Let's begin with the aforementioned passage from the new book:
In 1991, Michelle left Sidley [law firm] to work as an aide to Chicago's mayor, Richard M. Daley, the new and still unproven heir to his father's machine. She and Barack were nervous about the job. Daley senior had opposed the desegregation of schools and presided over an ethically challenged political operation, and the new mayor's first run for the job had ended in ugly racial divisions.Now, as I noted previously, Richard Daley did not fire Valerie Jarrett; she resigned.
"Having grown up in a proud African American family, she wasn't sure if there was a conflict between her values and his," said Valerie Jarrett, the mayoral aide who recruited Michelle and became a mentor to both Obamas. Jarrett, young, elegant, and educated at top schools, was an example of how the younger Daley intended to be different. She was from one of the best-established African American families in Hyde Park, a generally anti-Daley neighborhood, but she believed in gaining power to change things from above....
At work, Michelle always seemed crisp and professional, but she could be harshly critical of the mayor's administration behind closed doors. She disapproved of how closely Daley held power, surrounding himself with three or four people who seemed to let few outsiders in... At work, Michelle always seemed crisp and professional, but she could be harshly critical of the mayor's administration behind closed doors.
She particularly resented the way power in Illinois was locked up generation after generation by a small group of families, all white Irish Catholic -- the Daleys of Chicago, the Hyneses and Madigans statewide. "Someone doesn't have the right to be elected because of whose womb they came out of," she would say a few years later to Dan Shomon, her husband's political adviser. "You shouldn't have a better chance if you're a Kennedy than if you're an Obama. Why is it that they have the right to this?"...
She lasted only two years before moving on to a job leading a program that spoke volumes about her conclusions. It was called Public Allies, and its aim was to train a new generation of urban leaders from more diverse backgrounds -- an alternative to the established power structure.
Two years later, in 1995, Valerie Jarrett was unceremoniously dumped from her post [as head of the Department of Planning and Development]: she was standing in the way of powerful developers, who convinced the mayor to let her go, and even though Jarrett and the mayor were close, he never spoke to her about the decision. The Obamas were horrified, their worst suspicions about that world confirmed.
Jarrett said that, although Daley had asked her to stay, she decided to leave her post and to assume an executive position with a real estate development and management company. Nevertheless, within days of Jarrett's resignation, Daley appointed her commissioner of the Chicago Transit Board. [She held two positions simultaneously - on the Chicago Transit Board and with the aforementioned real estate development company.]
Jarrett held three consecutive posts in the Daley administration: 1) Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor, 2) Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development, 3) Commissioner of the Chicago Transit Board.
And Jarrett recruited Michelle Obama to work with her during each of those tenures.
Obama assisted Jarret while the latter was working in the Mayor's office as Deputy Chief of Staff. When Jarrett was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development, Obama became the Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development. And, after the Mayor appointed Jarrett as Commissioner of the Chicago Transit Board, Jarrett recruited Michelle Obama to the transit agency's citizen advisory committee.
Hence, it appears as if Richard Daley treated Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama quite well. But ultimately, he was still unable to satisfy Michelle Obama because, well, because he's a very, very bad man......
Nevertheless, although Valerie Jarrett had tendered her resignation [as head of the Department of Planning and Development], Michelle Obama insists that Jarrett "was unceremoniously dumped from" the job, because "she was standing in the way of powerful developers, who convinced the mayor to let her go."
"Standing in the way of powerful developers"?
Difficult to believe, considering that Jarrett and her pal, Barack Obama, worked hand in hand with powerful real estate developers at the expense of poor, low-income families:
As a state senator in Illinois and as a Presidential candidate, Barack Obama endorsed public [tax-payer-funded] subsidies for private companies to build and manage affordable housing for low-income families. Obama advocated public-private partnerships as an alternative to public housing. And, as a state senator, Obama cosponsored legislation that increased state subsidies for private developers. Many of these properties were mismanaged and ultimately fell into disrepair. Thousands of apartments in the city of Chicago became uninhabitable, including several hundred apartments in then-state senator Obama's district - leaving many of the low-income tenants homeless.
Several of these failed projects were developed and mismanaged by Obama's close friends, campaign contributers and fund-raisers, the likes of Tony Rezko, Allison Davis, Cecil Butler and Valerie Jarrett. [Jarrett raised at least $100,000 for Obama's campaign.]
Jarrett, at the time, was chief executive of the Habitat Company, a real estate development and management company which managed Grove Parc Plaza, an apartment complex that fell into utter disrepair and became uninhabitable. Another large apartment complex, co-managed by the Habitat Company, was seized by the federal government in 2006 after widespread problems were discovered there; inspectors found more than 1,800 code violations.
Allison Davis, who donated at least $21000 to Barack Obama's campaigns, was a participant in the mismanaged and failed Grove Parc Plaza development. [Incidentally, when the City of Chicago sued a real estate investment Company, founded by Davis, for failing to adequately heat one of its apartment complexes, it was [attorney] Obama who represented the company in court.]
Tony Rezko, who raised roughly $250,000 for Obama's political campaigns, received federal subsidies to rehabilitate more than 1,000 apartments, many of them located in and around Obama's district. A number of these apartments deteriorated to the point where they were no longer inhabitable.
But it was Obama who wrote to state and city officials urging them to provide huge subsidies to help Davis and Rezko develop many of these low-income properties.
According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch from the Illinois Secretary of State in 2008, "Valerie Jarrett served as a board member for several organizations that provided funding and support for Chicago housing projects operated by Tony Rezko and Allison Davis."
Judicial Watch noted that "Jarrett was a member of the Board of Directors for the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corporation along with several Davis and Rezko associates, as well as the Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization, an organization that worked with Rezko and Davis."
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton opined at the time, "Like Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett is a product of the corrupt Chicago political machine. And it is no stretch to say that she was a slumlord"
"We have real concerns about Jarrett’s ethics," said Fitton. "Washington already has plenty of corruption. We don’t need to import more of it from Chicago."
Clearly, Valerie Jarrett and Barack Obama favored the powerful real estate developers over the low-income families, which is why the two were eager to scratch the backs of these developers at the expense of the low-income families. Hence, Michelle Obama's contention that Valerie Jarrett was "unceremoniously dumped from her post [as head of the Department of Planning and Development]" because "she was standing in the way of powerful developers" is extremely difficult, and nearly impossible, to believe.
But we're not finished yet:
From the Chicago Tribune - July 6, 2008:
Valerie Jarrett, a close adviser to Barack Obama, stands at the center of Chicago's controversial efforts to redevelop public housing.Case closed!
Jarrett has pushed to integrate new developments by limiting the number of residents, mostly poor and black, who can live in the new communities. From the beginning, that stance clashed with efforts by residents and housing advocates to ensure the number of units set aside for the poor was as large as possible...
Since 1995, Jarrett has been a high ranking executive at Habitat Co., a real estate firm tasked by a federal judge to ensure the CHA ends segregation in public housing...
Habitat argues that to integrate public housing it must attract middle-class families, who will not buy into a development that includes too many poor people.
"We looked for a balance, with the goal being a healthy community, and we were extremely cognizant and mindful of not wanting to recreate horizontally what we had torn down vertically," said Jarrett, a former top official in Mayor Richard Daley's administration.
Under the Plan for Transformation, the city has lost more than 13,000 housing units for the poor at a time when low-income families face one of the worse housing crises in recent history. After years of neglect and abandonment, many residents doubt that Jarrett and CHA officials have their interests at heart.
"They was going to do what they was going to do," said Carmen Hart, who moved to Stateway Gardens in 1960 and has been waiting three years to go back.
Habitat has earned $6.8 million in fees and $10.8 million in administrative expenses since the plan started in 2000, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The company also earns millions as a property manager for the CHA...
Instead of attempting to build public housing in more affluent white neighborhoods, the city [tried] to attract wealthier people to old public housing sites and thereby integrate the communities.
Habitat quickly developed guidelines that limited the proportion of public housing to roughly a third of the total.
"If you had more than a third, the sky would fall. Heaven and earth would not move them from that position," said Richard Wheelock, an attorney for the Legal Assistance Foundation, winning a consent decree that guides the redevelopment of [public housing for low-income families] on the North Side.
The fight is far from over, however.
Battles lines are being redrawn over Lathrop Homes, a public housing development in Logan Square, where market-rate condos abound.
Habitat and the CHA want to create a new development at Lathrop that would follow the same model as other mixed-income sites...
But community organizers say that the neighborhood needs more affordable and public housing -- not more upscale homes.
A couple of additional points:
As I noted in the earlier version of this post, Valerie Jarrett, while serving as commissioner of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development, was involved in what the Chicago Tribune described as "perhaps the most embarrassing episode of [Richard] Daley's mayoral tenure-the $5 million loan to construct a West Side movie studio project earmarked for investors with ties to mob boss Sam Carlisi. The loan was canceled virtually at the last minute."
"The deal was arranged through Jarrett's department."
That in itself might have been cause for Jarrett to feel it was time to resign in order to protect her boss from further embarrassment.
Moreover, Jarrett had failed to procure a suitable location for a large catalog company which had operated warehouses in Chicago for 88 years. Her best offer was a parcel of land filled with 20 to 30 feet of water. The company was forced to relocate its distribution center to a different city.
Jarret's ineptness resulted in the loss of roughly two thousand jobs [including many African Americans who were left without jobs], and robbed the city’s economy of up to $510 million annually. But Jarrett insisted she he had given it her best effort.
"I will sleep well," she said.
A Chicago Sun Times editorial opined at the time: 'How can Mayor Daley’s commissioner of planning and development say she’s sleeping well at night when the best relocation option Chicago offered was filled with up to 30 feet of water?'
No wonder she resigned.
But nevertheless, within days of her resignation, Richard Daley appointed her Commissioner of the Chicago Transit Board. Michelle Obama was recruited to the transit agency's citizen advisory committee. And the inseparable pair were reunited once again under the auspices of the very bad, and evil man, Richard Daley.
And Valerie Jarrett, through her work at the Habitat Corporation [which came to an end when she joined the Obama administration] and as a board member with the Woodlawn Corp., was able to continue to pursue her life's passion: screwing the low-income families and scratching the backs of crooked developers, the Tony Rezkos of the world......