Friday, August 29, 2008

All in the Family

"No family should control that much political power...Somebody needs to tell Bill Daley "no." He has no business running for governor of Illinois, not as long as brother Rich is mayor and brother John is finance chairman of Cook County Board."

Mark Brown, "Sorry, Bill, we don't need more Daleys." Chicago Sun Times, August 28th, 2008

Another headline reads: "PARKING BONANZA: Mayor's nephew's firm stands to make millions in museum move."

Like father like son, Richard J. Daley and Richard M. Daley.

"Whereas Daley I's organization relied on patronage hiring to reward the politically faithful and crush opponents, Daley II has dominated the city by doling out spoils to his opponents."

David Bernstein, "Daley vs. Daley." Chicago, September 2008

Of course we're talking about Chicago. In Nonprofit Leadership I recount the story of starting my first community development job in the mid 1970s with a community job training program funded byChicago's Model Cities. We were required to have all sorts of insurance to get our contracts, a good idea because we were working with ex-gang members to fix up abandoned buildings. A short all-is-woe article about our lack of insurance in the neighborhood newspaper brought a call from a Machine-connected insurance outfit that provided insurance at extremely high rates to city contractors. We paid through the nose but kept the program going and eventually found cheaper insurance.

At times over the past 18 months of relentless primaries the awful alternative of "monarchy" has crossed my mind on occasion. So much simpler. Right? Someone should use the Chicago/Cook County/Illinois "natural experiment" to measure the costs and benefits of incremental monarchism -- the well-run city, a Presidential candidate, the surcharges, the green city, the disparities, the boondoggles, and the frayed practice of democracy.

of course, we could also examine the Bush legacy as well.

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