Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, I believe, is pulling a fast one on the residents of Chicago with his controversial speed camera plan. Time and time again he talks of child safety, but when you consider how peeved Emanuel got when Chicago Tribune Reporter David Kidwell accused the mayor of covering-up and lying about what his true motives were - he told the Chicago Tribune to "mind your own business." The Tribune, though, wasn't intimidated and has continued to dig deeper into this speed camera matter and found out that a longtime political ally, Greg Goldner is a consultant for the firm most likely to receive the city contract and stands to make millions from the deal.
Rahm Emanuel, who had said he was going to change the business as usual culture which has mired Chicago politics for decades, apparently has no regard for promises made. Transparency very rarely involves telling media investigating the facts to mind their own business. And when it comes to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests, if they are even honored, are usually so heavily redacted that they become useless. Transparency? Not in your lifetime. Business as usual will continue to flourish under the new boss because he isn't much different than the old boss. Albeit, Emanuel appears to be much, much slicker and smarter than Daley was. No doubt Emanuel's Washington Experience has honed his abilities, huh?
Anyway, let's talk about Emanuel's assertion that his speed cam deal is all about child safety, or for that matter pedestrian safety. Why then has there been such an unwillingness by Emanuel and the current camera outfit to extend the timing of the yellow light? That, in and of itself, would go a long way in improving conditions for drivers and pedestrians alike.
But hey, what am I thinking?
That would cut into that juicy revenue stream cameras generate!
So let's call an ace an ace shall we? Red Light Cameras and Speed Cameras are all about bringing in revenue and revenue alone. Any improvements in safety would be purely coincidental and secondary to the argument. Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune has reported that the safety numbers being used by Rahm Emanuel are "sketchy."
Here's the real deal - even though the Chicago Machine doesn't exist in the same shape and form as it once did; i.e. patronage armies in every precinct. The fact remains - the Demi-Crooks are still very much alive and well. It may be top-loaded but the insiders still profit mightily from city contracts. Unfortunately for residents, they will always be the ones on the hook to pay for the hidden costs of insider politics.
Not much has changed in Chicago's pay to play culture, only the players. And those players have made the extraction of new money streams an art-form. "Street taxes" of all kinds are appearing and they are all designed to alleviate any extra spends unwitting residents and visitors have in their wallets.
Nothing will ever change in the City of Chicago until the residents themselves understand that they, and they alone, have the power to change not only what is going on in their backyards but the entire State of Illinois. The Chicago Machine of Yore set up the conditions by which we all live under and, as such, have stacked the odds against change. And without the help of Chicago Voters, I doubt that there can ever be change.
Why Chicago voters have tolerated what has been bestowed upon them is a mystery, especially because they have been the victims over and over again. Their politicians have preached that they will be the ones who will protect their interests, instead they dismantled them. You know, Chicago used to be a staunch union town, but it has been the Democrats who have diminished their presence and their clout. Yet, what little remains of those unions, they still back the Democrats. It just makes absolutely no sense at all! Then, of course, we have those who rely on the benefits a Democratic ideology has been known to protect. Well, those benefits have stagnated and/or been taken away. Public health and community centers have been shuttered and the libraries which used to offer school children a safe haven have become the latest pawn in a series of take-a ways.
The list of take-a ways keep growing. Yet, politicians want residents to pay more to subsidize them and their deals. So what does it really mean to be a Democrat in Chicago? Public services have diminished, infrastructure left to rot and communities that are no safer today than they were in the 1960's. Gang-bangers have taken over communities where police dare not tread and making matters worse, the police department remains woefully understaffed to perform their primary function. If the Democratic Ideology is to ensure that everyday people get a fair shake, then the Chicago Model of that Ideology is a complete failure. And the strange thing about the whole thing is all people have to do is take a look around them and ask themselves if their lives are better.
While they are at it, people should contemplate what the Chicago Democrats have given them statewide. The reason the State of Illinois has been in such dire financial straits is because there have been some 40 years of power grabs by greedy Chicago politicians. They have stacked the odds on everything from the Illinois Legislature to the State Supreme Court. By the way, the time has come for people to demand a proposition in order to repeal the Cutback Amendment of 1980. Until that is done, the power structure along with its inherent corruption will remain in full force.
And what about the trend to sell city assets and then getting socked later by the "fine print' that wasn't disclosed? Former Mayor Daley's reviled parking meter fiasco is a good example of what that leads to. City residents must now pay for any interruptions where their parking meters are concerned; i.e. loss of revenue due to the disabled parking for free, street closures for parades and/or festivals, busted water mains or street repair, etc.. Now if these meters were still a city owned asset you wouldn't have that problem. But hey, a choice few made out on the deal and as usual the residents will have to foot any shortfalls on top of the outrageous fees they are being charged.
Now, I understand that the old political system was rife with patronage. People who were employed to do a job often didn't! But that isn't the taxpayers fault is it? Those problems are squarely on the politicians who allowed their "good thing" to get far too big and spiral out of control. Taxpayers were paying for the privilege of business as usual back then, but it also seems as if people are being asked to pay more now. I suppose politicians have gotten greedier because more and more were given a piece of the pie to thwart opposition against the previous mayor. But then again, insider deals and nepotism really flourished under the Daley Administration and I suppose that has something to do with the current burdens Rahm Emanuel is trying to plug.
Still, the new boss is far more like the old boss and voters were warned to be careful what they wished for. At the end of the day, Rahm Emanuel will play the same old Chicago bait and switch games his predecessors did. The Chicago Way of doing business is what it is - a relative few will reap the greater rewards while residents, taxpayers and vistors will fund it. One way or the other. And that's the bottom-line.
Now, if the residents of Chicago are happy with the Rahm Emanuel's new way of playing an old game then there is really nothing left to say, but, if they find that they have had enough - then they must do something about it.
After all, you get exactly the government you elect.
No one to blame but............................
Tags: Chicago Clout, Chicago Democrats, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Greg Goldner, Headline News, Machine Politics, Political Corruption, Politics, Rahm Emanuel and Greg Goldner, Rahm Emanuel and Speed Cameras, Rahm Emanuel Political Ally To Profit From Speed Camera Deal, Red Light Cameras, Speed Cameras, The Chicago Machine, Traffic and Safety