The Perfect: Mayor
Over its relatively young life, Chicago has lived under 45 mayors-some successful, some calamitous, some forgettable, and at least one, “Long John” Wentworth, who once told voters, “You damned fools-you can either vote for me for mayor or you can go to hell.” But none has had the combination of virtues to rank as the ideal officeholder. So we asked an expert on Chicago’s mayors, Paul Green, of Roosevelt University, to dream up the “perfect” mayor, based on three criteria: intelligence, civic vision, and rhetorical gifts. Who knows- the winner could be on the next ballot. After all, this is Chicago.
You Should Know
Longest mayoral term: Richard J. Daley Served six terms; his 21-year reign stretched from 1955 to 1976
Shortest mayoral term: David Orr Served as interim mayor following Harold Washington’s death in 1987; served for six days, 14 hours, and 28 minutes
Last Republican to hold office: William “Big Bill” Thompson Served three terms (1915-23, 1927-31); defeated in 1931 by Anton Cermak
Six of the last seven mayors were Roman Catholic
Before the Daleys there was another father-son political dynasty: Carter Harrison I (1879-87; 1893) and Carter Harrison II (1897-1905, 1911-15)