Sunday, March 7, 2021

Chicago mayor hangs on by a thread


It has been widely reported, both in mainstream media and in new media, that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s chances of remaining in office until the next election are getting smaller every day, educator and journalist Mike Klonsky writes.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel visits Chicago Public School children at Woodson Regional Library on Sept. 10, 2012, one of 78 ‘safe haven’ sites for students who were out of school because of the teachers’ strike. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Mr Emanuel’s approval ratings have dipped to 18 percent, secondary to his abysmal handling and likely political cover-up of the police shooting death of a black teenager, Laquan McDonald, by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. Still, his resignation seems unlikely.

The US Justice Department is investigating the Chicago Police Department, looking into the shooting and any cover-up activity. Reporters Carol Marin and Don Moseley of NBC-5 have found, through Freedom of Information Act requests, details suggesting the mayor not only knew about the shooting but actively worked to keep it from the public up until after he had won re-election.

It is entirely possible, however, as Mr Klonsky reports, that the Justice Department will limit its investigation to offices within the Police Department, leaving City Hall out of the investigation, since a presidential election is coming up soon and Hillary Clinton, the current front-runner in the Democratic race for president, “goes way back” with Mr Emanuel.

As for the cover-up, on January 20, in the heat of his re-election campaign, Mr Emanuel announced plans to hire 350 new police officers and begin a pilot plan for police to use body cameras. “Too many of our kids are growing up with a sense where violence becomes a norm,” he said in what was billed as a major speech, NBC-5 reported.

This pilot program, however, was simply intended to divert the public’s eyes away from the police shooting, which heavily redacted emails suggest he knew about.

And the Laquan McDonald shooting is only the start of Mr Emanuel’s problems in Chicago. Teachers are threatening to go on strike again in the city, in part over Mr Emanuel’s handling of teacher pensions.

The Democratic mayor of Chicago, normally greeted at schools with open arms and positive cheers, was greeted with jeers and chants of “16 shots” when he visited Urban Prep Charter Academy in the city’s Englewood neighborhood for what was supposed to be a feel-good rally, Chicagoist reported.

He has called the charter high school, where students wear red ties to distinguish themselves, in an almost militaristic fashion, one of the best examples of Chicago’s excellent educational system. He likes to boast that 100 percent of the school’s African-American male graduates go to college, conveniently omitting the attrition or dropout rates.

Mr Emanuel, when he heard the chants, exited the auditorium abruptly, WBBM-TV (CBS affiliate) reported.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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