Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why I'm NOT voting for Rahm Emanuel and I AM voting for Jesus Garcia

When Rahm was elected, I thought I'd be reasonably satisfied with him. But in the past year, I've asked myself, is he the mayor we need?

Since Rahm's got at least $11 million in his campaign fund and I'm hoping he doesn't get elected, I decided to do this email and blog to tell you the reasons I don't intend to vote for him for mayor on February 24--and why I'm supporting Jesus Garcia. 

If, after reading this, you feel so inclined, I'm hoping you'll get this to people who know Chicago people by forwarding this as an email, posting my blog address ( to your social networking sites and by any other means you can think of. I'll do the same with relevant election information you want to share with me. 

Rahm's polling at 50% the last I heard. If he doesn't get 50% of the vote on Feb. 24, it will force a runoff on April 7. So that gives someone a chance to defeat Rahm. 

I put an article with the schedule for five debates at the end. 

In addition, here's a link to a questionnaire the Chicago Tribune sent to all the candidates asking them about their background, qualifications and where they stand on policy issues. Chicago Tribune Editorial Board Questionnaires.

Why am I not voting for Emanuel? The proposals for hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-advised development projects, mis-use of TIF funds, school closings that led to questionable results at best, inefficiencies and 'pound foolish' costs associated with closing mental health clinics, privatization of city services with manipulated and no-bid contracts, as well as the expensive and almost comical over-reaction during the NATO meeting, along with a management style that includes far too much arrogance and secrecy, are only some of the main reasons he's failed to inspire my trust.

So you can decide for yourself, I've listed the book and articles with a short summary that mostly led to my non-support of Rahm and support of Garcia. (Click on the titles to get to the full piece.) 

So here goes.

Thoroughly researched and filled with solid reporting, Lydersen's 2013 book is a good place to find information on Rahm's background, experience and record in office. It's so well written I couldn't put it down. Her skill reflects well on her stint at the Washington Post and her Medill journalism degree. If you read only 7-8 pages a day, you can easily finish it by the election. It won't be a waste of your time.

Ben Joravsky is a reporter for the Reader who I discovered when I read the this review of Lydersen's book. I've begun reading the Reader again because of him. There's an archive of his Reader columns that's well worth perusing for more information on Mayor Rahm and his mayoral record.

Joe Cahill of Crain's Chicago Business, describes this now $170 million project's estimated cost overruns and unrealistic financial projections as "a bad idea that just keeps getting worse." Ask yourself why taxpayers are funding a private religious university's sports arena in a location that's nowhere near its campus. Developers who are making money on the project are probably very happy with it. (What do you think the chances are that they are Emanuel campaign contributors?)

Blair Kamin at the Chicago Tribune says, "City officials, starting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA President Forrest Claypool, have understated the flyover's urban design costs while overselling its transit benefits." The project's developers are likely happy with the $320 million project. Taxpayers and the owners of the many businesses and the 18 buildings that will be destroyed, NOT. Interesting that their reasons for needing the project have changed as objections have been raised. Slick overselling indeed.

Ben Joravsky describes how Mayor Rahm's financing scheme will double the cost of a pre-K program because he will borrow the money even though he has funds in the budget for it. "If all goes according to plan, the lenders will receive more than $34 million for a preschool program that only cost $17 million. Even Tony Soprano would be impressed with that haul." (The lenders that will profit, guess what, contributed to Rahm's campaign.) 

For this Rahmbo experiment in education, 12,000 students were displaced from 50 'under-utilized' schools and hundreds of teachers were laid off. Results show that the experiment did not yield measurably good results for the students. After all that disruption, it turns out what was needed was good, solid neighborhood schools. Mayor Rahm could have first tried giving these 50 grossly under-funded schools decent books, supplies, and equipment to put them on a level playing field with north-side and charter schools. (Apparently the class sizes in those 50 'under-utilized' schools weren't much different from those in the private Lab school his children attend in Hyde Park.) 

Now an elected Cook County Board Commissioner, Jesus Garcia came up through the ranks, starting out as a Democratic ward committeeman. During Harold Washington's administration, he was an alderman and in '91 the IVI named him one of the city's best aldermen. He was the state's first Mexican-American state senator and in 1996, the Chicago Tribune endorsed him for re-election calling him "one of the most independent and open-minded legislators." In his second term he was praised by the Wall Street Journal  for his ability to work with different races and ethnicities. 

He is backed by Karen Lewis and David Orr among many others across the Chicago community. Over the next month we should hear more about him and his ideas for the city--the only city in the state that doesn't have an elected school board, which he is in favor of. 

Here's the link to the article on the debate schedule: 
Mayor Agrees to Five Debates with Challengers
And here's the schedule:

Jan. 27 Chicago Tribune 10 am  
Feb. 4   7:00 pm WTTW-TV Ch 11 on "Chicago Tonight" 
Feb. 5   WLS-TV Ch 7 & Univision WGBO-TV Ch 66  sponsored by League of Women Voters 
Feb. 10  6:00 pm WBBM-TV  Ch 2 & WVON 1690-AM sponsored by the Chicago Urban League
Sun-Times on a date to be determined 

That's all I've got for now. Hope I didn't overwhelm you. It'll all be over soon!

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