Hail Mary To The Chief

April 7, 2011

Regime change is about to happen in my adopted city of Chicago.  We will be Daley-less for the first time since 1989 – a whopping 22 years. While Rahmbo is trying to figure out his way to the patronage lists, there will be a small municipal power vacuum – kind of like skin ripping off the top of a 737 – with no oxygen masks for the residents.

The last time I witnessed such urban dislocation was when I was a newsman in Los Angeles – a TV field producer – and 5 term mayor Tom Bradley was replaced by Richard Riordan.

Angelenos wanted to know more about Riordan.  Who he was and what he stood for.

Below is a portion of my hard hitting interview with Riordan – videotaped in his office – early in his first term.

I had to go back to the videotape to find out why I actually interviewed him.  Turns out Los Angeles was broke (again) and Riordan was taking some heat for not supporting a bid to host the Olympics sometime in the far off future.  The assignment desk ruined my lunch by sending me to get a sound bite from him that we could put on the news.  Before and after the interview Riordan and I got to talking.  Found out we both were products of New York City – him from Queens, me from Brooklyn – and after I admired all the championship Dodgers baseballs, Raiders footballs and Lakers basketballs he had on his bookshelf from the LA teams … he took one of the footballs down… went to one end of his office – and he/we proceeded to do what New York City kids used to do before Facebook – discuss world matters while they were “having a catch.” Thanks to videographer Webb Weber for immortalizing this moment.

I interviewed Mayor Richard M. Daley too – on the eve of the opening of Millennium Park – when I was working for the legendary Chicago video production house – Del Hall Video. Del was putting together the opening night film for this truly great municipal project and we needed some bites from Hizzoner to round it out.

Got me to thinking that my first publicly appearing news story… it actually was a print story (I shot photos as well as wrote) for a New York City handout newspaper and interviewed Mayor John V. Lindsay as he strolled 5th Avenue – an innovation (shutting down streets for pedestrians) he helped pioneer back in the day.

And when I first started my TV career in Fairbanks, I did more than my share of interviews with the Mayor of Fairbanks, Alaska Bill Walley – but hell, he also sold time for a competing radio/TV station and he really, really wanted to be on our air.

Anyway –

Hail Mary to the Chief!


Previous post:

Next post: