2012 Prediction: The Great Chicago Turf War Heats Up


Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter

Look for the political turf war underway in Chicago to heat up in 2012.

When one regime displaces another, a turf war typically ensues.  It happened when the old USSR collapsed.  It happened when the German Weimar Republic dissolved.  It’s happening right now in several Middle Eastern countries.

And, it’s happening in Chicago as the old Machine gradually yields ground to Rahm Emanuel and the New Chicago he brings. Less corrupt than the old? No reason to think that. Just more… artful.

New Chicago – we’ll call it that as a placeholder – is assembling its chess pieces.  The new owners of the Sun Times are heavy supporters of Rahmbo, as Chicago Business has pointed out.  Watch for the Times to be a leading shill for New Chicago.

That’s already started, in fact.

Was it dogged journalism that prompted the Times to dredge up a cold, as in frozen, case from April 2004 involving the murder of David Koschman, and the suggested involvement of Richard Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Daley II?  Or, is the Times dutifully getting a head start in tarnishing the legacy of the old Machine?

It is, after all, what new regimes do to the ones they displace – they tarnish the past to make what they offer as “new” that much more attractive. In the long run, though, it seldom is…more attractive.

Too much of the Machine is still firmly entrenched for New Chicago to be too overtly critical of the past.  It’ll take some face-changes at senior levels for the tarnishing to shift into a higher gear.

To track that development, do this:  Make a short list of the most entrenched, influencial, long-standing, high-profile personalities of the old Machine. Say, five names.  Then ask yourself:

  • Who among them is most practiced at, and vulnerable to a charge of, political corruption in the Old Machine Pay-to-Play Way?
  • Who is at an age and stage in their life when younger replacements are eager to fill the void in the pecking order their absence would leave?
  • And, who is most widely feared within the Machine itself? Someone whose loss of power would enable a redistribution of spoils to several others eager to drink from the well, not just one other.

In 2012, watch the Chicago news – focusing on the Sun Times – for hints of a gradual take-down of one among the five. It’ll make headlines.

It is, after all, what new regimes do to establish their power base.  And Rahmbo’s New Chicago is emerging.