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*** UPDATED x1 *** More strong poll numbers for Emanuel

Tuesday, Aug 30, 2011

* As I already told you, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s own poll shows his job approval at 79 percent. His operation released more poll numbers late yesterday

[B]y a 48%-to-41% margin, Chicagoans now believe the city is headed in the right direction — a lousy economy notwithstanding. That’s up from a 31%-55% split in a similar survey taken in September.

On key issues, about seven in 10 Chicagoans approve of Mr. Emanuel’s handling of budget matters, crime, schools and the economy.

A total of 82% find him to be a “strong leader” compared to “just” 70% who say he’s honest.

You gotta wonder how many Chicagoans feel the same about Illinois’ direction and Gov. Pat Quinn.

*** UPDATE *** Lynn Sweet ran the actual polling memo

Voters have tremendous confidence in Emanuel’s ability to handle the most pressing issues facing Chicago, especially tackling the budget crisis. By a 73-23 margin, they approve of his job performance on this key issue.

The Mayor also receives high marks on fighting crime, improving education, and strengthening the economy. The support for Emanuel’s performance on these issues cuts across racial and neighborhood lines.

Table 2: Mayor Emanuel’s Approval Rating on Key Issues
Approve - Disapprove
Addressing the budget crisis 73 - 23
Fighting crime and keeping your neighborhood safe 72 - 24
Improving education in the city 69 - 24
Strengthening Chicago’s economy 70 - 25
Voters have a well-formed impression of the Mayor and give him very high marks on key personal attributes, including leadership, conviction, management, and honesty.
Table 3: Mayor Emanuel’s Personal Attributes

Total Describes Well
Is a strong leader 82
Fights for what’s right for Chicago 76
Is an effective manager 79
Honest 70

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* He’s certainly doing many of the right things. For instance, Gov. Quinn hasn’t yet really addressed the state’s huge number of paid boards and commissions. From an Emanuel press release…

Mayor Rahm Emanuel [yesterday] announced a 50% reduction of compensation received by members of City boards and commissions, saving taxpayers over $314,000 a year.

“Those chosen to represent the interests of the people of Chicago lend their time and expertise to serve the public,” said Mayor Emanuel. “My administration is committed to using taxpayer funds wisely and responsibly to deliver the highest-quality services in the most efficient way possible.”

In July, the Mayor set the goal of cutting City board and commission compensation in half and tasked his Chief of Staff with conducting an extensive review of these stipends. Today, the Mayor also implemented a new compensation policy, which goes into effect immediately, tying stipend payments to meeting attendance.

The boards impacted by this reduction in compensation are the Building Board of Appeals; the Human Resources Board; the Chicago Police Board; the Zoning Board of Appeals and the License Appeal Commission. Prior to this review, the Mayor eliminated the stipends paid to members of the City’s Cable Commission and Board of Local Improvements.

* Emanuel announced a series of TIF district reforms yesterday as well

Mayor Rahm Emanuel made it clear Monday that the city will continue to rely on special taxing districts as an economic development tool, even as he tries to wash away the stain of public criticism that marred them in recent years.

The mayor plans to establish specific benchmarks that tax increment finance districts, known as TIFs, must meet to continue receiving the same level of property tax dollars — or any at all.

The standards will be crafted to help meet the goals of a 5- to 10-year citywide economic development plan, Emanuel said. Now the hard work begins: The city has to draw up both the economic plan and the benchmarks for goals like job creation, private investment, property value increases, worker training and new affordable housing.

* Mark Brown is a bit skeptical, however

Chicago now has 165 TIF districts encompassing 10 percent of the city’s property tax base and 30 percent of its geographic area.

That’s one reason I’m not as impressed about Emanuel slowing the growth of TIFs. There aren’t many places left to put them.

* Congressman Quigley was far more impressed

Congressman Mike Quigley, who as a county board member criticized Daley’s use of TIFs, called Emanuel’s report a move away from abuses of the program.

“It’s a good day,” Quigley said. “I’m not after Rich at this point in time, but this report is in such sharp contrast with past TIF policy.”

* Kind of a misleading lede

Mayor Rahm Emanuel faced a boisterous and sometimes angry crowd Monday night during the first of two “Town Hall” meetings to discuss ways to plug the city’s $635 million 2012 budget shortfall.

* The anger, as it turns out, came from a few people whose ox had been gored

Mental health advocates questioned the new mayor about his decision to privatize seven primary health clinics. And traffic aides who were laid off last month greeted Emanuel with boos, with one man in the audience even calling the mayor a “liar.”

It wasn’t just “mental health advocates” who were upset about the privatization

“I wonder where you got the idea it would be a good idea to privatize health services,” said Maria Randazzo, a laid off traffic control aide.

* Interesting nugget

“Can you stop printing the mayor and elected officials’ names on doors, buildings, etc.?” read City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, who acted as the moderator of the event.

The mayor replied ‘yeah’ to that suggestion, but sounded skeptical it would make a dent in the city’s financial problems.

Gov. Quinn criticized Emanuel for this practice last week.

* The strength of public criticism, however, is likely to ramp up..

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he’s not giving up on getting a longer school day this school year even though the teachers union has said no to a two percent cost of living raise to do it.

Emanuel is not taking ‘thanks but no thanks’ for an answer from the teachers union. He’s vowing to keep trying because he thinks the public is behind him. [..]

Meaning, his school board will impose a longer school day and year if the teachers don’t come around.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 11:05 am:

    –Emanuel is not taking ‘thanks but no thanks’ for an answer from the teachers union. He’s vowing to keep trying because he thinks the public is behind him. [..]

    Meaning, his school board will impose a longer school day and year if the teachers don’t come around.–

    It’s absurd how little time the majority of CPS students spend at school. Gee, kids who go to school five and a half hours a day for half the year aren’t ready for college? Who would have guessed?

    I’m for collective bargaining, but the number of school days and hours should never have been on the table. There should have been a higher standard, set by the state, to begin with.

  2. - Peter Snarker - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 11:19 am:

    It is interesting… Rahm had the rep as the ultimate insider. Quinn had the rep as an outsider. Rahm “the insider” is shaking things up in a populist mold (credit cards cut up, everything in this post, etc) and Quinn “the outsider” really hasnt taken such actions - and where he has (e.g. regional superintendents) he hasnt scored any points really. Just food for thought.

  3. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 11:25 am:

    - There should have been a higher standard, set by the state, to begin with. -

    I agree. That said, 2% raise for 27% more time working seems a little unfair. I realize the city doesn’t have a lot more to give and I certainly don’t have the answers, but I would hope some sincere negotiating can go on instead of a take it or leave it approach.

  4. - John A Logan - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 11:25 am:

    Good point Snarker, and as always Wordslinger is on point. I have been impressed with Rahm to this point. The hard nosed personality that Rahm has is almost legendary, and so far I think it is serving the city of Chicago well. The actions taken so far obviously dont solve the budget issues, but the old saying a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step is true.

  5. - davidh60010 - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    How much has to do with ideology, and how much has to do with organizational effectiveness? Emmanuel certainly gives the impression that he is someone who gets things done and appears to be backing that up with his deeds. To his increasing detriment, Quinn can’t seem to get out of his own way.

  6. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 11:42 am:

    It seems a comparison between CPS and other school districts around the state/country indicates that hours of instruction are greater elsewhere when compared w/CPS. That means this is a no brainer IMO. While the union may want to negotiate I don’t think that dog’ll hunt. Not with those poll numbers.

  7. - John A Logan - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 11:44 am:

    My thought on Governor Quinn is that he is not built to govern a state with the number of problems that this one has. He is genuinely a decent and kind person IMO, however this state is in such bad shape that hard decisions have to be made everyday, and those decisions are going to upset people. Quinn has always been a populist, but in Illinois there are fewer and fewer issues that Quinn can champion that are going to make everyone happy. My stream of consciousness just painted a picture of Quinn being the kind of guy that likes to serve birthday cake, but is not willing to take the kids to the dentist.

  8. - JimF - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 11:47 am:

    “Gee, kids who go to school five and a half hours a day for half the year aren’t ready for college? Who would have guessed?”.

    While I agree the CPS day needs to be longer and they need more days in school. The statement that they are only in school 1/2 the year is a little disingenuous. To get that ratio you must be counting weekends and holidays as if they were potential attendance days.

    Let’s compare CPS’s hours to districts who are well performing (it is still poor).

  9. - Lefty Lefty - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 11:51 am:

    I’m with Mark Brown. 30% of the city is in a TIF district? $500 million/year is generated by the districts and diverted from crucial needs? More lipstick on a pig.

    And as the Beachwood Reporter points out, the Mayor will tout the $300K in savings from the paid board reform, but he won’t save tens of thousands of dollars by keeping his name off everything. (According to the Trib, the ISTHA paid $480K to put Blago’s name up in 2004 on 32 signs and $15K to remove it.)

    Change, but not too much change.

  10. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 11:55 am:

    Amazing numbers considering this environment and that a property tax increase was just announced.

  11. - Cook County Commoner - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 12:28 pm:

    The future of Chicago may reside exclusively in how the brewing confrontation between the Mayor and the CTU plays out. What prospective employer would consider coming to a community with so many public education failure factories? The ideas for reform are out there from the Kipp Charter Schools, The Harlem Children’s Zone and other break-aways from the time tested failure formula followed by the large urban school systems. Will it be quality public education and a vibrant urban economy or the continued flow of union political contributions and children condemned to mediocrity or worse.

  12. - Timmeh - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 4:16 pm:

    Wordslinger: Are CPS students really only in school for 5 1/2 hours a day? Are you counting recess+lunch in that number?

    I’m curious now; excluding time for lunch and recess (both of which, I’d consider essential), how long should students be in school? Classes were 8-3 throughout grade school and high school for me, which is 7 hours including lunch and recess (recess only for those in grade 6 and lower).
    I could understand adding an hour; but I’d want to bolster the gifted programs inside of schools if that was the case. There’s many children in schools who feel (legitimately) like they’re not learning anything.

  13. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 4:27 pm:

    ===excluding time for lunch and recess (both of which, I’d consider essential),===

    They killed off recess years ago.

  14. - Indeedy - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 7:48 pm:

    Actually, Rich, recess wasn’t killed, it was rescheduled, moved to the end of the day. It’s an “option” teachers are allowed to exercise, per their contract. Of course, the effect of placing recess at the end of the day has been to shorten the school day. Several schools in the city, in response to pressure of parent-led campaigns, are rescheduling recess near lunchtime.

  15. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 7:54 pm:

    cps students by me go to school from 8-145 thats counting lunch. STL you statement about the teachers getting a 2% raise for more work. Well the last 10 years they received 4% a year for the shortest school day shortest school year and some of the worst school performance in the nation. The CPS teachers should be happy to not get their pay reduced.

  16. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 9:44 pm:

    These are honeymoon polling numbers. Almost meaningless. Chicago mayors get a long honeymoon with voters. Emanuel needs to ignore them.

  17. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 31, 11 @ 4:46 am:

    –There’s many children in schools who feel (legitimately) like they’re not learning anything.–

    –There’s many alright. Like the man said, it begs the question: Is our children learning?–

  18. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 31, 11 @ 4:51 am:

    –Chicago mayors get a long honeymoon with voters.–

    Huh? Since the 50s, there have been the Daleys, then Bilandic, Byrne, Washington, Orr and Sawyer. The experiences have been quite different.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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