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Guest Jeff S KDTW

Chicago Columnist John Kass comments on Meigs and Daley

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Kass is the successor to Mike Royko in the Chicago Tribune. He has a solid reputation as a writer and political analyst, mixed with a wry wit. Here is his piece today on Daley's powergrab Pearl Harbor attack on Meigs. You can also find it online at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columni...hi%2Dnews%2DcolShermDaley's abuse of power leaves marks on cityJohn Kass April 2, 2003I've been trying to figure out Chicago's outrage over what Mayor Richard Daley did to Meigs Field, after he sent bulldozers at night to ruin the nice little lakefront airport.And I started out to joke about how the savaging of a tiny airport upset so many. But then I realized that Mayor Little Big Man's destruction of Meigs isn't funny.Yet his carving of the large ugly X's into the landing strip, his arrogance in brushing off questions, has accomplished something remarkable. He crystallized things for Chicago.This is not a complicated story of insider deals, of contracts, connections, of documented paper trails.Rather, it is simple, with photographs, something TV is interested in watching: the destruction of a valuable resource simply because it was in Daley's way, and because he knew no one could stop him.Little Big Man finally revealed himself as the absolute boss ruling Chicago and Cook County with wrought-iron fists.Most readers, and a few of his newfound critics, are bothered that he destroyed the airport at night. They're aggravated that he'd use a pathetic story--protecting Chicago from tiny-plane terrorism--as cover for vandalizing Meigs, which he has wanted to do for years.Will it be another $500 million park--the bond financing arranged by the influential bond seller Tony Fratto, finally costing a billion in real money?Or will it become a casino?One thing it's not anymore is an airport. It was chopped up before the Friends of Meigs Field could get to a judge. But Daley is the one who elects judges.Compared to other things he's done, Meigs is chump change, almost insignificant in dollars and in the exercise of power.The other things weren't done at night. They were done during broad daylight, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of deals paid for by taxpayers.The wrought iron from his pals, the concrete flower boxes, the asphalt, the gargantuan salt contracts, the salt spread so heavily each night in winter that city crews had to sweep the pasty choking stuff off the Loop streets in the morning.The French bus shelter deal went through, with his allies on the CTA board attached. When Michigan Avenue merchants balked, they were threatened with blackmail by CTA boss "Honest" Frank Kruesi--their names and businesses were to be plastered on buses.Or that goofy $600 million Soldier Field renovation--which squats rudely on the lakefront like a fat man trying to squeeze into a pair of tiny shorts.Or the ridiculously expensive lakefront Millennium Park (Fratto's Field), the phony government minority contracts diverted instead to pink guys with Outfit connections, the car towing deals and so on.Meanwhile, Daley's brothers get rich on zoning work and the political selling of insurance, and he sneers at those who dare question him.Few do. Unfortunately, too many Chicago journalists, once considered tough, don't like to aggravate him with questions he doesn't want to answer.What passes for TV news in Chicago isn't interested in covering politics like it once did. TV often ignores this newspaper's investigative reporting on City Hall and the gutsy editorials on the editorial page about political sleaze and costly layered deals of high-ranking cronies.On Tuesday, though, even the once feisty Chicago Sun-Times, the Pravda of political Chicago, thought Daley had gone too far."Meigs maneuvers land Daley where critics want him," the newspaper headlined its editorial, apparently worried that he had clumsily exposed himself to some evil critic, whoever he is.By using the awesome leverage of his control over local governments and the courts, by stoking public contracts and subsequent campaign donations to intimidate and buy off his opposition, he's the one boss.He has co-opted not only the usual political hacks but, shrewdly, has also scooped up the once independent arts community, using organized subsidies, new theaters, grants for dancers, actors, artists, poets.He has Jesse "The King of Beers" Jackson protecting his flank among blacks. His army of Latino patronage workers, the Hispanic Democratic Organization, weakens Spanish-speaking opposition.And he remains white in the city of tribes.Except for some of my colleagues at this newspaper, there is no real challenge to the manner in which he whips Chicago in line, with muscle and with fear.If you don't believe the fear, ask any tavern owner or shopkeeper, cop, firefighter or city worker. Listen to the trembling voices of corporate business leaders when they're questioned about Meigs. They're terrified of angering him.Yet for all of that, it has been his destruction of Meigs Field that has distilled one idea in many:That Cook County and the people in it are his, that Daley can break his toys and leave them strewn on the ground, simply because he can.jskass@tribune.comCopyright

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Hi Sherman,Nice article. Thanks for posting it.I however will never visit that city again until major change occurs. Even when my In Laws came into town, I took them to Gibson's in Rosemont instead of chicago.I also started a site to boycott Chicago, and will begin advertising it as well.Here you Go. It is very crude right now, but give me a week or so to get it cleaned up. I have plenty of Ideas, but this last act of corruptness took the proverbial cake for me.http://boycottchicago.home.attbi.comRegards,Joe :-)Here is my new sig...You Like it? :-lol :-lol.http://home.attbi.com/~sonar5/sig1.jpg.Here are Picture Galleries of My Trip out west in 2002..Gallery #1 Pima Air & Space Museum + AMARC (Boneyard) at Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona. (over 240 Pictures)http://www.pbase.com/sonar5/pimaamarc

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I work in Chicago and live in a Northern suburb, so there is no way for me to boycott the city. Phil Boyer, presidetn of AOPA is also calling for a boycott. As for the Gibson's in Rosemont, is it as good as the one on Rush Street? :-)Sherm

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Absolutely.The service is superb. Even the layout is quite similar. They did a great job preserving the atmosphere of the original.Even the prices are similar. ;-)Happy to hear you live in the North. Maybe just bring a sack lunch from home, huh?Regards,Joe

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actually, I do. My work keeps me at my desk during midday, so I brown bag it always...:-(Shermtake a look and see if you can find me here:www.wbbm780.com

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Sherman,I have seen you and listened for quite a while.Although until about 2 years ago, I finally figured out who you were from the forums.You should call Phil and get him on the air, and then get a few pilots to tell their side as well.Regards,Joe

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One of our reporters interviewed Phil yesterday. And, you may have heard a county judge has issued a TRO against the city ordering it to stop any further demolition at meigssherm

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I read that article the other in school, our history class gets free tribunes so we can do current events, anyway, Meigs closing ruined my plans for the "prom" this year. I'm going to have my private in about a week or two, and was planning on flying up to Meigs from Morris with my date in a 172 instead of being bused up to Burnam Harbor or whatever to ride on a boat for a couple hours. My date is disapointed, but, theres always Midway......if you're interested in playing with 757s while flying a 172.I also tune into WBBM from time to time when 96.7, Q101, and 100.7 are just burning up the airwaves with senseless chatter.Paul Meyer - Morris, C09status.php?id=810173&indicator=OD1&a=a.jhttp://www.flightsimnetwork.com/dcforum/Us...7b45404593a.jpg

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Wow! Was amazed to hear what Daley said today at press conference during the "Turning on" of Buckingham Fountain. In response to the TRO barring him from further destruction at Meigs, he said the TRO will have NO EFFECT on what he does at Meigs. Ummm, ok Mr. Mayor.Daley seems to truely believe he is above the law & not needing to adhere to whats left of our democratic process. Very scary indeed.Maybe 'Dubya' can make a new homeland security post for Daley, so you can really put his skills & tactics to work!

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I used to live in Schaumburg, work in Elk Grove Village, and go to law school at the Watertower campus of Loyola University in downtown(1 block west of the Watertower). Although when I lived there, I knew that Daley was not the most upstanding gent in town, but until recently I didn't realize how much of a weasel he really is--the stories of political control, manipulation, and outright cheating are unbelievable.Unfortunately for me, I had a trip planned for next week to fly into Meigs during my instrument-rating cross country. Oh well, we may head over to Palwaukee or forget it altogether.I certainly hope something is able to be done to restore Meigs--but I'm not holding my breath.P.S. Sherman, nice to see a picture of you and read your "official" bio. :-)P.S.S. Hey Joe. ;-)_____________________________Jeff S. KDTWPP-ASEL

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thanks, jeff...but, don't let daley keep you from coming back. If you don't want to use palwaukee...waukegan is a great destination...if you can give me a heads up about when you think you might arrive, and where, i might be able to come out and say Hi...sherm(shermank@attbi.com)

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Sherman -Actually, now that you mention it, can you suggest an airport near Lake Zurich (northwest suburb--about 20 minutes north of Schaumburg on 59 and then Rand Rd). In time, my wife, daughters, and I would like to fly out there for our visits, rather than using that boring ol' minivan. ;-) My interest to fly to Chicago during my instrument training is merely for the practice of dealing with O'hare traffic and the associated traffic control.Any airports near Lake Zurich that you would suggest? Schaumburg?_____________________________Jeff S. KDTWPP-ASEL

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