Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Personal Asides: Daley’s Victory…More Spiritual Children…WPD’s Comments on Catholic Bishops…Won’t Somebody Say a Kind Word for Carlos Estes?



It is just as it had been reenacted so often with the old USSR when after “election.” A bulky figure moves to the center of the parapet overlooking the Kremlin to acknowledge the plaudits from the sycophants. Once again it is the drab 64-year-old Richard Daley, a figure with no inspiration, not the ability to utilize the English language—not even to draw laughter from his butchery of it--whose sole contribution continuance of the Party in furtherance of more public construction, the Olympics, which means more contracts and jobs. His father could make a point by shouting while standing on his tip-toes, his ruddy cheeks glowing. His son is drab and unexciting as the uncreative mechanic he is. He is our Gorbachev. He gives nod to modern times but is unable to beckon reform as Gorbachev failed to match Deng Xiaoping who opened the doors to the free market while Gorbachev still prattled of “social fairness” i.e. keeping the socialist economic system. Daley does not want to change and seemingly cannot change the system that bred him…jobs, contracts, paybacks…cannot muster the courage to really democratize, to give life to a merit hiring system, but, head-down sticks with the old ways, which very possibly because of a vigorous prosecutor will bring him down.

Most of the others before him were at least more interesting. Harold Washington gave an eloquent, unscripted, bright and witty salute to democracy…before him, Jane Byrne was at least a change in the old order from the over-coated stolid male figures standing immovably on the parapet and had a good idea in ChicagoFest until the Black Messiah shot her down…before her, the droll, mechanistic 11th warder Michael Bilandic who never wanted the job but at least squired a good-looking wife and sired a child—amazing his friends at least twice: our Leonid Brezhnev who at the very least had legitimacy. Before him the man who loved the job and at the very least, with quavering jowls and frenetic assault on the language, prompted mirth, Richard J. Daley who bellowed he was being crucified even criticized and who shouted that because his rule was being slighted by allegations, “we must get those alligators and make them stop!” No comparison can be made between him and any Soviet leader, Daley mercifully dying as his popularity oozed away.

Before him Martin Kennelly, the daily communicant and ate sugar rolls after Mass with the nuns who probably had more savvy dealing with the politics of their convent then he with the city: dumped, like Georgi Malenkov for political incompetence, Malenkov for expressing defeatism, Kennelly for not respecting the Party…and before him Edward J. Kelly who was as autocratic as Nikita Khrushchev who ran the Party for a long time but who weighed down with a legacy of rudeness, distraction, arrogance, megalomania and old age was dumped because of his liberalism: strangely, he was so pro-civil rights, so strong for “open covenants” in housing, he lost touch with the whites. And before him, Pushcart Tony, our Stalin, mal-educated, a free-thinker-unbeliever in a Catholic city, with a round banker’s face that gave no hint of the depths of calculation, ambition, love of power, jealousy, cruelty and ability to generate terror that lurked behind the façade. And who was shot to death at the top of his game.

Then you have to go back to the era which is just like any other urban history—composed of rascals, incipient tyrants and pontificators from both parties…Republican Big Bill Thompson who for all his sleaziness was a pinwheel of color…Democrat William A. Dever, a reformer, the only real one to serve as mayor…the pro-William Jennings Bryan Democrat, progressive William A. Dunne the only one to serve as mayor and governor. Even now as paintings hanging in a City Hall corridor they are more vibrant than the current holder of the office. That’s because Republican interests—business interests—sold out their party years before because of thrift: it was cheaper to have only one party to do their bidding than to waste money on two.

So with this victory, there were no inspiring words; indeed none from this man ever in his life. Richard M. Daley gives no inspiration, no vision, no reform, no inkling of progressivism. A winner with no inspiring words he was “reelected” by a people with no one else to turn to, so aside from the plaudits of the hacks, the victory merely meant more of the same grey machine-made government.


Spiritual Daughter—Julie (Mrs. Jim) Leahy, bright, beauteous and peppery, she raises five kids, keeps Jim in tow and has an insightful view of politics and the world. Jim whom I failed to identify in an earlier go-round is, as many know, the executive director of the Republican Assembly of Illinois, a grassroots outfit I founded twenty years ago.

A Further Fill-in on Spiritual Progeny--When I first starting designating spiritual progenies, I neglected to tell much about them. Beginning with Jesse Taylor, he is a key staffer at Haymarket Center he proved his dedication to his work and posterity as the driver and possibly closest personal aide to the late Msgr. Ignatius McDermott…driving him, seeing he was cared for and comfortable… and since the co-founder’s passing has been a top administrator at the Center….

Spiritual Daughter Kathy Posner is the gigantic-hearted humanitarian and fund-raiser of a thousand good causes about whom I wrote earlier last week and who is probably the most genuine bleeding heart I have ever met…

Spiritual Daughter Terry Sullivan is the assistant director of Midtown, the highly reputable private agency that provides education to disadvantaged kids from Chicago, an expert on music, gifted vocalist who formerly put on the famed debates at Bughouse Square in her former role as a top staffer at the Newberry Library…

Spiritual Son John Powers is a gifted engineer, superb raconteur, generous benefactor, compiler of the best book ever produced on the Catholic churches in Chicagoland…and incidentally the founder of Pay-Pal.

Spiritual Son Nicholas Lund-Malfese is a multi-talented lawyer, raconteur, philosopher-theologian, former law school professor, leading executive at the archdiocese of Chicago who along with Christine has brought into the world a gorgeous baby daughter, child number five, for whom Lillian and I will be godparents.


A question on my take on the weak level of contemporary Catholic bishops (with some noted exceptions) has come from a frequent commentator, W. P. D. who asks if the current crop is not better than the past collection from the `60s and `70s. Well, frankly, no. And that includes the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin whose tenure would fall in that category—at least as executive director of the USCCP and archbishop of Cincinnati. When you take a look at Roger Cardinal Mahony who has been crafting programs that unfailingly include gay advocates…chronicled in detail in a recent “Wanderer” and the pitifully weak selection of Archbishop Donald Wuerl in Washington following the more pitifully weak Theodore Cardinal McCarrick—all this topped off by the resignation of Stanislaw Wielgus as archbishop of Warsaw, no less, there is no doubt that something is amiss in the bishopric selection process in Rome. The Wielgus appointment and resignation the same day underscored a serious flaw in the appointive process.

This is a man who for 22 years was a secret communist agent who may well have been responsible for persecution and deaths of legitimate priests. At least one priest made the case in the “Tribune” the other day. You mean to tell me that nobody had an inkling of this man’s treason in the Vatican that would at the least lend doubt to his bishopric ordination?

WPD: If the G-2 intelligence is that bad at the Vatican, small wonder some whopping bad fish have been getting through the net.

Carlos Estes.

Let me at least say a kind word for Carlos Estes. His primary job was to drive one Teyonda Wertz, the chief of staff for the state Department of Human Services. According to his lawsuit, Wertz thought he was a pretty slick looking article of a young man, called him a “boy toy” and propositioned him when the two shared a hotel room arranged by her on a two-day state business trip. She rationalizes it by saying the hotel had only one room—a suite—and she had to make do by arranging that both of them stay together. Whereupon according to the complaint, Wertz donned a pair of silk pajamas, purportedly for the edification of Carlos Estes.

Let it be said that Carlos Estes allegedly demurred. Wertz said he would make love to her or he would lose his $70,000 a year job according to the legal complaint—but Carlos Estes believed that even as a boy toy his chastity was his jewel. Besides the rumor was he had a girlfriend to whom he would be true—which allegedly got Teyonda Wertz’s goat. Stop here. We don’t know all the facts except what it alleged—but stay for an answer.

We in Illinois are used to a shoddy parade of people willing to do anything to keep their patronage jobs. Not so Carlos Estes who, purportedly,k said no-no-no-no, I won’t do it. Yet who was fired by the state? Not Teyonda Wertz. It was Carlos Estes. Will not someone second my motion for Carlos Estes to be saluted for his adherence to chastity. And after one look at the photograph of Teyonda Wertz, his taste? I ask you. It was an easy choice perhaps, looking at her picture—but there was $70,000 at stake. Who among us would not grit his teeth and think of the state motto: “Illinois—Please Don’t Pronounce the `S.’”

All hail Carlos Estes.


  1. Before the doors are closed at the Chicago Athletic Club, let it be remembered that Big Bill Thompson first came to prominence as the leader of the club's football team and its victories over several college teams permitted it to claim the title that later became the National Championship. This club was once a solidly Republican bailiwick on Michigan Avenue. As of May, it is farewell to the Cherry Circle.

  2. Let's imagine we heard this story for the first time without names:

    1. A state manager arranges to share a hotel room with a subordinate of the opposite sex.

    2. A state manager propositions a subordinate of the opposite sex in a hotel room.

    3. A subordinate is fired after refusing a subordinate's sexual advances in a shared hotel room.

    If any one of the above allegations came to light, wouldn't the manager be investigated. If any two of the allegations came forward, wouldn't the manager be suspended? If all three allegations were leveled, wouldn't the manager be fired?

    If the manager were a man and the driver a female, there would be no question of the outcome of this story.

  3. Tom, your analysis seems to focus primarily on the highest and most visible appointments. The more numerous local appointments are at least as consequential, and many of the less palatable high-level appointees were "discovered" and promoted in earlier periods.

    The Papal Nuncio plays a pivotal role in the selection of bishops; hence, when comparing the quality of episcopal appointments, it is useful to mark the periods for comparison by nunciatures as well as by papacies.

    It is my contention that, overall, the worst period for episcopal appointments (from an authenticist standpoint) was during the nunciature of Archbishop Jean Jadot (nobody can mess things up quite like the French) who served between 1973 and 1980.


  4. Consider some of the appointments by which we were graced through Jadot's influence:
    Rembert Weakland (Milwaukee)
    Raymond Hunthausen (Seattle)
    Matthew Clark (Rochester)
    Walter Sullivan (Richmond)
    Raymond Lucker (New Ulm)
    Kenneth Untener (Saginaw)
    Roger Mahony (Stockton)
    Thomas Gumbleton (Auxilliary, Detriot)

    After Jadot, one would have been justified in regarding as progress any newly minted bishop who was not likely to attend a meeting of Call to Action or Pax Chrisi. The nunciature of Pio Cardinal Laghi (1980-1990) was only the second-worst period. In comparative terms, subsequent nunciatures have been an improvement.


  5. More specifically, four of the above embarrassments have been replaced, and each successor (whether ideal or not) has been an indubitable improvement over his respective predecessor.

    Moreover, had Paul VI lived a bit longer, he undoubtedly woudl have elevated his friend and piano-playing companion, Rembert Weakland, from Milwaukee to Chicago; in which case, Tom, we would not be having breakfast near St. John Cantius on Sunday mornings because it would be closed.

    I am not suggesting that recent appointments have been free from disappointment. My point is comparative, and I believe the difference is between disappointment and disaster.

  6. You have a lot of nerve disrespecting Teyonda based on her looks considering the pig of a woman you call your wife.