Wednesday, August 09, 2006

(Big) Boxed In

Mayor Daley finds himself in previously uncharted territories as he grapples with what to do with the 'Big Box' ordinance sitting on his desk. Much has been made of the fact that he has not previously vetoed any legislation, but in light of the fact that hardly any ordinances have reached his desk without his prior okay, I don't think that anybody should dwell on that historical tidbit.

No, what is unique about this situation is that the Mayor finds himself confronted with an ordinance that has major substantive and policy ramifications for the City, and that has resonated, both pro and con, from coast to coast. An ordinance that he has made clear that he doesn't like.

Magnifying the situation is that the issue clearly pits the business and labor communities against each other like no other could, and in turn, puts the Mayor squarely between the two camps.

I firmly believe that the Mayor is going to veto the legislation. And regardless of how you feel about the underlying issue, you have to respect the fact that when he does so, he is going to do so out of a sincere belief in his actions and clearly aware of the potential ramifications of his veto.

Congressman Jackson 'warned of political consequences' to the Mayor and to the Alderman who support the veto.
“That would be unfortunate, to not follow the will of the people, to not follow the will of 35 aldermen who made a decision that it's important to pay people a living wage,” Jackson said.
Personally, I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of any Alderman changing their votes on this issue because that is just not going to be a pleasant place to be. But you have to respect the process and if the Mayor is able to withstand any attempt to override a veto (without which support, he obviously wouldn't veto the bill to start with), that is part of how the process works.

At the end of the day though, if this all does play out in the manner I've set out, what will be unique won't be the veto, but the aftermath that follows. Uncharted territory indeed.


At August 10, 2006 at 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While they may go with somebody other than the Mayor if he vetos the bill, it's hard to imagine the unions going with Jackson.

At August 10, 2006 at 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like Daley has dissent management issues.

Probably because it is the first time he's had to face this kind of political challenge.

Now we see if Daley runs the machine, or the machine runs Daley.

An easy way out of this mess would be a compromise, but I don't see that happening.

At August 10, 2006 at 2:50 PM, Blogger Levois said...

Interesting the will of the people. I highly doubt that the people were really for this ordninance. If anything I'm willing to believe if the people were asked it would have been 50/50. Other than that I'd truly believe that the people were secondary in determining this issue.

At August 10, 2006 at 2:56 PM, Blogger Yellow Dog Democrat said...

I think the letter delivered by John Sweeney and signed by International union presidents will get the message across.

I think a veto would be big trouble when the Mayor is trying to get a $550 million tax break passed for LaSalle Street.

"While Mayor Daley vetoed a living wage for parents struggling to raise their families, he approved a pay raise for Chicago Alderman and a $550 a year property tax break for the Sears Tower and other big downtown businesses that will divert $1 billion from our schools."

That's not a phrase the mayor wants to hear repeated on the radio hour after hour.

At August 10, 2006 at 3:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


He is damned if he does or damned if he doesn't. Whatever action he takes, he is either going to alienate the biz folks or risk labor finally turning on him. From the sound of things so far, it sure looks like a veto is coming.

Now the real test may be on labor to see if their bite is as big as their bark.

At August 10, 2006 at 8:36 PM, Anonymous Patrick McDonough said...

John, Mayor Daley's Water Department is a mess after years of headlines. I pray as a lifetime Union Member of Plumber's Local 130 which John D'Amico is a member and we are both Chicago Department of Water Management Employees, he (Daley) will veto the big box. The Unions need to step to the plate and send a message. Guys Like John D'Amico must make a stand and draw the line. Now is the time. Patrick McDonough

At August 11, 2006 at 11:17 AM, Anonymous Carlos said...

Levois, people were asked about big box living wages almost 2 months ago, and overwhelmingly supported it, especially among African Americans: Sun-Times story.

John, thanks for your well-considered opinion. However, isn't it inconsistent to say that Daley would veto "out of a sincere belief in his actions," but then say without enough support to sustain the veto "he obviously wouldn't veto the bill to start with." I'm sure this can be rationalized, so I'd like to hear it.

At September 2, 2006 at 9:09 AM, Anonymous Truthful James said...

The big boxes have got the answer to the problem. If indeed they just have to move into Chicago, they will keep labor costs the same and higher fewer entry level workers.


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