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Emanuel endorses Supt. Weis’ gang meeting

Updated: February 16, 2011 9:35AM

Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel Monday endorsed Police Supt. Jody Weis’ strategy of meeting gang leaders to warn them of harsh consequences if they engage in violence.

“If it’s a meeting to let them know that they’re on notice that any time they cross that line into unlawful behavior ... that the full force of the law enforcement community, the police department, the beat officers, and our gang unit, is coming down on them, I’m for that — putting ‘em on notice,” Emanuel said. “I don’t think the superintendent is going in with the idea that he’s negotiating. I would not support negotiations. He’s there to deliver an unambiguous message.”

Emanuel has said that if elected he would replace Weis, whose contract is up March 1.

Speaking at a Northwest Side luncheon for seniors hosted by outgoing Ald. Patrick Levar (45th), Emanuel also criticized rival Gery Chico for “accepting ... with enthusiasm” the endorsement of the Chicago Tea Party Patriots, a conservative activist group.

“The entire purpose of the Tea Party is to stop the president, his agenda, and stop his presidency, and the notion that one would accept it with enthusiasm means that they see the Tea Party as legitimate in what they’re pushing in trying to stop President Obama,” Emanuel said.

Chico issued a news release blasting Emanuel for claiming that Chico had accepted the endorsement. While Chico has not renounced the endorsement, he said, “I am a lifelong Democrat and a fighter for the working families of Chicago. Unlike Mr. Emanuel falsely suggests, I did not seek the endorsement of this group and in reality, have nothing in common with them.”

Emanuel waved off the controversy rival Carol Moseley Braun stoked up Sunday night when she invoked Mel Brooks’ comedy “The Producers” to say Emanuel’s commercials showing him as “so kind, so nice” reminded her of the comedy’s Franz Liebkind character, who saw Hitler as “a kind man, he was a gentle man.” Braun said he “joke” was not meant to compare Emanuel to Hitler.

“She has already said the way it’s being interpreted is not the way she meant it,” Emanuel said. “I take Carol exactly at her word.”

Emanuel also tried to further explain his plan to extend the sales tax to “luxury services.” He has said his move would save the average working class family $200 a year. Told a family would have to spend $80,000 a year, Emanuel explained that part of the savings would come from restructuring natural gas bills.

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