This morning I am turning over my blog to my South Loop friend Jim Borman, who has posted here in my place twice before: a post on homelessness, and one on violence. Both posts were met with acclaim! Today, Jim weighs in on the choice that we have on Tuesday. As far as I'm concerned, he is right about it all. Read on….
by Jim Borman
The curtain is closing on the 2015 mayoral run-off in Chicago. There are indeed two distinct choices. Mayor Rahm Emanuel offers an aloof, top-down approach to governing while Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia has an open, people-oriented manner of governing. Which one do you want for the next four years?
The proof is in the Sunday Chicago Tribune, a juxtaposition of the two candidates. The reporters chose to start their stories with comparisons between how the two candidates approach their grassroots, door-to-door campaigning. Mayor Emanuel has his staff screen potential people in advance of the approach, before he goes to the door. If they pass the “pro-Rahm” test, Emanuel’s staff then encourages the media to follow him for the story.
The mayor fears true democracy where he might have to face the consequences of his “closings, cameras, and crime” regime. Initially in his campaign, he invited media to join him as he greeted the citizens of Chicago at L stops. That is, until one citizen spoke out about the mayor’s controversial closings of mental health clinics and 50 schools. After that public airing of the concerns of average citizens, Emanuel shut the door on openness to the media.
The Tribune story then reported how Commissioner Garcia campaigns, going door-to-door in one of Chicago’s toughest south side neighborhoods, the Altgeld Gardens public housing project. The Tribune reported that a woman told Garcia he wasn’t tough enough when questioned about his financial plans in the last debate. She wouldn’t commit to voting for him until he changed his tune.
Emanuel sums up his economic plan in sound bites geared toward what must be market-tested solutions: sales tax change, and a Chicago casino that would require approval from Springfield, among others. Are these viable solutions or market-tested sound bites geared towards gaining votes from segmented markets?
Commissioner Garcia’s approach to resolution of the big pension and budgetary woes of Chicago begins with a commission of experts to hash out viable solutions. Most likely using market data, Emanuel’s staff went on the attack and claimed this was nothing more than a look at a solution “a day after the election.” But a commission of experts is not a simplistic approach. This is an inclusive, well thought-out, democratic method reflecting Garcia’s openness: Bring in the experts, look at what they have to say, let the people respond, let the media crunch the data, and through an open, deliberative process, come up with an agreed-upon solution.
Worst of all in this mayoral race is the chase for dollars. Chuy Garcia has raised most of his funds from a few labor unions, SEIU and CTU, who support the concerns of some of the lowest paid workers. And small contributions.
There’s no need to expand on the volumes written about the antipathy between the teachers and Mayor Emanuel.
Today’s Tribune, once again, showed that the major sources of Emanuel’s reams of revenue come from 100 or so wealthy people who raised anywhere between $20 to $30 million--mostly used for commercials to falsely attack Commissioner Garcia in numerous ways.
Simply comparing these two approaches, we, the people should decide whether we want decisions made in the best interests of the majority of the citizens of Chicago, or whether we want the plutocrats, the small number of extremely wealthy individuals (not just in Chicago, but throughout the country) determining Chicago’s fate.
The choice is ours on Tuesday.
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