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Chicago: standard to poor

When Harold Washington was elected mayor of Chicago last spring, he boldly vowed to break the "ancient, decrepit and creaking machine" that has controlled the city for decades. In turn, the machine forces, led by Alderman Edward Vrdolyak, chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, declared war on Washington.

The resulting wrestling match, focusing on the city's budget woes, has nearly brought the so-called city that works to the edge of chaos. And last week Wall Street, like a father weary of the squabbling of two siblings, stepped in with a stinging rebuke. The New York investment rating firm...

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