Ben and the Man

Re: Me and My Mayor: Reflections on the end of an era” by Ben Joravsky, September 16

Great narrative, thanks for sharing this … Maybe a future book about covering Daley?

—John Lendman

Classic, Ben. Glad you finally got your picture after all these years. About time to start writing that book and put “Junior’s” career in the proper perspective before the Cardinal canonizes him. “Good Government is Good Politics” was the chant of Carter Harrison I, the dad of the original father-son Chicago mayoral duo before even you and I were born. Ol’ man Daley perfected it, though, and the kid learned the lessons well on daddy’s knee. That northwest side lady is evidence of that—just pave my sidewalk, fill our potholes and pick up my garbage and I don’t care how you get it done. Good Government is Good Politics.

We, the citizens of this city, are responsible for the corruption—not our duly elected politicians. We’re the ones who put up with this crap. We’re the ones with the high tolerance for corruption. Just throw a few bones our way and we’ll be sure to reward you come Election Day. Oh thank you, King Richard II. Your loyal servants will miss you, but I’m sure we’ll find another corrupt politician to take your place. We’re very good at that. Hmmm . . . King Emanuel has sort of an aristocratic and religious ring to it. And he has a son! —DonGordon49

My purpose here is to add some cause for optimism.

I heard on Chicago Tonight that Daley won that most recent, low-key election with 70 percent . . . of the 20 percent who voted.

Although it now looks like chaos, the ‘rest of us’ may also find a voice within it. And should candidates who care about policy over politics recover from the long winter, maybe vote once in awhile. —Anonymous

The pen is mightier than the bayonet. —Joe Lake, Bucktown

I so enjoyed this . . .thanks for fighting the good fight all of these years—your job is about to get easier—whoever takes over will never be able to consolidate this much power again . . . it would be like re-making the KGB . . . the talent pool is about to get more naive (dumber) and easier to catch . . . —Tony Fitzpatrick

I have many issues with the Mayor and the City and you always give poetic voice to them. Time Out Chicago called me minutes after his announcement to get my take on his ‘legacy’ re: the culinary scene. I said as a small independent restaurant, we survive in spite of the city not because of it. Come have breakfast with me and we’ll tawk. —Ina Pinkney, Chef/Owner, Ina’s

Joravsky is blinded by what I can only call malice in his assessment of this mayor. He cannot see past his obsession with TIFs, on which—hell—he might make a point or two, if he wasn’t such a one-sided bore about it.

So it is with his latest jab at the mayor. This mayor deserves greater consideration than Joravsky’s juvenile sarcasm.

Ride down the Dan Ryan, and you will see that those crime infested hell-holes that poverty pimps called housing no longer scar the skyline or victimize the resident-prisoners within. Look where Horner and Cabrini stood and see neighborhoods transformed and still emerging. Stroll through downtown and take a good look at all the people who actually live there and all those who have come to visit there. Ride down Ashland Avenue from Peterson to Roosevelt Avenue or down Milwaukee from Lawrence to Lake and you see a reclaimed city, a place where middle class folks really want to live. Ride along 22nd Street or MLK Boulevard or 47th Street, any place in Pilsen, Hyde Park, South Shore, the near west side, and you will see a vibrant, healthy multicultural city that was no sure thing in 1982, 1987 or 1989.

And despite Joravsky’s continued misrepresentations about CPS bureaucracy and the public schools in general, you will find an education system that is no longer the worst in the nation but one that has served as a role model for large urban districts elsewhere. It is a much better, much more diverse—racially and economically—and much healthier because it is now controlled locally and has much more varied choices for families and communities. It is no longer held hostage by a morally bankrupt teachers union that protects teachers’ interests at the expense of kids. Reverend Meeks was not just sloganneering when he called the CTU the biggest gang in CPS—there remains truth in that statement.

So, Joravsky, my point is you got it wrong again. From this resident of our fair city, I say “Thank you mayor. Ya done good.” —Contrarian

Great piece! Daley here reminds me of your profile some years ago of that other mumbling megalomaniac, Jerry Krause. I wonder if he’s considering a run for mayor. If Krause won he could take credit for the ice age ending and leaving Chicago with such a beautiful skyline. —3470lsd

Bring on the “Experts”

Re: “Let Them Roll Logs: The brouhaha about opening academic peer review to the hoi polloi assumes that peer review is effective in the first place” by Cliff Doerksen, September 16

Online movie and music criticism is a joke because everybody’s an expert, an equal now. But only a few “experts” have anything worthwhile to say. Reading about traditional academic processes here only exacerbates my dislike for academia in general. I’m of the writerly modus operandi that if you don’t have time to partake in all the beautiful and horrible things that life has to offer, then you probably shouldn’t say too much. The most intelligent people I’ve met are not academics. This is not to say that I don’t support and encourage all forms of higher education; I wholeheartedly do. Academics have lived in their own world for so long that I say, “Throw them to the wolves,” if that is indeed how it will play. I’m pretty certain that the same people who weigh in on pop culture won’t even go near what the academics are selling anyway, not too much. And out of the ones who do, maybe there will be some astute peer evaluation that some elitist, anonymous boring fuck with a tenure can’t even manage. —Alan H