A name synonymous with Chicago. A lifetime of public service. After more than 2 decades as mayor and nearly 40 years in elected office, Richard M. Daley is retiring from public life. WGN-TV presents "Make No Little Plans: Richard M. Daley" a 30-minute examination of Chicago's outgoing leader.
Steve Sanders looks back on the Mayor's life, going back to his childhood in the Bridgeport neighborhood. We hear from the Mayor's brother, Cook County Commissioner John Daley, about growing up sharing rooms in a modest bungalow where the dinner table was presided over by another legendary Mayor of Chicago; Richard J. Daley. The story follows the Mayor's early political career in Springfield as a State Senator to his return home in 1980 to become Cook County State's Attorney. It was a career that had its stumbles, including an embarrassing loss in his first run for Mayor in 1983. Daley would learn from that loss, and use the following years to build a political organization that would vault him to the 5th floor of City Hall in 1989. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Mark Suppelsa sits down with Daley in his waning days as Mayor, where he reveals the one thing he would change in Chicago if he could do it with a snap of his fingers. The Mayor also opens up about his controversial decision to rip up Meigs Field in the middle of the night. Does he regret it? Does he relish it? Daley also tells us why he doesn't like looking into the past, and offers his insight about the long talked about conspiracy theory that his father helped fix the 1960 presidential election for John F. Kennedy.
Jackie Bange goes in depth into the Mayor's 22 years leading Chicago, highlighting the highs and lows, successes and failures. Political strategist David Axelrod tells us about Daley's meticulous plan to change the face and reputation of the city. The Mayor also has his share of critics, and former Alderman Dorothy Tillman can be counted among them. She tells us why she believes the Mayor's unprecedented takeover of the Chicago Public Schools in 1995 should be considered a failure. And we'll tell you the one thing that earns the Mayor criticism at a legendary Chicago pub that was once frequented by his father.
Robert Jordan, a reporter who's covered the Mayor since the beginning, chimes in on his soft side. Whether it's his passion for the city's men and women in uniform or his palpable love for his children and his beloved wife Maggie, that lump seemed always ready to creep up in his throat. Jordan also recounts many of the lighter moments in Daley's mayoralty, and those so called "Daley-isms". Remember when he couldn't spell the word "state?" Or, the time when an exasperated Daley snipped at reporters, "What do you want? My shorts!?" We've plumbed the WGN archives to find the best moments.
And finally, many of the men and women closest to the Mayor offer their thoughts on his legacy and what he meant for Chicago.