Daley on Rahm, Burge case, CPS

April 30, 2012 8:40:47 PM PDT
Next month will mark one year since Chicago changed mayors for the first time in 22 years.

Richard M. Daley retired from political office but his legacy lingers.

Among former presidents there is an unwritten rule: don't criticize the current commander in chief. Rich Daley has applied that rule here at the local level. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have differences with the man he helped elect, the man who replaced him on the fifth floor of City Hall.

It was the announcement that shocked Chicago. The man who ran this city like it was his own child, who knew every block and could count almost every vote was done.

How closely does the former mayor follow Chicago politics?

"Rahm is doing a very good job," Daley told ABC7's Ben Bradley. "No, I'm not tuned in at all.

Daley now seems to delight in blending into the background. He spends almost as much time on the road as he does in Chicago. Whether it's guest lecturing at Harvard or drumming up business for the Katten law firm in China, the mayor is still a man very much on the move.

While many speculate Rahm Emanuel may be using Chicago as a stepping stone toward higher office, Daley says lack of political ambition was an asset for him.

"I think Washington, DC is a problem," he said. "They're not solving issues. It's great for your resume, it's great for your relationship with the press, but they're not solving much there."

Former Mayor Daley is frequently asked about his successor, Rahm Emanuel. The current mayor has not been shy about laying the blame for some of the city's current problems at Daley's doorstep.

"We've been doing smoke and mirrors budgeting and the moment of reckoning is here," said Mayor Emanuel in August of 2011.

"It doesn't bother me. It's all part of the rhetoric," said Daley. "They can say anything about me. I will not comment."

But Daley still cares deeply about issues from gun violence to education. And he disagrees with Rahm Emanuel's decision to significantly increase the amount of instructional time in city schools.

"At first I thought it was, but now I don't think so," he said. "To me, to take a 4th grader, 6th grader or high school student and say, you're going to stay more than six hours. We need quality instruction. And then you take after-school programs like Maggie had, you do cultural activities, sports, you do homework and technology."

The torture of suspects under former police commander John Burge has dogged Daley for decades dating back to his time as state's attorney. Soon, he'll give sworn testimony in a deposition for the first time.

A group in Chicago has been salivating for years to get Daley under oath in the Burge case.

"I've always fully cooperated with them and we'll cooperate with them," he told ABC7. "It's as simple as that."

A date has been set for Daley to give that long-awaited deposition on police torture: Friday, July 13. The sides are still trying to reach an agreement on the scope of questioning during the deposition, which could last seven hours.