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Essentially, the City Council's great Olympic compromise with Mayor Daley boils down to this: they give him permission to spend as much public money on the games as he wants—into the billions of dollars. And he promises to tell them how he spent the money after he spends it.
I'm not sure why that deal would inspire the howls of aldermanic hallelujah that erupted during yesterday's council meeting, unless they're just relieved to have that matter moved off their desks.
But there they were waving the flags, patting themselves on the back, and straining their brains to think of new ways to express their adoration for Mayor Daley.
As for Alderman Manny Flores, you'd have thought he'd discovered a cure for baldness the way they lavished him with praise for forcing Daley to promise to publicize what should have been public information to begin with—and despite the fact that he surrendered on this fight long ago.
A word of warning for anyone hoping to track the 2016 committee's work should Chicago wins the games. If Daley's people run this the way they run the TIF program, it will be virtually impossible to follow exactly what's going on.
The city long ago mastered the art of stashing TIF information in bits and pieces. A little here, a little there—just enough to say, Hey, we're transparent without actually being transparent. The point is to make most folks throw up their hands and say forget it—I give up. Just spend my money however you want.
Still, I don't want to rain on the aldermen's parade. If they're happy, I'm happy for them.
How's this for an Olympic motto: Let the obfuscation begin!