[Vito Marzullo raw #44]

Raw tape #44 for Vito Marzullo documentary. Rakove transitions. Director Tom Weinberg talks with Milton Rakove, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois-Chicago and author who documented the Chicago political machine under Mayor Richard J. Daley. Weinberg coaxes sound bytes out of Rakove, used as transitions in the documentary's final cut. They discuss Marzullo's strengths and weaknesses, his day-to-day operations as part of the "machine" and how the Chicago City Council really governs.

00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars, sound check and camera set up.

01:30Copy video clip URL Rakove introduces himself and the topic, saying, “I think Marzullo is one of the last, without question, one of the last of the old-time machine politicians in Chicago.” He feels Marzullo represents the typical machine politician, whose “ambitions have never outrun his abilities,” and explains that Marzullo turned down many higher political positions. He reports that Marzullo once said, “I just want to stay where I am as an alderman and a committeeman, where I can help my friends and screw my enemies.”

03:45Copy video clip URL Supposedly a legislative body, Rakove compares the Chicago City Council to a stage, where the members “know what’s going to happen, certain people are given roles to play, [and] they play those roles.” Rakove says, “Most of the business of the council is decided long in advance… It has very little to do, actually, with the governance of the city.” In fact, Rakove says most of the councilmen ignore the proceedings, and instead consult each other about personal or ward matters.

05:42Copy video clip URL Rakove introduces a clip (seen in raw tape #32) and talks about the alderman’s oratory skills. He says that even though Marzullo’s attempts to read prepared speeches are “atrocious,” that “off the cuff on his own, he has a natural instinct for saying what’s on his mind and on his heart, and he comes off very well that way.”

07:48Copy video clip URL Taping a sound byte, Rakove calls the 25th Ward the smallest ward of the city. He also explains why Republicans fear voting in the primary elections in the largely Democratic area and how Marzullo’s precinct captains manufacture votes.

10:06Copy video clip URL They discuss the ethnic makeup of the 25th Ward, which transformed from a nearly all-white area when Marzullo took over as alderman to a ward split between black, Latino and various European ethnic groups at the time of shooting. “It’s still a ward in which the ethnic groups live in enclaves separate from each other and have very little to do with each other outside of politics,” Rakove says.

11:29Copy video clip URL Weinberg asks Rakove about the ad book, a fundraising tool of Chicago politicians featured throughout the documentary. “They raise probably somewhere between $60,000 to $70,000 in ads,” which Rakove says Marzullo uses to defray the cost of precinct captains.

13:35Copy video clip URL The tape skips, and when it returns Weinberg asks Rakove about the details of politics at the local level. Rakove elaborates on Marzullo’s duties as alderman, chock full of unglamorous details like garbage can distribution and street sweeping, and comments that “there’s no separation between his political life and his personal life.”

15:55Copy video clip URL Rakove continues explaining local-level politics, saying, “The [precinct] captains are totally non-ideological. They have no ideology, no philosophy. For them politics is basically taking care of people, doing favors for people, getting a job themselves out of it, so they can make a living themselves. And that’s about what they get out of it.”

16:29Copy video clip URL Rakove explains the difference between Marzullo “the machine politician,” and his rival, Alderman Leon Despres, “the classic reformer, incorruptible, intelligent, hard-working, dedicated to what he considers to be the civic good.” Despres is interviewed in raw tapes #23 and #24. Rakove also explains other angles of the Chicago Machine of which Despres is critical, elaborating again on the role of precinct captains in a “machine ward.”

19:18Copy video clip URL As the camera captures b-roll footage of Marzullo’s ad book, we catch glimpses of the advertisers whose money supports his organization. They include Penthouse Magazine, chiropractors, restaurants and car dealerships. Picture is unusually yellow here.



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