Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What choice did they really have? Emanuel strong-arms critics into backing him on superintendent

It seems like unity – but only if you don’t look too closely at the details.

EMANUEL:  The winner, for now
For Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday formally made it known he wants Chicago Police chief of patrols Eddie Johnson to be the department’s new superintendent.

BEFORE HE COULD make the announcement official, the black and Latino members of the City Council – who comprise 30 of its 50 members – came out with their own statement saying they support the idea of Johnson, an African-American male with nearly 3 decades of experience within the department, getting the top job.

There’s a lot of politicking that has yet to take place in order for Johnson to get the post on a permanent basis. But it would seem that he’s not going to get any significant opposition from the City Council in confirming his choice.

So Rahm Emanuel has brought peace and unity to Chicago; he has managed to bring together the various factions of Chicago’s populace to unite us all on the process toward truly being one people.

Yeah, right. And I suppose you also think 2016 will be THE YEAR that we get the all-Chicago World Series (with the White Sox defeating the Cubs 4 games to 1). It ain’t gonna happen.

FOR WHAT EMANUEL truly did was put the black caucus, which already had been critical of the process of picking a new police superintendent, into a position where it couldn't credibly complain. Even though Emanuel didn’t give in to a single of their demands about who the new superintendent should be.

Don’t forget, they wanted prior approval before a nomination was made. They also wanted a specific person to get the post – and he didn’t get it.

As for the City Council’s Latino Caucus, they had their own concerns about being ignored during the process. Interim Superintendent John Escalante was never seriously considered for the permanent appointment. No Latinos were. If they were to continue with those gripes, it would be easy for people to put the political spin that they were being contrarian – and perhaps trying to trigger some sort of Latino vs. black battle within city government.

In the end, Emanuel will get to have his say over who becomes the new head of the Chicago Police Department.

AS FOR WHETHER that is good or not, we’ll have to wait and see. For the real truth to all this is whether the public is accepting enough of Johnson in charge that they’re willing to get off Emanuel’s back that he step down and resign as mayor.

That’s never going to happen, but there are some hard-core activists who will not stop making such a demand. They’re going to be the ones who continue to stir up resentment about the way this process has taken place.

While I suspect much of Chicago is more interested in trying to move forward in resolving a problem that is not unique to our city. The idea that law enforcement personnel are hostile toward African-American populations is one that municipalities across the nation ought to deal with!

It burst out into an open, festering wound with the outcry concerning the shooting death by a Chicago police officer of a 17-year-old boy, and other incidents in which young black men wound up being harassed by police.

IT COST THE former police superintendent his job, resulting in Garry McCarthy spending some time earlier this year in London trying to pursue a position with law enforcement there. It gave us the defeat of the state’s attorney just a couple of weeks ago.

But to some people, the departure of Emanuel is the only true solution. I’m sure they’re going to be peeved at the perception that Emanuel managed to control the process of picking the new superintendent.

I’m sure what they truly want is the mayor slinking off in failure – similar to how some people kept up so much political pressure on then-Cook County Board President Todd Stroger that he ultimately left office in disgrace following the 2010 election cycle.

Can the same be achieved in the 2019 election cycle when Emanuel faces re-election, and certain people go all out to try to achieve the same goat – Beat Rahm! – that they couldn’t achieve on Elections day in either 2011 or 2015?


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