Chicago's mayoral election is shaping up to a contest between the proverbial bull in a China shop versus the fairy tale unicorn.
Mayor Rahm Emaunel has six weeks to convince voters he is not just a raging bull but a man of the people. A guy to have a shot and a beer with. In a neighborhood bar.
Chuy Garcia needs to convince voters he is no fairy tale. He has solutions to the serious issues facing the city.
Emanuel knows how to deal out shared pain and medicine. He does not know how to make it palatable. No matter what he does or how he does it, the medicine tastes bad.
Can Garcia make the bitter pills easier to swallow? Can he seal the deal with the average voter?
Like Emanuel, Garcia is becoming a political rock star. He is a national story. Garcia dealt a serious blow to a national figure. He is the center of attention. He is basking in the glow of the media spotlight.
When Garcia comes down to earth he better have workable solutions or like the unicorn, he will become a fable.
The debate is on. This cannot be an election between an empty suit and a suit of armor. Chicago deserves a vigorous debate to make a choice.
Where's the money going to come from? What will get cut or even gutted?
Emanuel, for better or worse, already showed us.
Rahm Emanuel made people mad. Not just some people, not those people or these people, but people across the city. The voters. Many who voted for him.
Chuy needs to man up and be honest. How is he going to pay for 1000 police officers? What is he going to do about crime during the three to four years it will take to put them on the street while others are retiring?
How is Garcia going to deal with the municipal pension bubble? City employee and retiree healthcare costs? Violence in certain neighborhoods? Where will he get the money to reopen the schools and mental health clinics he is promising?
Will the garbage be collected on schedule? How about the street lights? Will the streets get plowed? Will emergency help arrive before its too late? What about infrastructure especially in areas where repairs are needed immediately?
Spending cuts must be made and revenue generated. Who is going to pay? What group of taxpayers is going to feel the most pain? What fees will he raise to torment people or businesses who need various permits and licences?
Chicago is taxed beyond the tolerance point. Fees cannot go any higher. People are worried. The suburbs and exburbs are calling. Raising or adding new taxes will not enamor him to the average voters. They will up and leave.
We already know what Rahm Emanuel is doing and will do. It hurts. It hurts all of us.
So far, Chuy Garcia is spouting about downtown versus the neighborhoods. Will he hurt downtown? Will he make them feel the pain? Will the suits in executive suites tremble? Will they lay off neighborhood people or move their businesses out of the city?
Will Garcia ease the pain in the neighborhoods?
Chuy Garcia needs to tell us his plan to pay for the solutions. He needs to be honest. Garcia does not need anymore time to formulate and ruminate while spouting fantasy populist platitudes.
He needs to tell the voters his plan. Put up or shut up.
Garcia only has six weeks to seal the deal. Time is not on his side.
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