Monday, December 1, 2014

Rahm wants your vote come Feb. 27! He’ll do what’s necessary to get it!

It will be interesting to see the activity of the next few days as city officials scramble to try to impose a significant boost in the minimum wage; as Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to have an accomplishment that can be used to appeal to the voters of Chicago who right now are inclined to want to dump him from office.

That accomplishment is an increase in the minimum wage paid by Chicago-based companies to up to $13 per hour by 2019. It would be a gradual increase implemented in coming years.

IT WOULD BE far more than the measures being pondered by the General Assembly in Springfield, which has hinted it might consider an increase from the current $8.25 per hour to $10. then to $11 by 2017. Which would make Chicago companies better paying for those who have to rely on minimum wage work to earn a living.

That has some political people concerned that the differential will harm business interests. It is why some are pondering that a state minimum wage increase ought to include provisions preventing any community in the state from imposing its own pay rate.

Yet Emanuel, in his struggle to try to appeal to less-than-wealthy Chicagoans living in places outside of the neighborhoods of the north lakefront, wants that $13 per hour increase -- even if it won't take effect until the very end of the upcoming mayoral term.

He wants to be able to boast about that as an accomplishment as he tries to undercut the appeal of mayoral challengers Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Robert Fioretti to those working stiffs.

HE CERTAINLY DOESN’T want the political “yahoos” in Springfield to steal away that option from him. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if, should the General Assembly were to pass such a bill, outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn would sign it into law as a way of tweaking the egos of both Emanuel and Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner simultaneously!

The state Legislature comes back to Springfield Tuesday through Thursday for the remainder of its fall veto session, and state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, has said the Legislature may act this week on the issue.

Which is why city officials last week scheduled a committee session to review a proposed minimum wage hike for Chicago come Monday. Then, on Tuesday, the full City Council will hold a special meeting – the sole purpose of which is to approve whatever gets recommended by the committee the day before.

Is it possible for the city to pass something before the General Assembly convenes Tuesday afternoon? Would the state try to pass something that they would claim circumvents Chicago’s ability to address the issue on its own?

WILL WE GET a lengthy legal fight over whose bill/ordinance will be allowed to prevail? Will there be bruised political egos, no matter what the outcome of the issue?

How much will Emanuel be willing to expend to ensure he prevails? Because while he can count on the same north lakefront support of people who in last month’s gubernatorial election were willing to vote for Rauner or not vote for governor at all, that isn’t enough to win a municipal election.

He wants to have credit for providing a higher minimum wage!

Just as he used his first campaign ads of the mayoral election cycle to take credit for the closings in recent years of coal-burning power plants in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND Latino activists who were involved with those efforts to reduce air pollution caused by those plants think that Emanuel was actually an obstacle to their efforts, which were ongoing long before Rahm became mayor in 2011.

But Emanuel wants to be on the side of “the people” and is willing to give himself a bit of praise; hoping that most of us weren’t paying much attention to know who did what.

He wants these “accomplishments,” just like he’s bound to seek many more in coming months as he tries to persuade a majority to believe that “Rahm II” won’t be a complete mistake for Chicago.


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