Six ways Chicago will change under Rahm Emanuel
BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org May 16, 2011 1:16PM
Inauguration ceremonies of Rahm Emanuel and City Council members and more. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: June 18, 2011 12:16AM
What will be different under Mayor Emanuel from the last 22 years of Mayor Daley?
Here are six changes to watch for in short order:
1. Schools: Longer school days are coming. The state legislature has given Emanuel the authority to lengthen the school day and Emanuel has said he is eager to add an hour or an hour and a half to students’ time in school. And he may lengthen the school year. Expect more charter schools. Emanuel backs a “parent-trigger” under which a majority of parents can vote to close a school and reopen it with new staff.
2. Police: Look for more police on the street — not necessarily more police, which depends on Emanuel finding more money. But expect to see more cops walking the beat. New Police Supt. Garry McCarthy wants to route less-threatening 911 calls such as thefts under $500 to the city’s 311 center and free up officers to get out of their cars and walk the streets.
3. Garbage: Emanuel has put garbage collectors on notice that if they cannot think of a way to collect garbage more cheaply, he’ll think of a way for them. And he says he wants to bring recycling citywide, though he has not identified a way to pay for that yet.
4. Potholes and other problems: You will be able to take out your cell phone, take a picture of a pothole, graffiti or another problem you want the city to tackle and send it to the 311 Center under an app Emanuel says he is working on with Microsoft. New Ald. Ameya Pawar (He’ll be Emanuel’s aldermen after Emanuel moves back into his family home next month) also championed this new app.
5. Taxing districts: The green light for taking property off the tax rolls in downtown boom areas will turn red. Emanuel pledges much stricter standards for creating special taxing districts (TIFs) to make sure that additional money being diverted from schools and libraries is going to legitimate development purposes in areas that really are economically “blighted.”
6. Bike lanes: While Daley was a bicycling enthusiast himself, Emanuel promises to outdo him, putting up more protected bike lanes on streets around the city.