Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley to Retire, Announces He Won’t Seek Re-election

Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley to Retire, Announces He Won’t Seek Re-election

Mayor Richard Daley says he will not run for re-election in 2011, saying “It’s time for me, it’s time for Chicago to move on.”  “The truth is I have been thinking about this for the past several months,” Daley said at a City Hall news conference that stunned the city. “In the end this is a personal decision, no more, no less.”

His wife Maggie stood by his side, smiling broadly as the mayor continued: “I have always known that people want you to work hard for them. Clearly, they won’t always agree with you.  Obviously, they don’t like it when you make a mistake.  But at all times, they expect you to lead, to make difficult decisions, rooted in what’s right for them. For 21 years, that’s what I’ve tried to doBut today, I am announcing that I will not seek a 7th term as mayor of the city of Chicago.  Simply put, it’s time.” Daley spoke for less than five minutes and took no questions.

Daley’s decision sets off a major power scramble, following more than 20 years of stifled political ambitions in city politics.  Daley was first elected mayor in 1989 after his failed bid in 1983.  The mayor won re-election every four years since then, always with little to no opposition.

However, the mayor’s administration has been hit by an outbreak of summer violence, a weak economy and a high-profile failure to land the 2016 Olympics.  Dissatisfaction abounds over Daley’s handling of the crime problem, his efforts to rein in government corruption and his backing of a controversial long-term parking meter system lease.

Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley to Retire, Announces He Won’t Seek Re-election

Slide Show: The Daley Generations Through the Years

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Abused Chicago Riders Revolt Against Daley’s Decayed Subway System

After years of increasing abuse and neglect, Chicago subway riders finally got fed up, drew the line and revolted against Mayor Daley’s pathetic subway system. A jam-packed rush-hour subway train had been stopped underground in Chicago’s Loop for over an hour on Tuesday morning, held up by a broken-down train ahead. In the stifling, hot and stuffy air, passengers had turned nervous and impatient. Some were throwing up and getting sick from a complete lack of circulating fresh air. Finally, the Chicagoans revolted, ignoring the unpredictably intermittent announcements and pleas from transit workers, who were themselves in a state of total confusion about what was really going on. En mass, the riders decided to leave the stalled trains and to make a long and dangerous trudge through the dirty, dimly lit underground tunnel toward the eventual light of freedom.

As usual in Chicago’s disreputable world of machine politics, Hizzoner’s political flunky transit officials were quick to put all of the blame on the Chicago citizens, on the passengers, saying that the unauthorized evacuation caused bigger problems. Afraid that the passengers making to their freedom through the dark and dirty underground tunnel might be electrocuted by the subway’s electrically charged third rail, transit officials cut off all power to part of the Blue Line, which travels a large U-shaped route between Chicago’s West Side and O’Hare International Airport. Service was terminated for about four hours, and more than a thousand passengers had to be helped off several trains.

Esmeralda Cuevas, 26, who works in Chicago’s Loop as an administrative assistant, was on the train immediately behind the stalled one when she saw a number of haggard people walk by a window of her stranded subway car. “I felt a sense like I want to be with them,” Ms. Cuevas said. “I was impressed with their courage. I thought, ‘I can stay in here with these people and feel hot and uncomfortable, or I can start walking.’ ” And walk she did. So did most of the other stranded passengers from a total of four trains, who forged ahead despite intermittent, confusing public intercom announcements asking them to return.

Some two hours after her ordeal began, Ms. Cuevas finally emerged from the subway crying, with dirt all over her hands and face. An executive at her office downtown advised her to avoid the subway for a few days and to take cabs. But since he didn’t have the generosity to offer to pay for her cab rides, Ms. Cuevas said that she plans to take the train, but on an elevated line, not the underground subway.

At least seven of the Chicago subway passengers suffered injuries and breathing problems that required hospitalization. At the present time, none of their injuries or ailments is thought to be life threatening.

Revolt: Trapped in Underground Subway

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Pictures of the Day: The 1969-70 Chicago Seven Conspiracy Trial

Abbie Hoffman Reading a Book During the Trial

Abbie Hoffman Wearing Judicial Robes at the Trial


Poet Allen Ginsberg Testifying at the Trial

Bobby Seale Bound and Gagged in Court

Mayor Daley Testifying at the Trial

Yippie founder Abbie Hoffman is shown sporting judicial robes and reading in court. Another drawing, shaded in murky brown, depicts a celebrity poet Allen Ginsberg testifying in Sanskrit. These images are among 483 courtroom sketches from the 1969-70 Chicago Seven conspiracy trial recently acquired by the Chicago History Museum.  The pictures, the work of famed news artist Franklin McMahon, tell the story of one of the more bizarre spectacles in U.S. courtroom history, a trial that reflected the divergence of the youth counterculture of the 1960s from previous generations.

According to a report by Azam Ahmed in The Chicago Tribune:

The historical significance is that it’s one of the first places in a formal setting that you see just how different young people’s views were from the generation that they saw themselves up against,” said Joy Bivins, a curator at the museum. “That these really critical issues of the Vietnam War, youth counterculture and civil rights all come together in one place is unique.

The drawings, once sorted, will be exhibited at the museum, where McMahon’s drawings from the Emmett Till trial already grace the walls.  His Chicago Seven sketches, drawn in shades of black, brown and deep auburn, provide snapshots of a supremely colorful trial in which the defendants wore jeans, ate, editorialized out loud and slept during the court proceedings.

The judge was uptight, and these guys were running revolution by show business,” McMahon said.  “They were out there to make a scene, and they did.”

The trial began Sept. 24, 1969, 13 months after violence broke out during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, shocking the nation.  Protesters collected in Grant Park were clubbed and gassed; one observer described the police force as hitting the crowd like “sheets of rain.”

The government charged eight men with conspiring to incite a riot.   The number originally included Bobby Seale, leader of the Black Panthers, who was bound and gagged in court because of insults he hurled at Judge Julius Hoffman.   Seale eventually was severed from the case and sentenced to 4 years in prison for contempt of court.

That left seven defendants: Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Tom Hayden, John Froines and Lee Weiner.  Their trial became a microcosm of the tensions playing out throughout the nation during the 1960s.

McMahon, 86, who has drawn everything from the protests in Selma, Ala., to the Paris Opera, said the trial was among the most important of his subjects during that time.

I thought the acts of the defendants were atrocious, but I was on their side in the sense I was against the war and in the sense I was more of a Democrat than a Republican,” McMahon said.

The work of McMahon, a longtime freelancer, has appeared in the Tribune, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Fortune, Life and Sports Illustrated, among other publications.  In addition to covering the trial of the men accused of killing Till, a 14-year-old Chicago boy, McMahon drew pictures in Mission Control for the first landing on the moon.”

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