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Mayor Daley had a “Heck of a job, Brownie” moment yesterday. During the City Council meeting aldermen Ric Munoz and Joe Moore had introduced a resolution (PDF) calling for CTA board president Frank Kruesi and board chairman Carole Brown to appear before the council and address the "ongoing crisis" that threatens to turn the CTA into a "third-world transit system." At a press conference after the council session I asked the mayor what he thought of the aldermen's claim that the CTA's management is plagued by “gross incompetence.”
“By them?” Daley asked—meaning, I guess, the aldermen. No one got the joke, so he quickly moved onto something funnier: “When you take the number of people coming in and out of the CTA, they do a tremendous job,” he said. I assume he was referring to the number of train riders every day, not to turnover among CTA employees.
Daley went on to express full confidence in Kruesi and blamed breakdowns and delays in the rail system on decreased funding from the state and opponents of big-box stores, which he said would bring in more sales taxes and thus boost the CTA’s budget. “And unfortunately, it’s an old system,” the mayor said with a shrug.
I asked him when he’d last ridden a CTA train. “About a year ago. Thank you.”
The press conference was over.