Saturday, February 07, 2009

Do You Want to be Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's Chumbolone?

The Tribune has commissioned a new poll asking taxpayers whether they support Mayor Richard Daley's 2016 Olympic dream. But the pollsters didn't call me, so I conducted my own poll on the cheap, while shaving.

Just look at yourself in the mirror, while trying to shave that stubborn stubble from under your nose, and ponder whether it's smart to give the Daley gang billions of dollars to run the Olympics. There's only one question in the Kass poll. Just ask yourself:

"Does wanting the Olympics in Chicago make me a big chumbolone?"

"Chumbolone" is the immortal term uttered by corrupt Chicago cop Anthony Doyle, convicted of being a messenger boy for imprisoned Chicago mob bosses in the Family Secrets trial. In those prison visits, he insisted he didn't hear anything. All he did was nod when the boss was talking, over and over, nodding like some Chinatown-crew bobblehead doll.

"I didn't know what he was talking about," Doyle explained from the witness stand. "I don't wanna look like a chumbolone, an idiot, stupid."

And there you have it.

We want the glitzy Olympic party. But we think we won't have to pay for it. And when Mayor Fredo talks about his Olympic dream, we nod like chumbolones.

For almost two decades now, Daley has run the city and Cook County. His administration is an encyclopedia of corruption and insider deals for friends and family. He'd drink with white guys with Outfit connections every Christmas Eve, guys who received $100 million in affirmative-action contracts from his administration, and he didn't know how it happened.

As of Sunday, it has been 1,615 days since the mayor promised he'd find out who promoted ex-gangbanger Angelo Torres to run his scandal-plagued Hired Truck program that cost taxpayers at least $40 million. We're still waiting.

There are so many such deals that counting them would be like trying to count the flies on a chunk of liver sausage in an alley in July. All this on his watch. Just imagine what he'll do with all that Olympic gold.

These days, corruption is important again, since the former governor, Mr. Dead Meat, got busted for trying to sell President Obama's Senate seat. But when will we realize that the governor of Illinois—no matter who sits in the chair—is just a measly nose hair compared to the boss of Chicago?

And if it's not outright corruption, it's incredible arrogance born of absolute political power with no dissent.

Just the other day, the mayor said he wasn't going to tell the people of his city what large "shovel-ready" public works projects he wanted out of the Obama White House. Or, is it the Cellini/La Hood U.S. Department of Transportation sending all that federal cash?

"Oh, yes, we have our list," said the mayor. "We've been talking to people. We did not put that out publicly because once you start putting it out publicly, you know, the newspapers, the media is going to be ripping it apart."

Translation: Why do I have to tell the chumbolones what I'm going to do with their tax money? They're my chumbolones. Not yours. They're mine! Mine!

Just imagine how he'll react when asked about who got cut in on some Olympic village deal. Don't ask me no questions, you chumbolones, he'll say.

Daley has already sold off the Skyway to a private management firm, and Midway Airport, and all the city's parking meters, blowing long-term assets for short-term cash. At this rate, if one of his guys gets a lobbying deal in Dubai, he might sell off all the water in Lake Michigan in the middle of the night, and everyone will wake up to the sound of fish flopping in the mud.

Such private management contracts shield information about lucrative subcontracts and, for instance, whose political brother-in-law with the room-temperature IQ gets hired after cashing in his second six-figure government pension.

Pestered by reporters about the wisdom of selling everything he can get his hands on, Daley got angry and trashed his entire city workforce, the same workforce that he's been managing for almost 20 years now, the same workforce that puts his stooges in office.

"They're not customer-related. They're gonna leave at 5 o'clock. They're gonna leave at 4:30 or 4. I'm sorry. We are on the time clock. They walk out. But in the private sector, when you have a customer, you're gonna stay there making sure they're happy and satisfied," said Daley, who regularly takes three-day weekends to his Grand Beach estate when he's not jetting off on free vacations to Paris, Geneva, Rome, Beijing, Mumbai and elsewhere.

The next day, he whined that reporters had twisted his words. "I'm a ping-pong ball for the media," he said. "But don't misinterpret what I say to try to bring confrontation against city workers."

Don't misinterpret? It was on tape. He must think we're chumbolones.

So with Daley pushing the Olympics and all the gold that flows with it, look yourself in the eye while shaving the stubble under your nose (unless, of course, you're a woman). Either way, you can still take the Kass poll. Just ask yourself:

Do I really want to be Daley's Olympic chumbolone?

Thanks to John Kass

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