Can the former Daley insider - will he? does he want to? - live up to voters' demands for change? Here's how the new Man on Five got made. By Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky of the Chicago Reader.
Created by aparkerchireader on May 25, 2011
Last updated: 07/13/11 at 03:04 PM
Tags: Mayor Rahm Emanuel Mayor Richard Daley Chicago politics William Daley President Barack Obama Alderman Ed Burke Alderman Patrick O'Connor Gery Chico Carol Mosley Braun
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In his inauguration speech, Mayor Emanuel says that the one thing that isn’t going to change in the next four years is his commitment to change. “From now on,” Emanuel says, “when it comes to change, Chicago will not take no for an answer.” From their seats, the Daley brothers applaud.
Sneed reports that Daley is planning to set up a business with his son, Patrick, that could be focused on “attracting foreign investment for American infrastructure projects.” There is no word on whether the projects will include a direct rail line from the Loop to China.
Emanuel names the members of his senior staff, including a number of veterans of City Hall, the CTA, a Pritzker foundation, and the Obama administration.
Emanuel releases a 72-page “transition plan” listing dozens of goals for his administration. Negotiating peace in the Middle East and getting the Cubs to the Series are not on the list—but about everything else is, from boosting economic growth to increasing the number of people who bicycle regularly. The document is short on details. He also announces details of the City Council reorganization deal cut with aldermen Burke and O’Connor. The plan gets rid of four committees that had been headed by retired and ousted aldermen. Other veterans hold their jobs. The plan also takes some of the work done by Alderman Burke’s finance committee and shares it with a new committee chaired by Alderman O’Connor—so now two committees will do the job that one used to do.
Daley administration officials announce that the city’s budget hole isn’t as bad as they’d thought—only about $587 million. Four days later, Emanuel budget analysts say the deficit situation is every bit as bad as they’d feared—perhaps as high as $700 million.
Emanuel selects Nora Daley Conroy, the mayor’s daughter, to lead his cultural affairs advisory committee. Her husband, Sean Conroy, is a director of Grosvenor Capital Management, whose employees and their family members gave Emanuel more than half a million dollars.
During Daley’s last City Council meeting, aldermen spend an hour and a half praising Daley, and a couple minutes signing off on $17 million in tax increment financing subsidies he favors. “It’s never been a rubber stamp,” Daley says of the council afterward.
At its last meeting, the school board appointed by Mayor Daley allocates $3 million for four new charter schools and inks a lease deal with another charter school network.
Sneed reports that Emanuel and Burke have “had several peaceful and productive sit downs.” The details are still to come. Another day, another deal.
Emanuel announces his financial team. Mark Angelson, who laid off thousands of employees as the CEO of R.R. Donnelly, will chair an economic advisory team. The new CFO, Lois Scott, was president of the financial advisory firm Scott Balice Strategies, well known for its work on government privatization deals. And budget director Alexandra Holt was a specialist in infrastructure privatization for the Baker & McKenzie law firm. Despite his appointees’ expertise, Emanuel says he has no plans to lease out city assets.
Emanuel holds a press conference to introduce the man he wants to run the public schools. That would be Jean-Claude Brizard—or JC, as Emanuel affectionately calls him—who’s best known for battling the teachers union and advocating for charter schools back in Rochester, New York. Emanuel also names a new school board, which includes campaign supporter Penny Pritzker and former Daley aide Rod Sierra.
Good news: Daley says a less-dismal-than-expected budget picture will allow the city to return $50 million to the perpetuity fund. Bad news: Even so, that means by the end of the year the city will have only about $125 million left of the $1.2 billion it received to lease the meters through 2084.
The Trib reports that Emanuel will be a featured guest at a $500-a-ticket fund-raiser to help Braun pay off her campaign debts. Emanuel’s campaign declines to comment.
As Emanuel issues daily vows to “overhaul,” “change,” and “improve” city government, Mayor Daley begins a “neighborhood appreciation tour” that will take him to all 50 wards over his last weeks in office. Daley lists all he’s done in each area and rips his critics. “You, the media, you don’t like leadership,” he says at an event in West Town. “You want weak people.”
Daley holds a press conference to announce that he’s going to—guess where?—China to—guess why?—hustle up investors for that train line from the Loop to the airports.
Daley dusts off the race card that he often played in his six-year battle with unions over whether to allow Walmart in Chicago. “Who opposed putting them in African-American communities in the city?” he says at a press conference in Auburn Gresham announcing that at least six stores will open in Chicago by 2013. Daley declares that Walmart is a good corporation. “It’s not a perfect corporation. No one’s perfect anyway in life. And that’s why we have pastors and that’s why we pray.”
Emanuel begins donating money to City Council candidates in runoff elections, taking a page from Daley’s playbook.
Daley tells an audience at Wheaton College that the United States has become afraid of competition and “a country of whiners.” “Now we’re whining about the Chinese and the Indians,” Daley says. While on he’s on the subject, Daley whines about the Chicago Teachers Union and calls for a longer school day.
In one of the most anticlimactic elections of modern time, Emanuel is elected mayor with 55 percent of the vote thanks to overwhelming support in the city’s black wards. Emanuel says it shows that Chicagoans have come together. Mayor Daley could not be reached on his sailboat.
Michael Sneed of the Sun-Times reports that the mayor will spend Election Day in the Virgin Islands with his wife and his good friend Terry Newman, a lead attorney for one of the firms that advised the city on the parking meter deal.
Asked if he considered Sweeney’s remark anti-Semitic, Mayor Daley says: “Yes, I do.” Sweeney says his comments were “in no way intended as anti-Semitic.” Chico also tries to put out the fire, noting that his ex-wife is Jewish, his three children were raised as Jews, and Daley even attended the bat mitzvah of one of his daughters, where the mayor reportedly ate a blintz and danced the hora.
Union leaders accuse Emanuel of invading the privacy of city workers by sending them a letter stating that he is not out to slash their benefits. Emanuel’s campaign denies that it got access to a database of the addresses of city employees, saying the letter went out to homes all over the city.
With Chico standing by his side, Jim Sweeney, president and business manager of Operating Engineers Local 150, calls Emanuel a “Wall Street Judas” with “bags of silver” who betrayed union workers in the NAFTA agreement he and William Daley shepherded through Congress in the Clinton years. Oddly, neither Sweeney nor anyone else in town called William Daley a “Wall Street Judas” with “bags of silver” three days earlier when Daley reported making about $20 million in 2010 as an investment banker for JP Morgan Chase.
Emanuel scares the hell out of city workers with a TV ad in which he declares, “City government is not an employment agency.” In interviews, Emanuel also refuses to rule out privatization deals or cuts to pension benefits.
More than 20 inches of snow falls in a massive blizzard that forces city officials to close Lake Shore Drive, stranding hundreds of motorists and their cars. Curiously, Mayor Daley is nowhere to be seen until the day after the blizzard, when he holds a press conference to say that his staff made the right decision to close the drive. Asked why he wasn’t on hand to lead the city’s response personally, the mayor says: “This is not a Daley show.” Translation: I’m so freaking sick of this job, I can’t wait to get out.
Mayor Daley proudly welcomes Chinese president Hu Jintao to Chicago. “It is a big deal,” Daley says. “Big, big, big, big, big deal.”
Emanuel reports that he’s raised nearly $11 million for his mayoral campaign, more than triple the total of the other candidates combined. Before the campaign is over the sum will climb to $14.5 million. Much of the money comes from out-of-town donors, including Steven Spielberg, Donald Trump, and Steve Jobs. Locally, he gets more than $204,000 from five Pritzker family members and about $520,000 from employees of Grosvenor Capital Management and their families. One of the firm’s directors, Sean Conroy, is Mayor Daley’s son-in-law.
Obama announces that Emanuel’s permanent replacement as White House chief of staff will be William Daley. He does not comment on whether the Emanuel-for-Daley trade also involves a minor league player to be named later.
After a closed-door meeting with Reverend Jesse Jackson and several businessmen, another well-known black candidate, Congressman Danny Davis, drops out of the race.
Senator Meeks, one of the best-known black candidates, drops out of the race.
Attorney Burt Odelson files an official objection to Emanuel’s mayoral bid, citing the rental of his house to argue that he hasn’t been a Chicago resident long enough to qualify. The action is widely viewed as the work of Alderman Ed Burke, the most powerful member of the City Council and a close friend of Gery Chico’s. The case goes on for nearly two months before the Illinois Supreme Court rules in Emanuel’s favor.
Mayor Daley rips into Gery Chico for saying that school reforms have lost momentum. “Excuse me,” Daley says. “He was president of the Board of Education. He was chairman of the city colleges. He never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever mentioned that to me.” In fairness, it’s hard to find any politician—especially front-running mayoral candidates—who ever, ever, ever, ever, ever criticize Mayor Daley about anything.
By a 43-7 vote, the City Council passes Daley’s last budget, which calls for cashing in on parking meter privatization funds again. That will leave just $76 million of the $1.15 billion the city collected in the deal.
Citing his desire to spend more time with his family, Tom Dart drops out of the mayor’s race, making Emanuel the clear front runner. Emanuel’s reaction: “Nobody’s going to hand us this election but voters.” Alderman Ed Smith’s reaction: “It could be the second phase of the fix.”
UNO chief executive Juan Rangel announces that he will serve as cochairman of Emanuel’s campaign. “I think Latinos will do quite well by a Mayor Emanuel,” Rangel tells the Chicago News Cooperative.
Political operative Victor Reyes joins Braun’s campaign as a senior adviser in a move that puzzles and worries many black leaders. Reyes formerly served as a top aide to Mayor Daley and does lobbying for UNO. Braun resists pressure to dump him
Emanuel calls for school reforms while visiting one of nine charter schools run by the United Neighborhood Organization, or UNO, the most politically connected Hispanic group in the city.
Big surprise: With or without a house to move into, Emanuel finally announces he’s leaving his White House job to move back to Chicago and run for mayor. That same day Obama gives him a lavish send-off in which the president declares: “I think he would make an excellent mayor.” Not that this is an official endorsement, of course.
In an interview on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, Daley says that while he is a fan of Emanuel, Chico, his former chief of staff and school board president, is “closer to me than anyone else.” Asked when he last spoke with Emanuel, Daley says, “Maybe a month ago, two months ago. I spoke yesterday to Gery Chico.” Which leaves politicos wondering: Is Daley loyal to his old pal Chico, or is he giving us all a head fake?
News reports out of Washington say Emanuel’s been burning up the phones, calling other Chicago politicians to either muscle them out of the race or solicit their endorsements. Publicly he continues to insist he hasn’t decided if he’s going to run. Even President Obama’s in on the game. “I think that Rahm will have to make a decision quickly, because running for mayor of Chicago is a serious enterprise,” Obama says on the Today show. “And I know this is something he’s thinking about.”
Sun-Times gossip columnist Michael Sneed reports that Halpin, Emanuel’s tenant, is not going to move out before his lease expires despite phone calls from Emanuel and a lawyer. For months, this is the subject of intense debate among Chicago politicos: Does it mean Emanuel wasn’t aware of Mayor Daley’s plans, or was he trying to have his cake and eat it too? And just what kind of cake was it, anyway?
Daley says he’s traveling to Asia to try to round up investment money for infrastructure projects like high-speed rail service connecting the Loop and the airports.
In the wake of Daley’s announcement, several well-known Chicago politicians begin collecting the signatures needed to get on the ballot, including state senator James Meeks, Sheriff Tom Dart, City Clerk Miguel del Valle, City Colleges chairman Gery Chico, Congressman Danny Davis, and former U.S. Senator Carol Mosley Braun.
An Emanuel spokeswoman says he hasn’t decided whether to run and issues a statement that sounds eerily familiar. “Rahm doesn’t believe that anyone can be anointed or handed this election. Only the people of Chicago will choose who should be their mayor.” Apparently, great minds think alike.
Daley says he won’t endorse any successor. “They’re not going to be anointed. It’s going to be the people of the city of Chicago who’ll make that decision.”
Or not. At a City Hall press conference where many of his long time aides are sobbing, Mayor Daley announces that he is not—repeat, not—running for reelection. “It’s time for me and time for Chicago to move on,” Daley says. “The truth is, I’ve been thinking about this for the last several months.” Later that day, Emanuel releases a statement: “While Mayor Daley surprised me today with his decision to not run for re-election, I have never been surprised by his leadership, dedication and tireless work on behalf of the city and the people of Chicago.” Because it was a written release, no one knows if his face was straight when he issued it.
William Daley says he expects his brother to vie for a seventh term. In an interview with the Chicago News Cooperative, William Daley takes a shot at mayoral critics pondering a challenge. “We’ve seen this movie six times,” he says.
Emanuel signs a lease extension with tenant Robert Halpin, a real estate developer renting his Ravenswood home, for another nine months, through June 1, 2011. This means Emanuel will be collecting rent from Halpin until about the time the next mayor is sworn in.
Daley gets annoyed when reporters ask when he will announce his reelection plans. “Where are you going on the Fourth of July?” he snaps. “The election is in February.” The mayor then says that he’s planning to travel to China and Korea in the coming weeks to build business ties for “a modern new economy.” “This century is all about change,” he says.
The Fitch ratings agency downgrades the city’s bond status, citing its use of parking meter funds to balance the budget and its underfunded pension obligations. Moody’s follows suit the next day and Standard & Poor’s in November.