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Tone it down, please

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

* Tribune

The head of the City Council Budget Committee on Tuesday sought to point the blame at Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner when it comes to finding a way to avoid a looming financial meltdown at Chicago Public Schools, saying in the often-blunt language she’s known for that “somebody needs to take Rauner by his neck and wring it.”

When asked about ways the city might be able to help the school district from going broke around the end of June, Ald. Carrie Austin toed the line of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration by trying to blame the governor, using rougher language in the process.

“Why won’t anybody go after the governor?” asked Austin, 34th, who was referring to the prospect of further city tax increases or draining funds from special taxing districts to help CPS. “Why is it always a strain on us? Why? Nobody ever asks that question. You don’t see this going on in any other school district, except for Chicago. Somebody needs to take Rauner by his neck and wring it.”

* Sun-Times

​Rauner’s spokesperson Eleni Demertzis said Austin’s “outlandish rhetoric can’t paper over the years of fiscal mismanagement that triggered” the financial crisis at CPS.

​”Rather than throwing unnecessary insults, it would be helpful if all sides would come together and work on an agreement that balances the state budget along with property tax relief and job-creating reforms that will grow our economy,” Demertzis wrote in an email.

* Back to the Tribune

“Alderman Austin is a passionate and committed advocate for our schools, and while we all express exasperation differently, make no mistake, we’re all exasperated by the governor’s leadership failures,” [Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s] spokesman Matt McGrath said.

Twice in the past month or so, people have casually asked me why nobody has yet “taken out” Speaker Madigan.

Leaders need to realize that their words can be taken literally, particularly in this insane age.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Cubs in '16 - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 1:58 pm:

    ===Leaders need to realize that their words can be taken literally, particularly in this insane age.===

    Agreed. Politics is evoking highly emotional responses from people on a state and national level. Frustration builds and venom spews. Social media makes the extreme rhetoric much easier to communicate. However, Alderman Austin had the opportunity to take a breath and think before responding the way she did and chose not to.

  2. - Sue - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 1:58 pm:

    I guess they don’t blame Daley who is the responsible official who bankrupted CPS and took the pension fund dollars to spend on other city programs. DonT they remember that the pension was funded at 104 percent before the decade pension holiday Daley orchestrated. Rauner isn’t to blame but he is an easy target

  3. - OneMan - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 2:10 pm:

    The day any elected official admits they or their party screwed up….

    It ain’t gonna happen, the city or CPS isn’t going to say ‘we need to increase property taxes’ or ‘we overspent on this’

    Governance and politics today (and perhaps always) can best be explained by that scene in the Blues Brothers…

    I ran out of gas! I got a flat tire! I didn’t have change for cab fare! I lost my tux at the cleaners! I locked my keys in the car! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!

  4. - Nick Name - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    “along with property tax relief and job-creating reforms”

    Always with the code that really means: no budget, ever.

  5. - Ron - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    CPS has increased taxes under Rahm and will continue to do so. They have also declared TIF surpluses to help and will continue to do so.

    As Sue said above, this is on Daley. Just like the state situation is on Edgar.

  6. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 2:22 pm:

    Here’s a suggestion: move to an elected school board, then they can raise taxes and actually fund the school district properly. Hizzoner can get pat on the back from the school board people and escape the CPS dumpster fire.

  7. - King Louis XVI - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    –Rather than throwing unnecessary insults, …–

    For 2 1/2 years, Rauner repeatedly throws out accusations of “corruption” against Madigan, Cullerton; charges Emanuel “with failure” and his spox whines platitudes about “unnecessary insults.”

    Pot, Kettle has nothin’ on you.

  8. - cdog - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    There seems to be a pattern of unseemly word choice.

    Maybe the DNC is encouraging dem pols to salt it up to appear more likeable to the working class folks that rejected HRC.

  9. - Saluki - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 2:45 pm:

    I will say this as gently as possible, as I understand what our good host Mr. Miller is saying, but “wring your neck” was a very common saying among my family, especially the older members of it. My grandmother would say all the time “I ought to wring your neck” when I or my sister did some silly childhood breaking of the household rules.

    I realize that people should choose their words carefully, but “wringing of necks” has been around so long it’s innocuous to me.

  10. - Amalia - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 2:54 pm:

    well after listening to Trump and his security giveaway, perhaps “we’re all gonna die” is ringing in heads and not just from Country Joe. everybody is kinda out of it.

  11. - Mahna Anon - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 2:56 pm:

    == Twice in the past month or so, people have casually asked me why nobody has yet “taken out” Speaker Madigan. ===

    And I’m sure those same people had all the answers as to how that can be done. LOL

  12. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    If Quinn was governor, or if Edgar was governor, would this situation be as bad as it is under Rauner?

    Rauner repeats the same campaign statements as a governor, as he did as a candidate. What makes him think citizens still listen to him? You cannot OODA-loop around a crisis for over two years without losing your audience.

    Instinctively, public officials know this, yet Rauner considers his parroting a sign of determination and strength. He pats hkmself on the back as a persistent rascal. Citizens needing a governor are tired of this. Rauner displays no signs of listening.

    Fingerpointing has gotten old. Rauner’s accomplishments are not based upon gubernatorial action, but inaction. The very first step in governing is presenting a balanced budget, then passing a compromised budget. We are still waiting.

    It isn’t all political, but Rauner has turned what should have been a simple task of daily governing into a firestorm. With Rauner, everything is a battle and everyone is a hostage. That’s not governing. It is hurting people just to score points.

  13. - James the Intolerant - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 3:03 pm:

    Hard to defend CPS management when in 2014 they balanced the budget by taking 14 months of revenue/taxes vs. 12 months of expenses. I am no fan of Rauners, but sheesh.

  14. - Steve - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 3:03 pm:

    Democrats have controlled Chicago’s political system since 1931 and yet… let’s blame Bruce Rauner for CPS.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 3:06 pm:

    ===Democrats have controlled Chicago’s political system since 1931 and yet… let’s blame Bruce Rauner for CPS.===

    … as Bruce Rauner donated to both Rahm’s and Rich Daley’s campaigns, aiding them to victory.

    Aw, you’re welcome…

  16. - Steve - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 3:16 pm:

    No word yet on this story from Carrie Austin’s son.

    Or grandson.

  17. - Ward Heeler - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 3:18 pm:


    Don’t forget Daley got into the mayor’s office due in no small part to Rahm Emanuel raising tons of campaign cash for him (after Harold Washington deposed the Prince of Daleys for a few years).

    It is somewhat hollow for Emanuel to blame Daley for all of his woes when he was a Daley loyalist for his entire career, including his corrupt election to the US Congress in which precinct workers wound up imprisoned for campaigning for Rahm on the city clock.

  18. - Ron - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 3:30 pm:

    If Edgar was governor he would kick the can down the road.

    If Quinn was governor he’d give the store to the public employee unions and triple the income tax.

  19. - Ron - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 3:31 pm:

    Ward Heeler, lol! Rahm had very little to do with Daley winning the mayoralty of Chicago.

  20. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 3:49 pm:

    If I were a city council person, I would be lobbying for a city earnings tax. This revenue source can then be directed towards city needs. A statewide income tax increase would see revnue spread throughout the state, at the whim of Springfield.

    Is the answer that the mayor is afraid of business loss? Is the mayor in cohoots with the governor and his secret desire to seek banruptcy protection?

  21. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    Reporters don’t have to feature every dingbat utterance politicians make for its shock value, either.

    The Tronc story — allegedly about school funding — doesn’t even mention a number until the eleventh graf.

    What’s truly more important to the readers; Naughty words from an alderman or the ways and means to get the schools open on time next fall?

    It’s called news judgment.

  22. - Juvenal - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 4:26 pm:

    Yes, words have meaning.

    But I think the odds of someone taking the alderman’ swords as literal instruction to strangle the governor and beyond that, hatching a successful plan are infinitesimal.

  23. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 4:44 pm:

    Like profanity, violent language is useful for expressing one’s anger and frustration, but it’s rarely (if ever) useful for solving the problems underlying that anger and frustration.

    Do better, people.

    – MrJM

  24. - DuPage Bard - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 5:04 pm:

    @ Ward Healer your commentary about Rahm creating Daley is almost to the level of Trump folks asking how Barack Obama fell asleep at the wheel and let 9/11 happen.
    Ignorance is bliss.

  25. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 5:15 pm:

    –Democrats have controlled Chicago’s political system since 1931 and yet… let’s blame Bruce Rauner for CPS.–

    Rauner said he gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Daley and Emanuel campaigns over the years because they were doing such a swell job with the schools.

  26. - Ginhouse Tommy - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 5:39 pm:

    I am sure that a lot legislators and reporters have had to fight the urge to choke MJM in the past. It is extremely frustrating to have one person hold up everything by being stubborn. ILGOP and Rauner has to realized Blame Madigan has run out of steam. Yes we know he’s a problem, what else in new. MJM is firmly entrenched in his district and is not running for state wide office. Rauner is and has absolutely nothing to show for his time in office. All his opponents has to do is point that out. No amount of robo calls or TV ads can change the fact that he has the unions, CPS employees and student parents, health providers, college students and employees and who knows who else lined up against him. Thats a lot of votes. As the election draws near and his polls numbers sag watch for cracks in his veneer.

  27. - Steve - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 6:34 pm:

    In fairness to MJM, he’s not to blame for all/much of CPS. Chicago’s mayors and City Council are the ones responsible for the history.

  28. - Ginhouse Tommy - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 6:48 pm:

    I wasn’t trying to blame MJM for Chicago’s problems. I’m sure there’s plenty of blame to go around in the Windy City and they have to own it. Rauner could have found some way to help or lead but he hasn’t even tried.

  29. - James Knell - Wednesday, May 17, 17 @ 11:45 am:

    Financial hostage taking is on this level where many thousands of Illinois citizens have their financial lives ruined for the benefit of who? People who hate unions? People who think that 2% state income tax is worth all this?

    I will never regard this as normal. We know that financial stress is correlated to all kinds of bad things. So why is that acceptable?.

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