Rahm Emanuel’s response to the Chicago Tribune investigation that found CPS failed to protect hundreds of students from sexual abuse is cowardly. It is cowardly in that he didn’t say a word about the scandal for more than four days, choosing instead to hide behind his appointed CEO who was not in leadership during this scandal. In fact, none of his five CEO’s was in power for long during the multiple years in which this abuse took place. Only Emanuel himself has been in power for seven of the nine years covered by this investigation. Still, he chose to send his CEO out to absorb the slings and arrows that should have been aimed directly at him.
Emanuel’s response is also one of the most brazenly opportunistic and corrupt things he’s done in his time as mayor. The Tribune found students were failed because Chicago Public Schools (CPS) failed to exercise adequate oversight, failed to track abuse, failed to investigate minor criminal records, and failed to disclose abuse to other districts. It takes staff to conduct oversight, track abuse, investigate, and notify. Under Emanuel however, CPS has become virtually the most understaffed school district in Illinois. Emanuel failed these students because he chose to throw CPS money at his campaign donors instead of investing in the staffing needed to get the job done.
Law firms that contribute to his campaign are a favorite recipient of Emanuel’s welfare-for-the-rich polices. After donating tens of thousands to Emanuel, the Schiff Hardin law firm received hundreds of thousands in city business. After the Tribune exposed Emanuel’s failure to protect students from sexual abuse, Emanuel’s first response was to pay Schiff Hardin a half million public school dollars to “review” CPS policies on sexual harassment and abuse instead of correcting the staffing deficiencies at the heart of the problem.
Emanuel’s response is also one of the most brazenly opportunistic and corrupt things he’s done in his time as mayor…. [his] first response was to pay Schiff Hardin a half million public school dollars to “review” CPS policies … instead of correcting the staffing deficiencies at the heart of the problem.
Diverting your tax dollars toward his wealthy donors is Emanuel’s core function and mission as mayor, and even during a tragedy like this, he can’t check the urge to divert even more. His administration is corrupt to the core, and corrupt leadership produces incompetent management–the kind of incompetent management that leads an entire district to fail to protect its students.
At the root of most issues plaguing our city is political corruption. Whether it be affordable housing, economic development, or education, our tax dollars must be spent on smart evidence-based strategies that improve life for residents. However, when given the choice between improving residents lives or padding the pockets of his campaign donors, our mayor typically gives his donors the lion’s share of city resources while engaging in piecemeal spending on housing, jobs, and schools–token spending that leaves each area largely neglected. His corruption is at the heart of most of our major problems, including CPS’ failure to protect students from sexual harassment and assault.
“Diverting your tax dollars toward his wealthy donors is Emanuel’s core function and mission as mayor, and even during a tragedy like this, he can’t check the urge to divert even more…. At the root of most issues plaguing our city is political corruption.”
One of the most pathetic aspects of Emanuel’s response was his statement, “I’m accountable to have a plan in place … to make sure that our kids can go to school safe….” So it took him seven years as mayor to figure out he needs a plan in place to ensure students are safe. Can he get any more incompetent?
Yes, he can.
He went on to state, “If you have a suggestion for how to tighten something up, offer that. If anybody has an idea, bring them forward.” I have a few ideas for the mayor but I won’t hold my breath waiting for him to implement them. We’re going to need a political revolution in Chicago to make these happen. Here are a few:
As your mayor, I will implement evidence-based policies and other best practices such as having employee misconduct investigated by an independent inspector general and thorough background checks that delve into the details of misdemeanor offenses. Neither these nor other reforms can be implemented if we don’t have the funding to pay for them. Accordingly, I will stop the diversion of public money toward corporate welfare and spend those dollars on skilled personnel who serve and protect students. To address the rampant corruption throughout our government, I will work with residents and community leaders to push the city council and state legislature to put strict limits on campaign contributions from companies and individuals who seek to do business with government, as well as pass campaign finance laws that give small donors greater voice and power through a public fund that multiplies small contributions. These are just a few of dozens of things we can do to make our government work for us.
We can have a better city if we choose a better government.
Candidate for Mayor of Chicago