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The mayor is smart enough to know it doesn't hurt to have a 30 million dollar war chest. Rahm Emanuel's campaign has been sending out full-color election flyers that stress issues of taxes and corruption, even though they're mostly minor infractions compared to his own. In the Sun-Times endorsement, these standards continue. I strongly disagree with their take. This is not the man who is "the right mayor for difficult times."
Peppered throughout the endorsement is the antichrist of the
horrible teachers union who might be "talking strike" just like when
Emanuel childishly "threw" the words "Fuck you" at them before. This
version of the teachers union story is so far from the truth I'm amazed
they printed it. The editors write the teachers went on strike over such
"salty language." In fact, he is a pro-charter school evangelical.
According to Ben Joravsky, Emanuel lied to impress his business allies and
"insisted that the top-scoring high schools in Chicago are
charters—even though no charters are in the top ten." Beyond a sharp
tongue wagged at the teachers, Emanuel "increased their hours, cut their pay, portrayed them
as money-grubbers, closed unionized schools, and opened more nonunion
charters, thus depleting the union's power through attrition."
In the eyes of the editors, the closed mental health clinics and schools are either not important, or somehow a badge of
honor for him. The real threat though, according to the emotional pleas of the editors, is that Chicago will stop being a tourist destination, and that the pension fund will "go belly up."
On the first issue, it's hard to believe tourists are all that interested in the projects Emanuel set out. From what I can tell they seem like kickbacks to a favorable alderman. When he built a playground and a half a million dollar garden tucked away in Roger's Park he put up a sign that he was building a better Chicago. He also did that on roads where he fixed pot holes. Debra Silverstein and Joseph Moore returned the favor by going along with his ballot sabotage.*
Onto the pension system with gaps "that threaten to sink the city." It happens to be run by Emanuel's campaign donors. These are the people he treats with more respect for the civic process than should be allowed. According to the investigative journalist David Sirota, while crying poverty the city has a "secret slush fund of taxpayer money" that is burgeoning with business handouts. Tom Ryan of the Firefighters Union Local 2 has argued that we are "asking those who are most vulnerable and who have based the remainder of their lives on what was promised to them, to shoulder the bulk of this sacrifice." To this situation, the self-professed independent newspaper regrettably
calls in the big guns. The pensions are "challenges" for the "bullies" to figure out, not a firefighter. The city has "no other way." The
hardworking Chicago families he pretends to care for are mistaken for trying to "be happy."
The editors also brag about a renewed Red-Line, but ignore the
outrage at the closing of twelve bus lines, including one down Lincoln
Ave. The new Chicago Transit Authority president has called this a
"balance of some very complicated things" but seems to me to come down
to color. Complicated is usually just how politicians say they're
helping the upper class white people. Maybe I'm wrong but I doubt it.
I've been to Lincoln avenue and seen the life there. Rather than earning their respect, if anything he owes a debt.
Emanuel got his start purifying his party of the anti-war voices. If you didn't like our crusade in Iraq you had to face his wrath. Today he continues a policy bought and paid for by the financial industry. Too bad for Chicago's janitors, bus riders, pensioners, teachers, parents and schoolchildren.
There really is only one thing to say about him in the end: Anybody but Rahm.
* A previous version of this article implied that Joe Moore was the 50th ward alderman.