The Great Chicago Plague of 2013: Panhandlers Overwhelm Streets (but Mayor Rahm Emanuel does nothing to curb them)!
[ Click above to embiggen: photos of The Great Chicago Plague of 2013, when panhandlers took over the streets and Mayor Rahm Emanuel did nothing to stop them ]
Yesterday, I highlighted the Muslim female beggars who have encamped themselves along tony Michigan Avenue here in Chicago…and today I bring you more photos of the 38 panhandlers I spotted while walking around downtown in very tourist-trafficked areas on Wednesday May 29th, 2013.
I’ve never seen anything like this in Chicago in the eight years I’ve lived here…and don’t remember the city being this plagued by beggars since I started regularly visiting Chicago back in the mid-1990s. Being from Cleveland (which is so inundated with shuffling, moaning, and frightening vagrants that it often felt like living in a zombie apocalypse movie), I instantly notice beggars on the street — or the lack thereof — wherever I go. New York in the 70s and 80s was a classic example of a city crippled by the multitude of aggressive panhandlers seemingly EVERYWHERE…until Mayor Rudy Guiliani started cracking skulls (sometimes literally) to get this problem under control and move the beggars into actual jobs away from the tourist traps of Manhattan.
Chicago used to be a gorgeous, clean, and well-ordered city when Mayor Daley was in office…but with Rahm Emanuel running City Hall word has gotten out that panhandlers have free rein over our city’s streets. I’d love for Chicago Police officers to either comment on this thread or email us in private to tell us if there is in fact a directive to stop chasing panhandlers off the streets now that Rahm Emanuel is mayor…because this never, ever happened when Daley was in office. Not even during the years from 2008 until Daley’s retirement when the economy tanked and the jobless rate skyrocketed.
But, this spring the panhandlers just proliferated in Chicago (even though the economy’s been consistently lousy since 2008 because of Barack Obama’s ongoing incompetence). If Rahm Emanuel is not encouraging this on purpose for some reason and it’s not due to his ineptitude, then perhaps this is just a result of the fact that a lot of people have been out of work for so long with so few jobs in this city that they reached their breaking point, depleted their savings, and were forced onto the streets.
What’s so strange about these panhandlers I photographed is how with-it and articulate they ALL are; these are not the sort of people I used to see begging in Chicago (and they DEFINITELY aren’t like the clearly schizophrenic/mentally ill vagrants that haunted Cleveland). All of these people look like they could easily hold down a retail job somewhere or work at McDonald’s (at bare minimum). Aside from the Muslim women who pretend to not know English or understand much of anything, these panhandlers all give the impression that they’d choose to sit there on the street even if a job was offered to them.
It’s because of an urban legend that people wonder if at the end of the day these folks walk down the street and head towards a Mercedes they have parked (with hundreds of dollars in their pockets, tax-free, from all that begging)…but the fact that none of these panhandlers outwardly seem schizophrenic or otherwise mentally ill makes me wonder if this is really a surge in homelessness…or just an opportunistic way to make some easy money while chilling out on the ground in Chicago and soaking in some rays.
I loved the book “Freakonomics” and always try to remember that something being observed is usually caused by complicated variables that are not always clear. I know from personal observation that it’s a clear fact that there are many more panhandlers on the streets of Chicago right now in 2013 than there ever were since I started paying close attention to this city back in 1993 or so. I also know for a fact that police downtown do not say boo to these people…because I staked out a few of the beggars to see if police walking by would shoo them away, but they didn’t do anything about any of them.
Thinking back, I can recall police chasing vagrants away in Cleveland, where in the 80s and 90s the city used to actually round them up and put them on shuttle buses and then drive them to a suburb called Euclid just to the east (so they’d be someone else’s problem), but then later in the day Euclid would round them up again and drive them all back to downtown Cleveland (so they’d spend most of the day driving back and forth from place to place).
In years past, I remember Chicago police chasing the beggars away too…but not anymore. Something’s changed…but I just don’t know what. Yet.
QUESTION FOR COMMENTS: What do YOU think is happening in Chicago?
Read the rest of this entry »
[ Click above to embiggen: More change we can believe in…the new phenomenon of Muslim female beggars scaring off shoppers in Chicago, Illinois ]
TIME magazine has a profile of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel on its newest cover, with an article inside that wonders why Chicagoans don’t like having him as our Mayor. I’ve written before that this is a complicated matter, with no single answer as to why this guy is the wrong fit for running Chicago. He’s petulant, arrogant, and mean-spirited…but that hasn’t stopped others in the past from being good Chief Executives of this town. I think Emanuel is just incompetent in some ways (and purposefully subversive in others) and I believe he just doesn’t know how to prioritize well when it comes to things that are important to Chicagoans (but not part of the Left’s greater agenda). Perhaps energy that should be spent making this a truly great city is being rerouted into persecuting enemies and perpetuating old feuds (or laying the groundwork for the Left’s radical transformation of our country, using Chicago as an operational headquarters). Some other day, we can spend our time trying to come up with a Top Ten list for all the reasons that Rahm is bad at his current job…which is a worthy use of an afternoon indeed.
But, yesterday I was downtown and made a point to take pictures of every beggar I saw outside on the streets of Chicago. My rule was to just walk around town in all the places that tourists go (like Michigan Avenue, State Street, and along all the avenues that have nice shops, good restaurants, and shopping malls) and if I saw someone begging, I’d take his or her pic. I have about three dozen of these shots now…and it took me just about two hours to get them.
It was actually very surprising to see the results of this little photo safari, because in all the years I’ve lived in Chicago I have never seen a proliferation of beggars like this before. I expected maybe one or two, three tops, but the problem seemed endless.
Also surprising was that a lot of these people didn’t seem like there was much of anything wrong with them…in that they looked like they had recently been employed and didn’t appear to be severely mentally ill (like the beggars I’d seen in Chicago in the past). Everyone had hand-written signs on cardboard, either saying they had children at home in need of the money or they tried to be funny and say their girlfriends were kidnapped by ninjas (this one has been circulating in Chicago for at least 8 years now, since I’ve seen it for that amount of time in one variation of another).
What I’ve never seen before, however, were Muslim women begging all up and down Michigan Avenue, in front of the tony shops likes Tiffany’s, Burberry, Apple, etc. This is the part of town that’s called “The Magnificent Mile” and is heavily trafficked by tourists; sometimes, the crowds are so dense that there are traffic jams in the middle of the sidewalk, as people get stopped in bottlenecks while trying to walk down the street. Further hampering movement these days are the Muslim women (who appear to be Pakistani or Bangladeshi) who now are allowed to sit on the sidewalk, camp out, and beg like this in the nicest part of town.
Since these women appear to be from Pakistan, Bangladesh, or elsewhere overseas and describe themselves as immigrants to passers-by (also pretending they speak little or no English, as a means of winning sympathy), I also wonder why in this county people allow the Left to so aggressively import third world peasants. Instead of, say, doctors, education professionals, and other hardworking and respectable immigrants who would not be begging on sidewalks. Instead, Rahm Emanuel seems to have placed an urgent order for the importation of Muslim female beggars…and I think people need to ask WHY IS THAT?
Don’t think for a second it’s not part of the Left’s social engineering long-term strategies. Because, logically, the more third world peasants that Democrats import then the more people will be living in this country who accept the living conditions in third world Hell holes as the norm…with the added bonus that people like this depend on government handouts and are used to autocratic governments with one party rule. They are Democrats’ dream voters, and the Left is working hard (with the help of Marco Rubio we must note) to ensure that the importation of third world peasants to mooch welfare benefits (or just beg on the streets of Chicago) continues at breakneck pace.
I’m not sure how he did it, but Mayor Daley (our former mayor…and also a Democrat) seemed to find a way to keep these people away from the tourist hubs in town. If the Muslim female beggars were in Chicago when Daley was mayor, I never saw them…and believe me, I’d remember. Evidently, either there’s just a larger explosion of this phenomenon that has surged the ranks of ALL beggars in general…or Rahm Emanuel is possibly doing something to specifically import these people as part of some bigger political scheme.
Remember his personal motto: never let a good crisis go to waste…and never miss an opportunity to subversively undermine the rule of law and social stability in this country. One female Muslim beggar at a time, evidently.
QUESTION FOR COMMENTS: Do you notice more beggars where you live? Does the mayor in your town or city do anything to curb this?
Have you seen Muslim women in your city begging like this on the sidewalk…and where do you think this started and why is this happening in American cities now?
[Click above to embiggen: how Rahm Emanuel became Mayor of Chicago in the first place]
Today, a friend of mine sent me this article by Rick Perlstein entitled “Rahm on the Ropes” and asked me what the feeling is here in Chicago towards Rahm Emanuel (and what that portends for his future as Mayor). Anecdotally, here a few recent things to note about the man (or lizard, in my opinion) who will be Mayor of Chicago for as long as he wants (but that’s as high as he will ever go):
* I happened to be at O’Hare Airport for something in January and needed to take the Blue Line back into the city. I was SHOCKED to learn that it now costs $5.00 to board a CTA subway train at the airports; apparently, that fee hike took effect that very week. There was actually a CTA employee stationed at the turnstiles because passengers getting on the train were confused and angry that the automatic system was deducting $5.00 from every train card instead of the normal $2.25 to ride. ”You can thank our wonderful mayor for that”, the clearly perturbed black CTA worker said, with a dramatic roll of her eyes and a knowing nod that expressed she didn’t like the fare hike any more than passengers did. The entire ride into the City was nothing but grumbles from people upset by how much it cost to ride the train. People were fuming in their seats…and frustrated there was nothing they could ever do about it, knowing that in Chicago once the price is raised on something it will never, ever come back down.
This move to double the train fare from the Airports was made because under Emanuel the City is going out of its way to soak tourists and travelers for as much as they can while they are here, figuring that people won’t stop coming to Chicago just because the train ride from the Airports costs double what the CTA charges to board at any other station…but what the City doesn’t think about is all of the black people who work at the airport and take the trains to get there. 90% of the TSA workers in Chicago are black, as are the food service, retail, and other airport employees. Since they board the trains at the Airport to ride home, Emanuel just doubled what it costs them for the return trip of their daily commute. That adds up to a lot of money per month for people working minimum wage…and I can’t imagine that’s not having unintended consequences in other aspects of life in the city, since it’s NOT just the tourists who are being gauged by this fare hike.
* Blacks are also going to be dramatically impacted by the plan to shut down the Red Line completely in May for a 5 or 6 month overhaul of the tracks on the Southside. The line’s being closed after the Roosevelt stop…and that will affect all the stops south to 95th/Dan Ryan. For those who don’t live in Chicago, these are the stops that are mostly used by black people (who will now have to struggle with shuttle buses to get to their jobs in other parts of this very segregated city). Emanuel claims that shutting down the entire line will save time and money, as opposed to only shutting it down on weekends to do track rehabilitation work. Right now, only a few people here and there talk about this disaster coming…but that’s because the trains are still running and no one is really paying attention. But, when May hits and the CTA trains stop serving the Southside…it’s going to get ugly.
* Public relations telephone polls and surveys happen all the time, with people calling every few weeks to ask opinions on Rahm Emanuel. That never happened when Mayor Daley was in office. The entire time I’ve lived in Chicago I was never polled about the Mayor until Emanuel took office…and now it seems like someone’s polling Chicagoans about a new crisis a week with him. An awful lot of money is being spent on this…and it makes you wonder why, since Democrats have a lock on the Chicago Mayor’s office (and, thus, you’d think they wouldn’t need to keep polling so much). This leads me to believe that people are grumbling so much with Emanuel as Mayor that Democrats want to keep tabs on the discord and always know just how upset people are on a rolling basis.
* There’s anger at Emanuel for his ineptitude in handling the teachers’ unions last year, but more people are upset that Chicago doesn’t have a casino. I hear that one all the time, because people say we’re losing jobs and money to Hammond, Indiana (just across the Illinois border) or to the casino that’s out in the suburbs and reachable by Metra trains. I’m from Cleveland, which fought a downtown casino for decades, and I’ve never understood the logic of allowing gambling residents to board buses to take their money to other states (or cities) to play their slots…when a city can keep that revenue (and all those jobs) in its city center. People seem to think having a casino means their town will turn into the dystopian “Biff’s” version of 1985 in Back to the Future…but does anyone really believe that having a casino in Chicago will suddenly make this city more corrupt or crime-ridden? I say at this point the city needs to do whatever it can to create jobs in Chicago and keep all the money it can…instead of letting anything leave for Hammond (which, incidentally, generates $22 million in tax revenue a month from its casino…and almost all of that is from people in Chicago who race across the border to hit the slots). Emanuel came into office promising that his bad temper and caustic way of doing things would pay dividends with stalled projects like the casino…but people have not seen that at all.
* Murders are out of control here and the street gangs do not fear the police or any kind of prosecution. It really is like the days of Al Capone again…and taking a trip to the Southside is like playing Russian roulette. Everyday life in Chicago feels less safe than when Mayor Daley was in office. I’m not sure why that is, but I think there was an emotional connection to Daley that made him feel like a no-nonsense uncle who’d crack skulls if the need arose. Daley seemed in control at all times…and that just made those of us who live here believe that he could apply the right pressure in any situation to make things happen. Emanuel has never seemed in control like that, and I think the thugs have absolutely no fear of him or any belief he can get the cops to really crack down on crime. So, essentially it’s become a free-for-all with Emanuel as Mayor.
* Cigarettes are $11 a pack now in Chicago, which is a big deal to all of the native Chicagoans. What I mean by that are the people who were born and raised here and live mostly in places like Bridgeport or off Polaski and in all the working-class neighborhoods with all the post-WWII squat brick single family homes. These are the people who obsessively play the lottery every day and who still smoke like chimneys (honestly, never, ever get behind one of these people in line at a convenience store because they take FOREVER picking out their lottery numbers and grumbling about the price of cigarettes…you will never be able to dash in and out for something quickly when they are in lottery or cigarette mode). Chicagoans are either natives or they’re young people who moved here to find jobs but leave after about seven or eight years when the weather gets to them or they realize life is probably a lot easier (and better) in other cities like Dallas or Austin. The people who were born in Chicago, have lived here their whole lives, and will no doubt die here are a different breed with vastly different concerns…and chief amongst those is the price of cigarettes. Most of these people find ways to cross the border into Indiana and buy “their smokes” at Wal-Mart over there, where a whole carton is now about the price of three or four packs in Chicago.
I need to note here how lizard-like and unappealing Rahm Emanuel is in general. He is not a nice person, and that shows. Truthfully, a nice person probably can’t really be the Mayor of Chicago but I will tell you that people loved Mayor Daley…even if they grumbled about him. Daley was charming and likable…and because he was Mayor for decades I think people just got used to him being around and accepting he was in charge. Following an affable figure like Daley with a caustic and petty man like Emanuel was a very strange decision on the part of Democrats in Illinois. I think it was really the worst move they could have made…and that a black Mayor would have been able to really crack down on the crime and bring the murder rate back into “acceptable” levels.
Conservatives never understand just how big a role race plays in Democrat politics, but in Chicago everything is about race. And to win the Mayor’s race, you have to remember that Emanuel needed the vote split 6 ways along specific racial lines…so willing clowns like Carol Mosely Braun, Patricia van Pelt Watkins, and William Dock Wells III gleefully split the black vote in the 2011 Mayor’s race…while buffoons Gery Chico and Miguel del Valle split the Hispanic vote to help Emanuel. Mosely Braun received a lot of money for her role in this and was able to wipe out a great deal of her longstanding debt by agreeing to be a stooge for Emanuel. Some of these others just liked the attention of being “a candidate for Mayor!” or enjoyed building some name recognition. It was all a big game though, because Democrats knew that having three black candidates on the ballot instead of just one meant that there was no way Chicago would have a black Mayor. Similarly, ensuring there are two Hispanics on there to split the Spanish-speaking/illegal Mexican vote means that Chicago doesn’t have a Hispanic Mayor. This is the game that Democrats play here that works so well in such a segregated city. All Emanuel needed was to be the only white person in the race and he’d win…which he did.
Republicans don’t even field a candidate for Mayor in Chicago because I think they are afraid of being punished for “interfering” with the Mayor’s race. Everything in this town is quid pro quo, so I think if Republicans don’t run anyone for Mayor then Democrats agree not to go after the seats of the token Republicans who do hold office in the Chicagoland area. And those Republicans enjoy being tokens and having their little positions, so they don’t ever want to rock the vote.
I always hope black people wise up one day and see how Democrats treat them no better than animals…because if Carol Mosely Braun and William Dock Walls III had just dropped out of the Mayor’s race in 2011, then that Patricia van Pelt Watkins could have solidified the black vote against Emanuel….while the Hispanic vote was still split between the two Spanish-speaking candidates…and I don’t know if Emanuel could have won if blacks were all focused on just one candidate.
But, getting people to see things like this is very much like herding cats. I’m really at the point of just giving up and accepting that this is how it’s always going to be in this city, where people have become so dumb that they’ll always fall into whatever trap Democrats set for them. Even though it keeps hurting them all on a personal level that they just never connect back to keeping Democrats in office.
I don’t see how Rahm Emanuel is ever ousted from the Mayor’s office because of how expertly the Left exploits race in this City…but I don’t see how this would ever translate into a presidential run for this lizard. Barack Obama owes everything to being “black”…and the last five years of American politics have been anomalous because we’ve had a black man as the head of the Democrat party. Things change immensely in 2016 when a black person most likely will not be at the top of the Democrats’ ticket…or even be in contention for the nomination. What has Rahm Emanuel ever done that would convince black people to support him with the same level of enthusiasm they’ve shown for one of their own like Obama? It’s ludicrous to think that. So, he (and any non-black Democrat) will be at an immediate disadvantage in 2016.
Next, you need to look at this man’s physical appearance and personality…and see that he is very much lizard-like. He’s also foul-tempered, bitter and angry, and prone to hurling curses and vile pejoratives at people he disagrees with. Emanuel is a very unstable person with possible bipolar disorder…and he’s infamous for sending dead fish to people in the mail or screaming at men while nude in the Congressional gang showers.
Emanuel is also gay and has staffed his Mayor’s office on the fifth floor of City Hall with as many Zac Efron-looking young male interns as he can find. Watching the Oscars, it was hilarious to see George Clooney dragging around yet another woman as his “date” or to see the other Hollywood actors who sport their own “beards”…and it’s so funny to me that a lot of straight people can’t tell that Emanuel’s gay. He’s a former ballerina who used to frequent the Man’s Country bathhouse here in Chicago before becoming a big national name…and his marriage is very much one of convenience. There are scores of young guys here in Chicago were part of a Rahm Emanuel “placement program”, where they had to be his boy toys for a while…but then were ultimately rewarded with recommendations into the top law firms, brokerage houses, or whatever after Emanuel moved onto the next hot young thing. This has been going on for years…and is the sort of thing that happens all the time in politics, particularly when it involves people who consider themselves untouchable (like Emanuel).
Could a foul-tempered, mean-spirited, and lizard-like petty tyrant become President? I don’t think so, because though Barack Obama’s personality is actually a lot like Emanuel’s (and they seem to have similar taste in boys) there was a stark difference in how the public at large reacts to these men. The majority of Americans like Obama, think he’s “cool”, and have a generally good impression of him on a personal level. They know nothing about who he really is and don’t really care, because they like supporting the “hip, black guy”…and that’s a brand that’s served him and those around him very well. Rahm Emanuel just doesn’t have that going for him….and he can’t suddenly transform himself physically into an attractive and likable person. The lizard in his DNA just can’t be transformed enough for him to run for President.
This is actually kind of like the Ministry of Truth that is our national media talking about Michael Bloomburg running for President when that just never made sense either. Bloomburg is not as lizard-like as Emanuel, but he still gives many people the creeps…and that’s a high hurdle to face before he’d even have to justify his policies and decisions in office to people. Democrats are great at hiding someone’s past or obscuring their personal beliefs and record…but even the best spinmeisters on the Left can’t take a naturally unappealing person who gives people the creeps and make that person into a credible presidential candidate. Andrew Cuomo’s going to have a big problem with this too, if he really thinks he can become a presidential candidate…and so for the good of the country I think it might be funny and interesting to see Emanuel, Bloomburg, or Cuomo mount an ill-fated presidential campaign. I just hope Republicans aren’t stupid enough to run someone even more unappealing against a guy like that.
Every day I realize I’m really nearing the end of my time in Chicago. The city is getting to me…and the fun I used to have here is just largely gone for me. There’s just too much wrong with the place since Emanuel became Mayor and things I used to be able to tolerate when Daley was in office just seem to bother me more now that Emanuel’s the public face behind these policies. The classic example I’ll leave you with is the city’s never-ending quest to snatch revenue from Chicagoans via parking tickets. There is an elaborate game that any driver in the city needs to play to avoid parking tickets…where there’s often a half a dozen signs giving conflicting instructions, with oddball requirements and warnings posted that require LSAT or SAT-level logic deductions to figure out if, yes, you can actually park in that spot today. Chicago has always been this way, but for some reason it felt like more of a game than an ordeal when Daley was Mayor.
I don’t know if that will make any sense to you, but when Mayor Daley was the public face of the City this “try not to get a parking ticket no matter how hard they try to trick you” thing felt more like an adventure…like, by parking your car you were engaging Mayor Daley in a high-stakes board game played on the streets of Chicago…and whoever knew the rules better won, but Daley wasn’t necessarily rooting against you and wouldn’t be upset with your beating him. With Emanuel, it’s just a totally different vibe now. Whenever Justin and I go anywhere and he parks the car there’s a real negative energy involved with the parking signs or dealing with the incredibly expensive parking meters. I feel a real heaviness in the air when I’m standing there in the cold with my notebook, trying to figure out if today is the third Friday of a month or a day when there’s a Sox or Cubs game or if there could be considered more than two inches of snow on the ground…or whatever other bizarre clues the signs are giving us to indicate whether or not we can park in that spot.
Since Emanuel’s been Mayor, it just feels like the game is now rigged and the deck is so stacked against everyone that I don’t wan to play anymore. I feel oppressed and overburdened by the action of the City of Chicago that it drains my energy to stand there and contemplate the parkings signage. This is not just because I’ve been living here for so long that the “adventure” of the Daley days is gone…it really is like playing Monopoly or Clue or whatever, but instead of playing it with a jovial person you like it’s now a game against a lizard-like and mean-spirited jackass. And it’s emotionally draining after a while.
I pick up on other people in Chicago feeling like this these days…and I don’t see how this man could mount a national campaign for office when this is the sort of impression he leaves on people.
Rahm Emanuel Terrified of Something in Chicago: Another round of expensive telephone survey polling underway
So, my boyfriend Justin’s been avoiding a mysterious caller coming from the number (720) 582-8383 for the last week and this morning I told him to just take the call because it was most likely a political survey and I’d answer it for him. It was a research company in Denver, Colorado hired by Rahm Emanuel to poll Chicagoans about what they think of him. I had an awful lot of fun taking this survey and telling the pollster how bad a job Rahm is doing…and was interested in the amount of emphasis that was given to Rahm’s dealings with the police and the scary rise in crime and murder that’s been happening in Chicago for the last couple of years.
If you don’t answer pollsters when they call you, I wish you’d reconsider that because it’s actually a lot of fun. About midway through the survey, though, I have to admit my eyes did start to glaze over because the guy who called me was not very good at his job and went through it all in a monotone that made me itching to hang up. I bet a lot of people do indeed hang up or get bored as the questions just keep coming. The whole call took about 12 minutes or so to finish. Justin, of course, didn’t want to talk to the man on the phone but was fascinated by my talking to him and camped down on the floor by my desk while I went through the survey.
First the pollster asked to speak to “Justin” and I said that was me (since Justin didn’t want to talk to anyone) and he then asked if I still lived in Chicago, which I did.
He next asked if I had time to take the survey and promised it would be quick…then he told me it was a survey on local government in the City of Chicago. Now, you need to read between the lines to figure out that Rahm Emanuel paid for this and so you don’t know at the very beginning whether that’s true or not…but by the end of the call if you pay attention to how things are phrased it becomes clear this was Rahm paying for a poll to determine how badly he’s being perceived by voters in Chicago and how this might be dragging Democrats down in Illinois for the presidential election. Calls like this did not come to Justin when Mayor Daley was in office, I think largely because people just accepted Daley as the King of Chicago and his favorability numbers were pretty consistent always. The sun rose in the morning, the Cubs lose baseball games, and Richard Daley is Mayor of Chicago. That’s how life was here for many, many years. It’s a whole new ballgame with the former ballerina, Studio 54 club kid, and closeted homosexual Rahm Emanuel in office though.
The survey started off by asking my opinion (from 0-100) of various political and governmental figures affecting Chicago. Here is who the pollster asked about and how I scored them:
Barack Obama = 0
Some French named person I had never heard of whose last name stared with a “B” = Never heard of him
Police Chief Someone or Another = 15
Somebody Murphy Something = 10
Rahm Emanuel = 0
Karen Lewis, the woman who looked like that secretary in Monster’s Inc. and is the teachers’ union president = 0
Alderman (the pollster just said “Your Alderman”, which for us is Tom Tunney) = 0
Next, the pollster went through a list of issues and asked if I thought they were important problems facing Chicago. The list included: education, crime and youth violence, corruption and cronyism, public services, police staffing, and the city budget (which is being prepared now and will be unveiled soon…and I think this was the purpose of the polling).
During the call, there was a purposefully confusing switch from “rate this 1-100, with 50 meaning you have no opinion” to “now rate these as Strongly Agree, Agree Somewhat, Disagree Somewhat…” and other variations like “I agree strongly but have recently changed my mind…” etc. The reason they do this is so you are forced to think about what answer to give, instead of just sitting there saying “Agree” over and over again. I think they change the format of each set of questions so that the people being polled don’t zone out and start saying the same thing over and over to finish the call faster.
There were probably about 8-10 different sections in the poll, and many of them run together now in my mind though I literally started writing this ground report on the polling the minute I hung up the phone. I mostly said things were terrible here in Chicago and that Rahm’s doing a bad job as Mayor, which is true. One of the questions was actually written by Rahm himself, I think, because it had his particularly brand of conceited stink to it — this involved asking what I felt about Rahm as Mayor and was skewed so you could only give answers like “I had high hopes for him but he disappointed me” or “I expected a lot from him and he delivered”. There was no option to say that you never liked him and always thought he was strange and weird and he pretty much has turned out to be that way in office too.
Some of the issues touched on in the poll:
* that gang and youth violence has reached epidemic proportions and people don’t feel safe living in Chicago anymore
* taxes are driving business out of town
* Rahm cares more about downtown than neighborhoods
* there are not enough police and the police we do have are lazy or are assigned to cushy neighborhoods instead of the war zones on the south and southwest side
* there are not enough youth programs so kids turn to gangs and violence for something to do
* unemployment is higher than what’s being admitted in the media
* Rahm is a bully who rules the city through fear and intimidation
* people are afraid the City is trying to trick them with hidden fees or hard to understand fines
* would people accept a $5 tax per month on energy to pay for more cops
* should more money go to schools despite poor student performance
* do you feel safe leaving your house in Chicago?
I don’t want to joke about this, because it’s serious, but with that last one you have to ask people here in Chicago “when was the last time you were robbed by black youths?” instead of “were you ever mugged?” because if you live in Chicago you will at some point be mugged by black youths who are allowed to run wild here in this city due to political correctness. I was last mugged here in the summer of 2009 I think…and Justin was last mugged in maybe 2008. It was a group of 3-4 black males who jumped both of us…and it’s usually 3-4 black males who have jumped everyone else I know that has been mugged in Chicago at one point or another. Justin’s mugging happened when he was leaving an “El” station downtown around 10pm one Saturday night and mine happened when I was walking through Lincoln Park near the zoo at around 9pm just after dark in maybe August three years ago (they jumped out of the bushes at me where they had been hiding and my brain at first processed the muggers as monsters, trolls, or maybe escaped zoo animals until I realized they were just criminals who wanted my phone, wallet, and digital camera).
I guess you could say that crime happens in all major cities but in Chicago there is a weird obsession with pretending that black people aren’t committing these crimes and that young black men in particular are note roaming the streets in gangs to mug people or rob them with weapons. Did you read the Harry Potter books and feel frustrated when the idiots in that series kept trying to pretend that Voldemort was not back and that his followers the Death Eaters were not trying to murder people again? Those clowns were so afraid of whatever that they purposefully kept themselves from even saying Voldemort’s name and instead would whisper “He Who Must Not Be Named” when talking about him in euphemism. It’s like that in Chicago with black people from the south side: it’s not socially acceptable to talk about blacks riding the El up north to commit crimes in Boystown, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, or wherever because Democrats in Chicago want to pretend that black people aren’t doing this…and that they aren’t coming up north to hunt and prey on white people before riding back home to the south side with their loot.
It’s racist, of course, to point this out and the lefties rev up to scream “Not all black people are doing this so you can’t make generalizations!”. Well, I was mugged by 3-4 black thugs. Justin was mugged by 3-4 black thugs. I have at least a dozen gay friends who were mugged by gangs of 3-4 black thugs in the last five years. So that’s not a generalization, it’s a criminal pattern.
And it’s not going to stop so long as the police department here in Chicago is prevented from “generalizing”.
Since most of the survey was about police and crime and the budget — and just one or two questions was about education — I think Rahm has moved on from the teachers’ union strike and is worried about new threats to his standing as Mayor. Remember that Rahm grew up politically in the Clinton White House and that the Clintons are big on using polling to make decisions. The last segment of the survey was about the City budget and the pollster asked if I was aware that a budget would be released soon. Then I was asked if I had positive feelings about Rahm’s solutions to city problems, which was more of that nonsense like “creating after school problems to keep youth out of trouble” and “creating a new position of Small Business Liaison to help small businesses grow in Chicago”. No mention was made about lowering taxes in Cook County to entice businesses to return to a city they fled, of course. In case you don’t know this, Chicago is the most heavily-taxed and frequently fined city in the country…beating even Los Angeles.
I actually really love living here though, but Justin wants to move south. He’s afraid I’m going to upset Rahm Emanuel too much with something I write and I’ll be murdered in a “mugging gone bad” when it will really be a political hit from Rahm just to shut me up…and no one will ever be able to prove otherwise since there are so many of these muggings and random killings here. Part of the survey asked if people felt Rahm was a bully or if he ruled through fear and I guess that’s true, but I look at the guy and I’ve never been afraid of him. I think it’s because I’ve heard all about what he used to do in bathhouses and I know all about how he used to pick up young guys at MiniBar or how he’d abuse his cute, young male interns. Somehow, this makes him seem more Liberace than Al Capone to me. I know Rahm’s health isn’t good and that word on the street here in Chicago has been that he has HIV and that he’s had it for years (probably picking it up in a bathhouse or from a rent boy while he was still in DC). I just don’t see Rahm becoming a fixture here in Chicago the way Daley was and personally hope the “Think Squad” of prominent black Chicagoans I know will succeed in finding a great black candidate to run against Rahm for Mayor in the next election. Because that’s who it will take to beat Rahm…the next Harold Washington or someone of that sort of stature. Democrats, however, are successfully pitting blacks and Hispanics against each other here in Chicago so that Rahm can hold power…and no doubt the Left will pump some idiot like Luis Guitierrez up to think HE can be the next Mayor, so that votes are divided and Rahm squeaks to a win. You would be stunned by how stupid Guitierrez is and how much ego drives some of the fools here in Chicago.
But, Rahm’s not healthy enough to rule this town as King for decades like Daley…so either he’s booted in the next election or his health renders him a two-term Mayor of Chicago. I don’t see him being around for much longer than that. I also can’t imagine his general nastiness and caustic personality will wear well through the years if already he’s having to poll people to see if they think he’s too much of a bully. Mayor Daley never had to do that, and he was actually kind of a bully himself…but he was an endearing bully who got a lot of good things done. So far, Rahm has no visible achievements as Mayor of Chicago besides an increased murder rate, a teachers’ union strike, and disruptive events like the G-8 nightmare back in May.
He’s sure spending a lot of money on polls, though.
Politicians do that when they are scared of something.
This close to a presidential election I think Rahm is actually worried about his bad press and poor job performance lowering Democrat turnout in Illinois. It’s still not probably that Romney will win Illinois, but it is actually possible this year. That’s huge news that no one is really writing about because they think it’s so bizarre to imagine Obama losing his “home state”. But, it actually COULD happen.
If not, there’d be no poll like this running right now. Why spend this money when they don’t have to?
At 3:15pm CST today my cellphone rang from a mysterious UNKNOWN number. It’s so rare to get these UNKNOWN calls anymore that I answered it hoping it would be a national polling company but was surprised to quickly discern it was a poll about Rahm Emanuel’s handling of the Chicago Teachers’ Union strike. The way the questions were structured made it clear that Emanuel paid for this, as the questions were phrased in ways to make the teachers’ union look bad and make Rahm sound better. I don’t think the union is even slick enough to get a call like this up so fast…and the union bumbling I’ve seen on display for several weeks would not have crafted such a cleverly-worded survey.
My impression is that Emanuel is terrified that the strike damaged the Democrat base in Chicago, since Emanuel is the face of Democrats to much of Illinois. That comes with being Mayor of the largest city in the Midwest. There’s no way Obama loses Illinois, but a lot of Chicago workers actually live in Indiana and Wisconsin and our media market here in Chicago saturates both of those other states. A public image problem for Rahm right now is a black eye for Obama by proxy in Wisconsin in many ways.
I had fun with the poll, of course, and enjoyed telling the pollster that I enthusiastically support the teachers’ union over Emanuel (even though in this lesser-of-evils scenario I’d actually side with Rahm over the unions…which is probably the only thing I’d ever agree with Rahm on aside from our mutual affection for Zac Ephron or Jake Gyllenhaal).
No mention was made of “Democrats” in the poll…just “Mayor Emanuel”. He was also never referred to by the pollster as “Rahm” or “Rahm Emanuel”. I find that interesting and am pondering the particulars of the phrasing. You need to remember that word choice in focus groups or polling is very deliberate and is reviewed over several passes to make sure the correct psychological tips are being given to sway answers one way or another.
In all the years I’ve lived in Chicago, I’ve never received a call like this polling about the Mayor. I get national polls every now and again, but not local ones and never one for a very specific issue like the handling of a crisis in Chicago by the current Mayor.
I wonder what all the implications of this are.
UPDATE: 8:15pm CST — Apparently, I can stop wondering because the teachers’ union is continuing the strike into a second week.
That polling call makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE now.
Rahm is polling to see what he should do, because this is how Rahm was taught by Bill Clinton to make decisions…based on the polls.
On Friday, I thought the teachers’ union strike was resolved since there were no protests to be found anywhere downtown. Then on Saturday, they had a big rally that I thought was their “celebration rally”.
So this explains why the rally happened…there was no real deal on the table and the union was bluffing on Friday.
Let’s see what happens next week.
Someone’s been watching Veronica Mars: did Rahm Emanuel disappear incriminating tapes from Blago case evidence?
On the first season of the short-lived high school-set detective series Veronica Mars, tapes crucial to a high-profile case disappeared from an evidence locker just when a famous and well-connected man needed them to magically go away.
Here in Chicago, incriminating tapes of Rahm Emanuel speaking to former Governor Rod Blagojevich about the sale of Obama’s vacated Senate seat have disappeared.
Interesting timing, considering Emanuel is running for Mayor of Chicago in a February 22nd election.
How bad are things in Chicago that Democrats borrow plot devices from old Rob Thomas shows on the CW network for their political shenannigans?
“Rahm’s name has to be on the ballot because the ballots are already filled out and locked in precinct boxes”
On another thread about Rahm Emanuel’s appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court to remain on the Chicago Mayoral ballot, commenter Newt Love said the above, which first made me laugh but then made me realize what an unfunny joke Chicago is to the rest of the country.
It’s not the least bit shocking that elections in this city are rigged, or that laws are trampled on and ripped to shreds when Democrats here want to do that.
Voter fraud is rampant here. Dead people vote. Early and often! Democrats endeavor as much as possible to boot living Republicans from voter rolls while keeping Democrats on long after their change of address to the cemetery.
The Cocktail Party establishment here doesn’t say anything about any of it because they do not want to be called “big meanies” or “RAAACISTS!” by the Leftist media.
Everyone knows this.
Just as everyone knows that Rahm Emanuel was not a resident of Chicago, as the law requires, for a full year before next month’s Mayoral election.
But, because it’s Chicago, and the Left controls this city, the Left acts like the law does not apply to them.
You hear stories about how things ran in Chicago when Al Capone controlled the city, and it makes you shudder to think what it will be like with Rahm Emanuel in the Mayor’s office. Say what you will about Mayor Daley, but the man knew restraint. He never sent dead fish to anyone or stabbed a piece of steak while shouting his enemies’ names.
Rahm Emanuel has really done this.
And the Daley Machine wants to make him the next Mayor.
And our only hope is that the rival Madigan Machine in Springfield will stop him.
It’s like being a tiny bystander in a Japanese monster movie watching the city you live in being torn about by behemoths no one can control.
Certainly not any laws.
UPDATE: Because, admit it, when you think of ‘The Supremes’, you want to hear this too:
I know I’m not the only one who thinks Michelle Antoinette Obama would look fabulous in some of The Supremes gowns. Instead of trying to invent her own weird style, she should look at what worked for Diana Ross and friends at their most glamorous, and what works for glamorous women like Vanessa L. Williams (on both Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives).
This has nothing to do with Rahm Emanuel, aside from the fact that he, too, might want to look fabulous in these gowns but just doesn’t know how.
QUESTION: Where did Rahm Emanuel tell the US Census he lived when they came knocking at the door in 2010?
Here’s an excellent question, without an easy to find answer. Perhaps you can help.
Where did Rahm Emanuel tell the US Census he lived when census workers came knocking on doors in 2010?
Did he complete the Census saying he lived in Washinton, DC or did he say he lived in Chicago?
Can anyone find the answer to that?
Would what he said on the Cenus qualify as a sort of testimony from Emanuel as to his intent…in that he knows the Census is once every ten years, so with that in mind, if he really and truly intended to move back to Chicago before that ten year period was up, he should have used his Chicago address on the Census and said his family lived there.
Wouldn’t that go far to establish his intent to be a Chicagoan instead of the temporary worker in DC that he’s now claiming he was?
I just can’t write about any of this without also mentioning, yet again, that Emanuel’s wife, Amy Rule, refused to come to Chicago to testify that she lived in Chicago with her husband because flying to Chicago from DC would have been too much of a burden for her or her children, who also live in DC, not Chicago.
Wouldn’t you bet any money that the entire Emanuel family listed their residence as DC on the Census…BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN LIVING.
Any ideas on how the Census information for Emanuel was completed?
The Illinois Supreme Court announced it will, indeed, hear the appeal of Rahm Emanuel’s residency disqualification: but it will not hear any oral arguments or accept any new written briefs.
Instead, it will just rely on the documents already submitted for the case and the rulings of the lower court.
The case will be decided on an expedited basis.
Anyone with legal knowledge know exactly what all this means?
Can you read anything in the tea leaves of the decision not to hear any oral arguments?
Is it common not to accept a new set of briefs in an appeal like this?
Spontaneous (and well-dressed) mob magically appears to scream about Rahm Emanuel rightfully being knocked off the Chicago Mayoral ballot
When’s the last time you saw a spontaneous mob of people burst forth about anything?
If you’ve ever in your life witnessed this, have you ever seen that mob be so well-dressed?
And so United Colors of Benetton ads diverse?
Rahm Emanuel is not liked by the black community of Chicago because he’s never done anything for the black community of Chicago. So, it’s strange to see so many black faces, placed prominently in the front of this spontaneous mob, screaming for Emanuel to be put back onto the Chicago Mayoral ballot.
It’s also strange to see such an angry, talking-points response from supposed members of the public when asked about Emanuel’s residency disqualification.
Have you ever dealt with the general public?
I bet most of them don’t know there was any controversy at all regarding Emanuel’s eligibility to run for Mayor. Let alone be so informed they could rattle off talking points like in the video above.
Almost as if they were all coached.
Like, at a big meeting where they had coffee, doughnuts, and a big pep talk before being handed signs and marched down together in front of the Thompson Center to scream and yell like this, with set spots assigned to them in the mob’s coreographed staging so it would seem as diverse and inclusive as possible.
Nah. Rahm Emanuel would never engineer a spontaneous mob of magically appearing, well-dressed, diverse, well-rehearsed protestors now, would he?