Mayor Daley Presides Over His Final City Council Meeting
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Chicago aldermen gave retiring Mayor Richard Daley a standing ovation at his last City Council meeting.
Aldermen presented a resolution honoring Daley's 22 years in office at Wednesday's meeting and gave him a commemorative crystal bowl.
The aldermen are gave speeches praising Daley and his time in office, calling it a privilege and honor to have worked with him.
“There’s an old Irish saying which goes as follows: you have to do your own growing, no matter how tall your father was,” Alderman Ed Burke said. “And for the past 22 years, no one has demonstrated the wisdom of that adage more than Mayor Richard M. Daley."
Burke went on to say that Daley made Chicago the most livable city in America.
Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel takes over on May 16, along with 13 new aldermen. The aldermen who were either voted out of office or are retiring are also experiencing their last council meeting Wednesday.
"It's over. I loved it," alderman Berny Stone told NBC Chicago. Stone, who has held his seat for 38 years, lost to Debra Silverstein in April's run-off elections.
During Daley's 22 years in office, he has managed to get his way for the most part.
Daley started presiding over council meetings in 1989 after being sworn in following a decade marked by racially-tinged Council Wars. The mayor eventually cemented power, partly due to the fact that he got to appoint so many aldermen who vacated their seats due to corruption convictions, new jobs or retirements.
Carol Marin of the Chicago Sun-Times used a quote by legendary Chicago columnist Mike Royko to sum up Daley's time in office. Though Royko's words were meant for Daley's father in 1976, former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, she noted that the words "fit the son like a glove:"
“In some ways, he was this town at its best — strong, hard-driving, working feverishly, pushing, building, driven by ambitions . . . In other ways, he was this city at its worst — arrogant, crude, conniving, ruthless, suspicious, intolerant. He wasn’t graceful, suave, witty or smooth. But, then, this is not Paris or San Francisco. He was raucous, sentimental, hot-tempered, practical, simple, devious, big, and powerful. This is, after all, Chicago.”
Watch Daley's Council farewell here:
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Check out some highlights from Mayor Daley's years in office here: