Daley looks back, forward in ABC7 interview

December 18, 2009 8:26:47 PM PST
"I think we all pray next year will be a better year." Mayor Daley is among those who will be saying "goodbye, and good riddance" to 2009. The recession starved the city of tax revenue. His Olympic dream went down in flames. And the public pulverized him over the parking meter deal.

"If we didn't have that money, we would not be dealing with a budget today that is balanced," said Daley.

The Mayor makes no apologies for privatizing city assets, and says he'll definitely consider selling more.

Daley originally vowed not to use money from the meter deal to balance the budget calling that "irresponsible." He's since had a change of heart, and used $370 million -- or more than a third of the meter money - to save some city services.

"If I didn't use that money, Ben, there would be headlines; 'Daley hoarding the money, Daley hoarding the money.' But I said, in our wisdom after public hearings, people need help. That money has to be used for human services," said Daley.

Unionized city workers will be taking another dozen unpaid days off next year. Non-union workers will go unpaid for twice that time.

"I'm taking 24 days off without pay. You have to do that. If government doesn't sacrifice for the people then government is isolation, it's separate, they don't care about the people," said Daley.

Many in this city deeply care for the Mayor's wife Maggie. She revealed earlier this month she's being treated for a bone tumor in her leg... a decade after she was diagnosed with cancer.

"She goes on with her life," said Daley. "She's strong as she is. She's doing, so far, very well.") Next year at this time, Mayor Daley appears ready to surpass his father's record 21 years and 8 months in office. Despite a tough year, he says he still has fun more days than not.

"Every day is not going to be a perfect day. You have to really believe your mission is to improve the city. That's all you have to believe," said Daley.


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