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Mayoral debate roundup

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2011

* Last night’s WTTW mayoral debate

As always with that channel, the debate was focused and crisp. The candidates seemed to shy away from too many overt attacks on each other, but they all came across quite well, I thought. Nothing even approaching a knockout punch on Emanuel was thrown. I’m told to expect something far more brutal during ABC7’s Thursday debate. Let’s get to the coverage…

* Sun-Times

Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel said Monday he would re-organize the Chicago City Council — and strip Ald. Ed Burke of his police bodyguards and possibly his Finance Committee chairmanship — if he is elected mayor.

“There will be reform of the committees. There will be some committees closed, chairmanships will change,” Emanuel said. “There will be a shared sacrifice, including for Ed Burke and all the City Council. If Ed Burke has six police officers, that just can’t continue.”

During an hour-long debate at WTTW-Channel 11, Emanuel was not the only mayoral candidate who talked about reducing the starring role that Burke has played in the City Council.

City Clerk Miguel del Valle said the Council has developed “an unhealthy dependence upon Ald. Burke,” and it has to stop.

“It shouldn’t be one-person rule — you can’t have everything going through one alderman,” del Valle said. “It does not mean that Ald. Burke will not be Finance Committee chairman. It does mean that Ald. Burke will have to give up a lot of that power that he has exercised to make the City Council a more democratic place.”

Burke has put himself out there as Chico’s main backer. “Mess with the bull, get the horn” goes both ways.

* Tribune

Asked what Daley’s biggest mistake was, del Valle listed the mayor’s overnight tearing up of Meigs Field, while Braun said Daley hadn’t done enough to build the city’s neighborhoods. Chico said Daley had too narrow of a relationship with the council. Emanuel said the mayor was overly aggressive about pursuing the 2016 Olympics at the expense of economic development.

* TV…

* ABC7

* Fox Chicago


* The post-debate spinning was far more harsh

Chico said he will spend the final days focusing on Emanuel’s tax proposal, which would decrease the sales tax by a quarter-point in return for allowing unspecified services to be taxed. Chico stopped just short of calling Emanuel a liar.

“He is a pathological evader of the truth. We have no answers and the citizens are about to go to the polls in a couple of days,” Chico said in reference to the role Emanuel played on the Freddie Mac board and failing to say what services would be included in his sales-tax swap plan.

“Families are going to be sucker punched with this tax,” Chico said, adding that he has repeatedly asked for a list of services and received “nothing.” […]

On [Emanuel’s] criticism of Daley focusing too much on the Olympics: “Too much of our economic future was pinned on one endeavor and that was the Olympics. And when we didn’t get it, we were left without an economic strategy and I think we need one.”

* Meanwhile, Mark Brown skewered Emanuel’s sales tax reduction

If Emanuel cuts the city sales tax rate to 1 percent from the current 1.25 percent, how much would his hypothetical “working family” need to spend to save $200 in sales tax? Answer: $80,000. […]

Emanuel’s campaign said it was basing its savings estimate on a median family income of $46,000 and an assumption the family spent about one-fourth of its income on items subject to sales tax. Under that scenario, I told them, that family would realize a savings of just $28.75 in sales taxes. (One-fourth of $46.000 is $11,500, multiplied by .0025) […]

In one sentence he’ll talk about the 9.75 percent overall sales tax rate charged in Chicago and in the next mention his one-fifth proposed reduction, when he’s really only lowering the city’s 1.25 percent portion. Then he throws in the planned half-cent reduction in the county’s portion of the sales tax as if he has something to do with it, when Toni Preckwinkle will be doing all the heavy lifting.

That’s before you even get into the legitimate questions that Gery Chico has raised about what services would actually be subject to Emanuel’s luxury tax.

When you do the math, Emanuel’s tax plan doesn’t add up.

Mark’s right.

…Adding… Zorn said much the same thing on Sunday.

* And Emanuel took Chico to task for accepting a Chicago tea party endorsement

Speaking at a Northwest Side luncheon for seniors hosted by outgoing Ald. Patrick Levar (45th), Emanuel also criticized rival Gery Chico for “accepting … with enthusiasm” the endorsement of the Chicago Tea Party Patriots, a conservative activist group.

“The entire purpose of the Tea Party is to stop the president, his agenda, and stop his presidency, and the notion that one would accept it with enthusiasm means that they see the Tea Party as legitimate in what they’re pushing in trying to stop President Obama,” Emanuel said.

Chico issued a news release blasting Emanuel for claiming that Chico had accepted the endorsement. While Chico has not renounced the endorsement, he said, “I am a lifelong Democrat and a fighter for the working families of Chicago. Unlike Mr. Emanuel falsely suggests, I did not seek the endorsement of this group and in reality, have nothing in common with them.”

Here’s the Chico campaign’s prior statement

“Gery has a record of building coalitions across racial, ethnic and party lines to achieve common goals,” Chico’s Press Secretary Brooke Anderson told HuffPost Chicago. “We welcome their support in addition to the broad range of support we have received from a diverse range of organizations, elected officials and residents as we fight to take Chicago in a new direction.”

Last night, Chico briefly said he repudiated the endorsement, but it was quickly glossed over.

* Related…

* New poll projects victory for Emanuel: The fourth and final We Ask America poll conducted by the Chicago Retail Merchants Association (CRMA) found Emanuel building onto an already commanding lead among every demographic and geographic category tested. Emanuel was favored by 58.2 percent of respondents, an increase of 6 points since the January 24 poll. His closest rival, former school board president Gery Chico, garnered 23.7 percent. Emanuel’s lead of 35 points is well outside the poll’s margin of error of 2.06 points. [Full results here.]

* Braun’s remarks on HIV funding questioned

* Workers Question Emanuel’s Visit to Secured Airport Warehouse: The Rahm Emanuel campaign describes it as a goodwill visit, but there are questions about whether the mayoral candidate broke rules when he stopped by O’Hare International Airport on the night the blizzard ended. Some aviation department employees told us they were stunned when Emanuel came into their secured building with donuts and coffee. The warehouse, which is on airport property, is surrounded by a tall chain link fence topped with barbed wire and security cameras. You have to show an aviation department credential just to get past the gate.

* Gery Chico’s Success Based on Hardworking Grandparents, Diverse Family

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - ok - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 8:24 am:

    Wow, all these people who railed against the sales tax increase as devastating, now saying it would be insignificant to roll it back.

    Maybe it just wasn’t devastating in the first place.

  2. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 8:29 am:

    Dude, we’re talking a quarter point here. It ain’t much. Token, even.

  3. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 8:32 am:

    I didn’t vote for Rahm, but if he wins, and he gets rid of Burke’s bodyguard, I will buy a beer for him the next time I see him at The Long Room. Also, maybe Rahm can axe Jennifer Burke’s job with the City Law Department and save even more money!!!

  4. - Fed up - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 8:46 am:

    Hmmm a dem. Being less than truthful about taxes. Maybe Rahm will appoint Monken chief of the Chicago Police to finish his Quinn impression

  5. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 8:59 am:

    – Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel said Monday he would re-organize the Chicago City Council — and strip Ald. Ed Burke of his police bodyguards and possibly his Finance Committee chairmanship — if he is elected mayor–

    This is where it will get interesting. It’s not a slam dunk that Emanuel will get his way.

    Technically, Chicago is a weak mayor/strong council government. The council will organize itself. Whether Emanuel will have the muscle to build a majority coalition remains to be seen.

    Washington, of course, couldn’t until after the special election. Byrne was going to toss out the “cabal of evil men,” then ended up going in with the Two Eddies and letting the old First Ward organization pick top police commanders.

    As Cook County Board Chair, Dick Phelan (should have stuck with Richard) was going to toss John Stroger from chairman of the Finance Committee, but Stroger cut a deal with the GOP members and clipped his wings.

    Burke has been on the council since 1969, taking over for his father. He knows the ins-and-outs and secrets of City Hall better than anyone, including Daley. We won’t go down easily.

  6. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:01 am:

    In a real way, the tea partiers are helping guarantee that Obama’s guy Emanuel wins. By endorsing Chico they hurt Emanuel’s only serious competition, or at least the closest thing to serious competition he has.

    Good going guys. I think it’s called cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  7. - amalia - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:02 am:

    Obi Wan…. Wordslinger…..he speaks the truth.

  8. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:16 am:

    This race has been over ever since Clinton and Obama appeared in Emanuel’s corner.

    I think Emanuel will do even better than most expect. I’ll say 54% on election day.

  9. - Leroy - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:17 am:

    Emanuel also criticized rival Gery Chico for “accepting … with enthusiasm” the endorsement of the Chicago Tea Party Patriots, a conservative activist group.

    LOL…”Chicago Tea Party Patriots”…what is this? One dude living in Jefferson Park?

    “Chicago Tea Party Patriots”…you can’t make this stuff up..

  10. - wndycty - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:26 am:

    Someone better tell the Tea Party Patriots that Chico rejected their endorsements because these folks have planned a “Pre Election Meet & Greet” this Saturday.!/event.php?eid=146852055373136&index=1

    What do you do when the candidate you support publicly denounces your support? LOL

  11. - Rule of Law - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:33 am:

    Although the Tea Party’s agenda runs almost entirely contrary to Obama’s, stopping Obama is not the sole purpose, no matter how much one believes the original idea has been hijacked by federal dollars and pre-Tea Party Republican partisans.

    The original idea was cut government spending and keep taxes low which has federal and local applications. Many Chicago voters want this and, right or wrong, a lot of voters expect Rahm is the most likely candidate to do this, given that he hasn’t taken firm positions and seems less beholden than Chico to government interest groups.

    Rahm could have been more artful in dismissing Chico’s Tea Party endorsement. He should have put out the message that this local chapter is just an appendage of the national movement, has no real interest in Chicago, but he is still the candidate who can restore budgetary sanity to the City.

    Chico looks ridiculous in accepting and then repudiating it too.

    The Tea Party isn’t as toxic as the gadflys and politicos think, even in Chicago and especially in a year without a legitimate AA candidate. A more artful pivot by both of the candidates would have been wise here.

  12. - Responsa - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:36 am:

    ==LOL…”Chicago Tea Party Patriots”==

    Keep laffin Leroy. Just because they register D so as to be sure their garbage gets picked up and their streets are plowed does not mean that there are not Republicans living and voting in the city of Chicago. They have to vote for some Democrat for mayor. Whether the tea party endorsement helps or hurts Chico is up for debate. But it is probably not completely irrelevant.

  13. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:41 am:

    Responsa, no one in Chicago, or Illinois, registers with a party. You pull a partisan ballot in statewide primarlies. The Chicago mayoral and aldermanic elections are non-partisan.

    Having said that, I agree believe the statewide GOP has neglected the opportunity to identify and invigorate a large minority of potential GOP voters in the city and near suburbs.

  14. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:44 am:

    ===does not mean that there are not Republicans living and voting in the city of Chicago===

    ‘Tis true. 17 percent of Chicagoans went for Bill Brady last November. That ain’t much, but it’s more than CMB is getting in some polls.

  15. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:45 am:

    I’m so torn on who to vote for in this one.

    My heart wants to go with Del Valle, but I feel like voting for him in the first round would only help Carol or Gery advance to the second round and I find both of them soooooo repugnant that I may just wind up casting a vote for Rahm, which I thought I’d NEVER do at the beginning of this.

    But anyone who Burke wants to stop must be good, right?

  16. - shore - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:58 am:

    at this point in my mind the question is do 50.01 percent of chicagoans want to see braun, chico or del valle in the game past next tuesday and with the awful campaign braun has run, the uninspired campaign del valle has run and chico’s inability to get to the next level, I just don’t see it.

    None of the other 3 have really made any sort of case or made a dent in emanuel.

  17. - Responsa - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 9:59 am:

    Word–thank you for issuing the clarification. Of course, I already knew that you are technically correct with respect to “registration”. Still, taking a D primary ballot pretty well identifies you as a D to local pols and gets you on “lists”, regardless of how you might vote in the general or in other non-partisan elections. I know this. We played that game for more than a decade in Beverly and we were not the only ones. Being a closet R works pretty well in Chicago for most Republicans and has been “necessary” for at least the last fifty years. My point above still stands.

  18. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 10:27 am:

    Isn’t that the same tea party group that claimed it was the victim of arson and vandalism at its Holiday Party at a Greek Town bar?

  19. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 10:29 am:

    ===We won’t go down easily===

    Freudian slip Word? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  20. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 10:41 am:

    47th, LOL, perhaps so.

    Geez, if I’ve subconsciously been a Burke supporter all these years, I should have made a lot more money.

    Perhaps it’s my sporting interest in what would be a fascinating battle shining through.

  21. - amalia - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 10:46 am:

    so, let me get this straight, Rahmsters. the Tea Party was OK for your buddy Claypool, but now you sing a different tune?

  22. - Bill - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 10:59 am:

    ==a closet R works pretty well in Chicago for most Republicans==

    You are absolutely right. Look how well it worked for Daley and Mike Madigan.

  23. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 1:26 pm:

    Fact Check:

    Wordslinger, I believe that if you check the law books, the Mayor creates the committees, assigns the chairs, and appoints the members.

    Technically, if Rahm wants to not appoint Burke to any committees, I think he can.

  24. - mokenavince - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 1:47 pm:

    If Rahm win’s the bodyguards will be gone.Plus Chicago will finally get an new finance chairmen.
    Remember Bruke lead the charge against Wal Mart. In addition to Mrs. Burkes tepid verdict on Rahms
    right to be on the ballot.Also Burkes endorsment
    of Gery Chico.

  25. - amalia - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 4:04 pm:

    who was the driving engine the last time the ward maps were drawn for Chicago? cause this time there is a big drop in the African American population and drawing those lines will be very dicey.

  26. - Abandon Ship - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 4:17 pm:

    Funny that Rahm made these remarks in the 45th Ward (one of the outlying wards in the city which is not too far removed from the suburbs). In certain elections, this area has supported GOP candidates with respectable numbers. Not too long ago, there were several GOP legislators elected in this vicinity.

  27. - Esquire - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 5:05 pm:

    Mark Brown’s column simply dismantled Rahm Emanuel’s talking point that his tax reduction plan would save working families an average of $200.00. That has not stopped Emanuel from spamming everybody online in Chicago with repeated assurances that his plan is really great.
    The man is nothing if not stubborn. Saving twenty-five cents in taxes after spending $100.00 is fairly meaningless. It won’t buy a half hour on a parking meter kiosk, but Emanuel’s handlers still have him trying to sell the proposal as the best thing since sliced bread.

  28. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 5:08 pm:

    –Wordslinger, I believe that if you check the law books, the Mayor creates the committees, assigns the chairs, and appoints the members.–

    I think Harold Washington might disagree with you.
    There was the Council Wars 29-21, correct?

  29. - amalia - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 5:10 pm:

    here’s another idea for Rahm for Finance….Brendan Reilly. He would also know how to draw the map.

  30. - Angry Chicagoan - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 7:40 pm:

    Interesting also to look at the candidates’ impressions of the mayor’s biggest mistakes. Del Valle and Chico pick on such small potatoes. Meigs is one little project. Chico’s concern about council relations is simply a pathetic retelling of his overlords’ griping. On the other hand Braun and Emanuel bring up big, big problems — the problems that have led to this city being depopulated by 200,000 people this decade while every one of Chicago’s peers has grown in central city population.

  31. - amalia - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 10:20 pm:

    oh, yeah, Angry Chicagoan….Braun is such a stellar intellect. Rahm vs. Braun….what a crock.

  32. - Boone Logan Square - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 10:34 pm:

    CNN reported a new poll conducted by the Chicago Retail Merchants Association on Feb. 13. The poll surveyed 2,252 likely voters and carries a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

    That’s the largest sample I’ve seen from any public poll, had the smallest MoE and was also taken later than any poll I’ve seen. I don’t know what the “likely voter” screen was, but it looks legit.

    Here’s why I’m bringing it up. This is its picture of the race nine days out:

    Carol Moseley Braun: 6%
    Miguel Del Valle: 10%
    Gery Chico: 24%
    Rahm Emanuel: 58%

    While the methodology and screens are probably different from the Tribune and ABC7 polls, the trend is clearly good news for Rahm.

    All I know about this poll is here:

    I suppose the next question is what efforts each campaign has made in their ground games. Seems to me that the best shot of a runoff is if all the trailing candidates (including Watkins and Walls) get enough people out to vote that their combined total gets to 50% +1.

    This is one of the reasons that doing things like uniting behind one African-American candidate was short-sighted. Perhaps a larger field would have gotten more voters out voting for someone other than Rahm. There would have been a danger of the second-place finisher not being African-American, but that danger is present here anyway.

    A good book could be written about how veteran municipal candidates failed to understand new campaign rules. Much like Hillary Clinton failed to grasp DNC rules in the primary vs Obama, the Carol Moseley Braun campaign was not conducive to success in 2011.

    The same is true of Dom Peralta in last fall’s Oakland, CA mayoral race. He did not understand how to compete in an IRV race and lost even though he got the most first-choice votes. Campaigns must understand how to compete with the new rules, and there’s no evidence that any opposition campaigns understood how to maximize the chance of a runoff here. The likely outcome is a Rahm Emanuel victory party exactly one week after I write this comment.

  33. - Boone Logan Square - Tuesday, Feb 15, 11 @ 11:34 pm:

    Serves me right for glassing over the last paragraph; I’m a little surprised that poll hasn’t gotten more attention in comments!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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