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Letters and Comments, February 3, 2011 

On del Valle . . .

Re: "Mr. Nice Guy: Is Miguel del Valle tough enough to be mayor? And does toughness matter?" by Ben Joravsky, January 31

There are, of course, reasons to value toughness in a mayor of a city the size of Chicago, especially in a time of fiscal crisis. There are always a number of conflicts involving city interests and city resources, and it's reassuring to believe the ultimate decision maker isn't going to fold every time someone on the other side of the bargaining table threatens a lawsuit or protest (see Pat Quinn). You don't have to be an a$$ to be tough—Toni Preckwinkle seems quite polite yet strong enough to go toe-to-toe with Tom Dart on the size of his budget. Her civility in no way undermines her seeming strength.

But frankly, I'm not convinced that Mr. del Valle is that nice. His comment to Steve Bogira on the 24th that "Voters bought into the air of invincibility" is incredibly condescending and dismissive toward a large number of voters who may have had any number of reasons to prefer other candidates to him. Maybe Mr. del Valle is polling lower than any other major candidate for mayor because he says, and believes, arrogant things like that. —usually pc

It's about time there's an article on del Valle. But of course he still has to share with Rahm. Irritating to no end. This unequal press coverage is infuriating.

Del Valle's been in Chicago/Illinois politics for 20+ years and has yet to investigated or indicted on any typical Chicago-style deals. How is that not tough? He's been successful and run offices where the status quo is pay to play yet he has said no. How is that not tough? Does being tough mean you've been able to get away with the most questionable antics or even criminal acts? Look at the "front runners" and see who's been the "toughest." If that's your idea of tough, then I'll pass and vote for the 40-lb weakling who gets things done. —ThirdCoastGirl

Your columns and those of John Kass in the Chicago Tribune, I sometimes think, are all that's left of actual democracy in this city. The rest of the media sees that Rahm is going to win, so they soft-pedal their criticism, throwing him softballs and bouquets. But you hit it just right in your column of Jan. 27. Rahm is indeed "rude, crude, abrasive, temperamental, nasty," as he proved himself to be in his 11-minute-and-37-second phone conversation with you. One could extend that list of adjectives a great deal further. Vain, egomaniacal, domineering, mean, selfish, narcissistic, and arrogant would be a good start. But we both know none of these (lack of) qualities will make the least difference. He will win the election. He has willed it, he will buy it. It's his. I am reminded of something V. S. Naipaul once said. "The melancholy thing about the world," he wrote, "is that it is full of stupid and common people, and the world is run for the benefit of the stupid and common." The stupid and common will elect him, and they won't even know they've been had. —Mel Livatino

. . . and Emanuel

Re: "The Rahm Ruling: The appellate justices took on a thankless job, and no thanks is what they got" by Steve Bogira, January 26

Why am I not surprised that the Reader is the only media outlet in town which takes the time to report on a legal issue accurately? I guess the other papers build circulation by whipping up emotions with biased ignorance.

Thank you, Mr. Bogira, for taking the high road, and giving it to us straight. —jecb

A definition for landlord: "A property owner who surrenders the right to use property for a specific time in exchange for the receipt of rent."

Now where did Rahm reside?

For those who believe how clearly Rahm is a resident, ask why we're even having this discussion. There's a case to be made for both sides, but I'll side with common sense and plain language. You cannot reside at a house where you have no legal right to live. I don't care if one day, after serving in the White House, then maybe taking a cabinet position, then leveraging that for an ambassadorship or another investment banking gig—this time on Wall Street, you "intend" to return. For the time being, you don't reside there. I don't care if you pay the taxes on a building as thousands of real estate investors—some who reside in Chicago and many who don't—do. I don't even care if you finally—after the lightbulb goes off—amend your income taxes to say, "Oh, I meant to pay Illinois taxes all along, but of course someone else made a mistake," which is suspiciously like our current mayor never taking any responsibility for wrongdoings under his supposed leadership.

For those who might feel disenfranchised if Rahm is ruled ineligible, throw some of your concern to the people who were thrown off the ballot for not producing a single piece of paper or for not numbering their pages or for owing money for one parking ticket. Rightfully, they had to abide by the rules of eligibility. So does Rahm.

The courts will decide if he's on the ballot. Just like the courts decided George W. Bush won against Al Gore. —Claridad

D.W. Griffith: Ignorant? Or Malicious?

Re: "After 'Birth': Reviled for his racist Civil War epic, D.W. Griffith tried his hand at the American Revolution" by J.R. Jones, January 27

Generally, I thought this essay to be quite thoughtful. However (yes, always, one of those), the notion that Griffith was "more ignorant than malicious" in creating an utterly racist film is simply wrong. Birth, which as noted is based on a play called The Clansman, consciously falsified the historical record. The most blatant scenes, of course, are the horrific portrayal of African American politicians in the state legislature. But there are equally terrible depictions throughout of the main black character (lusting after white women) and equally biased, and incorrect, portrayals of white radicals Republicans. Griffith did not stumble into making a thoroughly racist film—which, forget not, directly led to the rebirth of the KKK shortly after the film was released—he very much created a racist film on purpose. —Prof. Peter Cole, Dept. of History, Western Illinois University

Correction

Last week's Omnivorous incorrectly stated that Kendall College had discontinued its personal chef program. We regret the error.

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