Like many people in the Chicago political universe, I was originally taken aback when defeated aldermanic candidate Jay Stone came out one of the big winners when a federal monitor divvied up a $12 million settlement fund as payback for Mayor Richard M. Daley’s political chicanery. Stone was awarded $75,000 for his pain and suffering upon evidence that City Hall dispatched workers on taxpayer time to defeat him, which just happens to be illegal.
But reading commentary like this has made me see the error of my ways. It’s not the federal monitor’s job to assess the chances of a challenger to the mayor’s patronage system in deciding if a financial settlement is in order. I was guilty of reacting to the Stone settlement because Stone had little chance to win even if City Hall wasn’t arrayed against him. But so what? At what point do you decide he had a chance, and then would qualify for money? That’s not really the point.
I suggest we re-direct our anger at the mayor. It’s his actions we’re paying for.