Flaying Daley Daily on the Windy Citizen

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This content originally appeared on my former Chicagosphere online-media blog, hosted on the Chicago Tribune‘s ChicagoNow network.

A blogger with time on her hands is a dangerous thing, especially when that blogger is political wonk Anna Tarkov. Her Daily Daley column has determinedly dogged Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s every move in the virtual pages of The Windy Citizen since October 2008. Given da mare’s comically tortured turns-of-phrase and teeny degrees of separation from scandal, Tarkov’s reason for shadowing his activities is surprising: before Daily Daley, no other blogger was doing it.

“I had some time on my hands and wanted to write about local politics,” she told me Saturday over drinks at Wabash Tap. “The major papers report on what the mayor says. But I was shocked to find out no one was writing about his day to day.”

So Tarkov, a politically active communications professional, approached Windy Citizen editor Brad Flora and asked for the beat. “The blog’s been updated regularly ever since,” says Flora. Originally all entries were written by Tarkov. However, scoring a major daytime gig has caused fellow Citizen bloggers Katie Hasse, Adrian Uribarri, and Adam Verwymeren to take up some slack.

The tone of sarcastic skepticism hasn’t varied. Most posts detail Daley’s diurnal activities (“Daley News”) then lampoon the officially stated reasons behind them with reference to the latest outrage, Tribune investigation, or insider indictment (“Daley Chatter”) that likely is the last thing hizzoner wants you to read. Snarky, yes, but a surprisingly informed approach that balances more flattering mayoral portraits provided by the major dailies.

See recently: a rant on city firings when $1.28 billion in TIF funds sits in civic coffers; the mayor’s flu vs. the union blues; a detailed skewering of the parking meter fiasco deal; a doubting look at the mayor’s (now barely updated) YouTube channel; or this near-funeral card for mayoral transparency.

One good Patty Fitz wiretap or Chicago losing the 2016 Olympics will probably spell the end for Daley’s run. Until then, Tarkov’s Daily Daley will be a savvy place to follow the lead-up to the potentially approaching downfall. She and her writing team dig deep before they dish–and it’s always a satisfying read when bloggers do their homework.

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