Monday, April 6, 2015

Rahm On Again?

Rahm Emanuel was always a son of a bitch in Washington, and now he's proven what a bad-ass he can be after four years as mayor of Chicago.  Emanuel, nominally a Democrat, has governed like a supply-side Republican, giving special favors to Chicago's wealthy elite while starving the neighborhoods of resources.  His most notable accomplishment has been the  closing schools all over the city - mainly in poor or lower-middle-class neighborhoods - so he can fund, among other things, a redevelopment project through tax increment financing, a program that allows him to take school money for something else.  So whatis this project? Is Rahm diverting money to build more public health clinics?  No, he's closing those, too. He's doing it to build a sports arena for DePaul University on land that doesn't meet the criteria for public investment because it's too valuable.   Emanuel is doing this on the guess that the arena, once built, will generate more tax money for he schools in the future.  But what about helping the schools now?
Oh yeah, he's also been trying to raise taxes and fees  in the city, like expand  the use of red light cameras to nab motorists for minor expenses paying profitable fines, and has tried to get a good deal of the city's public workers contribute more to their pension programs in an effort to keep Chicago's pension fund - like the state of Illinois itself - from going broke.  He's Scott Walker's brother from another mother. 
This unfairness was enough to force Emanuel into a runoff mayoral election tomorrow, after an inconclusive result in the February general mayoral election, against Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia,  aMexican-born progressive looking to become the first immigrant mayor of Chicago since Anton Cermak.  Garcia has promised to reopen schools, spur local development in the neighborhoods on the city's south and west side, put more police on the streets.  And he's behind in the polls by double digits.  Why?  Because Emanuel has used his business connections and his campaign fundraising advantage - he raises twelve dollars for every dollar Garcia raises - to slam Garcia as proposing unrealistic policies at a time of a city financial crisis brought on by years of fiscal mismanagement, despite the fact that only Rahm's rich buddies are benefiting from Rahm's plan.  This isn't Washington telling Chicago to drop dead - it's Rahm telling his own city to do so.
Sadly, Garcia is probably going to lose, and even though there are suggestions that the sizable black vote could help Garcia pull an upset . . . I don't think so.  As a progressive, Garcia represents a political movement that just can't gain traction these days and hasn't been able to gain any for 35 years.  And after a year and change of a disappointing de Blasio administration in New York, it's obvious that progressive politics can't cut it in Chicago either.  The Windy City had best get used to four more years of Rahm's hot air.      

1 comment:

Steve said...

See, I told you so!