O'Donnell: Lightfoot's 'Lakeside Laff Raft' another strong hint the Bears are leaving Chicago

LORI LIGHTFOOT CLEARLY missed her calling.

Forget about law. Forget about mayoral politics.

The fiery former point guard has shown that her true power alley could be a career in "Civic Comedy."

As a matter of fact, when she listed her mad-libbed possibilities for the future of Soldier Field - dome option, optional dome later and non-Bears renovation - she omitted the obvious:

Domed comedy club.

Lori's Lakeside Laff Raft.

Why knot?

AND IF HER EXERCISE in Daniel Burnham-Bill Burr absurdism stretched a bit farther, why not an extended landfill over Burnham Harbor and out into Lake Michigan?

A new neighborhood for the ridiculously rich to finally give the NFL's oldest and smallest stadium a moneyed consuming base to the east.

As an enduring tribute, call the new peninsula of privilege - "Lightfoot Shores."

IF HER HONOR'S LATEST rendezvous with mirth is the best she's got to keep the Staleys in Chicago, it's Arlington Heights, here they come.

Thirteen months ago, when Bears management - prodded by Churchill Downs Inc. and selling agent CBRE - announced its bid for the 326 acres of Arlington Park, Mayor Lightfoot expressed nothing but scorn and dismissiveness.

This week, obviously overwhelmed and bereft of original thought, she changed lanes into fiscal folly.

THE 2023 RACE FOR MAYOR OF CHICAGO is gingerly setting up as a curious one.

Willie Wilson and Paul Vallas are in. Ditto for Southwest Side Ald. Ray Lopez.

Pontifical former Gov. Pat Quinn - the man who vetoed two gaming bills that would have saved Arlington Park close to a decade ago - continues to bluster.

Ald. Sophia King and Arne Duncan remain sniffing.

THREE YEARS AGO, the fresh-faced Lightfoot got to attack and made a remarkable stretch run.

In the next six months, she has to defend.

That's not going to be easy. Especially atop a city widely perceived to be a haven for the rich and connected, a marginalizing and scary caldron for far too many others.

If the impending departure of the Bears impacts the 2023 Democratic primary, Mayor Lightfoot is now in even tougher.

Maybe she really should be set to voluntarily bid adieu to the hot seat and opt on to Lori's Laff Raft.

STREET-BEATIN': The smart money is now on Charles Barkley staying at TNT and leveraging the Saudi LIV golf interest into a huge pay raise. The Round Mound currently has three years to go at $10M per in Atlanta along with a separate $8.5M in endorsement income. He'd be little more than a trinket to the sheikhs. ...

The esteemed Bob Goldsborough - the man who brought young Gary Deeb to the Chicago Tribune from Buffalo - reports that Cubs baseball boss Jed Hoyer has purchased a pair of adjoining properties on the North Shore for close to $5.7M. Hoyer sold his Ravenswood mansion earlier this spring for $3.5M. All proving is that there is gold to be panned from those tortoise-friendly non-rebuild rebuilds. ...

Fox Sports bosses are apparently going to nod into the upcoming NFL season with gabby Joe Davis and Daryl Johnston as their No. 2 team behind Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen. The correct play-by-play response for No. 2 was: Who is Adam Amin? But what do the Fox hounds care? They're waiting on the grossly overpriced Tom Brady. ...

Bob Sakamoto has announced his retirement after 13 years in sports information at DePaul following 32 years at the Tribune. The one-time White Sox bat boy (Lane Tech, '71) was Bulls beat writer at The Trib for the early years of Michael Jordan and one of only two full-time traveling reporters during the rookie season of His Richness. (Jordan respected "Sako," just as he later respected Melissa Isaacson.) ...

Chip Brooks is telling all who will listen that a handful of tickets remain for Matt Spiegel, Len Kasper and Sonic 45 at Hey Nonny in downtown Arlington Heights Thursday night. Nonny's showroom is a comfortable cut above; full info at ...

Ted Nugent - who participated in zero organized sports during his 2½ years (1965-67) at St. Viator High since bow hunting wasn't offered - sold out the 900-seat Des Plaines Theater Monday night. Scott Thomson says the password was "loud," even during the "(Blank) Joe Biden" chants. ...

Aaron Rodgers showed up for Packers camp dressed as the Nicolas Cage character from "Con Air." (Rodgers is far and away the better actor.) ...

And "Milwaukee John" Cecelich, on the Willson Contreras "Farewell Tour": "You'd think it was Jose Cardenal that was leavin.' "

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at

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