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The Not So "Imperial" Mayor Daley

By Syed Ahad Hussain
On October 12, 2010

Mayor Daley, who was first elected on April 4, 1989, was since re-elected five times, according to the City of Chicago website. On Sept 7 he announced that he will not run again for the 2011 election, as his term will end in May, 2011.

Mayor Daley's notable achievements include the construction of Millennium Park to make the city more "environmentally friendly," according to the City of Chicago website, and  he took over the Chicago Public Schools and formed a new management team who set strict academic criteria, which resulted in satisfactory academic progress and a decrease in drop-out ratios. He also created new and improved safety measures for the schools, as well as building forty-one new schools in Chicago, according to the City of Chicago website.

On the other hand, he also created the "hired truck program," which was revealed by the "Chicago Sun Times'" series of three investigative articles, published in Jan 2004, to not only be a failed project, but also corrupted. The "Chicago Sun Times" report says that trucking companies, in a $40 million-a-year city of Chicago program, were just paid to do nothing. Also revealed in the articles was the involvement of the and the practice of bribery and favoritism to get into the "hired truck program." The Daley family's own involvement in the corruption was indicated by the subsequent investigative articles, as it was Mayor Daley's brother Richard P. Daley who sold insurance to the trucking companies. The report says that Daley's 11th ward power-base companies got almost 25 percent of hired truck program money. $108,575 in campaign contributions were taken by the mayor himself, who continues to defend the program and refused to take the blame, according to the "Chicago Sun Times" article ‘Clout on Wheels.'

This clearly indicates the corrupt practices of the city's government in this era of current economic downfall. The program was initiated to benefit the Chicago taxpayers by saving tax money, but because of the government officials' corrupt practices it became a hurdle in the city's economic development, causing students to struggle to make ends meet with tuition fees with little or no financial aid grants or employment.  

Mayor Daley has failed in his attempt to benefit taxpayers and stabilize the economy, with the leasing of parking meters to the global financing firm Morgan Stanley for the next 75 years as detailed on the City of Chicago website, in turn increased parking meter rates. Also, Daley's modernization of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) resulted in increased fare, reduced service hours and several layoffs of CTA employees.

Daley has done enough damage to Chicago; it is not surprising to hear that he will not run again. I would rather live in a city without a park than live hand-to-mouth to survive and educate myself. It is the economy which needs to be human friendly first, not the environment.

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