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I got a big kick out of Mark Konkol's story in Friday's Sun-Times about the downtown residents who are seething at Mayor Daley for writing them off as a bunch of bigots because they're against his plan to move the Chicago Children's Museum to Grant Park.
The best quote came from a black woman named Ariel Elliott, who figures Daley has a helluva nerve playing the race card. "Who is he to say we're racists," said Elliott. "He grew up in Bridgeport. Please. Give me a friggin' break."
Of course, what I don't understand is why downtown residents are suddenly surprised to discover that their mayor is a bully who's not afraid to hit below the belt. I mean where have they been for the last -- oh -- 18 years as he's shoved one stupid idea after another (Soldier Field, Meigs Field, the failed airport in
Peotone Hegewisch) down the throats of people who didn't want them?
The residents kind of remind me of the slackers who showed up at a City Council committee meeting this summer to bitch and moan about the city's proposed tax on concert promoters. It's like those dudes rolled out of bed early one afternoon, stumbled over their bong pipes, and realized they were living in a city run by a not-so-benign dictator.
Maybe the downtown residents are feeling like spurned lovers. They were almost cultlike in their allegiance to Daley in February's mayoral election. In the 42nd Ward Daley won about 86 percent of the vote against Dorothy Brown and William Walls, racking up more than 90 percent of the vote in two of the ward's precincts.
I always thought these voters were inconsistent for ousting incumbent aldermen Burt Natarus for Brendan Reilly. As anyone in City Hall will tell you, Natarus was only following the fifth floor's orders on zoning and development deals. You'd figure folks in this ward would be smart enough to connect the dots. But, no, they punished the factotum and rewarded the boss.
On the other hand, I can sort of understand why Daley's miffed at them. By Chicago standards, they're highly ungrateful. After all, Daley plundered the tax coffers to build them Millennium Park. With most Chicago voters, you give them a garbage can and they're yours for life.