24. ED RENDELL TAKES ON THE CITY UNIONS, 1992
Faced with a budget deficit projected to yawn to $1.25 billion in five years, the new mayor dropped to his knees to scrub toilets in City Hall—a symbolic pledge to a dubious citizenry that he would mop up the mess. He did, in a stare-down contest that saw the city’s muscular municipal unions blink first: Rendell privatized some services, froze wages, and trimmed fat-cat benefits (Flag Day off!) bestowed by Frank “Santa” Rizzo. Fast Eddie’s lunch-pail chutzpah stoked the city’s economic revivification, its ascendant national image, and his rise to the governor’s mansion.