Welcome to the office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel! After sending your predecessor off with a column last week expressing my joy at his departure, it is only fitting that I welcome you as his replacement.
Now you were not the candidate I wanted to get the job. I didn’t vote for you, but you are the new head and the buck stops at your desk. As such, I want to be fair in my assessment of your handling of the job. So whereas he-who-is-gone-and-won’t-be-missed was so far on the negative side of the scale that it fell off the chart, it is a joy to be able to set my judging-rahm-a-meter at zero. It is from that point that I, as well as the rest of the city, can judge the job you’re doing.
From all the accounts I read, you had a wonderful inauguration ceremony. I would like to suggest one thing though: Save the citizens of this city money by investing in billboards without the mayor’s name on it. If your ambitions are as large as they say, your interest in the mayorship is for only one term. So no more names on the signs.
Also while I’m feeling you’re receptive to suggestions, here’s one: There is a certain group of city workers who should be the most powerful and feared. No, not the police or firemen. No, not your commissioners and their assistants. And no, not a single one of your cabinet members. The most fearsome city workers should be those who collect garbage for Streets and San. They see every square inch of this city on a weekly basis. They can tell you the problem areas and the good areas. They can point out the thugs as well as the drugs. They can pull up to the alley and tell you which house cleans and cares about the neighborhood and which domicile hosts the folks whom even the pen pig would avoid.
Mayor Emanuel, this city needs cleaning of the trash kind and then it needs the kind of enforcement to keep it that way. No more tolerating garbage sitting 20 feet high above and outside the can because the trifling homeowner never requested another can. Also, what is the deal with some houses having 8-10 cans? If that house is putting out that much garbage, it’s time for a city inspector to visit and see what else is being overused and abused.
Next is the issue of Chicago Public Schools. Your agenda for the schools isn’t that clear to me because you attended so few forums held in our neighborhoods prior to your ascension to the throne – I mean election to office. Forgive me. My fingers tend to key what I’m thinking instead of what I should be saying. My bad. Anyway … your focus should be on a core curriculum so every child, no matter where they are in this city, gets the same kind of education. To put it bluntly, every parent wants the same quality of education that you are seeking for your own children and nothing less. Comprende?
And one other thing: Our city is pronounced sh-kawgo and not sh-kowgo.
Mayor Emanuel, we need a variety of new industries so our ex-offenders, former drug users and young people can all find employment. Otherwise we won’t like the kind of work they’re up to when we go off to work.
Crime is a major problem for us here on the West Side. I am especially tired of the propensity for so many to pass on the right as a normal course of driving. I’d also like to see those street pharmacists who are arrested be forced to know the Latin spelling and chemical composition of whatever drugs they are vending. I’d like to see a law mandating that all inmates in County Jail, if they don’t have a high school diploma, get their GED – make it a requirement, in fact, for their possible release/bail.
Lastly, there will be continuous calls to name everything under the sun in Chicago with the “D” word. We already have a college, plaza and center carrying the family name. So when the “D” word comes up, remind them that the other “D” stands for DuSable and without his settlement, there wouldn’t be a Chicago today.