CLOUT: Mayor Daley and His City by Len O'Connor

CLOUT: Mayor Daley and His City

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Len O'Connor, a Chicago news commentator for 34 years, is as much of a local fixture as Mayor Daley himself. In this biography he blows no expose whistles that reverberate further than Mike Royko's Boss (1971); nor does he touch on the new wave of corruption charges against Daley associates. O'Connor actually provides less of a sense of Illinois politics and Chicago business involvement than Royko did, while, like Royko, he also bypasses sustained consideration of actual municipal polities on housing, taxation, etc., except for such obvious firecrackers as School Superintendent Benjamin Willis' racial attitudes. And O'Connor's claim that Daley's janitors' union crony McFetridge has had more control over city planning than Chicago bankers and real-estate interests is hard to believe. This book's sketch of Daley's pre-mayoral years places emphasis on his devotion to Anton Cermak and his later tangles with the Duffy crowd. O'Connor later fills in Daley's ties to the Kennedys, suggesting that the Democrats' decisive Cook County vote-stealing in 1960 was timed for an early JFK blitz that would psych Western Republicans into staying home from the polls. Daley's problems have mounted since 1968. There are budget crises (O'Connor notes that Daley helped push the giant transit authority debt through the state senate in the 1930'0. Then there is Governor Dan Walker. O'Connor points to the mysterious funding of Walker's campaign -- but remains quite uncurious as to why, after all these years, the anti-Daley revelations are crescendoing.) As political taxonomy, less enthralling than Boss; but Boss doubtless stimulated, rather than saturated, readers' appetite for this sort of biography.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1975
Publisher: Regnery