Yep, Tiny Tears knows how to change the subject alright. And lately he's been at it a mile a minute. Jim, a good friend of mine from the neighborhood, calls him Deflector Gadget.
The Chicago Tribune made a very interesting observation recently in an editorial:
Chicagoans see their city mired in scandal and dysfunction, yet hear their mayor constantly looking for ways to change the subject and declare victory: Sure, your beyond-broke school system may collapse, but want to see my new transition program for freshmen?
Rahm doesn't like to talk about cops, murders, junk bonds, high interest loans and schools with no resources. Because there's no solution to any of it. Let's talk about other stuff instead. And so we have the following things all of a sudden that are front and center.
- A library book amnesty--bring your overdue books back to our library's empty shelves and no fine owed. And guess who's doing the PSA? Yep, Mayor Rahm himself! Take a look at the video here.
- A double-down effort to combat the tobacco industry (and recalcitrant alderman) aimed at keeping Chicago kids off the smokes.
- Revisiting an idea for an express train to run on a new route to O'Hare, owned (perhaps) by a private company because we don't have the money for it.
- And of course, the crowning glory: we're getting the 2017 NHL Draft and a new nickname: "Hockeytown."
All of these big ideas solve Rahm's big problem, which is an inability to govern what has become an ungovernable city. Instead, Rahm provides distractions. Nice ideas that we can fantasize about. Like a nonstop train ride to O'Hare. And calling ourselves "Hockeytown." And kids being smoke-free and their parents being library-fine free.
Rahm, however, was elected to solve the really big problems--which he swore he could solve.
But who can argue with a mayor who says bring your books back, no questions asked, no money required--and as our shelves fill up again, take out some new ones. (In case you don't want to watch the video above, that's what he says.)
And who can argue with reducing the number of young people who smoke? Especially if you can't keep them from shooting each other, or keep the cops from shooting them. The interesting thing about this is how many of the aldermen are fighting him on this noble plan geared to reduce lung cancer, heart disease and yellow teeth.
A new train route to O'Hare, of course, begs the question of who gets their houses and businesses torn down to construct the new route. And it also makes you wonder what politically connected conniver will get to invoke the government's right to eminent domain in order to run that lucrative concession.
But getting the NHL draft causes the most consternation in the end.
As far as I know, we never did find out exactly how much the NFL one cost us last summer. And exactly what did we get out of it besides a lot of traffic, inconvenient pedestrian and vehicular detours and damage to Grant Park? Oh, I remember! We got a nice laser show on the facade of Spertus Institute. And got the name "Chicago" mentioned positively in the news a few times--along with the murder rate. (Which isn't to say that my family members and I didn't enjoy walking through all the hoopla a time or two.)
But what's scary is stealing the name Hockeytown from Detroit--or Warroad, Minnesota which owns the trademark. Depending on which one you think is entitled to the name, could the result be a lawsuit if we appropriate the moniker?
Now wouldn't that be a fabulous distraction?
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