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The [Wednesday] Papers

Whoa. Does Mayor Richard M. Daley really think those who support the big-box ordinance are racists whose motivation is to screw black people out of shopping options?

"It was all right for the North and Southwest Sides to get big boxes before this," Daley thundered on Tuesday in defense of his veto of the ordinance. "All the sudden, when we talk about economic development in the black community, there's something wrong."

The papers played it straight, as if this was a reasonable position. "Daley: Race Spurred Big-Box Effort," the Sun-Times headline reads. "Not An Issue Until Stores Went To Black Areas?" the paper wondered in its subhead.

The headline on the Tribune's report: "Daley Sees Race In 'Big Box' Debate."

This shouldn't be left to pass. The mayor is accusing an awful lot of people of being racists - approximately 84 percent of the city's registered voters - in an election year.

If the mayor really believes this, his intellectual capacity to lead the city ought to come into question. If he's just playing cynical politics, he should be called on the carpet for it - making racial accusations for political gain is more offensive to blacks than whites, because it is they who are being exploited and played for fools. It's disgusting, and Daley should be pressed on it. After all - right or wrong - supporters of the big-box ordinance are the ones fighting for higher wages for the workers in the neighborhoods where the stores would be built.

Daley Dose
"Daley has not said whether he will seek another term," the Tribune notes in its report, "although, as this paper has reported, he has removed the chief executive of the Chicago Housing Authority from his job in order to run his re-election campaign."

I added the second part.

Ald. Ignoramus (D-Daley)
Shirley Coleman's ascension to the top of the aldermanic idiot list didn't last long. Ald. George Cardenas (12th) now wears the crown.

Even in the annals of aldermania, few have appeared as lame as Cardenas did on Chicago Tonight last night as he explained why he was changing his position on the big-box ordinance and supporting the mayor's veto.

It seems things have changed in the six weeks since he thought the ordinance was a good idea. The local economy has suddenly gone to pot. And he realized supporters of the ordinance are hypocrites.

Pressed by moderator Phil Ponce, Cardenas finally acknowledged that the only thing that had changed was that the mayor told him how to vote. "If you believe in your heart this is best for Chicago, I will support you," Cardenas says he told Daley. "Chicago has never looked better . . . we second-guess the mayor on so many other things."

Yeah, I know. It gets better.

"I'm an independent-minded individual," Cardenas pleaded. "I'm educated. I can make my own decisions."

True enough. Deciding to let the mayor make decisions for you is still making a decision.

Two-Faced
Like Daley, Cardenas also accused organized labor leaders pushing the ordinance of racism, citing figures of low minority membership in various union locals. The segment ran out of time before he had a chance to mention the paltry number of minorities who get city contracts or white pals of the mayor posing as minorities and women to get minority contracts.

Classic Cardenas
"Unions should be talking about how do we get more people to make more money."

Shop Drop
Cardenas, citing a Wall Street Journal editorial, also accused Ald. Joe Moore of hypocrisy for shopping at suburban big-box retailers, as if Moore had sponsored an ordinance to ban shopping at big-boxes. Huh?

Daley also played the framing game. "This issue defines whether or not you stand for economic development on this site or are you going to let this site stand idle?"

Supporters of the big-box ordinance want big-box stores in the city. They just want the economic development that comes with them to include those who work there.

Monopoly Madness
The new Monopoly games are here. But we had it first, new rules and all.

Unfair Playing Field Indeed
The Sun-Times publishes another press release from a pol today (second item). Because apparently that's what newspapers do.

Old Media
It's come to my attention that some home editions of the Tribune, as well as home editions of the Sun-Times, as I noted yesterday, also do not carry late sports scores, such as the final score, updated standings, and game story from last night's White Sox game in Anaheim.

I saw a commercial last night featuring a paperboy on his bike going about his route and I wondered if young people watching would wonder why that kid was tossing some sort of rolled-up tubes onto people's lawns.

Seemed like there might be a connection there.

Disingenuous Daley
"Not one person objected to any type of store in the suburban area," Daley said. "No one said, 'Mayor, you're wrong. No one said the aldermen are wrong. No one said the community (was) wrong, or church leaders. Only in the West Side, only in the South Side."

I don't know if anyone in any suburb objected to Wal-Mart building there - certainly many small towns for years have rued Wal-Mart's impact on local businesses - but it's so incredibly irrelevant that once again the mayor should not be allowed to get away with saying it without being forced to explain and defend what he means.

Is it that the city's union leaders should have fought their battle in Evergreen Park?

The city is new territory for Wal-Mart, the living wage movement is gaining momentum as antipathy for Wal-Mart continues to grow, the political moment is advantageous, union leaders have worked the issue for years, and making a stand in Chicago has national impact.

Reporters - and their editors - tend to dismiss rhetoric as mere rhetoric. As politics. They analyze it strategically for how well or how poorly it will succeed in manipulating the thoughts of voters. I tend to think the job of journalists is to hold public officials to account for what they do and say, and when they are as disingenuous as Daley, you call them on it.

Kool-Aid Acid Test
So much for that big Packers victory, Emery. Pick a fight with our so-far hapless football writer in our new Kool-Aid forum.

Foreign Territory
Isn't it funny how Daley refers to "the suburban area," as if it's one big field or something?

Living Education
Higher wages for the poor ought to be considered part of school reform.

Wage State
So how soon will the mayor get cracking on a new state minimum wage law that he says is the real solution to full-time big-box workers who remain poor?

Pope Dope
"Pope Decries Fanaticism As 'Contrary To God's Nature.'"

Just before he reiterated his belief in the virgin birth, the Holy Ghost, homosexuality as a sin, and the Hell that non-Christians would spend eternity in.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Now available in the suburban area.



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Posted on September 13, 2006


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
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POLITICS - Trailer: Swing District.
SPORTS - Ryan Pace's Narratives Are Killing Us.

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PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Sears Motor Buggy.


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