Farewell, Great City | Our Town | Chicago Reader

Farewell, Great City 

The speech we heard

click to enlarge daley_samadams.jpg

Sam Adams

Today I am announcing that I will not seek a thirty-eighth term as Mayor of the city of Chicago.

I hope you already know that I love Chicago. Chicago is, in my view, the greatest city on this earth, or in Cook County. Together as a city we have moved past our differences to reach real progress.

For many years, I have been a public servant. I was Cook County State's Attorney before I was Mayor. I was State's Attorney when one of our fine police lieutenants was supposedly mistreating some of our fine black suspects in one of our police stations on our city's great south side. This is one of the differences that we have moved past, so I won't talk further about it. I am surprised that I brought it up.

From the beginning I have been guided by one belief—that every day I could do better for the people of Chicago, which include my family and friends. There has been no greater honor than serving as your mayor, and working alongside subpoenaed professionals. Seasoned professionals, I mean.

I've had the opportunity to expand, to build, to create, unite, and compromise for the betterment of Chicago. Meigs Field, right, that was not a compromise, but the fine was small. And there must have been a compromise somewhere else along the way. It's unfair to claim that it was always my way or the Skyway, which I alone decided to lease, but for the betterment of Chicago.

You all know how much I love Chicago, the greatest city on this or any earth.

I want to thank the thousands of Chicagoans who have worked side-by-side with me every day, although that was very crowded. I am deeply grateful to the people of this city, more deeply than I can fully express. There have been many things I have not been able to fully, or partially, express.

I've always believed that every person, especially public officials, must understand when it's time to move on. For me that time was maybe ten years ago, but better late than never.

The truth is I have been thinking about this for the last several months. For decades, really. People think I love being mayor, but I'm actually very uncomfortable in the public eye. Billy, one of the great brothers in my family, is the one who should be doing this, and for all I know, he may be doing it before long. I will probably endorse him if he lets me keep the seats near the dugout.

Now I am ready to begin a new phase of my life. I will be writing my memoirs, which all Chicagoans will be able to read by filing a simple Freedom of Information Act request.

I would take your questions, but I'm parked out front and the pay box is running.

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