Daley for his years of service to the City of Chicago and the people of Cook County. I wish him and his family the best moving forward. If I’m elected Cook County Board President, I look forward to working with whomever succeeds him as mayor.”

Frankly, since hearing that Daley will step-down and not run for re-election, it’s hard to imagine who the next mayor will be and what it means for Chicago. But you can be certain candidates will be coming out of the woodwork to run for mayor. I think Chief Judge Tim Evans would make an excellent candidate for mayor. He once served as 4th Ward Alderman, and subsequently had ambitions to be mayor. However, it led to a tough battle between Evans and Interim Mayor Eugene Sawyer, both African-Americans. It was a tug-of-war that split the Black community. Daley won the election.

Perhaps its wishful thinking but maybe Judge Evans will give it some thought, give it another try. However, it seems nil to none that he will do so.

In the meantime, CopyLine Magazine wishes Daley and his family well in his upcoming retirement.