Saturday, January 12, 2013

Taking the lead on firearms? Or being impatient? Emanuel needs to relax

After learning that Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants the City Council to approve an ordinance banning firearms as a way of prodding the Illinois General Assembly to take action, I couldn’t help but wonder if Hizzoner wishes he could do this with every issue.

The state Legislature and Gov. Pat Quinn can’t get its act together and agree on a new law that would permit a Chicago casino? Cut out the middle-man (a.k.a., the state) and have the council approve that desired lakefront palace of gambling that could take in the losings of its patrons.

WITH THE CITY taking a significant share of the gross receipts as its cut!

Of course, that can’t happen. The precedent is all there that the state is the lead government entity on that issue.

Which, on a side note, is one of the inaccuracies of the now-cancelled television program “Boss” – where actor Kelsey Grammer’s “Mayor Kane” character unilaterally came up with a casino idea to bail the city out of a financial crisis caused by aldermen who were anxious to make Kane look weak and ridiculous.

But back to reality, which is always more bizarre than anything any of us could dream up in our minds.

ANYBODY WHO SERIOUSLY thinks the rhetoric we’re likely to get hit with on Monday (the date that Emanuel says he will offer us some specifics about what he is considering) is dreaming.

It will be nothing but partisan rhetoric. We’re going to have to wait for the Legislature to decide what will happen. This issue will have to play out at the Statehouse – rather than at City Hall.

Or even at the Thompson Center state government building, where in recent days it has been suggested that all those basement fast-food joints and cheap stores on the first floor be converted into a casino – with the state agency offices remaining in place on the upper floors.

That idea may be the only one more ridiculous than the idea that Chicago can concoct its own firearms-related ordinance.

EMANUEL WENT AROUND this week saying, “waiting is not my strong suit” as justification for his attempt to force the issue to be addressed. Which makes me wonder in what political world he has been living?

For the whole concept of electoral politics is about “hurry up and wait.” I wonder at times whether government or the military is more inefficient when it comes to this inability to live by a clock.

Things happen at their own political rate, which usually is dictated by the fear many elected officials will have of doing something that is necessary – but not necessarily popular.

Such as Quinn, who is going to take his hits for pension funding reform if it doesn’t happen (he’s inept) or even if it does (he’s hurting retirees).

ON GUN CONTROL, the issue is even worse because everybody is convinced that the momentum favors them. It’s not quite as bad as those German soldiers of the Second World War with their “Gott Mit Uns” (translated as “God is with us”) belt buckles.

But there are those who are convinced that the federal appeals court ruling that requires Illinois to reconsider its opposition to “concealed carry” means that all firearms restrictions are on the way out.

They will counter those who believe that incidents such as the two dozen-plus people killed in a Newtown, Conn., public school and the Bakersfield, Calif., incident on Thursday in which a student with a shotgun managed to wound a fellow student create an environment in which people want more firearms restrictions.

This is going to be a cultural clash at the political level, and I’m not about to predict how it will turn out – other than to say that Emanuel’s going to find himself having severe headaches if he thinks he can singlehandedly change the political tide.

THE MAN NEEDS to relax! I’d suggest following baseball, except that he being the North Side-type creature that he is, he’d turn to the Chicago Cubs.

That’s a more nerve-wracking experience than anyone should have to voluntarily endure.


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