by Ben Joravsky
The governor recently revealed that tidbit in an interview with the Sun-Times editorial board.
My guess is that the mayor's in a snit 'cause the governor won't rubber-stamp his deal to set up a Chicago casino completely controlled by City Hall.
Just as the governor put the kibosh on the mayor's plans to shove public money at the Cubs to rebuild Wrigley Field.
And just as the governor might—if we're really, really lucky—block the mayor's cockamamy scheme to waste $55 million in property taxes building a basketball arena for DePaul University and hotel on the near-south side.
In any event, Governor Quinn shouldn't be too upset over the mayoral cold shoulder. The list of people the mayor's not talking to is almost as long as the list of cronies he's doling out goodies to.
I'm starting to think that Mayor Emanuel's like a "mean girl" from New Trier—his alma mater—who won't talk to people who aren't skinny, blonde, and rich.
The mayor hasn't talked to Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, since their infamous August 2011 meeting, where he told her, "F . . ."
Well, you know what he told her.
The mayor wouldn't even give mental health activists the courtesy of a meeting as he closed six of the 12 clinics.
He's also never met with parents or students protesting his school closures.
From what I can tell, Mayor Emanuel only meets with people he needs things from. Obviously, he doesn't feel he needs anything from mental health patients or public school parents. So the hell with them.
But he does need something from Governor Quinn. He needs him to sign on to his casino plan and his basketball arena/hotel deal.
Just in case you've forgotten—the mayor wants to take $55 million in property tax dollars and use it to buy land near McCormick Place so he can build a basketball arena for DePaul and a hotel there.
This ranks up there with some of the dumbest TIF ideas I've seen in the last 20 years—and that's saying a lot.
The whole point of the TIF program is to spark development in blighted, low-income communities by giving developers an incentive to build where they otherwise would not. But there are plenty of developers looking to build on the near-south side without a subsidy.
More to the point, by buying the land, Mayor Emanuel will be taking it off the tax rolls. So he'll essentially have to jack up your property taxes—to compensate for the land that he's taking off the tax rolls. And spending $55 million to do it!
Its such a laughably bad idea that it should be dead on arrival. And it would be—in just about any other political universe.
But here in Chicago—my guess is that there will be very little opposition outside of activists, parents, teachers, and Reader writers—the very people Mayor Emanuel despises the most and listens to the least.
We can't expect opposition from his appointees on the park district or school boards. You can depend on the business and civic communities to go along—as they did with Mayor Daley and the Olympics.
As for the aldermen—yeah, I know. I'm laughing, too.
No, if we have any hope of killing the $55 million deal, it's in Springfield. The mayor's got to get that project through the house and senate. And even if the legislators pass it, he's got to win over Governor Quinn.
Which means that sooner or later, whether he likes it or not, Mayor Emanuel's going to have to talk to Governor Quinn.
He may even have to be nice to him. No F-bombs. Butter him up. Talk to Quinn the way he talked to Governor Blagojevich just a few days before he was arrested—when Emanuel wanted him to bend election law on his behalf.
Here, read all about it. It's truly one of the more fascinating—if overlooked—chapters in recent Illinois history.
Stay strong, Governor. Don't buckle. If the mayor's having a hissy fit, it's 'cause you're doing the right thing.