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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mayor Zalewski?

Posted By on 07.23.09 at 10:18 AM

In my ongoing effort to be fair and open-minded, I'm now going to try to make the case for continuing to give Mayor Daley unlimited control of everything in Chicago.

Actually, I'll allow the great New York Times columnist Gail Collins to do it for me. In today's column, she analyzes the resistance in Congress to President Obama's health care efforts. In particular, she singles out Max Baucus, a senator from Montana who—God help us all—controls the fate of millions and millions of uninsured people who must choose between medical treatment and destitution.

If that were allowed to happen in Chicago, it would mean that Michael Zalewski—just to pick one of our 50 illustrious aldermen—had control over Mayor Daley's Olympic scheme.

The argument for an all-powerful mayor has always been that he has the ability to get things done, even if the things he gets done are really stupid.

If you want an idea of how the alternative looks, turn to Gary, Indiana, where the city council briefly stood up to the mayor's attempts to privatize garbage collection.

As you can see, there were mixed results. On one hand, the Gary council took a stand against no-bid contracts. On the other, they went without garbage for a few days.

For better or worse, it's democracy in action. This may be one of those rare times that folks in Gary get to say, "Hey, at least we're not Chicago."

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