Thursday, March 13, 2008

Personal Aside: That Stupid Eliot Spitzer--He Didn’t Understand the Chicago Way.


Any city Democratic politician could tell you that this guy Eliot Spitzer is a klutz.

He comes from a disadvantaged background of Princeton undergrad, Harvard Law where he received a J. D., jobs at two white shoe Manhattan law firms.

Consider: no matter how rich he is and beholden to his old man’s mega millions he had no business whatsoever in using his own money to buy sexual favors from courtesans. Switching his money to various bank accounts. How amateurish.

If he had a responsible public job in Chicago—or state--government he could have been able to find achieve Spitzer’s goal by hiring an attractive young lady for a six figure job.

Of course the job could be eliminated at any time when government budget-cutters decide to save expenses.

You mean to tell me that Spitzer never thought of this?

Of course not. He was a rich man’s kid.

The bonehead.

Here is a legendary true case , a classic in city history.

More than a generation ago a reform-minded public official took a top city departmental job and resolved to break with the past. He would handle hiring without favoritism.

He sent out the word that clerical staff need not be hired on recommendations from the party committeemen. The Shakman provisions would have to be adhered to….meaning that the clerks—mostly women in the beginning typist grade level being filled—would have to be told that (a) they were not being hired because of any political work they did for the incumbent and (b) they would not be fired because they refused to do political work for the incumbent.

If committeeman wanted to submit potential hires, they could—but they would receive no favoritism.

Notwithstanding the disincentive, one West Side committeeman scoured his ward energetically and sent a group of young women to be interviewed for city clerical tasks. Since he decided he could not discriminate AGAINST a committeeman who resolved to act fairly, the department head accepted them. But he insisted on personally addressing them to stipulate the rules of reform.

To be sure that EVERYONE understood the canons of reform, the new department head read the complex provisions of Shakman, the consent decree that invalidated political rewards or penalties in governmental hiring (or so it was assumed then).

He stressed no political ties accrued to them either in their being hired or being let go. Employment specialists, benefit experts were on hand to answer questions.

Then he asked if anybody had any questions. Questions about anything: possibly about job descriptions and duties? Working hours, benefits, things like that?

Questions were slow in coming. Then one.

One young lady raised her hand shyly and was promptly recognized.

She asked this question:

Does this mean that we don’t gots to keep on [scatological term for dating]…” and she named the committeeman…any more?”

That was a long-long time ago.

Now after the patronage hubbub and Patrick Fitzgerald’s probing, we have some semblance of reform in Chicago hiring.

Nothing like that going on, is there?

Naw, of course not. This is Chicago.


  1. Reading your earlier post about the dollar decline left me shaking my head at how wrong you are about its effects. The mammoth dollar decline with have the same effect as the infamous tariff that you decry. It is also inflationary. Just the increase in the price of oil will have a damaging ripple effect as it gets passed down to the already debt strapped consumer. It makes our important industries vulnerable to purchase by those who may not be friendly toward us. What is wrong with you people already? What has blinded you to the obvious?

  2. I would have bet my bottom dollar that I would never have any respect for Geraldine Ferrero. Have to eat them words now.

    She is right. She went out in class. No sobs. Stuck by her guns.

    White Joe Blow, the agent of change and the deliverer of hope. No, I think not-

  3. Frank what I see is that there is a big disconnect with most pundits and reality. It is like they are isolated in their intellectual worlds with no contact with reality. For example the mortgage to credit crunch huge problem. It is as though the media ignores it and hopes it would go away while it only gets bigger and bigger and bigger. The dollar decline is very important but it too is ignored as though a full dollar failure is somehow "good" for American.
    The little guy gets 300 bucks tossed at him like dimes from a Rockefeller while the very people who caused the problem are cheered and given 200 billion!

    It reminds me of the whole immigration issue which the Republican Elite and The Democratic Elite both ignore and yet they crow about Homeland Security via the Patriot Act put the squeeze on us.

    Something is terribly wrong here and I and most people I know are very angry about it. Look at the price of Gasoline, here we are again with a good supply and a hedge fund driven price rise that is downright inflationary and the pudits like Tom Roeser say so what, let the little guy twist in the wind.

    And when the little guy gets fed up and says to hell with a politician like elitist Oberweis a pundit like Tom Roeser gets mad.

    Something is very wrong here Frank and it ain't us.

  4. Ken,

    Inflation numbers released today. 0% for the month of February. You may be right about devaluing the dollar, but the numbers do not show it.

    Exchange rates set by the market tend to make international businesses more willing to trade with one another. Tariffs don't.