There were dozens of smart quotes and insightful comments made in the hours of interviews we conducted of community leaders across Chicago during December. Here, in raw form, is some of stronger commentary from our interviewees that did not make it into the first four articles. The comments are organized by topic.
The Neighborhood Perspective: A Five Part Report From The Daily Line
Tuesday, Part 2 – A New Group Of African American Influencers Taking The Stage
Wednesday, Part 3 – Challenges For Mayor Emanuel: Trust, Violence And Development
Thursday, Part 4 – Chicago’s Wedge Issues And Emerging Challengers
Friday, Part 5 – Their Words: Raw Comments From Our Interviews With Community Leaders
Need For Development
If you live on the West Side and look at Morgan and Madison today, versus what it used to look like, he’s not doing anything. Those people know the area was built up on their TIF money. We all know University Village, the UIC area, was built off porting our TIF money. If Rahm was serious, since they love doing bonds, why haven’t they floated a bond to get black folks to work with the unions to rehab some of these grammar schools? Go ahead and look at William Penn Elementary’s gymnasium. It looks like it hasn’t been rehabbed since the 1950’s. They don’t think Rahm is serious. – Frank Bass, Lawndale resident and one-time 24th Ward aldermanic candidate
A lot of people think they just want to push black folks out so the yuppies have a new place to gentrify. Rahm will have to build trust with people on the West side by doing things for people on the West Side. How come he hasn’t gotten with his rich friends in Hollywood to coordinate and fund some of these after school programs. – Frank Bass
One thing people haven’t really talked about is the Infrastructure Trust. That was his big shiny startalk piece when he ran the first time against Miguel del Valle. He certainly knows how to raise money for political purposes, why isn’t he raising money for the trust? People need to hold him accountable for that. What movement has there been on that? – Far South Side Aldermanic Campaign Manager, who asked to remain anonymous.
There is a real disconnect between Rahm and these communities. When they go outside and see the crumbling sidewalks and viaducts and they hear him say how prosperous Chicago is, there is a real disconnect there. I don’t think the people in the ward are going to vote for him again unless there is drastic change. – Far South Side Aldermanic Campaign Manager, who asked to remain anonymous.
The entire piece around what’s happening in Chicago, rate increases, taxes, are shifting in Chicago, it’s not all of his fault. There has not been real commitment to invest resources in the city, like stemming the violence. Like systematic, looking at policies that are hurting these communities, like more charter schools, gentrification, businesses coming into the community like a one trick pony. He hasn’t really committed to any innovative ways to move the city forward. Here’s the perfect example for today: they create a special TIF to rebuild the Red Line on the South Side. That’s a foil for me. When there’s will, there’s a way. There has not been a will for this kind of investment. – Anton Seals, Jr., South Side organizer
This is where when people talk about institutional racism. People don’t see it, “I don’t see race, it’s just the market”. The market is based on theories and thoughts people have about the system. A culture that slowly erases what a neighborhood used to have, into whiteness. Akin to the ghetto, what people conjure up as people of color. The raising of the property tax for homeowners will spur gentrification, because young artists, white people are going to find places they can find to get more out of their money. You can start to see the fringes of Pilsen, Bronzeville. There’s no rapid run for white folks to live in all black communities. You do see some of the major projects happening in these communities, if they aren’t thought about in equitable ways, you exacerbate who gets X to improve these neighborhoods. – Anton Seals, Jr.
We’re getting hit with all of it simultaneously. Taxing people who have a chance to own something. Some of this stuff is just hitting. It’s hard to pinpoint how we’re being hit. We put a lot on our folks, who have been through a lot. We have these high expectations on us, we’re going through a lot. There’s no particular point you’ve been hit by. Failed schools, upon graduation from school, unemployment. All of this stuff is part of the disparity and emptiness on the streets of Chicago. How do we track how these guns get into the neighborhoods, how do we report on that? Which hole do we plug up first? – Karl Brinson, Executive Director, Chicago West Side Branch of NAACP
I think that people’s voices want to be heard, they want to see action based on their voices heard. They want to see policy changes from our school system, to housing policies, jobs, economics… People want to see an equitable opportunity to thrive. They want to see that downtown isn’t the only place resources are poured into. Until those challenges are met, it will be a really hard sale. This is his second term. I’m looking out my window and I’m looking at dilapidated homes, tons of vacant property, not many policy changes to address that. But then downtown I see the exact opposite. Looking out our window, we haven’t seen that become a reality yet. It’s great to have Whole Foods and all that, but he has a long way to go…Where I live, I’m around vacant schools and there’s no real strategy for how they’ll be repurposed. It’s been going on a year and there’s no plan to redevelop it. We just don’t see a push. We just don’t see it. – Ayshia Butler, executive director, RAGE Englewood
The black community has totally destabilized. It’s a shame how proud the Chicago black community has been. Embarrassing. There’s a lot of people fighting to get out. We’re very unstable. We’ll have much less of a voice in the conversations trying to figure out who the next chief executive will be. That’s a tragedy. – Rev. Marshall Hatch, pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in West Garfield Park
People are incredibly stressed about the schools and it’s all about money at this point. Money from whom for whom. Figuring out creative ways to bring in revenue from big corporations and the richest people. Because the state isn’t funding our social compact. Thy city could have made a lot of choices. They figured out how to fund the Red Line through a TIF, but that kind of creativity isn’t coming across for funding the schools. If he could get the schools well funded and really turn around how people perceive the kids in impoverished neighborhoods. If there was some sort of belief that he was on the side of helping those schools to flourish and not just privatizing our school system. If he was going to hold corporate friends accountable to bring in revenue, in real ways, not slush fund ways, by changing tax policy, to pay for things working class people in Chicago need, that would go a long way. – Jennifer Ritter, executive director, ONE Northside
That problem is that he has done little or nothing except show and tell stuff to address the issue that he often talks about. That is the distrust that the community in Chicago have in him and his administration, not just dealing with the Laquan McDonald case. That was a gutter moment in the politics of the city. It’s school closings, the policies and programs of his administration over the last several years. So there’s a large section of dissatisfied people, and then there are people who–How do you trust a mayor who suppressed crucial evidence in a murder case so he could be reelected? And he thinks he can overcome that by putting on task forces and road shows that haven’t really done anything to seriously address the problems set out by his own task force. He poses himself as some who don’t live in the South and West Side ghettos as a great social reformer who realized what his mistakes were. He did apologize, but he didn’t change anything. We still don’t trust him.There’s no trust in the African American community for him. I can speak very firmly for that. – Frank Chapman, organizer for Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
Everyone knows if you are a Democrat and you pay attention, you know Rahm Emanuel is not a bread and butter Democrat he is a business Democrat. Southeast side is mostly blue collar, union workers, folks that are doing whatever they can to get by, and that’s not the lifestyle Emanuel is used to. – Far South Side Aldermanic Campaign Manager, who asked to remain anonymous.
What he’s done in the black communities is the biggest issue. It’s not just violence, it affects people downtown and on the North Side when a police officer shoots to kill someone, taxpayers all over the city have to pay for it. The investment in urban communities and keeping up the tale of two cities, the corruption going on in City Hall. His appointments have been horrible all around from the CPS to the superintendent of police. So many people can say, it’s not just one issue, it’s so many that Rahm Emanuel would have to battle with. He’s one arrogant guy that doesn’t listen to anyone. It’s his way or the highway. We can’t have a mayor that’s not universal enough and doesn’t listen to the issues that matter to us. – Ja’Mal Green, South Side activist
I’ve reached out to the mayor’s office. I’m ready to work. It’s time to be effective for the neighborhoods. Not give you a pass, but focus on the office and what it can do for people’s lives. The mayor’s office is working on a date, but there’s a concern with the mayor that I would attack him. I was told that. I’ve been going to my network and my neighbors, and people are discouraging me, “Let’s leave Emanuel dead in the water. Let’s not give him a chance to gain strength.” My sentiment is we need somebody at the table that has a clear sense of what we need. But people feel, anything he touches tarnishes. They feel it would be destructive for my brand. – Rev. Jedidiah Brown, South Side activist
He’s still vulnerable, in big pieces of the Little Village community, and it’s not lost that the kind of policies that Trump is advocating about immigration are not too far away from what Rahm himself was recommending to Clinton and everyone else, so he still has a lot of ground to cover there. In some of his emails, memos, to Clinton and to Obama, he’s essentially telling them immigration is third rail, if anything you need to show how tough you are on immigration, not how forthcoming you are to the immigrant community. So a lot of people here blame Obama’s, or as the call Obama in the neighborhood, the deporter in chief, that’s one of the things that’s talked about. For us, it’s a huge deal because so many people have been deported, currently in detention centers, privately run ones. There seems to be a connection to things Rahm has been saying and things Trump has advocated for. If you’re in the circles of people who are active politically, especially immigration activists, you hear that. You hear that from the DREAMers, young folks really upset about what has happened. Appreciative of DACA and DAPA but also know that a huge amount of families have been broken up and a lot of people have been put in detention centers unnecessarily. From that vantage point, and Rahm has still not shown that he understands how to deal with neighborhoods and communities. – Dion Miller-Perez, a Little Village-based political consultant who has worked on aldermanic campaigns.
I think Laquan was very telling, about how he responded politically to a deep, systemic issue. Regaining his credibility will be fundamental. I think a lot of people distrust his leadership when it comes to public schools, police accountability, housing. I think the biggest challenge he faces is his lack of credibility. A lot of opposition of people who question his commitment to neighborhoods, and his commitment to donors, close allies, corporations… funding for downtown, for tourist, for richest people, everyone else has been basically squashed. How he’s going to create equity, more sustainable, more inclusive city, is a city he hasn’t been able to answer yet. Just talking in the community, any credit. – Byron Sigcho, organizer in Pilsen, one-time 25th Ward aldermanic candidate.
Look, I think at the end of the day, to the electorate in the South and West Sides… politics is not important to them. They’re not gonna maintain this political grudge against the mayor. What they really care about is economic vitality in the neighborhoods, are there opportunities for jobs and education? And do they feel safe? If the mayor can make real efforts that yield verifiable, tangible results, that people can feel and see in their everyday lives, and experience a change. If that can happen, then I do think people will be ready to hear the mayor out as he advocates for a third term. If it doesn’t happen, people are gonna make a choice. There’s an x factor there on who the other candidate is, or who the other candidates are. It will be a tightrope, if he wants re=election he’ll have to run the tightrope, but there is a universe where he succeeds. I think it would be unseemly for anyone not to want him to succeed. I believe he is serious about trying to get inclusive growth in Chicago neighborhoods. I hope he’s successful. Whether that’s enough for him to win re-election. Lots of things at play. It’s jobs, safety, and education. But I do think that regular voters, the thing they care about most is their livelihoods. That’s jobs, education and safety. – Young leader within the Democratic party in Illinois, who asked to remain anonymous
I think he has done a good job of regaining the trust he lost in the African American community.I think appointing Superintendent Eddie Johnson as police commissioner. Even before that, firing the previous Superintendent Garry McCarthy. The community called for his firing and he acted on that. That established some credibility. The dismantling of IRPA and bringing in COPA and extending time before his decision to have community input on that. The investment in additional mentoring in the black and brown young boys in 8th, 9th and 10th grades. The huge investment in Becoming A Man, but also all the other non-profits in the city serving that population. – Rev. Torrey Barrett, executive director of the K.L.E.O. Center and pastor in Washington Park
Taxes. Our community per se, we tend to say out of trouble because of how it is back home. They teach you at young age you don’t bother them. As for my community. I don’t think policing is a major issue. A lot of our kids are home by 11 o’clock. I think people are getting taxed. Everywhere you look you’ve got a tax. I could go on and on with taxes the residents are getting. You’re going to tax people out of the city. – Majid Mustafa, 50th Ward precinct captain and restaurant manager in West Rogers Park
When you hear about the South Side or the Southeast Side, the media does not differentiate from certain neighborhoods, the good on the South Side happens in Hyde Park. You don’t think it happens over here. While I think the stigma would be, it isn’t really the wild, wild West. Like the rest of the city there are still safe moments and good things going on here. The chamber has been busy trying to talk about the good things that happen over here. Every business owner is concerned about their taxes. If they can’t see that transparent connection, they’re not going to be happy with what’s happening. – Frankye Payne, executive director of Southeast Chicago Chamber of Commerce
It’s a combination of the taxes raised by Cook County and city of Chicago. It’s especially hard for the city of Chicago because in a lot of ways a lot of people don’t understand the differences and the different taxing bodies. It comes down to, “The mayor’s raising my taxes.” But it’s not only the mayor. Outside of that we can have the conversation about whether taxes need to be raised. Most people if you look at the financial situation our city is in. Most people looking at what the situation is, they say we need to raise taxes, and at the same time our government needs to be more effective. As a government administration it would be a benefit to the mayor to really sell the public as to why these taxes are really necessary. And we should do a better job of that. Educating people to where their money is really going. – Tom Elliot, former campaign staff for Illinois GO & Chicago Forward
One of the biggest challenges that he’d have to resolve is regaining the trust out of the African-American community. The Laquan Mcdonald shooting, the reform of the Chicago Police Department and the investigation by the Department of Justice is all hovering over his [Rahm’s] head. And as long as that stuff is hovering over his head and we have these activist out here continuously marching in the city and those things are not just going away. – Richard Wooten
Violence. You know the whole thing with Laquan McDonald and the video tape. The whole thing with the city council signing off on the amount of money that was awarded to his family. And then there’s another case just recently in Mount Greenwood. Violence should be the number one priority. – Linda Hutton, one-time 8th Ward aldermanic candidate
You know how many mentoring programs you got in the black community? As many churches as you have. As many community organizations as you have. For Rahm to go and get another group, and bring it in, it’s very paternalistic. You go get another group and bring it in and say ‘Great White Father is going to save you, we’re going to now mentor you.’ Are you kidding me? Why didn’t he give the same dollars to some people that were doing it. Enhance them, strengthen them, call this guy Phillip Jackson, Black Star Project, incredible stuff what he does. That’s all that is is a mentoring program. Give him $100,000 and see what he does with it. And I’m not talking about paying rent and run the office, and so on. Give him some money where he can go get some kids and say, ‘Let’s do this.’ Brazier’s church. He built a whole wing. Give him some money for programmatic stuff. Give Corey Brooks some money for mentoring. You’re going to give another group, that you and Barack twiddle your thumbs over, and say to these kids, ‘Read a book?’ Give me a break. – Hermene Hartman, publisher N’Digo newspaper
The whole mentoring for black children. For him to have mentoring and then in same breath to say be nice to police and hire more cops, instead of putting it to mental health and doing things to bring jobs to the community. He’s also over-policing the community. We don’t need a mayor to do that. We need a mayor to spark development in areas outside of the North Side and downtown. – Lacretia Birts, South Side organizer
With [Mayor Richard M.] Daley, he always had a buffer with the police superintendent. He’d say, “Talk to him it’s him”. Right or wrong, in the early 90’s Daley was always able to deflect it with the community. By and large he had police superintendents who were willing to wear that jacket and take that role. Terry Hillard, was the most incredible superintendent we ever had. He was masterful and still able to command the respect of rank and file. I don’t know Rahm has had that respect. Rahm is very hands on in ways Daley never was. By involving himself so deeply, he has kind of owned it. – David Doig, president, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, in Pullman
That’s his number one challenge, safety. Whether he’s talking to the black community, white ethnic communities on the outer parts of the city, lakefront people. Crime is an issue that everyone sees and worries about. Because everyone thinks something bad’s gonna happen to them. People inherently think something bad could happen in a big city. I think he’s found his topic to sidestep it. –Political consultant for aldermanic and countywide campaigns, who asked to remain anonymous
I think what he can do to be helpful is figure out what he can do to get CPD to treat communities fairly. We can’t deny that Democrats have power in big cities. It’s up to Rahm Emanuel and others in big cities to figure out how police officers can deescalate situations rather that just, bang-bang, deal with things that way. Even if it’s unpopular in the department and the FOP, that’s something he can go with to churches on Sundays in African American wards before the election to show a less dramatic arrest disparity, fewer stops of African American men. I think he has a real opportunity to do something meaningful. Whether he’s going to do that I doubt it. – North Side Democratic Operative, who asked to remain anonymous
What they’re saying now when you go to people in the barber shops and the doors: People are concerned about violence. All the gun violence is endemic of the responsibility of the people doing violence. People are realizing now that the result of what’s going on is a microcosm of all the neighborhoods across the United States. People are scared. At the end of the day, people say he’s doing the best that he can. I think the number one thing people are concerned about is safety. People feel like hostages in their own homes. Hell, I own rental properties in Chicago and I’m scared to go to them in the evenings. In Auburn-Gresham and Englewood. And I hate it. It’s a problem. I don’t even feel safe driving on the expressways at night with all the highway shootings. It’s horrible. People are smarter than that, I think. They don’t think he wears the jacket down south for those things. – Victor Robeson
I thought the new police coming in would concentrate on youthful black and brown people first. That would be the priority. You can’t get these people from the suburbs to deal with what they call “rappers”. They don’t know what’s going on. If you’re from the neighborhood or if you have some cultural relationship with the neighborhood, you know the difference. You know the characteristics…
They can see, and tell and hear. Have a conversation because we’re wearing the same hoodie or pants. It doesn’t mean we’re the same kind of person. I’m just stylish. – Homer Lyons, West Side activist and construction contractor
I would go with the community police relations as a bigger issue, because we need to address first of all the lack of opportunity for young people, which is why they need to reach for weapons to protect them. If there were jobs, so we could truly address systemic racism, we wouldn’t need as many police and the billions we spend on it, because people would have jobs and regular life…Do we need people to trust police again? What you’re hearing from people in communities is the no snitching rule. I think think this is terrible, but at the same time people don’t want to talk to police because they’ve at times murdered people that are unarmed. If we go through it quick in a legitimate manner, some people see them as an occupying force and total strangers. – Union organizer, who asked to remain anonymous
Organizing Opposition To City Hall
It’s in complete chaos. I’ve never seen anything more undisciplined and disgusting. I attribute it to the older leadership not passing their batons, and now you have a bunch of charismatic young people like myself having trouble because we’re too busy fighting one another. There is this deep-rooted, deep-seated distrust of people’s motives and the benefits to them. We’ve not been able to reclaim the success of the Laquan McDonald event because now we’re concerned about who is your partner, who is going to come with you. Rather than what issue are we working on. And people can’t agree on what solution we’re working on. There’s a skepticism and paranoia that plays out in every meeting. A lot of fighting. – Rev. Jedidiah Brown, South Side activist
What you have now, people who just are speaking out. When there’s someone making sense, people support it. Right now it’s people signing off on whatever’s moving them at that time. It’s not the who, it’s the what. These boycotts, they are not called by a person, people say someone’s doing something, and I’m against that too, so I’m going to go there. They get it from social media. Not from some spokesperson. I’m there because I don’t like that, or I’m interest in that. It wasn’t a who. – Karl Brinson
I think that we are seeing the emergence of a new generations of activist leaders some of us are working to build bridges. Because I don’t think they need to be absolutely disconnected from the older leaders. So we need to be intentional about investing in new leaders. So Black Lives Matter and Black Youth Project and there are several groups that are very active and have a lot of energy and are thinking strategically with that energy. And they need to be tied to more institutions and communities of color. We are seeing a new generation of leaders. Some of them very young. Probaby not connected to churches and civil rights organizations. – Rev. Marshall Hatch
Desire For New Leadership
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say that [early 2016] was the nadir of [the Emanuel] administration thus far, there would likely be still some bitterness over some of the tax hikes, many in the media thought that would be a bigger issue that it was, but the violence and presidential race clouded that out. I would imagine at the door you would have some folks who have their minds and opinions set. A lot of people who recognize this is a challenging city to run and they’re hopeful the new police officers and anti-violence measures will be successful. I don’t think people are measuring who is going run against him. People are burnt out on politics. A lot of the progressive leaders and on the North Lakefront, they are so concerned about the Trump policies on immigration, there’s an opportunity for the mayor on down to come together. You would hear quite a bit about that on the North Lakefront. – Sean Tenner, North Side political operative
First and foremost, the person [a potential challenger] has to be honest about the condition of the city’s finances, has to be honest about the conditions of the city’s finances. They have to find other ways to solve problems other than raising taxes. There has to be a way. There has to be some serious cuts some places, but not so much cuts that would hurt people. There is a lot of waste in city government. There are so many things the city wastes money on. The person doesn’t necessarily have to have a solution for the problem, but at least be honest about it and say we have a problem, and be sincere about working on solving the problem and not ask the taxpayers to solve the problem when they didn’t create it. Like this pension mess, this is not a problem that was created by the taxpayers, so why are the taxpayers being asked to solve it? That’s ridiculous and it’s wrong. – Jerry Brown, President of the South Area Civic League, Worked on Dorothy Brown’s re-election
It seemed like for a couple of months there Rahm was on a roll, a gracefully introduced budget that flew threw, the police accountability report which we need to see more coming from that effort, it got done with some significant changes. He must have breathed a sigh of relief when the teachers didn’t strike. I am unwilling to predict who might take his place. I just don’t think he has come back in other significant parts of the Latino community and certainly not in the black community, and if you want to label us progressive whites, but he hasn’t won us over either. – Thom Clarke, Rogers Park activist and radio host
When Chuy Garcia stepped out to run, a lot of people thought it would be Chuy’s to win, but let’s be honest, Rahm blew him out. But a lot of people think he does an OK job. He had a lot of baggage when he came in because of his brash style. But let’s face it, when you look at it at the end of the day I have not seen noone step up at this point with alternatives they would do. With the pension, is there an alternative? With schools? It’s a difficult job to do. If somebody was going to do it, I’d like to hear alternative plans. How they can address police violence. It’s easy to say what you’re going to do, but police violence has been going on for a long time and it’s been getting worse and worse and worse. – Victor Robeson, lobbyist and former South Side constituency director for Gov. Rod Blagojevich
The Possibility of Emanuel’s Third Term
I think it’s also evident by his stance that he has had on immigration in light of the recent Trump Administration, and I think that the fear in the communities right now is that the Democrats, although as imperfect as they may be, they’re the protectors of the immigrant community. And I think that fear goes to his favor, because of his stance that he is taking with [Congressman] Luis Gutierrez and other well known Latino leaders. I think that the Latino vote would overwhelmingly go to him, as well as the African-American vote, just because of those reasons–the fears in the communities. – Manny Diaz, organizer for Arise Chicago and former campaign staffer for Rafael Yanez’ campaign for 15th Ward alderman
Today, he [Rahm Emanuel] wouldn’t win votes in my area. We have to be realistic about the fact that black and latino racism is real against each other, and if you don’t run a campaign based on healing those divisions, it’s going to be a problem. If [Jesus “Chuy” Garcia] and progressives were interested in running, they would be courting the Black vote now. If they don’t know you, they go with the devil they know. – Former Aldermanic Chief of Staff from South Side, who asked to remain anonymous.
Well, the only reason I think he will win is because there is no one out here positioning themselves to run against him. I believe he will win re-election for the mere fact that there’s no one that has been very credible or who has a name that has come out. Everyone who has a name, they’re pretty much already in their positions and I don’t believe they’re going to run against him, because they’ll lose their positions. Toni Preckwinkle, for example, I don’t think she’s going to give up presidency of the county board to run for mayor because then she loses her power in the county. So it’s one of those things that either they are going to go at it toe-to-toe and lose out on one position or they want to maintain their positions and keep the power base connected amongst one another. – Richard Wooten, one-time 6th Ward aldermanic candidate and retired police officer, organizer with Gathering Points Community Council
Right now there’s a lot of things the mayor’s got going on right now that he’s doing. Spending a lot of money in the city with his infrastructure work, increasing of youth programs in the city. So he’s directing a lot of money into communities that have been ignored. So that tells me he is going to be running for a third term, because he’s focusing in on areas that he wasn’t so popular in. And he’s focusing on areas that have a lack of trust [with him]. At this time he’s giving them some necessities to remember them by. – Richard Wooten
No, I don’t [think he would win again]. The first time when he ran, people were sick of the Daley’s and we wanted something different. He [Rahm] got in office and we were very disappointed in him. But by the same token, there were those that didn’t want to vote for Chuy. I personally backed Chuy, and then Emanuel had this whole spin that Chuy didn’t have a plan when in reality, Emmanuel doesn’t have a plan. And so we gave him another chance. I don’t think it’s going to happen again. People are very upset. He closed our schools, our mental health facilities, and he’s just not going to get a third chance to disappoint us.–Linda Hudson, 8th Ward community organizer for the “Eighth Ward Accountability Coalition”
I think there are people who have influence that in the past have gone along with the mayor and his agenda. I think this is going to be very different this time around. There are a lot of individuals that I know that have a lot of influence and they are not going to be voting for the mayor. For instance: Me. I think a lot of professionals who supported the mayor, I really do believe those professionals along with the groundswell of individuals who normally don’t get involved in politics. Those people are going to make sure he does not get elected. – Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church in Washington Park
I’m going to say something I hardly ever say, because it sounds arrogant. There are certain individuals who have the ability to bring all of those groups together. And all of them have, the one things they do have in common is broken promises by the mayor. That will be enough to unite them. They all have a common enemy from their perspective, it’s not about being friends, it’s about having a common interest. I think that will bring them together. Especially if they can see the biggest picture. There are very few people in our community at this time that can bring them together. I think if he underestimates them, it would be the biggest mistake he’ll ever make. If I were mayor, I’d take lessons from what just happened to Hillary Clinton. It is not impossible. – Rev. Corey Brooks
Rahm Emanuel came in giving this appearance that he was going to be a reformer and he fell right into the old groove. And people see that, people are tired of it, and people are sick of it. I don’t think he can solve anything. I don’t think there is anything that he can do. He has just proven himself to be a liar. It’s that simple. He has proven himself to be a liar. Okay, he came in as a reformer. There’s been absolutely no reform in city government. He ran in 2011, he ran on a platform on reform and there’s been absolutely no reform. It’s pretty sad when people are saying we wish we had Rich Daley back. That’s pretty sad. [Emanuel] has given no focus on the communities, no focus on the neighborhoods. At least Rich Daley did that. He would talk to the little people, the small groups, but Rahm Emanuel gives no credence to the little people. Nothing. If you’re not a big donor he has nothing for you. If you are not coming in talking about how you can swing thousands and thousands of votes, he has no time for you. – Jerry Brown, President of the South Area Civic League, Worked on Dorothy Brown’s re-election
I’m not going to say he can’t get any black folks to vote for him, there are still some black aldermen who publicly say they are in his corner, but I heard behind closed doors different things, but they don’t want to alienate a sitting mayor. When you’re sitting poolside having a cold beer with them, they don’t have anything nice to say about him. “I can’t make an enemy of him.” – Wendell Huston, former S. Side campaign manager.
Everyone is playing the political game, the dog and pony show. If anyone is talking right now I don’t take them seriously. I don’t take anyone seriously until I see those papers in the Board of Elections. Everyone will talk, but I won’t take them seriously. – Kevin Bailey, recently elected 20th Ward Democratic Committeeman
Highly likely he’d win (and I really don’t see a scenario he doesn’t run again, but it’s super early) He’s talking about the issues that are key/core interest points to the electorate here (schools improvements, cutting waste, reducing budgets, fixing pensions, etc). People aren’t happy about paying more in taxes but can deal with it, provided they see some tangible benefits in the city. – Aldermanic Staffer from North Side, who asked to remain anonymous
I think it depends on who the candidate is going to be, but I really don’t think there’s any chance that he could win. I don’t know anymore. Trump won. I want to say I think he wouldn’t win, but I think people are so just like done. Apathetic, at this point… frustration that they might not go out and vote. I deal with workers all day and talk to them and everybody hates Rahm. I’ve not heard anybody, any workers be like, “Oh Rahm is great,” especially after the shooting. That really impacted the African American community. I think there were major issues. I’m not a political strategist, but I think that people were led astray by their leaders, a lot of religious and community leaders that I think Rahm paid off and now they’re seeing what’s happened. Nothing’s coming of us… I don’t know how his re-election has impacted in a good way. – Union organizer on the city’s South and West Sides; asked to remain anonymous
People connect him with increased fees for parking their trucks. They connect him with the red light cameras, the speed cameras, people connect him with the property tax increases, the water tax increases, the garbage tax increases. This is not a wealthy ward and people feel those. They don’t feel their input has been solicited. They see CPS schools having their staffs cut. People aren’t happy. I think any challenger would beat Rahm emanuel in the 12th Ward. Any latino challenger would mop the floor with him. – Pete DeMay, a one-time aldermanic candidate who is now active in the 12th Ward Independent Political Organization (IPO)
The short answer is no. The longer answer is it depends on who runs against him, not everybody can beat the mayor, even today, but he’s certainly vulnerable. If it was some of the other contenders, it would be true. Tom Dart, I think Rahm would lose. Rahm is not the Rahm he was during the election in terms of strength. And even in the election, his support was wide but not deep. That was proven in how fast the black community turned on him once Laquan came out. Black community was a big part of his winning coalition. He basically did very well, incredible numbers on lakefront, might not have done as well in 48, 49, but besides 49th ward, 48th ward was more ambiguous, I think he was winning 80, 89% in 42,43, 46, incredibly well with more affluent whites, lakefront whites, Republicans, also very well with African Americans. Chuy also did better with working class, bungalow belt types… than he did in lakefront….Problem I’ve seen with Rahm is long term residents vote. It’s a long term voter. If you go to changes in neighborhoods… a lot of the people who vote are long term residents, residents who are hipsters, not those that have bought a town home in bucktown, they vote. Hipsters, college students, those type of people are more transient. He’s favored newer residents to the detriment of the older residents in terms of taxation policy, bike lanes… the way he did it is horrible for traffic accidents, we’re not Copenhagen or the netherlands. THe other thing about Rahm he didn’t realize, Daley did this too, he was a dictator, but he also gave things. There was patronage. Contracts, brick and mortar things, a library, a park. Some of those are the reason we have an economic problem, but that also had to… Rahm isn’t giving anything, he thinks everyone will go along. Even his allies will confidentially, quietly tell you that he doesn’t get it. He’s not Daley, he can’t ram things down people’s throat. – Frank Avila, a Mexican-American attorney who lives in Pilsen
Yes [he could win a third term]. Based on the landscape, potential competitors. Based on his ability to raise money, based on the fact that he’s weathered a storm unlike any politician. When the Laquan McDonald video came out, people were talking about the next mayor. Four months later people said he might run again, two months later it was, “He’s going to win.” I don’t know how anybody could go from that low to front runner without some kind of skill set. – Craig Chico, executive director, Back of The Yards Neighborhood Council