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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel faced a largely hostile crowd Monday night as he held his first public budget meeting in four years, with protesters who want to reopen a Bronzeville high school taking another opportunity to showcase their cause," Bill Ruthhart reports for the Tribune.

"For 90 minutes, individuals in the crowd of about 750 people at Malcolm X College on the West Side each got one minute to ask questions of, or direct comments at, Emanuel and his top City Hall aides before they unveil a 2016 spending plan on Sept. 22."

1. That's a lot of people; I could be wrong, but it strikes me as much larger than the crowds at Richard M. Daley's public budget hearings.

2. There has to be a better way than giving people one minute to ask questions or make comments; that just illustrates how these hearings are simply theater designed to give the illusion that the mayor is actually interested in other people's ideas - and actually listening. I'd be interested to learn on September 22 if a single idea in the budget came from one of these meetings (there are two more) - or from the citymade hashtag #chibudget2016.

"[M]uch of the event was dominated by demonstrators and protesters who sought to take advantage of a rare opportunity to engage directly with their mayor, who's known more for carefully orchestrated press events rather than unscripted public forums with constituents."

The fewer opportunities the public has to interact with their elected officials, the more the pressure is going to build and then go off in a big way at events like this. Same with the media when they get a chance to exact some revenge on someone who's done nothing but disrespect them.

"As Emanuel walked out to sit on a stage in the middle of a gymnasium, many in the audience chanted, 'Rahm don't care!' The mayor had been scheduled to offer opening remarks but instead waited until the end after many in the crowd had spent the start of the meeting shouting down the moderator for announcing the time limit on comments.

By far, the topic discussed the most was a bid by activists to reopen Dyett High School. For 15 days, a dozen people have engaged in a hunger strike, forgoing solid food to try to push Emanuel to reopen the high school with a focus on green technology.

"We've got two people who went in the hospital and one who just left. They're hungry, and you don't have enough guts or integrity to even see them," said Frances Banks, who said she lives in the Kenwood neighborhood. "If any of them die, the blood will be on your hands!"

The crowd then erupted into a chant, "The blood is on your hands." Another speaker asked Emanuel when he would meet with hunger strikers.

When the mayor didn't step forward and the moderator attempted to move onto another question, the crowd chanted, "Answer the question!" Emanuel eventually agreed to meet with protesters on the issue after the budget hearing, along with Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool, school board Vice President Jesse Ruiz and senior CPS officials. Both Emanuel's office and the activists said the mayor made no commitments during the meeting.

"The community has spoken on this, but the mayor said, 'If you give us a little more time, we'll come up with a resolution.' But there was no commitment," said Jitu Brown, an organizer and participant in the hunger strike. "And we explained to him that we're going to continue this hunger strike until we win and the community wins."

Emanuel declined to answer questions after he left the meeting.

Sigh.

"Emanuel had the opportunity to speak directly to three of the hunger strikers before the event. As he made his way around the room greeting people in their seats, the hunger strikers approached Emanuel.

"We told him, 'Let's end this hunger strike right now,' " said Marc Kaplan, 63, one of the strikers. Emanuel responded, "I'll be right back," explaining that he wanted to greet others in attendance. But the mayor did not return to talk to the three.

Just to be fair about the context:

"Others grilled the mayor about the lack of transparency over the city's tax-increment financing districts," the Sun-Times reports.

"The question I have for our mayor is: Where is our money?" one speaker said.

Emanuel began explaining that most of the money goes toward public schools, transportation, libraries and other entities, but he was drowned out by audience jeers.

"I have three teenagers at home," Emanuel joked. "I'm really OK with this."

I think the sentiment holds.

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Some video:

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"More security than I've ever seen for something like this."

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"A raucous group of protesters."

Well, Rahm and his appointees have the luxury of not having to be "raucous" to be heard; they just do what they like. And another word for protesters might be citizens, or parents.

With the exception of the Tribune article, the media framing is through the prism of the mayor, who in their telling just wanted everyone to be polite - after all, he was there to listen!

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Filling out the picture:

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I Am A Retail Warrior
I Am Not Your Friend.

The Real Curse Of Downers Grove
It's Hollywood.

The Chinese Guide To The Fighting Illini
What the fuck is Oskee?

Do You Own Your Cell Phone Location Data?
The Supreme Court should say Hell Yes.

Chicago Sons Was A TV Show
With Jason Bateman.

The Beautiful Game Turns Ugly
Mob Museum explores FIFA corruption.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Penthouse Sweets, Exegesis, Vulfpeck, Manwolves, Lady Lamb, Atlas Aria, Naked Raygun, Cheap Trick, Urge Overkill, Santana, Foo Fighters, and The 1910 Fruitgum Company.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Autoplay.



Permalink

Posted on September 1, 2015


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock Including Riot Fest Highlights.
TV - No Rehabilitating Vietnam.
POLITICS - Trump's Farmer Heavily Subsidized.
SPORTS - The Cubs' Season In Verse.

BOOKS - Dots & Dashes.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Certified Angus Beef® Honors Chicago Stars.


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