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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Rahm Emanuel and Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia engaged in a contentious first debate Monday night, as the mayor accused his challenger of having no plans to deal with the city's financial problems while Garcia contended Emanuel served only 'the rich and powerful,'" the Tribune reports.

"Facing a $550 million increase in police and fire pension payments, Emanuel indicated during the debate that he would take a property tax increase off the table. Later, his campaign clarified that a property tax increase is 'the very last resort.'"

Of course, viewers only saw the lie, not the walkback.

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Here's an idea: The day after a televised debate, the host channel should broadcast a definitive fact-check of what they broadcast the night before. That might even get more viewers than the original program.

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"Emanuel said he would ask Springfield to broaden the sales tax to include professional services that are now exempt, things like fees for attorneys, accountants and advertising consultants. It's similar to something Emanuel talked about during his last campaign but did not pursue."

Ah, yes - the Rahm Tax.

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"The mayor also criticized Garcia for sidestepping specifics on money issues by suggesting he would create a post-election task force to recommend proposals to raise city revenue, including taxes.

"Let me be clear here, there's a real difference," said Emanuel, who frequently defended his first-term stewardship as mayor. "Chuy, you laid out a commission not a plan."

That's a good line, but let's be clear about the real difference: Chuy is promising that, if elected, he'll actually listen to ideas that a broad range of constituencies bring to the table. Then he can inflict pain borne of a consensus and reflective of his values and priorities, instead of just shitting on people.

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That said, I rate the debate a draw. Rahm was his usual pipsqueaky self trying to change every question that came his way to one more to his liking and often displaying his tenuous relationship with the truth; Chuy, meanwhile, has yet to demonstrate, and won't before Election Day, a true grasp of the issues.

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To wit:

"I don't know if the mayor can fix it, but a mayor can show some sympathy," Garcia said. "A mayor can show that a mayor cares. That's what I've done. . . . The mayor should have been out there to meet with them a long time ago. You can't just pretend it isn't happening. When people can't enjoy their backyards because planes continually are landing and taking off, it's a serious setback for the most important investment of people's lives."

For real-time debate commentary, see @BeachwoodReport.

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Rear-End Rahm
"For nearly two years, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has had strong evidence that Chicago's yellow light times are too short for traffic conditions, thanks to a series of radar gun surveys the city conducted to support its speed camera program, the Tribune has found.

"Nearly 20,000 drivers were clocked in the 168 spot surveys beginning in mid-2013, most traveling significantly faster than posted speed limits around the city. The previously undisclosed reports were obtained by the Tribune through a public records request.

"The speed findings bolster concerns from national experts who say Chicago drivers are at a greater risk for rear-end accidents due to the combination of red light cameras and 3-second yellow lights that are out of step with national practices."

Thanks, Rahm!

See also: Rahm vs. red-light reporter.

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NFL Draft Madness
"City officials have pledged that no taxpayer money will be used, and that Choose Chicago, the local tourism agency, will cover any services with fundraising," the Tribune reports.

"Three years ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed the city's tourism department and transferred duties to the tourism bureau, whose budget is mostly government grants. Choose Chicago is not subject to public records laws as a nonprofit."

First, government grants don't qualify as taxpayer money?

Second, Rahm has privatized tourism.

Third, by privatized, I mean public money, private operation.

Fourth, how much of city government has Rahm put beyond the public records laws?

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Pundit Patrol
The same editorial board that endorsed Bruce Rauner for governor despite his lack of candor about his budget plans is attacking Chuy Garcia for his lack of candor about his budget plans.

The difference? Rauner touted himself as a financial whiz and began running for the office long before the campaign began. Garcia touts himself as a coalition-builder with a different set of priorities than his opponent and only began running for the office four months ago; he truly won't know what he does until he appoints a budget team and listens to the community.

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Mark "Charlie" Brown of the Sun-Times similarly chastises Garcia, citing Rahm's willingness on Monday night to rule out a property tax increase - you know, the pledge his advisers walked back after the debate. Too bad Brown built his column around that pledge. #TheyNeverLearn

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"I don't have any sympathy for Emanuel and his cozy relationship with rich guy contributors," Brown writes, "but I haven't seen much to convince me he's selling out the public either."

Um, really?

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"Is a property tax increase on the table for Garcia?

"There are many things that need to be on the table. You cannot move forward until you show Chicagoans where the tax dollars are going," Garcia said.

"That doesn't do it for me."

Um, he said Yes - a property tax increase is on the table. Just like Rahm's city council budget chairman said the other day. And just like Rahm's aides said - urgently - after the debate.

The difference? Chuy knows many Chicagoans don't trust Rahm or his budgets. He's pledging to open up the process - almost certainly bringing back public budget hearings - and give folks a say. Then he'll raise their property taxes.

Rahm will just do it after determining for himself that it's necessary.

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Is Rahm providing more "details" about his financial "plan?"

Yes, if by providing more details you mean making shit up as you go.

Do I wish Chuy had a better financial plan overall?

Yes. He's severely underestimating the cost of adding 1,000 more police officers to the force (as well as the efficacy) and I doubt he can just end all red-light cameras on day one, both for logistic, contractual and budget reasons.

Is it fair to criticize him for this?

Yes - proportionally. Rahm has proven over the course of not just the last four years but his entire political career to be a serial liar, yet somehow he retains credibility in the eyes of the media (the people he's lied to), while Chuy's respectable scandal-free 30-year run as a rare Chicago pol of integrity apparently means bupkus.

And I didn't even vote for the guy - though I will this time.

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BeachBook
* White House Office To Delete Its FOIA Regulations.

* Schock Withdraws From SXSW Event.

* Rauner: Union Membership Eliminated In Illinois In Four Years.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Just the fracks.



Permalink

Posted on March 17, 2015


MUSIC - Roger Waters In Chicago.
TV - 24 Hours With Velocity.
POLITICS - Chicago's Unwelcoming Ordinance.
SPORTS - TrackNotes: Lazy Hazy Crazy Dog Days.

BOOKS - The Origins Of Environmental Bullshit.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Daisies.


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