If you think back to the good old days of 2006, when the City Council was flexing a little muscle, there were two insurrections that drove Mayor Daley batty: the foie gras ban and the living wage bill.
After the council adopted them, Mayor Daley vowed to rescind them. And like a bounty hunter methodically tracking his prey, he eventually got what he wanted.
On September 13, 2006, Daley strong-armed three aldermen into flip-flopping and voting with him to kill the living wage bill, which would effectively keep new Wal-Marts out of town.
And then yesterday, of course, he rounded up 37 aldermen to rescind the foie gras ban.
Restaurants are now again free to peddle the livers of bird who have been tortured. And thank God for that — isn’t this the kind of freedom our revolutionary forefathers died to defend!
So what were those two fights really about?
Power. If anyone’s going to ban Wal-Mart, foie gras, or anything else for that matter, it’s going to be the mayor and only the mayor, and don’t you forget it.
It was also about putting alderman Joe Moore in his place. Along with the city’s leading unions, Moore put together the coalition of aldermen who passed the anti-Wal-Mart ordinance back in July of 2006. Daley made an issue of fois gras — which he hadn’t opposed in committee — for the main reason of teasing, taunting, and humiliating Moore. In this way, he sent a message to other aldermen: here’s what happens to those who dissent.
In the last few weeks the mayor’s people have been telling aldermen that Daley’s keeping out Wal-Mart in order to buy some peace with unions in these crucial months leading up to next year’s decision by the International Olympic Committee as to which city will host the 2016 games. (In a bald-faced lie, the mayor has denied this.) If Chicago doesn’t get the games, Daley won’t need labor peace with the unions. Look for him to stuff a Wal-Mart everywhere he can, sort of like ramming an iron rod down the throat of a goose.
It’s Daley’s city — and don’t you forget it!