Traffic snarl from Unknown Chicago
Okay--so in 1979, the city had three days to clean up. And by Tuesday, everything was back to normal.
No, it wasn't. As soon as the snow started coming down, Mayor Michael Bilandic was all over TV, talking about the heroic job his administration was doing in this weather emergency. But the public could see he was wrong. The snow was not getting cleared.
The City That Works wasn't working. Mike Royko, the newspaper columnist, put the blame squarely on the mayor. According to Royko, city crews didn't know how to deal with the snow because their skills were too specialized--specialized in cranking out votes at election time. That was the real job of Chicago payrollers.
Bilandic was running for re-election. He was being challenged in the Democrat primary by Jane Byrne. Now Byrne began hammering Bilandic about snow removal. In one of her commercials, she was filmed with snowflakes falling around her.
Byrne's message connected with the voters. Six weeks after the blizzard, she beat Bilandic in the primary, then went on to win the general election.