Daily archives: August 9th, 2008

Mayor Daley Needs a News “Pool Boy”

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass reported Friday that Chicago’s airport operations boss Dave “Pool Boy” Ochal threw his political weight around last week when his neighborhood faced a power outage:

Ochal’s Far Northwest Side neighborhood was without power for two days in the summer heat. Neighbors dug into their own pockets to pay for emergency generators and shipped their elderly, including some who required oxygen therapy, to live with friends and family who had power. Then neighbors said they witnessed a political miracle Wednesday night:

A Commonwealth Edison truck pulled up at Ochal’s house in the 5400 block of North Paris Avenue.

The ComEd crew—two workers and a foreman—wore badges signifying they were detailed to O’Hare International Airport. With astonished neighbors watching, the crew delivered a big, fat electric generator to Ochal’s home.

It took only one day for him to resign.

Ochal had quite the reputation for working the system. According to Kass, in 2000 Ochal installed a built-in pool without permits. The pool swamped his neighbors backyards, “flooding their lawns and basements, shorting out appliances and blowing a ComEd transformer.”

Sounds like it was quite the scene last week when Kass went to interview the man he refers to as “Pool Boy.” When he knocked on Pool Boy’s door, his wife said he didn’t live there.

“There’s no Ochal here!” she said.

This truly astonished the neighbors. Then we went next door and around back, to see the fabulous pool and fabulous generator from that side. The camera guy was setting up his equipment, and just then, a little voice came from over the fence.

“Is this legal? Is this legal?”

It was Dave “Pool Boy” Ochal who popped up from behind the fence, his head up there like an angry jack-in-the-box.

Pool Boy couldn’t see me right off, standing there.

“Dave!” I shouted. “Pool Boy! It’s me, your friend, John.”

The realization on his face was poetic, if poetic looks like a slice of boiled ham in the moonlight.

Ochal’s head started to disappear behind his fence.

“Pool Boy!” I yelled. “Don’t go. It’s me, John. Don’t you want to talk?”

He didn’t.

Ochal resigned from his $159,144-a-year-plus-political-muscle position Friday.

ComEd has some questions to answer as well. While apparently not in the practice of delivering generators to customers’ homes, they did in this case.

Mayor Daley, interviewed in Beijing, sounded stupified:

When asked about the matter by a Tribune reporter in Beijing, Daley said, “It’s just plain stupid. It’s bad judgement. You know…..I mean why? It’s just bad judgement.”

Stupid for getting caught, perhaps, Mayor?

South Chicagoland Comedian/Actor Bernie Mac Dies

Shocking news from Northwestern Memorial Hospital today: Bernie Mac, comedian and actor, died Saturday. His publicist, Danica Smith, said he died as a result of complications from pneumonia.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body’s organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.

As recently as Friday, his publicist said Mac was responding well to treatment for the illness. The day before, she indicated he could be released from the hospital in the coming weeks.

But Mac, who lived in the south suburbs, died Saturday, cutting short a diverse and remarkable career that began with humble, South Side roots.

For a short while, Mac was a member of the Lincolnshire Country Club in Crete, IL. At the time, he was the club’s only African American member.

Mac worked in movies, standup, and television.

Mac was 50 years old.  We are all less for his loss.  He was an incredible talent.