In Which the Chicago Blog Makes an Important Announcement about the Mayoral Race
In the day since Mayor Daley’s surprise announcement that he won’t be seeking another term, speculation has run rampant and the rumor mill has been pulling twenty-four-hour shifts. So we thought we should be clear: unlike seemingly every other resident of our fair city, the Chicago Blog will not be running for mayor.
Sure, we’ve got more than a century of accumulated knowledge about the City That Works (and how it works). And no candidate can come close to matching our backlist. But the rough and tumble of politics just isn’t for us. We’re more contemplative. Bookish, you might say.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have some recommendations for those who are throwing their hats in the ring. First up are some good starting points for assessing Daley’s legacy—if you want to replace the king, you ought to take a close look at the crown first. Larry Bennett’s brand-new The Third City paints a picture of the innovative, revitalized, postindustrial city that Chicago has become on Daley’s watch.
Timothy J. Gilfoyle’s Millennium Park is simultaneously a celebration of the park that will surely be one of Daley’s longest-lasting legacies and an insider’s account of the deal-making and politicking that went into its creation.
And while Blair Kamin’s new book of writing on architecture, Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age, casts its eye on much more than just Chicago, its heart remains here among the ever-threatened architectural jewels of the city Kamin calls home. Kamin weighed in on Daley’s legacy today on his Cityscapes blog, but for a more extensive picture of the ongoing battle between development and preservation that marked Daley’s tenure, this book and his earlier Why Architecture Matters: Lessons from Chicago are indispensable.
It also would behoove any candidate for mayor to quickly grab a copy of our landmark Encyclopedia of Chicago. If you’re running for mayor you may be too busy shaking hands (and, let’s be honest, wallets) to read it cover-to-cover, but you could at least give a copy to an aide, who can quiz you—and maybe save you from some gaffes on the campaign trail, like mixing up Billy Sunday and Billy Corgan.
Oh, and one last suggestion. Though the next few months may be filled with uncertainty, as we try to figure out whether we’re still living in Daley’s Chicago or someone else’s Chicago, the Second City or the Third City, the death throes of an old machine or the birth of a new, one thing’s for sure: Nelson Algren and Mike Royko stand ready to be your guides. Grab a copy of Algren’s Chicago: City on the Make and any one of our many Royko books and you’ll be ready for anything—there’s never been a dirty trick those two couldn’t see coming.