If you are upset about what Rahm is doing to Chicago and want to do something about it, read on. There is a link to the City Council page and a list of aldermen to call at the end of this article.
So this is the the way things shake out:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel refuses to cut his own budget. He continues to borrow millions of dollars, knowing taxpayers will eventually foot the bill for millions in interest. He increases the budgets of the aldermen in the Chicago City Council.
He claims that the situation is dire and Chicago does not have the resources to fund Chicago police and firemen pensions. He wrings his hands. He tries to look like he cares.
Chicagoans know he does not.
Rahm's brother, Ari, was an early Uber investor and stands to make millions or even billions off of his investment. That's why Rahm made sure ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft were given special rules and exemptions from taxi regulations in Chicago to provide the same services. No chauffeur licenses, no need to buy new cars for safety reasons, no police criminal background checks, no need to purchase $360,000 taxi medallions per vehicle, and almost non-existent insurance requirements.
But this activity probably violates equal protection or so a federal court judge recently wrote. What that means is that if a lawsuit filed by the taxi industry succeeds in federal court it will be Chicagoans - not Rahm or his finances - that will suffer. Chicagoans could be soaked for millions of dollars if a judgment against the City of Chicago prevails on this basis. So as much as you might find Uber and Lyft convenient, ultimately, we will pay a price for public officials creating special rules for the ride-share industry to provide the same services as cabs.
But Rahm, again, doesn't really care. He uses his position to advance his friends and allies financially. He'll soak up all the money and leave Chicago holding the bag.
The Chicago media doesn't care either. They aren't footing the bill for any of this. Both of Chicago's major newspapers are in serious financial trouble and their investors have ties to the Mayor and his allies.
A few months ago, Rahm was running for re-election and pointed his crooked finger at Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and claimed Garcia was the one who would raise property taxes. He lied. As soon as he won the run-off election, Rahm put his massive record-breaking property tax proposal on the table. Today, this Mayor probably has the votes to pass his nearly $600 million property tax increase.
Last week, the Finance Council voted on the measure. The vote by the Finance Committee, however, was a relatively contentious 17-10, with Aldermen Tom Tunney (44th) and Brendan Reilly (42nd) among those voting against. The 10 alderman who voted against the tax hike were Aldermen Reilly, Tunney, Ervin, Hairston, Roberto Maldonado (26th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Nicholas Sposato (38th), John Arena (45th), Harry Osterman (48th) and Debra Silverstein (50th).
Who knows which of these aldermen will support the property tax increase in the vote today.
But one thing is for certain: Rahm believes he easily has the votes to win this.
We are stuck with Rahm for another four years but your alderman is vulnerable. They may still be persuaded to listen to their constituents. They care about their own hides.
If you are unhappy about all this, you need to do something and do it now. If you feel you've been chumped, you have been. But do something about it.
Call and email your aldermen. Here are the numbers. Most of them will be voting in favor of the increase.