Efforts to recall Emanuel continue


Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) held a town hall meeting on Chicago’s West Side Jan. 9 to discuss the progression of a bill that could lead to the recall of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Ford was accompanied with other sponsors of the bill along with more than 100 community members who support the recall efforts. Those who attended the meeting said tensions were high as people were critical of Emanuel’s mishandlings of recent city affairs.  

The town hall meeting follows Ford’s recent discussion with House Speaker Mike Madigan the day before. Ford believes the meeting went well with Madigan, but admits the bill is far from a done deal.  

“The good thing is the speaker is not working against me on this,” Ford said. “But the speaker told me I have my work cut out for me.”

Ford and his eight cosponsors need 71 votes for the bill to pass the house.

A push for legislation to recall Emanuel comes as added pressure for an already fatigued Emanuel administration following a nationally scrutinized 2015 campaign. Most recently was how the mayor’s office suppressed the release of dash cam footage showing a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. These recall efforts come as more and more Chicagoans begin feeling disenfranchised.

“Ever since (Emanuel) was re-elected it’s like new allegations of corruptions are hitting headlines every month,” said Carlos Salazar, a self-described “Rahm hater.”

“First it was the mental health clinics, then closing the schools, the (Barbara Byrd-Bennett) kick-backs, and now covering up police killings,” Salazar said, referring to Emanuel closing six of Chicago’s 12 mental health clinics that were predominantly in lower-income communities, his approving the closure of 50 Chicago Public Schools, and Byrd-Bennett’s guilty plea on kickback charges.

Since the release of the dash cam shooting video last November, Emanuel has announced that more tasers will be implemented into the Chicago Police Department, discouraging the use of lethal force, and this week Emanuel introduced a proposal to raise the tobacco buying age to 21 that would also increase taxes on tobacco and raise $6 million to go towards CPS students.

Even though some see the concerted recall effort as a Hail Mary pass in the fourth quarter, some see it as a deceitful attempt to politicize tragic events for personal gain. State Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno believes Ford and his fellow Democrats are doing just that.

“It’s amazing to me to see some of the democrats, even those in Legislature, disingenuously embracing the efforts to recall the mayor,” Radogno said at a luncheon. She believes the efforts are pointless as they will not affect the current mayor, and thinks all of that energy being spent on a predestined-failed bill should go into reform within Chicago’s political climate.

“I agree with (Radogno),” said Sujeily Velazquez, an Emanuel supporter. “What has been done is unfortunate, but fighting among each other is not going to bring any true reform.”

She, like, Radogno, said working on a common goal like police reform can produce far more successful results.