Don’t even say it

Chicago’s mayor lands in hot water for implying he’s thinking about leasing the city’s water utility

When InfrastructureInvestor decided to do a story on it, it was only because what had started with a trickle had grown into a deluge.

In an October interview with the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Mayor Richard Daley admitted he had met with consultants who presented him with options for privatisation deals and said “nothing is off the table” with regard to future deals.

Daley “did not discount the possibility of privatising the city’s water system”, the Tribune reported. And soon Chicago was awash with rumours that the city’s water utility would be auctioned off like so many other assets Daley’s put out to bid over the years.

The idea didn’t sit well with Chicagoans who faced a less-than-smooth transition with the city’s parking meters deal. A mere 97 percent of respondents in a Tribune poll said they opposed doing a similar deal for the water utility. Angry aldermen were soon asking why there’s a “fire sale” of everything in the city.

Fair to say it’s one suggestion that’s landed the long-time mayor in hot water.