Regime Change...

Revolution might be rolling across the Middle East, toppling dictators and throwing the future of the region into uncertainty, but I'm slightly more concerned with the historic change that hit my beloved city overnight. Chicago has a new mayor, in one Rahm Emmanuel, former Congressman and Chief of Staff to President Obama. For the first time in 22 years, Richard M. Daley was not on the ballot, and for the first time in my conscious life, he will not be the mayor.

At this point, nobody knows how the Emmanuel administration will differ from that of Daley, but I am eager to see how the City Council, and the mayor's relationship with it will change. Under Daley, city government operated under a strong mayor/weak council paradigm. The City Council basically acted as a rubber stamp for Daley's initiatives, and had very little power. The election also brought in a considerable crop of new aldermen, so it will be interesting to see if they are able to claim more power back from the mayor, or if the status quo will continue when Emmanuel takes charge.

I'm also curious to see how Emmanuel will tackle the numerous crises facing Chicago, from the budget crisis, to our floundering schools, to the perpetually-on-the-brink-of-disaster CTA. Will he do better than Daley, or did Daley have magical powers that mystically kept the city from turning into the next Detroit? Only time will tell, but I'm eager to see how the Emmanuel mayoralty unfolds...

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