by Ben Joravsky
Well, let me get to my point.
It's only fair that I take some time to applaud them for doing the right thing. So, take a bow, Chicago.
The elected school board referendum won big! It carried roughly 87 percent of the vote in the 327 precincts where it was on the ballot. Yay, democracy!
I take that as a major collective middle finger—to carry over the metaphor from a previous post—by the voters to a certain Chicago mayor named Rahm Emanuel.
As you may or may not remember, the movement to elect a school board emerged from the rebellion of parents over the school closings/turnarounds and longer school day ordered by Mayor Emanuel with the eager consent of his school board appointees, who have about as much backbone as a daisy.
Tired of a system in which the mayor's school board appointees obey his every command, whether parents like it or not, a citywide coalition of activists got together to promote an elected school board.
Initially, they wanted a citywide referendum on the matter, asking voters, yes or no—do you want to replace the mayoral appointed system with an elected one?
As expected, the mayor strongly resisted.
The law only allows three citywide questions in any election. So Mayor Emanuel thwarted the elected-school-board reform activists by filling the ballot with silly questions that have no bearing on what goes on in this town.
Mayor 1, people nothing.
The activists responded by rounding up ten aldermen who were willing to use their authority to have the elected-school-board question put on their wardwide ballots.
But Emanuel thwarted that move my calling on his new best friend—49th Ward alderman Joe Moore—to bury it in City Council red tape.
Mayor 2, people nothing.
So the activists were forced to collect enough signatures to get the question on different precincts in different wards.
Call it democracy, helter-skelter style.
Well, as I said, it won big in every precinct, including those in the 49th, where Moore lives, and the 47th, where Mayor Emanuel lives.
Not that the mayor cares. If we've learned anything about our mayor in these last two years, it's that he does what he wants regardless of the voters.
If there's a collective middle finger in the air, it's his—and it's aimed straight at you, Chicago.
Your work's just getting started.