Saturday, January 08, 2011

Chicago Public Radio on a BBC documentary on Chicago corruption...

The Chicago Public Radio series, The Best Game in Town presents to us a BBC radio documentary about Chicago politics. I also found the documentary over at the BBC itself.

Interviewed are: Brian Doherty is the outgoing Alderman for the 41st Ward, and the only Republican on Chicago's city council; Dick Mell, Alderman of the 35th Ward and father-in-law to Ousted governor (Rod Blagojevich); James Laski former Chicago City Clerk who went to prison for political corruption; and finally there's Dick Simpson who was a former Alderman but currently a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The most interesting quotes are from Doherty who talks about attempted bribes given to him, Mell who talks about how his constituents are concerned about their garbage bins because they didn't follow the instructions of the precinct captains, and Laski who talks a little about what got him in trouble.

Noted are moments in Chicago history. They first mention the rise of Mayor Anton Cermak who was murdered in an incident that was often said to be an attempted assassination of then President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Chicago Democratic Machine as we know it today is credited to Mayor Cermak. If you don't believe this radio program look no further than this biography of Mayor Richard J. Daley entitled: American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley - His Battle for Chicago and the Nation.

Also there was mention of Harold Washington. A point was made in this piece (not certain by who so I should prolly listen again :P) that machine politics didn't serve Blacks very well. In fact Black Chicagoans were treated as nothing more than ballot fodder. Although one question should be asked, how does the modern version of the machine treat minorities (Blacks or Latinos) today!

Either way I hope you enjoy. Please offer your thoughts on this presentation in the comments here.

ALSO check out this BBC article from last year about Chicago...err Illinois politics.

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