"There is the sense, more from outside Chicago than here, that the city -- especially with the Olympics -- is again going to get another chance to rise from the ashes. But with all that added attention, the spotlight has exposed some things that aren't so rosy. There's more to this city than the Olympics or that the mayor has a green roof," she said.
That spotlight is not just exposing Chicago's seedy underbelly but casting a shadow large enough for the country to see, said Chicago Tribune columnist Dawn Turner Trice.
"Chicago is under the spotlight like never before because the president-elect lives here," Trice said. That added attention gives reports a national urgency that they normally would not have.
"The governor has been under investigation for years. Everything with the Tribune and the Republic employees came to a head at the same time as the governor's arrest, and people outside of Chicago have this sense that things went from euphoric to somber overnight," she said.
"The mood in Chicago, given the economy, is much like the mood in the rest of the country. The truth is, this is pretty typical," she said. "There's a lot happening, but a lot that would have happened anyway. It's just the extra attention and extra emotions around Obama that make everything seem heightened."
Regular Chicagoans say they are taking everything in stride, following their sometimes disappointing politicians with the same focus they give to following their sometimes disappointing sports teams.
"If we weren't already past the high we were all feeling on Nov. 5, this is going to help," said Sachin Agarwal, 28, president of dawdle.com, a video game auction Web site.
"It's not like Obama was arrested," he said. "No one really liked Blagojevich anyway."