Chicago, Illinois - Chicago’s bloody Fourth of July holiday weekend has put the city’s record murder rate back in the national headlines. With less than a year before the mayoral elections, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was in full spin control Wednesday trying to change the conversation at Chicago’s Taste of Chicago.
An embarrassed Mayor Emanuel wanted to talk corn on the cob – not Chicago’s murder epidemic. But things did not work out as the Mayor planned thanks to one persistent reporter.
Watch the video.
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (2:40): We did a study last year after the Taste of Chicago, there was over a $100 million of economic impact creating hundreds and hundreds of jobs throughout the City of Chicago. We are making sure that people from all over the country, the City of Chicago, in the suburbs come see why Chicago has become the ‘Culinary Capital of the United States.’ Just this year we announced the James Beard – a very famous foundational dinner recognizing culinary expertise is leaving New York to come to the City of Chicago. They are going to come and bring the recognition that Chicago is now the ‘Culinary Capital of the United States’ with the great chefs who are competing against people in New York and Tokyo but compete with our skyline as the reason people want to come to our city. They want to come taste what we all know to be: that Chicago is now the ‘Culinary Capital ‘with some of the most creative chefs in the country who are bringing people, creating jobs, bringing people from around the world, creating jobs locally in the City of Chicago, in our neighborhoods, and throughout the City of Chicago…I cannot wait myself to go enjoy the food, the music, and have tremendous family fun as part of our entire season.”
WILLIAM KELLY (REPORTER): Mr. Mayor, can you address the ‘Murder Capital’ moniker. We’ve been called the murder capital as well as the ‘Culinary Capital. ‘Can you please address the ‘Murder Capital’ moniker please?
EMANUEL PRESS AIDE TO REPORTER: I’m not…
REPORTER TO MAYOR’S AIDE: Is there anyone from the Mayor’s Office that can address the ‘Murder Capital’ moniker?
During Mayor Emanuel’s tour through the Taste of Chicago, Kelly continued to grill him on his failure to find a solution to the city’s murder epidemic.
The fireworks begin at 5:27.
REPORTER: Mr. Mayor, could you please address the murder crisis question that many Chicagoans are asking? Chicago has been called the murder capital, could you please address that question?
MAYOR EMANUEL: (Unintelligible)
REPORTER: It’s a very serious crisis that faces many Chicagoans. I think that it deserves a moment of your time.
MAYOR EMANUEL: I appreciate that. I’ve addressed the question and I will continue to address it. OK?
REPORTER: We’ve heard that you have a lot of experience and a lot of connections but that doesn’t seem to be helping the people of Chicago at all.
MAYOR EMANUEL: Can you do me a favor? Let me do this and we will find a time to address the question with you.
REPORTER: You’ve been in office three years and you haven’t addressed the question yet. Is there anyway you can address the question? Will you answer the question before the election?
REPORTER TO MAYOR’S BODY GUARD: Totally inappropriate.
MAYOR'S BODY GUARD: I’m sorry. I didn’t know.
REPORTER: Now you do.
MAYOR’S AIDE: He’s not taking questions.
REPORTER: He works for me. He’s the Mayor.
REPORTER TO EMANUEL: If it really comes down to guns, why isn’t there a murder crisis in Skokie or Evergreen Park? Or even Cicero for that matter? Why don’t we have a similar murder crisis in Evanston?
MAYOR’S AIDE: Put your microphone away. The Mayor’s not taking questions today. You received a public notice that there is no media availability.
REPORTER: You are assaulting me right now and if you touch me again I will call the police.
End of transcript
When asked, many in the crowd at the Taste of Chicago seemed more concerned about the murder rate than the Mayor himself. Among them, a little boy whose cousin – a star basketball player - had just been shot and killed the previous night.
See the little boy talk about his cousin at 8:32.
To date, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been given a pass on the murder epidemic and there are many questions that deserve an answer. With the body count mounting, the families of the victims deserve an answer sooner than later.
No amount of corn on the cob is going to solve that.