Gary Goehl, writing a Times Op-Ed, reflects on the phenomenon that is Blago and offers a first person perspective on what Chicago politics is really all about:
My services to the city of Chicago throughout the 1970s included exuberant participation in corrupt practices for which I pleaded guilty in 1984 and spent 18 months in federal prison. My venality may have known no bounds — at the time of my conviction some said that I was the recipient of more illegal loans than any civic official in Chicago history — but I was a relatively low man on the totem pole: a deputy sheriff and deputy county treasurer.
There’s a lot of bluff talk about Chicago politics, Chicago corruption. The structure isn’t different from Boston politics or Washington politics. Some may say it’s more cut-throat, but I was in Boston during the reign of Billy and Whitey Bulger (the latter, lionized in Scorsese’s terrific The Departed, is still on the lam) and it felt pretty familiar. On a smaller scale, but Boston (especially in those years) didn’t have the big business or population density.
As for me, I’m looking forward to Goehl’s book. Thanks to reader TC.