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Mike Royko on the Bears, Arlington Heights — and Richard J. Daley: A copyright on ‘Chicago’?

First published on April 16, 1975: Columnist Mike Royko shares his take on the Bears’ threat to move to Arlington Heights — and then Mayor Richard J. Daley’s counterthreat.

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mike Royko in an undated photograph.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mike Royko in an undated photograph that did not originally appear with the below column.
Sun-Times file photo

This column was originally published on April 16, 1975 in the Chicago Daily News under the headline “A copyright on ‘Chicago’?:”

Every time Mayor Daley has a press conference, we see why he seldom holds press conferences anymore. He is beginning to sound like Prof. Corey, the strange-talking TV comedian. Except Daley appears to be serious.

Take this week’s performance, which was done in living color, mostly blotchy, angry red.

The main subjects were the Chicago Bears and Congressman Abner Mikva.

The Bears, of course, hope a stadium will be built for them in Arlington Heights.

This is a more serious problem than merely where a bunch of mercenary athletes will maul each other for the pleasure of a TV audience.

If the Bears move to the suburbs, it will be a depressing symbol of the great flight of families and businesses from the city, further evidence that under Daley’s rule a lot of people have decided Chicago really isn’t a very wunnerful place to live, work or throw a screen pass.

Daley doesn’t want to be reminded of that.

He said the Chicago Bears can’t move to the suburbs because they would no longer be the Chicago Bears: they would be the Arlington Heights Bears.

Mike Royko’s column ‘bug’ as it appeared with the original 1975 Chicago Daily News column.
Mike Royko’s column ‘bug’ as it appeared with the original 1975 Chicago Daily News column.

Before anybody could get the impression that Daley was making a joke, he babbled that he would prevent them from using the word “Chicago” in their name.

“They won’t use the name of Chicago if they move to Arlington Heights. They’ll never use the name of Chicago as long as I’m mayor.

“They’ll get the greatest contest they ever got in their life. They will like hell be called the Chicago Bears.”

And how will the great dumpling stop George Halas (who has been a Chicagoan even longer than Daley) from using the word Chicago?

Daley said he would take legal action against them. That’s right. He will go to court.

Apparently he has reached the point of thinking he has a copyright on the word “Chicago.”

If so, is he going to sue such suburban companies as the Chicago Cork Works of Niles, the Chicago Ink and Research Co., of Antioch, the Chicago Rubber Co. of Waukegan, the Chicago Scale and Slicer Co. of Franklin Park, the Chicago Automatic Door Co. of Skokie?

And what about the Chicago Tavern on Route 50 in Wisconsin?

He also might demand that the Chicago Golf Club, which is in Wheaton, cease and desist from using the name of his personal kingdom.

And what about his own sacred name? There’s a Republican lawyer named Richard J. Daley, who ran for judge and lost. Maybe Mayor Daley will go into court and demand that this other Daley change his name to something like John Hoellen. With a Chicago judge, the guy might have to do it.

Page 3 of the April 16, 1975 Chicago Daily News.
Page 3 of the April 16, 1975 Chicago Daily News.

Daley then moved to the subject of Mikva and the suggestion that Daley’s flunkies in Springfield had redrawn the state congressional map in such a way that Mikva would be out of a job.

You can’t blame Mikva for being suspicious. He used to be a congressman from the South Side. The map was redrawn so that he was out.

So he moved to Evanston, campaigned hard, and was elected. Now he might be out once again.

These things seldom happen to other congressmen Daley doesn’t hate.

But Daley explained that Mikva has several flaws in his character.

One is that he is “a partisan, narrow-minded bigot.”

Translated, this means that he is independent and didn’t endorse Daley in the last mayoral election.

If someone had asked Daley about Tom Keane, Daley would have said Keane is a fine man.

Even if you are a convicted thief, you are a fine man if you endorse Daley.

If you didn’t, you are a narrow-minded bigot.

Daley doesn’t always object to people moving in order to get elected to office.

For instance, Daley moved Frank Annunzio into my district, where he had never lived, so loyal Frank could be my congressman. Daley didn’t say he was a carpetbagger.

Nor did Daley say that some of the white ward bosses, who live on Lake Shore Drive while representing West Side ghettos, were carpetbaggers.

And Daley seems to have forgotten a bit of political trickery that once occurred in his own neighborhood that was far slyer than Mika’s “carpetbagging.”

It was back in the 1930s, and an election was being held to fill three spots in the Legislature — two with Democrats and one Republican.

Just before the election, the Republican dropped dead.

The Democratic Machine decided to organize a write-in campaign for one of their own ward heelers and get him elected in the Republican spot.

They did it, and the loyal Bridgeport Democrat went to Springfield as a Republican.

Daley should remember how he snuck into his first elected office.