"If I put this up your—ha!—butt—ha ha!—you'll find out how effective this is!"
—Mayor Daley raising a bayoneted rifle for Mick Dumke's consideration at a City Hall news conference after Dumke had asked about the effectiveness of the city's gun control ordinance. Dumke left the Reader in July for the Chicago News Cooperative, but came back eight months later.
A year before the next mayoral election, Chicago was wondering, will Richie run again? And if he does, can anybody beat him? The title of Mick Dumke's piece on the subject, "Time for a Revolution," indicates how big a job he thought that would be. The idea of Chicago without Daley didn't inspire the commoners—it frightened them.
Some pols and operatives don't believe anyone can give Daley a real challenge. "Is the anger out there? Sure, but I've seen it before, and on Election Day people say, 'Well, OK, fine,'" says an elected official who's considered his own mayoral prospects. "People have to actually see you as someone who can do a better job—and then they have to take a chance on you. There's no one in Chicago who's done what's necessary to get into that position."
"But we've got to have somebody run," says Second Ward alderman Bob Fioretti. He worries that if voters and elected officials don't start contemplating life after Daley, the city will descend into chaos when he's gone—whether he leaves of his own accord or not. "At some point this comes to an end, whether it's through death or otherwise," Fioretti says. "And I know the fear out there about what happens then."
In a decision almost without precedent in Chicago history, Daley chose otherwise. Dumke didn't mention Rahm Emanuel, but his story makes it easy to see why he was able to take over so easily. He was another tough guy. He didn't look like chaos.
The Reader did. As the year began our parent, Creative Loafing Inc., was fresh out of bankruptcy and now in the hands of Atalaya Capital Management, which had named a caretaker board that hired Jim Warren as Reader publisher. In 2010 developments, Warren was run off by the new CEO of CLI, Marty Petty, and succeeded by Alison Draper, who decided the Reader needed new blood and fired longtime editor Alison True, who was succeeded by managing editor Kiki Yablon, who decided to leave journalism and resigned and was followed by associate publisher Geoff Dougherty, who was soon dismissed as interim editor by Draper, and—whoops, we're now in 2011.
The cover of the issue that happened to be shown to focus groups as the Reader figured out its future. They didn't think much of it. We took note.