The [Tuesday] Papers
"Under the increased scrutiny and pressure of a one-on-one campaign against Mayor Rahm Emanuel, challenger Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia on Monday dropped his monthslong opposition to allowing a Barack Obama presidential library to be built on city parkland," the Tribune reports.
You should know better, Chuy. You grew up here. You're not supposed to sell-out until after getting elected.
"Garcia's decision to back an Obama library no matter the location came after Emanuel's campaign tried to make an issue out of the Cook County commissioner's opposition to the public parcels that would be required for a pair of South Side sites that are part of the University of Chicago's library bid."
You should now better, Chuy. You grew up here. You're supposed to make the incumbent cede the issue. What kind of campaign you runnin'?
"Emanuel's campaign equated Garcia's opposition to the use of parkland to being against any South Side site."
This is true, and this is where Rahm's been the real sleazeball.
From my inbox:
"[Sunday] Rahm had robocalls going out with a tape of a woman talking about how Rahm was doing everything he could to get the Obama library here, but unfortunately, Chuy Garcia totally doesn't want it. That's not an exact quote obviously, but the call definitely claimed that this was a stated, unequivocal position for Garcia. That seemed unlikely to me but it's not like I bothered looking into it. Just now I got a robocall from Chuy, he recorded it, saying how proud he is of the president, that of course he wants the Obama library here, but: 'unfortunately, the mayor's corporate friends have been paying for phone calls that distort my position.' He ends by saying basically let's be clear, let's all work together to bring the Obama library here where it belongs in Chicago."
Clearly, opposing the use of parkland for the Obama library is not the same as opposing the Obama library.
Now, though, I'm not even sure Chuy really meant it when he said he opposed using parkland for the library. Maybe that, too, was a cynical stance.
From the Tribune:
"I have been consistent and unwavering in my support for the presidential library to come to Chicago," Garcia said Monday. "It appears there are two sites left, a South Side and a West Side site. Whatever the final decision is made by the selection committee and President Obama, I will support."
Again, you aren't supposed to defensively snip at the media until you get elected.
"Since launching his mayoral campaign last fall, Garcia had railed against using parkland for the library, and he testified against Emanuel's plans to do so at a January public hearing.
"'Our leaders should be stewards of our public parks, not agents for their dismantlement - and Mayor Emanuel is breaking the public trust by supporting this unnecessary land grab,' Garcia said in a January statement that was still posted on his campaign website Monday. 'As I've argued before, that's the mark of a mayor who neither understands nor cares about people and their public assets.'
"Asked Monday why he was reversing his stance, Garcia replied: 'I'm saying what I said.'"
"While it is my view that the library does not have to come at the expense of public park land that has enormous historical significance for everyone in Chicago, I will support the South or West Side site."
So, just to track the evolution in Chuy's thinking: against using parkland, okay with using parkland, against-but-okay with using parkland.
"Garcia [last week] mentioned several sites he thought preferable, none of which is even under consideration at this point," according to the Sun-Times's Mark Brown.
Was one in Little Village?
Brown is not bothered by Chuy's cynical re-positioning.
"It's pretty obvious that a position that may have made sense earlier for a candidate trying to draw differences between himself and Emanuel in a five-man field was untenable now that the Obama foundation is just weeks from a decision - and flirting with an offer from New York."
So under Brown's formulation, a position that draws differences with an opponent is one that makes sense; the actual substance of the position doesn't matter. This is a hallmark of the way modern political journalists think.
Also, the Obama foundation "flirting" with an offer from New York isn't new. It's not like suddenly the pot has been sweetened by a new contestant.
"The great mystery to me is how we found ourselves in this position in the first place," Brown writes.
Yes. A thousand times yes.
Is it just possible that, like with so many other things, Rahm botched this? Isn't that the real campaign issue at this point - that Rahm has endangered Chicago getting the Obama library by not getting all the ducks in a row? My god, remember when we found out the U of C didn't even own all the property for its proposal?
The mayor's competence is the larger issue here.
"Whose idea was it to build the library in Jackson Park or Washington Park?" Brown writes. "Was it the University of Chicago? The mayor? Or the Obamas themselves, as insiders have intimated?
"Nobody has ever been very forthcoming about that and whether there was any behind-the-scenes effort by Emanuel to argue the case that it would be better to build the library on something other than park land."
Based on what I have heard, I would put the question to the University of Chicago this way: Why do you prefer a presidential library on an off-campus site rather than on-campus?
That might clear things up.
And yes, the issue is also about, once again, a lack of transparency in this administration.
Now back to Rahm's campaign blatantly lying (and not getting called on it, as far as I can tell), another consistent trait of this mayor:
"Thirty-six hours ago, Chuy Garcia repeated his opposition to landing the Barack Obama Presidential Library on the South Side," campaign spokesman Steve Mayberry said.
Of course, he said nothing of the sort. That is an out-and-out falsehood.
I can't find any news of it.
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Posted on March 3, 2015
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