Emanuel reflects on accomplishments after first 30 days in ‘great job’
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org June 16, 2011 1:04PM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel holds press conference at City Hall and discuss the Administration's progress during the first 30 days, Thursday, June 16, 2011. | John H. White~Sun-Times. Mayor Rahm Emanuel holds press conference at City Hall and discuss the Administration's progress during the first 30 days, Tuesday, June 14, 2011. | John H. White~Sun-Times.
Updated: August 3, 2011 10:22PM
Standing beside two giant checklists of promises made and delivered, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday reflected on his first 30 days in office in a “great job” he has already grown to love because of the power it holds to change peoples’ lives.
“I’m proud of this. But as I think you know by now, I ain’t resting on it,” Emanuel told a City Hall news conference.
“I consider this, as a father of three, my report card. … What matters isn’t this checklist. That’s significant for holding me and my administration accountable to the public. What matters most is how people feel it and does it help them in their lives.”
Emanuel has raced through his first month in office like an Energizer bunny living on borrowed time. Another day, another campaign promise delivered.
Like a football team hitting the field with a scripted first series of plays, the new mayor came into office with a definite game plan and a few “good news” announcements in his back pocket.
The checklist displayed Thursday includes 23 initiatives that Emanuel views as accomplishments.
They range from authorizing $75 million in cuts to both the schools and city budgets, redeploying 650 Chicago Police officers and luring 2,700 private sector jobs to Chicago to bolstering ethics reforms, installing protected bike lanes and convening a summit of grocery store executives to confront the “food desert” that has left inner-city communities with precious few shopping choices.
The list also includes a campaign promise delivered on Thursday: eight sets of online data to provide the most extensive look yet at lobbyists who influence city legislation and decision-making. They include clients, compensation, gifts, expenditures and activities.
Emanuel is a former North Side congressman who spent nearly two years as White House chief of staff. He has rubbed elbows with world leaders and corporate CEO’s.
But Emanuel said he has come to learn that being a congressman doesn’t hold a candle to being mayor of Chicago.
“This is a great job. … You can intimately see the type of things that you’re doing and how they impact peoples’ lives,” the new mayor said.
Emanuel noted that on the day he announced Comcast’s plan to help bridge Chicago’s digital divide, he was a little early for his next meeting and so he used the time to stop at 7th District police headquarters to ask the commander how he was using the 57 officers reassigned to that district the week before.
“Where else can you go making a decision about how you’re gonna reallocate police officers, walk into a police department about a week later and ask a commander, ‘What’s your strategy? How are you gonna use it? Where are you gonna go?’ Where else do you have the impact of the decisions you’re making?” the mayor said.
“There were times I left Congress — and I loved it —I’d get on a plane. I’d come down and do my Congress On Your Corner at the grocery store and they had no idea what I was doing. On my way home, I asked the same question of myself. What was I doing in Washington? Here, you can make a decision and impact people’s lives.”
He added, “Do I have disappointments? Yeah — that I haven’t gotten all of this checked off yet and made that bigger impact because I know change is essential to the city’s future.”
Asked to put a grade on his 30-day report card, Emanuel gave himself an “incomplete” and the staffers who put up with his hard-driving ways an “A.”