Posts Tagged: Rahm Emanuel

The Scott Walker of Chicago?

Alex Keefe of WBEZ-Chicago Public Radio reports that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will lay off 625 city workers, “after labor leaders blew a Friday deadline to come up with a list of cost-saving measures in order to avoid pink slips.” Emanuel is dealing with a major municipal deficit and has a legitimate beef with some city workers, who are not making reasonable concessions that would save the city some money. However, Emanuel is the “Scott Walker of Chicago” in who the mayor said he would lay off: city water department call operators, city custodians, seasonal street sweepers.

Exempt from the list are police and fire fighters, even though these professions take up 2/3 of the city’s payroll costs. Like Walker, Emanuel seems to think that police and fire fighters are a more noble kind of public employee than, say, custodians.

Panic City

In Chicago and across the U.S., crime is down.  Why don’t people want to admit it?

According to all available statistics, violent crime has significantly dropped in Chicago and across the country over the last 20 years.

FBI statistics say there were 931 homicides in the city of Chicago in 1993. By 2000, there were just 628 murders – and by 2010 that number was down to 435. In fact, the murder rate in Chicago last year was the lowest it has been since 1965.

This is a national trend. (more…)

Safety and surveillance in Chicago: Lights, camera…action?

Among American cities, only New York City has a more extensive network of surveillance cameras in public spaces than Chicago, and the number of cameras here is poised to increase under new mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Chicago Sun-Times Fran Spielman reports that Emanuel will use a $650,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to install surveillance cameras near the Board of Trade, Federal Reserve, and AT&T switching center. The cameras keep getting installed with DHS cash even with mixed evidence about whether they deter terrorism or crime.  Chicago’s more than 10,000 public and private surveillance cameras have alternately been a point of pride and consternation. (more…)

Clout city, baby!

U.S. Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood attended Rahm Emanuel’s inauguration as Chicago mayor yesterday — and LaHood sounds eager to work with the new mayor. Tim Jones and John McCormick of Business Week report:

Soon after his swearing-in, [Emanuel’s] transportation advisers will go to Washington to discuss high-speed rail and other projects with LaHood’s staff, the transportation secretary said. “Rahm is going to have some very, very strong and significant partners in this administration because he wants to get things done,” LaHood said.

Why does LaHood want to help Emanuel? (more…)

EPA to Chicago: Stop neglecting your river

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is demanding that Illinois clean up the Chicago River, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne. The request comes amid the transition from Richard Daley to Rahm Emanuel as Chicago mayor and it indicates that Daley’s reputation as a “green mayor” was only partly based on fact. Emanuel, meanwhile, seems to have made environmental policy a low priority.

Pollution problems with the Chicago River are nothing new. (more…)

Emanuel: Hey, Arne Duncan was also sued and look what became of him!

Incoming Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel named Jean-Claude Brizard head of the Chicago Public Schools, even though there is a federal discrimination lawsuit filed against Brizard. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found probable cause Brizard fired a female deputy at Rochester Public Schools for her age, sex, and race. The Chicago Sun-Times Fran Spielman reports that Rahm Emanuel defends the lawsuit because Arne Duncan, the former head of CPS and current U.S. Education Secretary, also was sued by a former employee.

However, that case did not involve age, sex or race, meaning, it was not, in fact, a federal discrimination case. The federal discrimination suit further indicates Brizard’s poor track record as head of Rochester public schools. He takes over a Chicago school system with an $820 million deficit.

The great Chicago Brizard of 2011

The Chicago Tribune’s Joel Hood and Diane Rado have a damning report today on Jean-Claude Brizard — Rahm Emanuel’s choice to lead the Chicago Public School system.  Brizard’s tenure at the helm of Rochester public schools indicates that the once prosaic job of public schools chief is increasingly like being a professional sports coach (or bad state governor): Someone comes in promising great success and a winning culture and slinks away after a few years with no tangible improvements. This trend is not good for achieving the complicated education “reform” measures that Education Sec. Arne Duncan is trying to enact on a national level.

According to the Tribune, Brizard achieved something of the trifecta in bad public school system management: low-achieving students, failing schools, and upset teachers. (more…)

Will drug czar reign over Chicago police?

Gil Kerlikowske

Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is a national political figure and so it’s no surprise he’s conducting a nationwide search for city leaders. Emanuel controversially chose Jean-Claude Bizard, the Rochester, NY public school chief, to head Chicago Public Schools yesterday. Even more controversial is that Emanuel might name a police superintendent from outside Chicago.  Career cops pilloried former police chief Jody Weis for being an outsider. That outsider might turn out to be Obama “drug czar” Gil Kerlikowske.

Dan Mihalopoulos of the Chicago News Cooperative reports that Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, is a top candidate for new police superintendent. (more…)

CPS, ed. reform continued

Yesterday I blogged that Education Sec. Arne Duncan is helping Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel find a new head of Chicago Public Schools. Today the Chicago News Cooperative’s Hunter Clauss lays out the specific budgetary problems facing CPS: an $820 million deficit and a proposal backed by outgoing CPS head Terry Mazany to raise the city’s property taxes in order to avert teacher layoffs and increased class sizes. Also at issue is whether CPS can provide its teachers the four percent salary increase that is part of their collective bargaining agreement.

Emanuel campaigned against the property tax increase, saying he prefers, “Reinviting city government so city government works for the taxpayers.” Sure. Emanuel and the next CPS head will have to move beyond platitudes and do at least one of two really unpopular things: raising taxes or laying off teachers.

Mayor Emanuel

The big, if anti-climatic, news in Chicago today is the landslide election of Rahm Emanuel to replace the retiring Richard J. Daley as mayor. (more…)