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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Following the city's most violent weekend of the year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivered a message calling for more attention on the criminals and lack of morals behind Chicago's bloodshed rather than solely criticizing the police and his leadership of the city," the Tribune reports.

Rahm Emanuel lecturing about morals is like Donald Trump lecturing about . . . oh, let's just say "accountability" for today's example, as in not taking responsibility for policies that exacerbate poverty-fueled violence while claiming credit for every hire in the city (I think Rahm is cutting a ribbon today at a local tavern that just took on a new part-time barback).

It's seriously offensive - and racist - to suggest that gang violence is the result of a lack of morals; the implication is that poor kids of color simply aren't showing enough character in the face of grinding poverty fueled by institutional inequities including closing their schools to no good effect, oppressive policing and pure financial savagery.

On the other hand, Rahm used his privilege to do what? Get obscenely rich doing absolutely nothing for humanity.

You want to have a debate about morals, Rahm? Anytime, anywhere.

*

That's not to excuse murderers. Hardly. But not excusing them is a given. Understanding how they are created is the issue, because if homicidal maniacs were dispersed equally throughout society, you'd have just as much bloodshed per capita in Winnetka than in Englewood - or just as little bloodshed in Englewood as in Winnetka.

So unless you believe that people of color are inherently more vicious and dismissive of life, somehow born without a moral compass and in need of rigid instruction of acting civilized, i.e., you are a racist, something else is at work. Criminologists will tell you that something else is undoubtedly economics. There are complexities, to be sure, but that's where it starts.

*

10 questions for the mayor today:

1. How do you think gangbangers came by their morals, as opposed to, say, those who grow up in wealth?

2. Have your policies helped narrow inequity in the city or have your policies exacerbated inequity in the city?

3. How is your economic development strategy of obsessively focusing on the already wealthy downtown to supply tax revenues that theoretically can then be spent in the city's neighborhoods any different than the Republican supply side strategy so derided by Democrats of focusing on further enriching the wealthy in the ostensible hope that a few crumbs will fall to the poor?

4. The most comprehensive study of your mass school closings that tore this city apart during your first term deems those closings a failure. Are you willing to concede you made a huge mistake?

5. This:

6. Have you ever reported misconduct that you've seen in your many years involved in politics?

7. You've acknowledged that the Chicago Police Department operates with a code of silence. How can you expect a higher expression of character from teenagers and parents just trying to hang on, often living in gang territory that can sometimes provide more security than the cops, than those who work for good pay and benefits in this city's main law enforcement agency?

8. Didn't you engage in the code of silence when you buried the Laquan McDonald video?

9. You had to be dragged kicking and screaming into police reform, and you seem quite intent on being photographed running with cops and recruits, visiting stations and "backing" the cops at every turn. Do you see how that looks to some folks in some neighborhoods given the long and deep history of police brutality and torture in this city?

10. The police union's spokesman runs a MAGA-loving Twitter feed. Tell us again why we should trust the police when their representation supports a racist, misogynist, pathological lying, criminal president?

*

"Several of the 10 challengers looking to defeat Emanuel in next February's election, however, engaged in plenty of Monday morning quarterbacking, and all fingers were pointed at the mayor after a weekend during which 12 were shot dead and another 63 were wounded."

I wouldn't call it "Monday morning quarterbacking," which implies unfair hindsight, as does the notion of "finger-pointing." While some criticisms may be unfair and politically exploitive, it's perfectly appropriate to direct the discussion to City Hall.

*

"Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas slammed Emanuel for failing to keep the police staffed with enough detectives to solve the thousands of shooting cases it encounters each year. Former Police Board President Lori Lightfoot criticized Emanuel for remaining quiet while dozens were being shot in the streets. Former police Superintendent Garry McCarthy mocked the mayor on Twitter and said Chicago should be declared in a 'state of emergency.' And activist Ja'Mal Green said Emanuel should quit hiding behind Police Department brass and acknowledge his failure to properly invest in economically downtrodden neighborhoods on the South and West sides."

Green:

"Look around. We have vacant lots. Everything is boarded up. These are neighborhoods that are looking for real investment. We have boarded-up schools, boarded-up businesses, and they're knocking down houses and no plans to redevelop them. So what type of hope are you giving to these communities? There is no hope in these communities. People are in survival mode."

*

Lightfoot:

"As mayor, I will confront our city's gun violence crisis directly and with empathy rather than remain silent as more than 70 people are shot in a single weekend. Rahm Emanuel cannot sit this out - he's the mayor, and our city is facing a public health crisis. Taking on gun violence goes far beyond policing: it's about ending poverty and reversing decades of disinvestment through quality schools, career training, social services, and jobs in neighborhoods that have been ignored for too long."

Emanuel did briefly address the weekend violence during a Sunday afternoon event announcing $10 million in city upgrades to the downtown Riverwalk, which McCarthy and Vallas both criticized.

"Has wasteful Rahm even seen the South and West side? $10 MILLION would be a tremendous help to residents, especially children that live in poverty from these neighborhoods," McCarthy tweeted. "Instead, he wants to waste more on an already perfect downtown attraction."

McCarthy also tweeted CBS-Ch.2 footage of Emanuel dancing at a Chicago Housing Authority music festival on Friday. "What is the mayor's plan for Chicago's state of emergency?" McCarthy tweeted. "Dance to fight crime. #EvictEmanuel #McCarthy2019."

Not sure about the timeline there, Garry. He danced on Friday . . . okay, now this is getting silly. Besides, you were just endorsed by Rudy Giuliani.

(Trib: "[I]n an interview earlier this year McCarthy said he was 'very close' with the former mayor."

(The Sun-Times recalls what McCarthy said in January: "Rudy Giuliani has been a friend and a mentor to me for more than 20 years. I was with him on 9/11. He's the guy who turned New York City in the direction that it's still going in. Maybe Chicago should pay attention.

("I'm happy and proud that he supports me and thinks that I can do a job like this. You don't abandon your friends because of their politics. It has nothing to do with his politics. It has to do with the fact that I worked for the guy for two years. Loyalty. Try it, Chicago.")

*

Also, let's not forget that McCarthy is the only police chief in history to leave behind two departments put under consent decrees (presuming the deal gets done here) because of mass civil rights violations amidst other issues demanding outside oversight.

*

'Emanuel and Johnson repeatedly sought to deflect questions about police staffing and strategy by calling on community members to step forward and identify the perpetrators behind the scourge of shootings that left 75 people shot.

"Everybody is pointing at somebody. The criminal, the criminal activity, the gang have to be raised, not just 'what did the police do?' Emanuel said. "Legitimate questions, but not in lieu of another set of questions, not in lieu of asking where is the individual or the gang or the culture who condones rather than condemns?"

Rahm deciding what questions are legitimate is disqualifying in itself. More disturbing, here is Rahm again condemning "the culture," placing blame on individuals, who happen to be . . . . black. He ends his story there, instead of taking the next step of asking why for so long (forever) the living conditions in some neighborhoods (along with a certain level of violence, just not this much) have been totally acceptable to city leaders. Call him Mayor Gingrich.

*

"A reporter then asked Emanuel how he would change the culture that feeds the violence. Visibly frustrated, the mayor rejected the question's premise - that the solution rests with him alone.

"You said, 'how do I?' That is not the question of what a moral community is. I apologize. That's not the right question," Emanuel said.

I suppose the "right question" is, "Isn't a shame this happens when you're such a wonderful mayor?"

But the mayor drives everything in this town. He sets the budget, he sets priorities, he micromanages the police department, he closes schools and mental health clinics. It's entirely the right question.

*

More Rahm:

"Every time we do this, it's a finger pointing at somebody else without also asking a larger question."

No. This is the larger question.

"It's not just what I . . . I will take my responsibility on the moral component, and I'll take also where I have fallen short . . . "

Okay, where?

" . . . but the question is as if by pointing one finger at one person that's now how you, in and by itself . . . (it's) all of us collectively."

Correct - if by "us" you mean you, your appointees, your city council, your "community leaders," and your campaign donors. You run the city.

*

Johnson called Rahm "CPD's biggest supporter."

That's not helping in the post-Laquan era. He needs to be citizens' biggest supporter.

*

More Johnson:

"The Chicago Police Department can't do it alone. Mayor Emanuel has made significant investments in mentoring at-risk youth and creating job opportunities in some of our most challenging neighborhoods, but he can't do it alone. We need everyone, especially our judicial partners, to start making repeat gun offenders feel the real consequences for their actions. We need the community and community leaders to work with us. We need parents to be parents. We need neighborhoods to be neighborhoods. You all know who these individuals are. They come to your homes every day, sleep with you every night. Grandparents, parents, siblings, significant others: You know who they are . . . We need everyone to come to the table with less talk and more action."

That's the same talk we've heard for decades. Action = policy, and not repeat gun offender policy. That's why the questions we're trying to ask the mayor are entirely the right questions.

Programs are great, and I'm sure a few folks have been helped. But all the programs in the world won't change the fundamentals. As I wrote yesterday, the only thing that will is a radically different economic development strategy.

*

Neither editorial board addresses a shift in economic policy as an antidote. Instead, it's the same old thing. "Something's gotta change, except everything! We call for more of the same. After all, it's not working!"

*

"Do something! But not anything different than what we've been doing!"

*

"Troy LaRaviere says employment, economic investment and education are all part of the solution, but he says there's a deeper systemic problem, that the south and west sides of the city aren't simply being neglected.

"This is a predominantly black school, in a neighborhood that is about half black, and yet you don't see that kind of violence here because everybody has a job. Neglect is benign. Neglect sort of implies inattention. This is more than inattention: this is active oppression, economic exploitation and intentional systemic disinvestment."

*

"Willie Wilson says Chicago can't police its way out of the problem. He wants to redirect public resources from mega projects like O'Hare to the smaller-scale neighborhood development.

"I do not believe it's about bringing in more police officers. They done that all his administration - bringing in more police officers, and you get crime going up and up and up. Eight billion dollars out at O'Hare? Look, take some of those dollars and put them into the community to create the jobs, the contract, and you'll see that violence go down."

He's not wrong.

*

I found this offensive. While it's natural to smile while a photo is taken, maybe it shouldn't have been taken at all - at least not in a posed manner. It's not a happy occasion, even if giving thanks for the visit, which in itself is problematic in its cynical political optics.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

E-Mails Show Trump White House Lied About U.S. Poverty Levels to Discredit Critical UN Report
"Wages haven't really picked up, other than for supervisors," an official from the Council of Economic Advisers wrote in response to a line in an early draft about workers' salaries rising. "This triggers the left - best to leave it off."

*

NBA Gambles With MGM
The future of sports betting?

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

How Long Is The Flight From Chicago To LAX?

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Cheese on top.



Permalink

Posted on August 7, 2018


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
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BOOKS - Arne Duncan, Unreliable Narrator.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Foxconn Flooding Alert.


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