Following a very bloody Fourth of July holiday weekend, Mayor Emanuel held a press conference at the Taste of Chicago. He touted Chicago as the new “Culinary Capital” of the country – something that will make the city a go-to tourist destination.
But there is a serious problem with that. Ask most people about Chicago and the first thing they talk about is the shootings. The murders. The dead kids. They certainly aren’t talking about Chicago’s culinary delights.
Every Monday, you can count on the Drudge Report to spotlight yet another weekend of violence in Chicago. The Chicago crime stats have replaced the Chicago sports scores and are always much, much higher.
This isn’t a city. It’s a war zone. This weekend was no exception: Another 43 people were shot and 4 people were killed, including an eleven year-old girl at a sleepover with her friends.
So while Rahm was tooling around the Taste of Chicago talking about hot dogs, I grilled him about the murder rate. No one else was.
It is the unspoken rule among Chicago reporters: you don’t ask Rahm Emanuel tough questions at any festivity, including the Taste of Chicago. However, I believe those dead kids deserved an answer and I continued to question him.
But Rahm didn’t want to give any answer and before his security guard bulldozed me aside, he told me on-camera:
“Can you do me a favor? Let me do this and we will find a time to address the question with you,” the Mayor said.
Well, Mr. Mayor, I graciously accept your offer. Let’s find a time for me to sit down with you and you can finally address these questions.
To be nice, I will even submit some of my questions to you in advance:
- During your campaign for mayor, you promised to increase the number of police by 1,000 but you cut them every year you’ve been in office instead. Do you regret breaking your campaign promise?
- You have been taking political credit for reducing crime in Chicago to its lowest levels in decades but Inspector General audits and the reports in Chicago Magazine have raised questions about how your Administration has been reclassifying violent offenses. What is your response to this?
- Will Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy finally testify about this controversy at the City Hall hearings being called for by a caucus of Chicago alderman?
- Do you now regret ending gang task forces and closing down Detective Areas in high crime areas? Police complain that this ill-conceived move resulted in a loss of contacts with informants. What is your response?
- Your police cutbacks have backfired and police overtime has cost the City of Chicago $103 million – more than three times what was budgeted for 2013. Do you take responsibility for this mistake? How do you plan to remedy it?
- Mr. Mayor, you’ve spoken about the need to crackdown on guns and you’ve done everything possible to make sure law-abiding citizens do not have the right to concealed carry. But I’ve rarely heard you speak about the real source of Chicago violence: Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, which has made Chicago their home. Why not?
- Chicago police blogs have referred to Chicago as the "Rahm Emanuel's Sinaloa Cartel Sanctuary City." The cartel is taking advantage of the new surge in illegal immigrants crossing the border and using it to spread more drugs. What is your plan to deal with this?
- When will you admit that your plan to stop violent cirme isn't working?
Mayor Emanuel, I’ll be interested to hear your answers and so will the rest of Chicago.