Monday, December 28, 2015

chirac to the potomac: more attentive to downtown interests than to constituents...,


NYTimes |  “Rahm’s particular challenge isn’t whether he leaves office — it’s that he’s going to stay in office at a time that’s particularly demanding,” said David Axelrod, a political consultant and a longtime friend of Mr. Emanuel’s.

“Look, it’s been a painful, difficult time for him,” Mr. Axelrod said. “No human being could be unaffected by this whole episode and by the sort of anger and rancor that it’s stirred. When you talk to him, he clearly feels that he missed it, and that this whole episode has uncovered a problem on which he, himself, would say he was insufficiently focused — that this was not handled well by him or his administration.”

Mr. Emanuel swept into the mayor’s office in 2011, helped in part by what black Chicagoans knew about him at the time: that Mr. Obama trusted him. Four years later, he faced a steeper climb in a city that had gotten to know him better. He was forced into a runoff with Jesus G. Garcia, a county commissioner who was seeking to become the city’s first Latino mayor, partly because of critics who said Mr. Emanuel was too brusque and more attentive to the wishes of downtown interests than the needs of residents from some poorer neighborhoods.

The mayor, whose clash with public schoolteachers helped set off the city’s first teachers’ strike in a quarter-century, drew special anger in 2013 for overseeing the closing of nearly 50 public schools, many of them in black and Latino neighborhoods. After winning the unexpectedly tense campaign in April, Mr. Emanuel promised that he had gotten the city’s message.

The start of Mr. Emanuel’s second term already was complicated by the city’s fiscal problems. Facing mounting pension payments and sinking credit ratings, Mr. Emanuel pushed through the largest property tax increase in the city’s modern history. Also, the possibility of another teachers’ strike looms.