Thursday, May 7, 2015

Not often that governor, mayor set foot on other’s political ‘turf’; that's an issue

Gov. Bruce Rauner deserves a bit of praise for having the nerve to set foot not only in City Hall, but at the City Council on Wednesday to make a long-shot attempt to persuade aldermen of the validity of his “turnaround agenda.”

That being the series of anti-organized labor measures he’d like to see implemented across Illinois because our state’s governor believes it is the fault of labor unions that many corporations cannot be even more profitable and beneficial to the state’s economy.

THE CITY COUNCIL already has made it clear that not only will they refuse to join the ranks of the many rural communities that have passed resolutions in support of Rauner, they’re prepared to lead the fight against the governor.

That led to Rauner requesting a chance to speak before the City Council during their meeting on Wednesday. Aldermen pushed during the morning to complete their other business (including approval of reparations payments for victims of police brutality from the minions of one-time Commander Jon Burge and a tribute to the late Cardinal Francis George) so that Rauner could give a noon-time address uninterrupted.

This is rare. Governors and mayors in Illinois and Chicago respectively often meet. There has to be some sort of a relationship between the two positions if anything is to get done in this state.

But they usually deal with each other, then rely on the other to get their political minions to go along. Almost like this is a third-rate attempt at remaking "West Side Story."

IN SHORT, EMANUEL being counted on to get aldermen to back a Rauner-desired goal. Although in this case, even Emanuel has expressed opposition to the labor-related measures that Rauner has made a priority of his first four months as governor.

Now I’m not about to get into the specifics of what Rauner said to the aldermen. Personally, I don’t think it matters one bit. I doubt many people were listening to what the governor said.

In fact, a part of me wonders if Rauner’s desire was to be booed and heckled and have the substance of what he said completely ignored. So that he could go out and tell other people how rude and inconsiderate (he’d probably use harsher language) the Chicago politicos were.

Make this a Chicago versus the rest of Illinois issue, and maybe he has a chance of forcing city opposition into having the “turnaround” rammed down their collective throat.

THEN AGAIN, PICKING the Wednesday council session was an odd choice if Rauner were really trying to sway people. Because it is the last gathering of aldermen before the newly-elected City Council members are sworn in.

About one-third of the people who heard Rauner on Wednesday will no longer be in the council. In fact, the trend seems to be that the replacement aldermen will be people of a more politically progressive nature who will be even more inclined to oppose the governor.

They’re the ones who got elected because of the sentiment that Emanuel is too inclined to back business interests and be too chummy with people like Rauner.

Perhaps the governor thought the lame ducks would be more sympathetic. Then again, the whole point of lame duck status is that they don’t have the power to do much of anything any longer.

SO THE GOVERNOR spoke to the City Council. It sounds nice. It would be nice if the governor tried to have a real relationship with these political people – instead of acting like they’re the opposition.

Then again, it’s not like Chicago mayors are all that eager to spend time in Springfield before the General Assembly.

I remember former Mayor Richard M. Daley would make what seemed to be his annual one-day trip to Springfield to be seen by the Democrats and remind them (including Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, just in case he started to think his position was bigger than ‘Da Mare’) who was really the boss.

Emanuel isn’t any different in his dealings with the Illinois Legislature. Perhaps this attitude of politicians having their ‘turf’ goes a long way toward explaining why certain things never can seem to get done properly.


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