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03-17-2011 Naming Something

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[Reprinted from the Lawndale News, 3/17/2011]

Should We Name Something After Daley?

By: Ray Hanania

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is retiring, and yet after having served more than 22 years, you would think there might be a little more fanfare about it. For many people, Daley is the only mayor they ever knew. For others, like me, there were two Daley monarchies, Rich and his father. I lived under both and also the few that came in between. Clearly, with so few mayors elected in the past half century, it’s not easy to become a mayor. We’ve only had seven mayors in 58 years: Richard J. Daley, Michael Bilandic, Jane M. Byrne, Harold Washington, Eugene Sawyer (not elected) and Rich Daley. The seventh mayor, for those who are counting, was Ald. David Orr who served about two weeks between Washington and Sawyer. He wasn’t elected either.

Yet, should we name something after Mayor Daley when he retires? There is a college and a downtown plaza that hosts the Picasso that are named after his father, Richard J. Daley. Washington has the main library named in his honor. There isn’t anything named after Bilandic, Byrne or Sawyer and I am quite sure Orr won’t complain that nothing was named after him. I could put on my comedian’s hat and argue we should name the Parking Meters after the mayor, who sold them for a mere $1 billion even though they are worth twice as much.

Or, we could say the name Daley really means “tax,” because despite his constant professing against taxation, Daley has raised more taxes than any prior mayor. The economy is partly to blame, of course. We could re-open Meigs Field and name it Richard M. Daley Field or maybe just call it “Apocalypse Now!” after the popular Vietnam War movie. Daley had it torn to shreds claiming Osama Bin Laden might use it for attacks against the city. Then again, why would you have to name anything after any mayor who served more than two decades in public office? How could we forget him anyway?

Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and media and political consultant. Reach him at www.Hanania.com

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