Newsman Buzz Buckley grapples with the moral myopia of TV station owner H.B. ( Half Baked ) Baker while attempting to provide fair coverage to such divisive local issues as urban renewal, police-mirity relations, opposition to the Vietnam War, and the long fight over racial imbalance in the schools which threatens to tear the city apart. Meanwhile he is carrying on a rollicking, Rabelaisian romance with Marsha, an old flame from high school, which unexpectedly founders. He then finds his interest in Judy, his city councilor daughter-in-law, ripening into more than fatherly affection. Judy runs for mayor in an attempt to block wealthy industrialist Money Bags Jardine from taking over the city. Big Jim McCann, the city's first Irish-American mayor, cranks up the old McCann Machine one last time to help. At the top of the questions the new mayor will face: can the city settle the battle over de facto segregation and two-way busing without the violence that is erupting in Boston?