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Playing with fire

Tuesday, Mar 7, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The governor’s office tried its best to deal with the Chance the Rapper fallout

After declaring his talks with Gov. Bruce Rauner accomplished nothing, Chance the Rapper donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools on Monday — wowing his large fan base and creating an epic public relations nightmare for the Republican governor.

Chance, whose combined Instagram and Twitter following tops 7 million people, ripped into the governor after meeting with him on Friday. […]

Later Monday, Rauner’s office noted that he and his wife had donated some $7 million to Chicago schools in the past.

“While the Rauners are passionate donors to our schools, individual contributions will never be enough to address the financial challenges facing CPS,” Rauner spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis said in a statement. “It would be helpful if CPS officials came to Springfield and joined in serious good faith discussions about the long-term stability of all of our schools.”

While I totally agree that CPS ought to be doing a whole lot more to help pass some of this stuff, bigfooting a young rapper with money donated over 20 years is a bit much.

* Meanwhile, the governor said again today (click here) that Chicago should either bail out its own schools temporarily with a one-time infusion of TIF money (ironically enough, a position shared by the Chicago Teachers Union) or the pension reform proposal tied to that $215 million for CPS should be separated from the grand bargain and passed right away.

This reaction yesterday by Senate President Cullerton’s press secretary may have gotten buried in all the hooplah, so here it is again

“We’ve split this out twice and Governor Rauner vetoed it both times, saying it had to be tied to be part of a comprehensive solution.

“Now we tie it to a comprehensive plan and he kills the deal and says it should stand alone.

“I think you can see why the Senate decided to try to negotiate its own solution and not negotiate with the governor.”

…Adding… Mayor Emanuel responds…

* In other developments, the Sun-Times went out of its way today to suggest that Chance was somehow being controlled by the powers that be. But scroll way down into the story and you’ll finally see the denials

Top mayoral aides insisted Monday that Emanuel had nothing to do with Chance’s decision to go toe-to-toe with Rauner. Emanuel even tried to reach out to Chance over the weekend to coordinate with the music superstar, only to be ignored.

The mayor did manage to reach Ken Bennett, only to be told that Chance was not interested in coordinating with Emanuel.

“The mayor likes to be in control of everything. He has his own plan to save CPS and this is not part of it. But, Chance is his own man. He’s trying to solve this himself. Ken is not involved,” said a mayoral confidante, who asked to remain anonymous… “We’re not behind it at all and neither is Ken Bennett,” the aide said.

* As we discussed yesterday, the performing artist obviously did a lot of research on his own. To suggest he’s merely a tool of the city’s establishment is pretty darned patronizing

Chance’s aggressive advocacy of Chicago public schoolchildren seemed to throw the governor off his game as there was no immediate way to blame his involvement on House Speaker Mike Madigan, Rauner’s usual all-purpose foil.

Exactly. So, instead, tie him to Rahm - the second most unpopular Democrat in Illinois.

Remember, it was Gov. Rauner who reached out to Chance with that congratulatory tweet on Grammy night. It was Rauner who agreed to a sitdown with the guy. It was Rauner who exchanged private phone numbers with him last Friday and then talked again to Chance over the weekend. This wasn’t some scheme hatched at the Grammy’s to entrap the governor. The governor did this on his own.


  1. - Rod - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:43 am:

    Rich, Chance aside, what about a merger between TRS and CTPF along the lines suggested by the Civic Federation?

  2. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:51 am:

    ===Later Monday, Rauner’s office noted that he and his wife had donated some $7 million to Chicago schools in the past===


    A governor who decides to tweet @ someone famous, goes thru ALL, the setup, the meeting, the bad press, the lack of understanding what his Press Shop dos to him…

    … this governor, with a tax return last year of 9-figures… big-foots a 23 year old.

    Punching down for an unforced error tells me how grossly Rauner and his Crew are self “unaware”

    Matthew, chapter six describes how “one-upping” to seem more charitable comes to mind.

    Chance gave the money to make a point that Governor Rauner seems inept at understanding a governor’s veto denied $215 million to Chicago schools. Chance explained why he gave, the point, so I’ll let those words speak for themselves

    The embarrassing Rauner “$7 million” is Matthew, chapter 6.

    “I gave $7 million!”

    So… as governor you denied $215 million, an emotional decision.

    That $7 million covers the sin of hasty emotions… or to mock and big-foot a young man who “called” the governor, when Rauner couldn’t help but tweet @ the young man… to seem cool.

    Rauner is indeed heartless. The $7 million tries to fill the void where a heart actually should be.


  3. - The Captain - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    What has most impressed me so far in all of this is the restraint that Chance has shown when making public comments. He’s had a very narrowly defined public stance, that Chicago school children should not be the leverage in Rauner’s quest (”take them off the table”) and that promised funding should not come with caveats or ultimatums. And his public comments have stayed in that lane. If he got off topic or vented his frustration it would have been easier for Rauner and others to change the subject or move the discussion in another direction but because Chance has had a disciplined approach and stayed on topic the focus has stayed there as well.

    Veteran pols have a hard time staying on topic this well, even if it doesn’t last to see it from a newcomer is pretty impressive.

  4. - Rogue Roni - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    Madigan and the governors Twitter he controls

  5. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    This is a key part of the Rauner play book. If you get a meeting with him, he tries to enlist you against Madigan, saying something like, “I really want to help you, but Speaker Madigan is standing in my way.” Rinse, lather, repeat. Practically every group he’s met with for two years has gotten the same schtick from Rauner. He’s powerless, you see, but with your help, maybe together they can convince Madigan to budge.

    Except Chance called BS on it and showed everyone the Governor has no clothes. It was a masterpiece.

  6. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Geez, a successful young man gets involved and gives back to the community and he takes a beating from alleged objective journalists.

    Chicago media would do well to look into the mirror and consider their own enabling over the years of the ongoing fiscal catastrophes on the state and local levels from the powers that be.

    Hint: don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters. More math, less “personalities.”

  7. - AC - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    Whenever someone disagrees with Rauner, he immediately concludes that they are being controlled by the unpopular Democrat of the week. I wonder if Rauner realizes that nearly everyone who disagrees with him does so independently, and that disagreement is rooted in a different vision and different priorities for the state of Illinois.

  8. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    Team Superstar needs to show some flex. “Because Madigan” is the only club in their bag right now. Anytime they need a different response- to Chance, to Cullerton/Grand Bargain, hell, even to Mendoza (who *could* kinda Madiganize), they’re caught flat-footed.

  9. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    BigBrain always looks like a fool on most days….his interactions with Chance only underscore this reality
    How about we focus today on how face ISP has to drive him to make his schedule… sez 110 mph.

  10. - Deft Wing - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    Ugh. Rauner and his superstars walked right into this one. They got played, bad. The Gov and his gang should just go quiet on everything Chance-related and let this PR debacle flitter away.

  11. - walker - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    When you get beat, simply praise your opponent and walk away.

  12. - No Longer a Lurker - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:09 am:

    “Later Monday, Rauner’s office noted that he and his wife had donated some $7 million to Chicago schools in the past.”

    Bruce, does that $7 million include the money used to clout your child into Payton Prep?

  13. - Doofman - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:11 am:

    Obviously Madigan controls the Grammys

  14. - Bulbous1 - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    I’m getting more disillusioned each day. Trying to stay positive as an Illinois citizen and state worker is harder each day. I’m not sure which is worse: That the Governor is starring in the movie Ground Hog Day…and doing what ever he wants cause it will all be forgotten tomorrow. Or That he is acting like a professional golfer…no matter how badly he screws up a hole its all forgotten by the time he gets to the next tee.

  15. - Texas Red - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    OW ===Punching down for an unforced error tells me how grossly Rauner and his Crew are self “unaware”

    Rauner has his eye’s on the long game, and that game excludes Chicago and the Chicago democratic machine. So it is hardly an unforced error. Just a subtle part of his agenda. And as for Mathew 6 all the pols and Chance could take a cue… “But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

  16. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:30 am:

    ==Rauner has his eye’s on the long game, and that game excludes Chicago and the Chicago democratic machine. So it is hardly an unforced error. Just a subtle part of his agenda.==

    No. Sometimes errors are just errors.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:37 am:

    - Texas Red -

    ===…and Chance could take a cue…===


    Chance was using the million to make a point, a political point, putting his money where is mouth is when Rauner decided to run this game with him.

    Rauner, decides to punch down, and in the past 3 and a half years used his monies to allow his visions to be seen as acceptable, or to deflect a shortcoming, be it in policy, or in many instances, Rauner’s own character.

    What Rauner did with the $7 million quote is NOT the same as Chance, as Chance, in a public, policy driven decision, is choosing in real time to be active…

    … while Rauner draws from previously “quiet” donations to tout, and punch down, and seek grace from the public… and not about the policy of today.

    ===Rauner has his eye’s on the long game, and that game excludes Chicago and the Chicago democratic machine. So it is hardly an unforced error===

    If this is not an unforced error than Rauner better give up messaging… forever.

    Michele Obama tweeted about this.

    Over 405,000 views of Chance saying “do your job”

    It has been seen/talked about/commented about all over the country, seen all over the world.

    Rauner looks good here?


  18. - Texas Red - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:48 am:

    ==Rauner looks good here? Hmm.

    To the portion of the electorate that see’s the failures of CPS, the City budget, the City Pension… yes

  19. - Daniel Plainview - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:48 am:

    More childlike fantasy play from the James Bond/Godfather wannabes in the Governor’s office. A successful local artist wants to advocate for the city’s school children and obviously it’s a well orchestrated false flag operation by the Machine/Combine/Illuminati/etc.

    Maybe, just maybe these superstars and their boss should do a little soul searching and come to the realization that they’re just incompetent and not everyone is snowed by their BS.

  20. - AlfodonGonz - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    Far be it from me to offer any sort of advice that could prove helpful to Rauner and his cohorts, but here goes nothing;

    Walk away from this one. Final statement. “Chance is a bright, charming, talented young man, and we’re always happy to see young people engage in civics. We’re disappointed we weren’t able to convince him that what we’re hoping to do is best for the long-term interest of CPS, but we remain steadfast in our belief. We applaud Chance for his donation and wish him continued luck in both his career and activism.”

  21. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 11:53 am:

    ===To the portion of the electorate that see’s the failures of CPS, the City budget, the City Pension… yes===

    You all on this this Chance thing that thinks Rauner looks good could fit in a phone booth, lol.

  22. - So tired of political hacks - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:03 pm:

    Laughable, I spent 7 million on public education in 20 years. BTW anyone with the nerve to vote against me I just put 50 million more in my fund and there is more where that came from I have powerful friends.

  23. - Rod - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:03 pm:

    I sure the bloggers on Cap Fax are aware that Bruce Rauner basically paid for Noble Street Charter’s Rauner College Prep which opened in August 2006. I have no idea how many millions that cost. For the most part this is well known in the philanthropic community in Chicago, it’s not something Governor Rauner just revealed in relationship to Chance. I am not a charter school supporter, but there is little question that Noble Street has been fairly successful with those kids who can handle the discipline of that CPS authorized charter school chain, there are a good number of kids who can’t handle it however too.

    I think it is also fair for the Chicago Sun Times to discuss the Chance not-for-profit organization, SocialWorks and who its director is and lead attorney along with their associations with Mayor Emanuel. It is a legitimate journalistic inquiry, once Chance enter this fray. I know so many on this blog are very exhausted by the Governor’s evasive public stance on virtually all budget issues, but to argue that Chance the rapper is above scrutiny seems a little over the top as were Rep Jeanne Ives comments the other day about Chance calling him a foul mouthed rapper. There is no question that a rap like “Favorite Song” would not be allowed to be played publicly at the CPS elementary school Chance spoke at yesterday ( ) But Auburn Gresham isn’t Wheaton either.

  24. - Juice - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:12 pm:

    Gee, Rod, I didn’t realize that getting his name plastered on the building and requiring all the students to wear uniforms with his name on it was indicative of the fact that he gave them money. Good to know.

    Also, lets not forget that he gave money to bring in Supes.

  25. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    - Rod -

    Are charter schools for profit?

    When given the opportunity to send his own daughter to New Trier or any private high school in the state, when choosing to clout that daughter, a daughter originally denied, into Payton Prep, why wasn’t a Chicago charter school a choice over Payton Prep?

  26. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    The Rauners have contributed $7m to Chicago schools over the last 20 years.

    The Rauners have contributed over $100m to Rauner for Governor and the ILGOP over the last 3 years.



  27. - WSJ Paywall - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:30 pm:

    Does our billionaire baby boomer governor really think trying to dunk a 23 year-old is really a good comms strategy?

  28. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    So it’s kind of like the prom scene from the movie “Carrie”, but Carrie didn’t hold the prom, pay for, promoted it, brag about the homecoming king she’ll be with, and how cool she’ll be.

    But Rauner and Carrie both ended up with a bucket on their heads and locking everyone up as a hostage, didn’t they?

  29. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:35 pm:

    The last Grammy winner Rauner wanted to hang with, was Barry Manilow.

  30. - Rod - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:46 pm:

    No Willy Noble Street is a not for profit charter school. It was founded by a former CPS high school teacher who taught at Wells high school. I don’t agree with their discipline policies, but those that survive do seem to be educated reasonably with many going on to four year colleges and their data is public.

    As to why Governor Rauner sent his daughter to Payton instead of to his self named charter school, for the same reason my own daughter went to Payton, its a better school. I doubt either the Governor or his wife would deny that.

    The socio economics of Payton are let us say much higher than Rauner Prep. Rauner prep is about 81.6% low income students whereas Payton is about 31.6% low income. I would suggest Willy that if you had choices between two such schools for your own child in Oswego you might very well pick the higher performing of the two.

    Rauner is no saint in relationship to public education and there is a level of duplicity in all of this too. There is no such thing as an even playing field for children, those of us with more money have children with greater advantage. My daughter who graduated from Payton with a perfect ACT score in math is now completing her PhD in agricultural economics at U Cal Davis. Unlike Governor Rauner’s daughter my daughter also had among the highest selective school exam scores in math the year she was accepted into Payton.

  31. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:47 pm:

    ==- Rod - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:03 pm:==

    Take off the hood Rod.

  32. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 12:54 pm:

    === I would suggest Willy that if you had choices between two such schools for your own child in Oswego you might very well pick the higher performing of the two.===

    Would I have to have my daughter/son first be denied, then would I have to say “pretend” we now live in, let’s say, Yorkvilke…

    and then… after would I then blame my spouse for denying another child the chance my child got thru clout… and then… mislead everyone on my child’s test scores… putting pressure on the child for scores that child never got?

    Is that what you’re suggesting?

    I just want to be clear…

    Noble IS non-profit, I appreciate that… clarification… I wouldn’t want it said I didn’t ask the question.

  33. - Huh? - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:06 pm:

    “Rauner’s office noted that he and his wife had donated some $7 million”

    I’m supposed to be impressed that a billionaire dropped the equivalent of 2 bits into the offering plate? What ever helps him sleep a night.

  34. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:08 pm:

    You would be surprised how well “Because Madigan” works at least in some parts of the state.
    Where I live (West-Central Illinois) there are people that are blaming Madigan for everything.

    They have absolutely no idea what is really going on,and I think many of them don’t want to know.
    (Spoiler alert….it ain’t just Madigan)

  35. - PDJT - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:16 pm:

    “Good faith,” two words the Governor’s office never tires of using, and never ceases to demonstrate that they have no understanding of the meaning.

  36. - A Jack - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:23 pm:

    I guess if I rob a church, but throw $7 in the collection plate, that just shows what a good citizen I am, right Bruce?

  37. - Sam Weinberg - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 1:31 pm:

    This old article is a great lens through which to view this whole affair:

    I’d be willing to wager that Chance was well-aware of precisely how this dynamic would play out well before the Governor (who judging by his office’s statements on Monday still doesn’t understand it).

  38. - Huh? - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    Which is more impressive, a rapper who is going to donate the equivalent of twice his net worth or the vulture capitalist who donates the equivalent of 2 bits of his net worth.

    I’ll take the rapper.

  39. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 3:06 pm:

    How can you donate twice your net worth?

    I realize you can write out one of the huge cardboard checks like you see at golf tournaments but who will cash the check?

    Chance will get a lot of good publicity for this and he is being very generous to give the $10,000 he has already committed to but count me in as a bit skeptical CPS will get the full million.

  40. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 3:10 pm:

    - Lucky Pierre -

    It’s based on ticket sales for his nect concerts.

    Either be informed or get better talking points.

    Rauner thinks Chance is great. You should ask Rauner.

  41. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 3:21 pm:

    ==You would be surprised how well “Because Madigan” works at least in some parts of the state.==

    Not at all. I’m just saying that Rauner can’t do anything else, and gets flummoxed when he has to.

    == but to argue that Chance the rapper is above scrutiny ==

    No one is arguing this.

  42. - Rabid - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 6:01 pm:

    Braggart Bruce throwing shade over his seven million, chance throwing shade to his seven million

  43. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Mar 7, 17 @ 6:37 pm:

    Has anyone seen this list of $7 million in contributions?

    I am trying to understand if it includes contributions for the naming rights of Rauner College Prep.

    Or the money Rauner contributed after his daughter was accepted to Walter Payton?

    Or the funds used to insert Barbara Byrd Bennett as a consultant for CPS?

    Maybe Dan Mihalapolous knows?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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