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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Homeless man Clifton Johnson tells U.S. correspondent Nick O'Malley how he plans to survive temperatures below -20 degrees centigrade on the streets of Chicago," the Brisbane Times reports.


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Icy Mayor
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel stepped off the plane Monday morning from a family vacation in Indonesia into a city blanketed in a winter freeze and quickly addressed the optics of his absence from Chicago in the run-up to some of the nastiest weather the area has seen in years," the Tribune reports.

"First up, the mayor made a morning stop at a city Streets and Sanitation garage to thank workers for plowing the snow that fell all day Sunday."

Yes, and every third person he met was fired.

"The mayor then gathered more than a dozen city officials for a news conference to tout efforts to deal with the dangerous cold."

Which was also simply a photo op, given how the mayor abruptly left while reporters were still asking all the questions that he'd dodged.

"Later, Emanuel headed to an afternoon photo-op with residents at a city warming center."

Thank you for being cold! Thank you! Remember to vote!

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"In a city where mayoral careers have been measured by the response to snow on the ground, Emanuel was publicly getting out in front of the situation after he landed."

I would say he was attempting to make up ground having gotten needlessly behind the situation.

"But with many side streets still unplowed, temperatures at historic lows and schools closed, the sight of Emanuel at the microphone after returning from a trip to a warm country on the other side of the world could become fodder for critics who contend he's out of touch with regular Chicagoans."

Yes, if you insist on seeing everything through a political lens (and you assume he'll have an opponent to make it matter).

The real issue, though, was many side streets unplowed, temperatures at historic lows and schools closed.

Many side streets were unplowed because city crews focused much of Sunday on plowing around schools - because CPS insisted all day that schools would be open. Only after that decision was reversed did the city's side streets - which are most of them - begin to get the full attention of city crews.

And what about that decision to open and then close the city's schools? That was the big bumble here. Perhaps if Rahm had come home early from vacation given this storm's historic nature, he'd have gotten that call right from the start.

"Asked why he didn't return to Chicago sooner in light of the harsh forecast, the mayor told reporters his Indonesian trip wasn't all nature hikes and family fun.

"I think every one of the commissioners know and would report I've been in contact with them on a regular basis, and with my chief of staff multiple times on a daily basis," he said. "Communication equipment, be that text, cell phone, e-mail, allows you to stay in contact on a regular basis. My family would think that I wasn't much on vacation, given all the communication I was in with them."

Then why even come back at all?!

But seriously, Mr. Mayor, because you were in such contact with everyone here, why don't you detail the decision-making process regarding the schools?

Pass.

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"District CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said she made recommendations to the mayor about closing the schools after monitoring the situation.

"It may have seemed at the last minute, but it wasn't," Byrd-Bennett said. "We were being pro-active all along."

What does that even mean? Don't believe what things seem! It only seems like we closed schools filled with black and brown people! It only seems racist!

It was not last-minute! We planned all along to pretend schools would stay open knowing in the end - but not the last-minute - we would close them.

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Then again, the initial decision to keep the schools open on Monday was anything but last-minute. It was made on Friday!

"The notifications started going out to teachers and parents Friday and Saturday," Alexander Russo reports on his District 299 blog, "and Sunday CPS sent the following announcement about its plans to open schools on Monday despite the severe cold (which is what persuaded New York City to close schools on Friday)."

Maybe Byrd-Bennett forgot she closed so many schools within easy reach of kids' homes, forcing them to trek long distances to make the morning bell.

*

Back to the Trib:

"Ald. Howard Brookins Jr., 21st, chairman of the City Council black caucus, said Emanuel has the right to take a vacation. And Brookins said his office had received few complaints about the city's snow removal efforts. But the alderman also said he expects opponents to beat the drum during Emanuel's upcoming re-election campaign over the Indonesia trip.

"They're always trying to find any chink in his armor, so I would guess they would try to use this," Brookins said. "But I would also expect cooler heads to prevail and for people to realize it's OK for him to take a vacation."

It's absolutely okay for him to take a vacation. It's also absolutely warranted to expect him to cut that vacation short in the face of a historic and life-threatening weather event that we all saw coming. After all, Mayor 1 Percent can always hop on over to Indonesia for a weekend with his family to make up for it any time he wants.

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"Nice tan, Mr. Mayor!" John Kass writes for the Trib. "You came back from steamy and tropical Indonesia to a city frozen in ice and snow, where the side streets and alleys hadn't been plowed and where schoolkids were almost sent into the worst of the cold.

"But Rahm Emanuel wasn't worried. He held a Monday news conference about the cold, and almost all of his commissioners who flanked him were dressed like the mayor, in fleece and boots, bureaucrats eager to play the heroic action figure for the cameras."

Yes, who has the fleece contract for the city?

Emergency weather wear provided to the city by Eddie Bauer in exchange for promotional considerations.

*

"[A] few reporters speculated privately he might have used a wee bit of powder to tamp down that bronze sheen," Kass reports.

Bronzing and de-bronzing provided to the city by The Spa on Oak in exchange for promotional considerations.

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"Byrd-Bennett was asked, didn't the teachers union compel you to close schools with its social media campaign?

"I actually was not aware they had done that," said Triple-B, proving she was the only person in Chicago who didn't know. "Somebody did send me an e-mail that there was a press release or whatever but that had no effect on the ultimate decision I've made . . . and the recommendation I made to the mayor."

1. She's either lying or incompetent in saying she wasn't aware of CTU's campaign to keep the schools closed. It wasn't just CTU, either; it was parents galore taking to Twitter and Facebook pleading for common sense.

On the other hand, Byrd-Bennett has proven rather adept at ignoring parents and teachers.

2. She just said straight out that she didn't take the view of teachers into account. What could they possibly have to contribute to the discussion?

3. She just confirmed that Rahm made the call.

Also, there's no way a political animal like Rahm checks in from Indonesia and discusses possible school closures without asking what Karen Lewis and the union are saying.

*

Rahm also acknowledged that he knew his kids' school had announced they'd be closed Monday when he was still trying to keep CPS schools open.

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Finally, Rahm bailed.

*

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Will Rahm be harmed by his cold performance? Not likely, according to the Beachwood Bookmaking Bureau. You can't be somebody with nobody, and right now the opposition doesn't even have a Nobody.

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Remembering Phil Everly
Born in Chicago like a mirage, he left to make rock 'n' roll history.

That Boy Joe
Keywords: Temperance, Juvenile Delinquency, Chicago.

Exclusive: Inside Jay Cutler's Contract!
Another Beachwood Special Report.

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See also:

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DeathStar Quinn Has Assumed Control

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Be delinquent.



Permalink

Posted on January 7, 2014


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Media Sexism And Weinstein.
POLITICS - Illinois' Dirty 34.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Action Jackson.

BOOKS - Chicago History Museum Card Catalog Going Digital.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: War Of The Rainbows.


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