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Chicago, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Our View: Rahm’s Rush on Chicago Infrastructure Bank Wrong

Our View: Although Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced his Chicago Infrastructure Bank ordinance–a thoroughly complex proposal–only a month ago, he claims that there has been enough public debate.

Emanuel is wrong.

Although the Mayor agreed to delay until Tuesday a vote on the plan to corral private investors to build public projects, he is unwilling to both answer all questions posed by aldermen or offer many concessions to those who want adjustments.

The aldermen want to strengthen oversight and transparency over the trust’s governing board.

They also say that the trust ordinance fails to extend the oversight authority of the inspector general’s office to the trust’s operations. Emanuel’s measure is unclear that compliance with city the ethics ordinance on conflicts of interest is required. Additionally, aldermen complain that the state is powerless to impose open meeting or public information law on the new entity.

Moreover, the city council’s project approval write extends only to city projects, but not to the projects of agencies such as the Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Transportation Authority, the Chicago Park District, etc.

With all these shortcomings and deficiencies, the Mayor’s rush to trample the aldermen’s concerns and win rapid approval of his proposal risks undermining the institution’s integrity and the future projects for which the trust is designed to serve.

If the trust is worth doing, then it is worth doing right.

But the mayor is hell bent on getting his way–getting it fast and getting it without much aldermanic interference. When some project ultimately goes wrong, guess who will get stuck with the bill? Chicago taxpayers.

Rahm may rue this rush one day.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.


2 Responses to “Our View: Rahm’s Rush on Chicago Infrastructure Bank Wrong”

  1. He did it with the remap, bigtime. He will continue to do it. It is what he does.

    Posted by Mark | April 21, 2012, 1:36 PM
  2. “Chicago Tonight” reported last week that the mayor has been meeting individually and behind closed doors with the council members who were in open opposition, and that one by one they have been withdrawing, claiming now to be satisfied with the shape of the measure. Often these statements are being made on their behalf through the mayor’s office. Michele Smith, for example: now on board.

    Yes, this method will help the mayor get his way. But it’s an unduly cynical route to take, and it perpetuates the cynicism habitual with Chicagoans. Why? The individual council members who have “solved their problem” by reaching a private understanding with the mayor now appear to their constituents as sullied and compromised. Meanwhile, the questions and concerns of citizens have not been publicly acknowledged as valid; they’ve been treated dismissively, as something inconvenient, trivial, and in the way. The “punishment” for the openly dissenting council members is a loss of integrity and prestige. So who will dare to dissent next time?

    The only thing that matters in all this is that the mayor get his way, and without delay. The council has been treated with absolute condescension, and so too by extension have all the constituents they represent. If the mayor’s measure is sound, why is he so fearful of dissent or of arriving at modifications to the bill through a more open and consensual process?

    Posted by Susan Barsy | April 22, 2012, 7:15 AM

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