Let‘s face it: Pretense aside, the proposal from the Library Commission to name the Central Library after Mayor Dick Riordan was about as spontaneous as the Chinese Communist Party’s terming Mao the Great Helmsman.
It is also completely unjust. After the old library was gutted by arson fires, it was Riordan‘s predecessor, Tom Bradley, who inspired the revival into today’s palace of literacy. Although the renewed library happened to open not three months into Riordan‘s regime, the most adulatory accounts of the renaming fail to credit any aspect of this phoenixlike revival to the new mayor. They also fail to credit Riordan with his one great library-related scheme — to sell the building to tobacco giant Philip Morris, and then lease it back at some purported savings.
Bradley has the new main wing of the library named after him already.
But there was another figure who helped re-create the library, who remains uncredited: the late City Council President John Ferraro. The library would have been a perfect memorial to John. Too bad a greedy lame duck got there first.