That's the number of days that the outgoing mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley, had served in office as of yesterday. The tally marked him the city's longest-running government executive -- his father, Richard J. Daley, served exactly one day less than the milestone Richard M. reached on Sunday.
Comparing the styles, accomplishments, and failures of father and son is inevitable, and the Sun-Times' Fran Spielman's recent run-down is a good place to start thinking through some of their similarities and differences. Whet Moser at the Reader provides a link to James Krohe Jr.'s 1998 piece about Daley the Elder, and the paper has posted a handy list of all of its cover stories about the Mayors Daley to its website.
A point that's both self-evident and one that bears repeating is both Mayor Richard J. and Richard M. Daley must be situated in broader economic and political contexts. There's more at stake in trying to understand them than their personalities and many of the big-ticket policies they brought to bear on Chicago had roots beyond the city limits. Krohe noted in his profile of Mayor Richard J. Daley that his "luck put him in City Hall at a time of federal largesse" that paid for big construction projects. The current mayor presided during an era of globalization and technological change; he oversaw City Hall during a real estate boom and is leaving as its bust continues along. A big question for Chicago's next mayor is how she or he will govern, provide services, and develop the city when the broader context seems intent on austerity.