By Linda Loegel
My how the tables have turned. I have gone from having my books reviewed by Dennis Moore to now reviewing Moore’s courageous book, The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago, Part One, "Pay to Play."
At present, this volume by Moore, a book reviewer for East County Magazine, is an e-book published by Pubit! of Barnes & Noble, soon to be a hard cover book.
I have visited Chicago three times in my life, always as a tourist. I’ve seen the Field Museum, the Chicago Zoo, FAO Schwartz, and the Museum of Science and Industry. I’ve eaten the most delicious deep dish pizza on earth, just off Michigan Avenue. However, there is another side to Chicago that tourists don’t see, the dirty, squirming underbelly of the city. The dark side ruled by the Mayer Daley dynasty that smacks of favoritism, corruption, and cronyism.
In his book, Moore recounts how he lived in Chicago and worked his way up from a clerk in the Purchasing Department at City Hall to an impressive position of Specification Engineer for the City of Chicago, Department of Aviation at O’Hare International Airport. This job came with all the perks one would expect for someone who was in the position to decide how large amounts of money were to be spent. His Chicago ride took him from perks and privileges to fear for his very life.
As Moore says in his book, “I am not proud of a lot of things that I did during the course of working for the City and at O’Hare, that bordered on illegality or corruption, that has contributed to Chicago’s image. I guess one could say that I “went along--to get along.”
Not afraid to name names, Moore’s book is a Who’s Who of crime and corruption, from Airport Manager Dominic Longo who was alleged to have been involved in the fire bombing of another employee’s City vehicle, to former Governor Rod Blagojevich who was recently convicted of trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat, and many, many people in between.
Moore admits that if he’d stayed in Chicago, he could very well have ended up in prison too, for naively accepting money from companies from which the City purchased equipment. Thankfully, he had the good sense to get out of that situation and start a new life in San Diego.
According to Moore, Chicago has been described by urbanologist Pierre deVise as “the most racially segregated of American cities.” Moore’s book is rife with incidents of racism, involving himself as well as others. One such passage states: The Robert Taylor Homes (a housing project) is and has been everything that is wrong with urban planning, Chicago style, having thousands upon thousands of blacks piled high upon each other in skyscraper-like buildings, seemingly under a constant state of siege. The stench of urine-tinged hallways and elevators being a constant reminder to the inhabitants that they are somehow less thought of and/or respected than the other citizenry of Chicago.
Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Breen of the Union-Tribune, a member of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild, gave Moore permission to include Breen’s editorial cartoon depicting Chicago’s dirty politics, in the book.
After reading Moore’s book, one comes away with the thought that Al Capone was just a naughty little boy who still had a lot to learn about true crime and corruption.
The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago, "Pay to Play" rambles a bit with no discernible plot, but if you’re interested in the dynasty that is interwoven with the lives of the Kennedy’s, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Barack Obama, then this book is definitely for you. I, for one, have learned more about Chicago politics than I ever thought I wanted to know!
To purchase the book or learn more, visit http://search.barnesandnoble.com/the-city-that-works/dennis-moore/e/2940...
Linda Loegel is the author of Bumps Along the Way and If You Don’t Like Worms, Keep Your Mouth Shut.