It’s safe to say that Mayor Rahm Emanuel knows how to make enemies.
It seems no matter where he looks or what he does, there will be someone more than willing to take a pot-shot at him.
TAKE THE FACT that Emanuel presented a city budget proposal for the municipal upcoming fiscal year. Much of the news coverage focused on the fact that the budget doesn’t try to do anything to resolve the city’s problems in providing for adequate funding for its pension programs.
As in they will be dealt with in the future – specifically some point following the February and April municipal elections. A newly-elected City Council will wind up having to address the issue; in hopes that enough time will pass between their actions and the 2019 elections that voters won’t hold it against them.
Although I couldn’t help but notice that Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey was quick to trash Emanuel for a budget that they contends favors the wealthy interests of Chicago rather than regular citizens.
“This budget continues a top-down imposition of two distinct cities, one for the privileged and one for everyone else,” Sharkey said. “Balance comes through savage cuts to public service and accounting trickery, as there is only minimal revenue generation in this budget.”
HE GOES ON to say, “The reality on the ground is that neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city continue to struggle with daily violence. Budgetary allocations for police only cover positions lost to retirement and are nowhere near what the mayor promised during this first campaign.”
The tone of the rest of Sharkey’s comments is just as hostile. It seems that the loss of Karen Lewis at the top of the Chicago Teachers Union is not going to result in any more favorable body of people for Emanuel and city officials to deal with when trying to address issues related to the Chicago Public Schools.
It also is written in such a tone that I wonder how much it is inspired by the rhetoric of Gov. Pat Quinn – whose own campaign talk is now on auto-pilot to imply that Republican challenger Bruce Rauner is just a rich guy who doesn’t care about average people.
It’s no wonder that Emanuel and Rauner are actually friends on a certain level, and that perhaps deep down Emanuel wouldn’t object to a Quinn defeat come the Nov. 4 election cycle – even though he’ll never publicly admit to that fact.
BUT IT’S NOT just the teachers union that’s bad-mouthing Emanuel these days. There’s also William J. Kelly, a Beverly neighborhood resident who is running a fringe campaign for mayor and differentiating himself by claiming to be the lone Republican in the race.
Kelly wants to be taken seriously by pointing out that he has come up with $100,000 for his campaign, which actually has caused the limits on self-spending for campaigns to be shot to pieces.
Emanuel can now come up with as much cash as he wishes to drown out anyone who has the nerve to challenge him come next year’s municipal election cycle.
Although I’ll give Kelly credit for one bit of honesty – he says he’s hoping that the national Republican organizations will see his campaign and flood his coffers with so much cash that he could compete with Emanuel’s millions.
ADMITTEDLY, THERE ARE GOP political interests that would like to see Emanuel suffer a political humiliation. Then again, when they tried to beat him when he ran for Congress and for mayor the first time, their efforts just weren’t all that successful.
I suspect they’ll conclude that Kelly is too insignificant on his own to warrant their help. Besides, I suspect they like the idea of gaining political majorities in other places to try to drown out the influence of Illinois and Chicago led by Democrats.
Which may well be the reason that our local people should focus on being as strong as they possibly can be. And why the upcoming elections for state offices are probably way more important than anything that happens at City Hall beginning next May.