Dear Member of the
International Olympic Committee:
It's getting ugly in Chicago. The Olympic leadership is under fire and when the press actually does its job and dares to question the Mayor, he gets very angry and reveals a side of his personality usually hidden from the public.
Just read today's account in the Chicago Tribune:
Tough queries unleash a terrifying alter ego
John Kass - Chicago Tribune - August 9, 2009
For most of last week, Mayor Richard Daley was doing fine, calmly
making pronouncements, issuing sweeping edicts, decrees and commands.
But then he released his inner Mayor Chucky.
when the terrifying Mayor Chucky persona came out by week's end --
after a Tribune investigation about political insiders poised to cash
in on Daley's plans of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games -- it wasn't
"I just saw it on TV," said a friend on the phone. "A
reporter asks him a question about the Olympic land deal, and bingo.
Mayor Chucky. Wow. It's scary."
earlier, Daley was publicly relaxed, almost like a normal person. He
stood high above his metropolis, perched on a tiny sliver of glass,
standing on the Ledge on the observation Skydeck of what I still call
Sears Tower. He was master of all he surveyed, staring at the tiny
humans on the street far below. The man looked happy.
didn't lose his cool when foolish Chicago Public Schools officials
selected a popular singer as spokesman for the mayor's big
back-to-school push, without telling him the singer's big hit is
But it was inevitable that Mayor Chucky would
pop out. On Friday, observers noticed the aggravated facial
expressions, then the hand waving, great circular motions from the
shoulder, then the sneering, the finger pointing, and finally, the
angry lip curling.
It was more terrifying than that little
killer doll in the horror movies. But this was no Hollywood fictional
character on screen. This wasn't some demonic puppet with 12-inch legs
and tiny overalls, scampering down a dark hallway, wielding a butcher
knife, and shrieking for blood. No, this was the mayor of Chicago in
real life, yelling and trying to bully reporters because he was asked
about a Tribune investigation.
The Tribune reported Friday that
developer Michael Scott Sr., an insider who is also the mayor's
president of the Chicago Board of Education, quietly arranged to
develop nearly 20 parcels of West Side real estate right near a planned
Scott also is on a Daley Olympic subcommittee
that developed ethics guidelines about how politically connected
insiders aren't supposed to cash in on Chicago Olympic gold.
mayor didn't want to answer. All he wanted to talk about was how he was
providing infrastructure developments for the good of the people. The
Scott questions were considered "off topic" by the mayor. Many of you
probably don't know that the mayor's office insists that reporters stay
"on topic" at most of his public events.
"On topic" means that
he'll talk about the stunt of the moment, so reporters can give oodles
of coverage to the news managed out of the mayor's press office. Many
days, the mayor's schedulers inform reporters he'll only accept
questions "on topic." And then you see the stunt on TV, the ribbon
cutting or the meet-and-greet with the children or the seniors, and you
think you're actually watching the news.
But a few local
reporters on Friday, including a young Tribune reporter named Dan P.
Blake, figured they should act like reporters, not press agents. So
they dared ask "off topic" questions about Michael Scott. That's when
the Mayor Chucky came out.
"No," he said. "this is just gonna be on this."
Translation: Shut up. Stay on topic.
ABC-Ch. 7's Charles Thomas asked him, politely, why he would refuse comment on an important story.
know, I'm out every day, Charles," said Mayor Chucky. "I'm sorry I
can't be feeding the machine every day for you. I have a job to do. ...
I'm sorry I can't answer questions every day. Every day. I do it
enough. ... You ask me all types of questions. Today, yesterday, you
all had the opportunity. There will always be headlines, there will be
another headline Monday, another Wednesday on something else, but
that's not my job, to fill your headlines."
Another compliant reporter went back "on topic" hoping to appease the mayor, but then Blake politely asked a question:
"When do you think you'll be available next to talk about the deal reported about Michael Scott?"
I do it every day," Mayor Chucky insisted. "You've been with me every
day. NEVER insult me with that question! You're insulting me because
every day I'm here, you're never here. And don't print that! So I know,
you'll print it."
Huh? What? All Blake asked was a legitimate question about when the mayor would answer a legitimate question.
Saturday, the mayor finally talked about Scott, but only long enough to
deny, deny, deny and say reporters were making it all up just to hurt
his feelings and ruin everything. "You come to conclusions, you're
trying to hurt 2016. I don't know why. ...You come to conclusions!"
What will happen if Chicago actually wins the 2016 Olympics?
We'll have lots and lots of insider deals.
And we'll have lots of Mayor Chucky.