Education reformer, patron of arts or just a snappy dresser?
COMPILED BY KATE GROSSMAN
“I’ve admired the mayor’s tenacity in delivering Chicago a longer school day and a longer school year. This is a good thing for the students of Chicago! Studies show that more time on task results in better-prepared students for the workforce, which paves the way for economic growth.”
— Gery Chico, 2011 mayoral candidate and chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education
“If you can’t say something nice about a person, don’t say anything at all. … Emanuel is fit. He has nice clothes. Has a head of great hair.”
— Karen Lewis, Chicago Teachers Union President
“One year doesn’t say much. ...What the one year says more about is effort than anything else. And if you ask me to grade him on effort, I’ll give him a B+, certainly the guy is working hard. That I can judge. But in terms of effectiveness … you have to give him time, one year is just not enough.”
— Miguel del Valle, 2011 mayoral candidate, former state senator and education advocate.
“Rahm Emanuel, as expected, is a skilled technocrat who has made several laudable improvements to 'streamline' and open government but one with less interest in human services. His education proposal of a longer school day with no indication of academic content or new direction to reverse the failures of the present system is a perfect example of a technocratic approach — a non-answer devoid of essential content, suggesting all we need is more of the same. He has not yet been able to come up with a genuine answer to the city’s economic problems and seems uninterested in the issues of poverty.”
— Don Rose, Political consultant and on-line columnist for Chicago Daily Observer
“From an arts and culture perspective, I would give Mayor Rahm Emanuel high marks on his first year in office. They say a big part of success is showing up and Mayor Emanuel is ‘showing up’ at cultural events across the city. Plus he’s using his office and position of authority to shine a spotlight on the role the arts in creating jobs, strengthening schools, and attracting talent and tourists to Chicago. Mayor Emanuel sent a great signal to the arts community with the wise appointment of Michelle Boone as Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. … More recently the mayor fulfilled a campaign promise by launching the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan in February. … If Mayor Emanuel pulls this off, it will be a powerful testament to his arts legacy and Chicago will be better off because of it for years to come.”
— Ra Joy, Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois
“In his first 12 months as Mayor, Rahm Emanuel has been confronted with no shortage of fiscal challenges demanding immediate attention. Much to the Mayor’s credit and the City’s benefit, the Emanuel administration has made important strides in reducing the structural deficit, improving financial planning and moving forward on multi-year economic development and infrastructure plans. The City’s future financial health now hinges on whether Mayor Emanuel and his team can continue this momentum by convincing the Illinois General Assembly to reform and stabilize the City’s pension systems in a manner that does not unduly burden Chicago taxpayers.”
— Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, an independent, non-partisan government research organization
“Obviously, the mayor’s commitment to put a lot more police on the street is a good thing. I don’t doubt that he and [Police Supt. Garry] McCarthy are committed to this. My concern is that crime is up. The piece we have to work on is responsibility and community empowerment. It’s going to take a real voice from the City to help lead this empowerment and partnership.”
— Rev. Michael Pfleger, Faith Community of St. Sabina and Archdiocese Of Chicago Rep. for Violence Initiatives