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Rapid reaction can look like intimidation to some

Monday, Jan 31, 2011

* These Emanuel guys are too cute by half

In the ongoing argument over what “luxury” services would be taxed under Emanuel’s sales tax proposal, Chico held a news conference Monday to complain the tax would put neighborhood gyms out of business.

But the first neighborhood gym that Chico tried to hold his news conference at cancelled at the last minute after getting a call from the Emanuel campaign, Chico said. […]

Chico’s campaign scrambled to line up the second gym, in West Town. Then the Emanuel campaign called that gym. But owner Sharone Aharon told the caller he planned to let Chico do his news conference there anyway.

For crying out loud, leave the gym owners alone. I mean, seriously, is this the way y’all intend to govern over there? Really? Sheesh.

* And this sounds pretty suspect to me

Chico says that Emanuel’s new sales tax would include neighborhood gyms such as Well Fit in West Town.

LaBolt said it would not — it would only cover “luxury” gyms such as the Saddle and Cycle Club or the East Bank Club, where Emanuel works out.

How the heck are you going to define a “luxury” gym in a state statute? Will only gyms that have an on-site car-washing service be taxed? And if it is just a few upscale gyms, how are they going to generate any real revenues to replace the $40 million lost by cutting the city sales tax by a measly quarter point?

Gery Chico has obviously hit a raw nerve here. The media really needs to start demanding to see this alleged list of luxury services which will be taxed under a Mayor Emanuel - if, that is, he can convince the General Assembly to enact it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - John Bambenek - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 3:29 pm:

    Yes… this is exactly how Rahm will govern… it will be rule by the fist. Or the dead fish. Whatever.

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 3:33 pm:

    Chico’s a player, and so is Emanuel, so there’s no sympathy for either one of these millionaires, backed by different millionaires, here.

    But Emanuel is over the top and might start generating sympathy for Chico with his stunts.

    The TV stations will want a race, so Emanuel can expect to be smacked hard pretty soon. Lord knows there’s plenty of material.

    According to the polls, Emanuel has a chance to get 50 in the first round. Chico’s no choirboy, and CMB is a new definition of strange. But I think there will be a runoff.

    Before it’s all over, Emanuel has to do something better than his lousy TV spots. “Clean streets, safe streets,” he’s phoning it in with platitudes.

  3. - John Bambenek - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 3:36 pm:

    The TV stations want a race? Chicago media has been acting like Rahm is already the Mayor and the election is mere formality. If there is a runoff, maybe that will change, but right now, even money Rahm gets his 50 right now.

  4. - Chuck_Y - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 3:41 pm:

    Chico is the best candidate! Chico has important experience balancing 16 municipal budgets and has the support from our police and fire depts.

    Rahm has dodged too many debates, which makes him seem like he’d rather have his money do the work for him then to actually connect with Chicagoans. Rahm’s experience of getting $320k+ to sit in on a handful of Freddie Mac meetings foreshadows negative things to come if he is elected.

    Please make an informed decision when you vote.

  5. - Siriusly - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 3:45 pm:

    This luxury tax thing is a silly issue. The real issue at stake in this election is whether or not Chicago is going to have a mayor in bed with the teacher unions protecting the status quo or one who will push to reform school workplace laws and all City employment contracts.

  6. - amalia - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 3:46 pm:

    the campaign is just the prelude to governing. Under Mayor Daley a cloud of fear exists…can I say this? what will get back to whatever lackey who will say this small thing makes me look like a traitor? loyalty demanded to a weird detailed level. and leads to stupidity…group think.

    well, that’s piker stuff compared to Rahm. the demands for obeisance are scary. I guess the only difference is that the Daley lackeys stick the knife in your back and the Rahm lackeys stick it in your throat.

  7. - Just Observing - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 3:49 pm:

    Wow, what a silly argument from Rahm’s camp that this tax would only be on “luxury” gyms. It is clear from when Rahm talks that he wants everyone to think that this tax is on limos and private planes when obviously it would extend far beyond those “luxury” items to more everyday items.

  8. - the Dark Horse - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 3:50 pm:

    I like Rahm, but it’s hard to believe that a guy this far ahead in the po;;s would be so petty.

    Note, though, that it looks like Rahm sees Chico–and not CMB– as they credible threat.

  9. - Lakefront Liberal - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 3:53 pm:

    This makes me think of Ben Joravsky’s recent article contrasting Rahm and del Valle. The opening:

    “When I interviewed city clerk Miguel del Valle about his mayoral campaign, he met me at the door of his near-west-side campaign office, introduced me to staffers and other visitors, and then ushered me into his room for a 90-minute on-the-record talk.

    But when I asked to interview Rahm Emanuel—oh, brother, what an ordeal. I started with one aide who sent me to another who told me I was only getting five minutes of Emanuel’s time and wanted to know what questions I planned to ask. And then she told me I couldn’t ask about the tampons—more on that later.

    It’s a classic contrast of campaigns—one open and conciliatory, the other closed and hard-assed.”

    It’s pretty darn clear what we will be getting and I for one am dreading it.

  10. - Objective Dem - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 3:59 pm:

    I don’t know the details of Rahm’s proposal so it is hard to react.

    One thing to keep in mind is it is important for big cities to attract spending from outlying areas and other states. If the sales tax is too high on luxury retail items,i.e. jewelry, people will go to New York, LA or elsewhere rather than Chicago to shop.

    On the other hand, raising taxes on stretch limos sounds good to me and taxing cosmetic surgery wouldn’t bother me.

    I also question how to distinguish between “luxury” services and regular services.

  11. - amalia - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:00 pm:

    LLiberal, thanks for posting that article. Incredible that the aide to Rahm would say not to ask about the tampons. (way to go, press rookie.) and to those who said that was much ado about nothing, told ya.

  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:01 pm:

    ===I don’t know the details of Rahm’s proposal so it is hard to react.===

    That’s the whole problem. Nobody does.

  13. - SR - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:09 pm:

    They’re all too light on details. Too much time spent on publicity stunts, not enough time spent explaining how they are going raise the money to accomplish their goals.

  14. - jerry 101 - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:10 pm:

    This whole thing is so weird - Rahm does realize he’s running for Mayor, not governor, right?

    The Mayor doesn’t have any authority over State taxation - I guess he can lobby for the law to be changed, but that’s it.

    I think this is the weirdest campaign pledge ever. I mean, seriously, he’s pretty much saying “As mayor, I pledge to get the city councilState Legislature to introduce and pass a law to overhaul the cityState Sales tax, reducing it a quarter of a percentage point, while adding a tax on a group of “luxury” services, and then I will signget Governor Pat Quinn to sign off on this, regardless of what the rest of the State of Illinois and its 10 million non-Chicago resident citizens think of my plan - oh yeah, and I’m not telling what will constitute “luxury” services.”

    The appropriate response from the media should be, “Dude, what? Are you out of your freaking mind?”

  15. - 60614 insider - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:13 pm:

    Maybe Rahm should talk to the first lady about the benefits of exercise. Since when do we want to discourage people from getting a gym membership?

  16. - jerry 101 - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:14 pm:

    oops…I was trying to put strikethroughs into “city council”, “city”, and “I will sign”

    Yeah, I stink with trying to modify the text in my comments.

  17. - Jim - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:15 pm:

    Of course, it’s how Emanuel intends to govern.
    He’s Rahmbo, the loud-mouthed bully.

  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:16 pm:

    Rich -

    You should ask Ralph Martire for the list.

    And to answer your question, Yes, this is how Rahm will govern.

    I’d say “Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss,” except even I have to admit there is something charming about Mayor Daley, and admirable about his unshakable belief system.

    I get the sense that Rahm, like his predecessor in Congress Rod Blagojevich, would trade any principle for a vote or a brief case of cash.

    The main difference is that Rahm works much, much harder at everything he does.

  19. - Adam Smith - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:19 pm:

    Your original question is spot on…

    Rahm’s campaign, just like his fundraising operations and his WH stint have all been built on bullying and intimidation.

    I’ve seen it first hand and heard countless stories from others. Rahm makes it crystal clear to everyone that he rewards winners and punishes losers.

    Many people have observed that Daley has had a somewhat similar authoritarian style and that is true to a point.

    But at his core, Daley is passionate about this City. Right or wrong, everything he does he believes is for the betterment of Chicago.

    Rahm is passionate about Rahm and everything he does seems to be about winning–period.

  20. - Jim - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:20 pm:

    At least Quinn had the nerve to say he was going to raise taxes. The mayoral candidates all say they won’t raise taxes; while Chico even says he will hire 2,000 new police and not raise taxes; and that is impossible. If you fire 3,000 of the city employees you will still be $300M (minimum) in the hole, make some other spending cuts maybe you can save $50M more, and not one reporter will yet ask any of these candidates the biggest question, “How will you balance the budget.” And I don’t care how many budgets Chico has balanced, not budgets as deep in the red as this one. And Rahm will just speak in platitudes, ugh!

  21. - SR - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:31 pm:

    You’re seeing the main reason for the over reliance on platitudes from all of them. Mention the “T” word or the “P” word during a campaign and another candidate will seek to exploit it.

    Rahm is scheduled to present a budget proposal a couple weeks before the election. Let’s see if he moves it up to deal with this issue.

  22. - Moved To Missouri - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 4:38 pm:

    If/when Rahm wins, how long until “inspectors” show up and close Well Fit?
    Rahm brings chutzpah to the masses…

  23. - Bubs - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 5:47 pm:

    Who can begrudge Emanuel going all out for the 50%? He has now peaked, and has nowhere to go but down (and maybe way down) by April. But unease over him and the over-the-top tactics is starting to filter down. It’s not one incident - it’s the pattern, the collection of incidents that gets a bit chilling.

    I hope this guy has read the City Charter and understands that this is not New York - the Mayor in Chicago is constitutionally weak, and either Richard Daley he is not.

  24. - Abandon Ship - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 5:56 pm:

    “Gotcha politics” is Emanuel’s campaign style. For all of his spin about how unfair it was that his candidacy was objected to, Rahm always went to great lengths to skewer his political opponents in his Congressional district, no matter how obscure the also rans were. Nancy Kazak was smeared for a remark that a third person made. His minor league Republican opponents, who struggled to garner 20% of the votes were always put through the mill. This is who Emanuel is.

  25. - park - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 6:22 pm:

    “This is who Emanuel is.”

    Really? Y’all want to live with that for four years. Not my call (not a Chicago voter).

    Never met the guy, but this type of stuff is not a good sign.

  26. - Anon - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 6:40 pm:

    Being very experienced with both the Rahm and Chico campaigns, I find it very difficult to strictly classify Rahm as the “bully”. Out getting signatures for Rahm, I’d often run into other canvassers. I’d have fun chatting with Carol’s people or Davis gatherers, since we are all out there experiencing the same stuff we’d just chat it up. All the Chico people would be extremely rude right off the bat. They even jacked a friends petitions once.

    Additionally, Rahm’s facebook has a pretty straightforward policy. As long as you aren’t way over the top or offensive, they don’t delete anything. Over at Chico, they will delete anything with even a hint of negativity. I tested it with a message starting with “While I believe the supreme court made the right decision….” and then on to how I think the voters will make the right decision with Chico. THAT was deleted, simply because I said the Rahm decision was good.

    After a bit of bantering about the facebook policy, I received a threat via message.

    So say what you want about the campaigns, but Chico isn’t some innocent guy.

  27. - amalia - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 6:49 pm:

    Thank you Anon Rahmer, for your unbiased description of what you want us to believe about Chico. nice to see that you came in from the cold, protesting today.

  28. - OneMan - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 6:53 pm:

    == They even jacked a friends petitions once == I love it when political guys get all ’street’ we don’t have that much in the burbs

  29. - MrJM - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 7:15 pm:

    Good thing Rahm doesn’t already have a reputation for being a mean and petty bully.

    – MrJM

  30. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 7:23 pm:

    Will the luxury tax apply to out of state homes >3,000sf? private jets?
    Just asking

  31. - chicagoexpat - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 7:28 pm:

    I mean, seriously, is this the way y’all intend to govern over there? Really?

    The answer is yes, this is exactly the style they intend to continue. It’s partly the Chicago way of doing business, and it’s a lot simply the way he personally treats people.

    Get used to it, Chicago.

  32. - Wumpus - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 8:04 pm:

    Let’s do a forensic audit of Rahm’s proposal. (Sorry, I had to).

  33. - Anon - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 8:07 pm:

    Not trying to be biased or anything, just reflecting on my personal experience. The number one rule at Rahm for canvassers was to treat everyone with the utmost respect, and they were very serious.

    And OneMan, guess I could have said “he forcibly gained custody of the ballot access documents.”

  34. - Patrick McDonough - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 10:53 pm:

    You do not see many Rahm signs in the Northside of Chicago. More Del Valle. Signs do not vote, but it says something.

  35. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jan 31, 11 @ 10:54 pm:

    Candidates should avoid confirming their opponent’s negative definitions of them. Emanuel seems to believe that the election is over and he can drop his mask.

    Rahm is ugly. The more voters hear of this kind of ugly, the less receptive they will be.

  36. - SR - Tuesday, Feb 1, 11 @ 12:12 am:

    “Gotcha politics” is not a one way street.

    I’ve found some of the comments from a few of the anti-Rahm people to be, uh… gratuitous, but out of respect for this site that’s as far as I will go.

  37. - name - Tuesday, Feb 1, 11 @ 1:39 am:

    I was in support of Rahm at the beginning of the race but i went to his campaign and his people (not from Chicago) weren’t interested in ideas or support. I got the smile and we won’t call you look. Then i met Rahm recently and he has the same attitude…I don’t know you and really don’t need your vote so I am going to talk to whom i want to and you can buzz off or not. His ads are terrible. He is well coached to remain calm at debates. But the more I see of his campaign and him, I get the sense that he really is mean, vindictive and will keep a tally of who supports other candidates and if he encounters them, he will want payback.

    His ideas aren’t very thoughtful. He will get parents more involved in schools. Really? By paying them an incentive because that’s what will do it? How about relieving their day-to-day worries like schools they can believe in, affordable housing and job creation? That’s what parents care about? If they can remove those worries, they will be able to focus on the kids education. Throwing money at them wont help.
    He is saying it is a “YP” not an “MP.” Make us feel like you own part of the solution.

    This idea that he will get the State to do reduce the sales tax and introduce new taxes, again removes it from his problem to the States problem. What will Rahm do besides ask others to solve the problem.

    He will use TIF funds to hire police officers which is totally ridiculous. Is this even legal??? TIF funds should spur economic development not pay for labor costs where there is no chance of a future payback. Don’t create a problem by making another problem.

    We need a candidate who takes ownership of the problems and rolls up his/her sleeves to work through them. I think Gery Chico is our best bet.

  38. - dave - Tuesday, Feb 1, 11 @ 6:49 am:

    You do not see many Rahm signs in the Northside of Chicago. More Del Valle. Signs do not vote, but it says something.

    You didn’t see a lot of Obama signs in 2008 either. So not quite sure what it says, other than the folks running Rahm’s campaign probably think that yard signs are as worthless as Obama’s campaign thought.

  39. - Bill F. - Tuesday, Feb 1, 11 @ 8:25 am:

    Allegations of intimidation. Forecast for John Kass penning a hyperbolic column about this: 100%

  40. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Feb 1, 11 @ 9:00 am:

    Rahm the Terminator, “I’ll be bahck”

    And he is.

  41. - JCIII - Tuesday, Feb 1, 11 @ 9:55 am:

    Actually I was in Ohio there were freaking Obama campaign signs everwhere…………they were really only worthless in Illinois where the race was already won.

  42. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 1, 11 @ 10:03 am:

    Staying on message (even if the message is false or questionable) is the keynote of an Axelrod style managed campaign. Thus far, Rahm has been campaigning according to script for the most part, but recently he has shown signs of wanting to slip the leash.

    Emanuel’s family is still in the District of Columbia (until June if published reports are to be believed), so he has been living alone in Chicago. When not campaigning, he goes out for most of his meals and he does work the circuit by visiting new restaurants where he is likely to receive some gossip column publicity by being seen. While at these venues, he sometimes mingles with potential voters.

    A friend caught Rahm’s act at a fashionable new pizza restaurant, that has been all the rage recently. Some diners met the candidate and asked to take some photographs. Everything looked to be fine until the photography took a bit longer than expected. Emanuel became irritated, dropped his nice guy routine and went into his best Don Rickles impression. He laid into the person with the camera saying that it took less time to photograph bar mitzvahs and weddings.

    Emanuel cannot help himself. It is his nature. This behavior has been going on for two decades. How much more proof do people need?

  43. - Pembleton - Tuesday, Feb 1, 11 @ 10:05 am:

    Can someone give me a civics lesson about the city’s sales tax: Isn’t Chicago home rule? Why can’t the mayor reduce the city’s 1.25% use tax?

  44. - Honest Abe - Tuesday, Feb 1, 11 @ 10:16 am:

    I think that Emanuel’s absence at so many candidate forums has been a wise strategy. It has minimized the number of opportunities for him to have an anger management episode at a public event. He also has been carefully avoiding the media apart from occasional appearances at friendly events.

    Emanuel really exercised some self control during the debate when Bruce Dold questioned him about Freddie Mac and when Carol Moseley Braun zinged him about his tardy real estate tax payments.
    He kept his cool.

    Somehow, I doubt that a “Mayor Rahm” could be expected to maintain similar composure when confronted by hostile media at a major press conference.

  45. - hammer - Tuesday, Feb 1, 11 @ 10:44 am:

    I don’t like Rahm but all of this breathless “Look at him! Can’t you hear the evil in his silence? He’s just waiting to: punish his enemies, raid Chicago, kill a puppy, etc.” talk is making me emphasize with him.

    You can only judge a person by what he does. Rahm has been Teflon for a reason this cycle: he’s staying disciplined. Despite all the collected stories from the past 20 years and possible backdoor deals with media or the President or whoever, Rahm has kept his nose clean. I’d like that quality in a mayor.

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