Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey didn’t mince any words. “Chicago is a city in crisis,” he wrote in his opening to an op-ed in the Tribune this week.

That statement actually may be a measure of progress in Bailey’s assessment of the state’s biggest city. A couple of months ago, Bailey called Chicago a crime-ridden “hellhole.” And that itself was a slight improvement over his 2019 legislative effort to kick Chicago out of the state of Illinois altogether.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker sees the city quite differently. “Chicago and Illinois are open for business,” Pritzker said at a Thompson Center news conference last week. Pritzker’s proof point: Google’s commitment to move into the selfsame Thompson Center, a money pit of a public building that is nevertheless an architectural landmark.

With the redevelopment deal announced last week, the Thompson Center has a chance to morph into a productive role for the city and state. Today a costly lodestone victimized by a deferred-maintenance backlog totaling $525 million if not addressed by 2026, it potentially could anchor a revitalization of the northern part of Chicago’s Loop.

Read more at the

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.

Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.