Monday, April 09, 2007

The time has come to do as commanded/requested

Some events have transpired over the past 7 months, and then again in the past 7 weeks, that have prompted be to come forth and blog. I changed jobs, which to a great extent removed the gag shackles of typing an opinion. No longer am I forced to sit by silently out of fear of clever retribution. Though while I have some specific insights on matters this doesn’t mean that I’m about to spout forth in some type of cathartic purge.

What happened more recently is that I’ve witnessed a blog-like website slip into obscurity as its' hosts lost interest and creative focus, and its visitors/contributors took a free run of the asylum. Kind of like what happens in the suburbs when someone is away from home for an extended period and the young person who lives down the street figures the empty house would be a great place to hold a good party.

This doesn’t mean I’ll be joining the "President is an idiot" choir. The lead singer here is a good one, and there are a couple of others here who can hold a tune as well. Which leaves pretty much any and every thing else open. Local politics? The mayor may wear Teflon compliments of the local major media outlets but the proposed Olympics bid will be the kind of boondoggle/white elephant that will forever change Chicago at the expense of anyone with a 606 zip code. Sports? I’m the one last September who was picking the Bears to be in the Super Bowl, and my sports depression over their losing (expected) lifted two weeks ago. There are a lot of other things going on that can be blogged and hopefully worth reading.

Anyway, as the moniker suggests I probably live on the other side of town from you, across the tracks or across the river. Does this afford me a better perspective than yours? More likely a different perspective. And when you sit far enough away there are some things you can see so clearly its’ scary. Other things from that same distance just might not matter much at all, it depends on if you’re thinking about it, or just sitting there.


Peter said...


It is indeed a pleasure.

A question on the Olympics and Chicago.

I am leaving for Athens in two weeks. When I was in school there in the late 70s, the city was living proof that "chaos" was a Greek word. The city had no real plan, traffic was a nightmare, etc. While I will believe it when i see it, I understand that the 2004 Olympics there were a tremendous incentive for the city to clean up its act--literally. Yes, they undertook debt that generations will pay, and yes, they made german firms rich (want order? Hire the Germans!) but Athens emerged with a state of the art metro system, a totally revamped traffic pattern and pedestrian-friendly walkways, etc.
Is that not possible here or is Daley-style graft even beyond "chaos?"

drmagoo said...


Looking forward to your contributions. The further away from the '06 elections and the closer we get to '08, the more it will heat up around here, and then the fun can really start.

From the other side of town said...

When responding to his more acerbic critics who would shout questions to him, Richard J. Daley would reply, “What trees have you planted.” An attempt to quell his critics by noting the lack of evidence in their accomplishments. Along that same vein I look at Richard M. Daley’s track record on his public works projects, how timely they were completed and whether or not they were on budget. There has been, to my knowledge, only one project that was completed on-time and under budget, and upon completion a new project was started at the same location (Lake Shore Drive reconfiguration around Soldier Field).

Look at any of his more prominent endeavors, those he felt compelled to come forward with a media presentation, and they’ve all taken longer than scheduled to complete and more often than not at least 50% over budget. The city’s 911 center: original cost $95 million, re-projected to cost $137 million, final cost $211 million. Soldier Field: came in at 20% over budget (numbers are hard to get because of categorization of costs). Millennium Park: Original cost was under $100 million and a completion date before 12/31/2000. The final cost still hasn’t been determined but the last accounting showed the costs to be over $450 million. The park didn’t open until after January 2003. O’Hare Airport anyone? Then there are smaller projects like libraries and schools which come in over budget and behind schedule (the current high schools being built in the city are coming in at 4 times their original projected cost).

Just sticking to this one aspect of objecting to an Olympics, the track record here is one which suggests that the final price tag will be 3 times what is projected and the long-term benefits questionable.