Saturday, October 11, 2014

Will anyone challenge Emanuel?

We know that Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis “is recovering well” following surgery Wednesday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. But common sense would indicate that her “serious illness” puts a serious crimp in the thoughts of those people who want her to challenge Rahm Emanuel for mayor.

So is 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti the ultimate winner of the past week’s activities? Or is he too ineffectual to benefit; making Mayor Emanuel the top dog – on account that a potentially strong challenger is down for the count, and it’s getting close to “10.”

NOW I’M NOT about to engage in another diatribe about Lewis being overly secretive about her health.

In fact, I suspect that union Vice President Jesse Sharkey was correct earlier this week when he told reporter-types he suspected that most of the questions about Lewis’ health were really attempts to figure out what would happen in the Feb. 24 municipal elections.

Which, to be honest, is the matter that impacts the bulk of us who will be put in a position in that election, and a possible April run-off, to decide who the mayor of Chicago ought to be for the next four years.

I’ll be the first to admit that there is a sizable number of Chicagoans who want to Dump Emanuel. I don’t think they really care who winds up in office, except they just don’t want Rahm.

ALTHOUGH IF WE’RE to be completely honest, nothing that Emanuel has done since becoming mayor in 2011 ought to be regarded as a surprise. We basically got what the majority of us voted for the last municipal election.

I’m also sure there are those people who are satisfied that Emanuel has maintained a status-quo, of sorts, in the way city government operates. So I’m sure some people will turn out to vote for him, regardless of who has the nerve to challenge him.

That issue involving the closing of several facilities in the Chicago Public Schools is a harsh one because of the way it seemed to focus on neighborhoods of African-American residents.

Even though it should be said many of the schools that got shuttered were struggling facilities that really didn’t have much to offer and that we probably are better off without. But rather than fix those facilities to make them useful, the city chose to sweep the problem under the carpet.

THAT’S WHY EMANUEL blew any goodwill he had amongst black voters as Barack Obama’s one-time chief of staff. But the reality is becoming that there simply isn’t anyone credible for those discontented voters to vote for.

There will be other names on the ballot, but they will be candidates with their own baggage or lacking in the resources to get themselves known to the masses so they could get enough votes to actually win an election.

It will be interesting to see one-time Alderman and county official Robert Shaw try once again to be on the campaign trail. Although to be honest, since the death of his twin brother Bill (himself a state senator and suburban Dolton mayor), the Shaw brothers seem like a relic of the past.

As for Fioretti, I was amused to see some campaign signs erected in the Pullman neighborhood touting his mayoral desires. Then again, he grew up there. Could Fioretti be the guy who will get the votes of a few cousins, and nobody else?

OR IS HE the one positioned to be able to become the new ‘flavor of the month’ for those people who want Anybody But Rahm on the fifth floor come May?

I’ll be honest. I’d like to see a competitive mayoral campaign (just as I’m hoping that Lewis herself fully recovers and is able to resume her duties with the teachers’ union).

Seeing Rahm rise to re-election with ease and becoming more entrenched (Emperor Emanuel?!?) in his political post is something that benefits none of us.


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