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I know it's become routine for candidates to embellish their records and misrepresent the truth to make themselves look good at election time. But Mayor Daley may have set new standards for distortion in "Keep Chicago Moving Forward," his first mass mailing, which was sent to voters earlier this week.
Let's just take a look at three of his proudest achievements: education, taxes, and reform.
He says "elementary test scores are the highest in 12 years," conveniently overlooking the fact that students took a newer and easier test last year. As more than one statistician has pointed out, it's meaningless to compare this year's scores to any other year's scores because the test was unlike any other.
He says he held the line on city property taxes this year, even though local taxpayers paid more in property taxes to the city this year than last year and more last year than the year before that.
Finally, he says he's "continuing to reform the city's hiring and contract process." That's a hoot, a little like President Nixon trying to take credit for reforming the federal government after Watergate. The fact is the three major hiring and contract scandals of the last few years--hired trucks, the Sorich patronage abuse, and the Duff affirmative-action scam--took place on Daley's watch. Federal investigations are far from over.
He did finally get around to building a new Simeon High School, which is pictured on the mailing, but only after residents, teachers, and students pleaded with him for over 12 years to replace the dilapidated Kroger warehouse that housed the old one. Oh well, better late than never.
Now there's a reelection slogan the mayor could accurately use.