What has Rahm Emanuel done for the City of Chicago since taking office? Has he stuck to his promises of change? Critics have been comparing him to Obama calling him a man of words, but not action. Is there any truth to this comparison, or are they purposely overlooking his projects to justify their stance? Decide for yourself as you read over Mayor Emanuel’s latest accomplishments.
Protected Bike Lanes
According to Fox News Chicago, in 2010 almost 4000 bicyclists were killed or injured in Chicago. The cost of these accidents is in the billions and with Chicago in debt, prevention is valuable. Mayor Emanuel just celebrated the start of the protected bike lane project in Chicago on June 7. This was one of his promises to Chicagoans’; to provide safe, affordable transportation for every walk of life. By the end of the protected bike lane construction, Chicago will have 100 miles to safely maneuver their bicycles.
$75 Million in Chicago Public School (CPS) Savings
Schools across the states are experiencing budget problems and are forced to eliminate teachers and programs. This has been a tough battle with parents of Chicago Public School (CPS) students and school officials. Trying to avoid cutting education, Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard have devised and announced a plan as of June 2 that would create savings of $75 million. They plan to accomplish this by eliminating central office positions that are vacant, about to have someone retire, or resigned from. They will also keep from upgrading products and equipment, increase utility efficiency, cut internship programs, lower debt servicing costs, and cut custodial help as well as vehicle fleet.
Internet Essentials Program
Mayor Emanuel has brought the City of Chicago together with Comcast to draft an incredible program called Internet Essentials. There are many families in the Chicago community that cannot afford high speed internet to do basic functions like schoolwork, job hunting, and learning. Internet Essentials will provide this internet service to 330,000 low-income student families. The programs works by offering a monthly discount leaving only $10 left for the families to pay. They will also have the option to purchase computers for only $150. The program will actually kick-off in the fall when the school season begins.
Executive Order for Budget Planning
With Chicago’s budget in shambles, it was critical that Mayor Emanuel address the issue as fast as possible. On May 20, Mayor Emanuel used his Mayoral powers to sign an executive order to form a plan for the Chicago budget. This plan is supposed to account for every dollar the tax payer’s have put in through close analysis. They will create three year forecasts by picking apart the debt, financial policies, liabilities, and reserves.
Making Chicago Government Transparent
Mayor Emanuel has not failed when it comes to the task of making Chicago government transparent. When the proposal for the budget planning is drawn up and ready to be viewed, he will make sure it is posted online for all residents to see. He has also posted the salaries of city workers on the city website as of June 8. While the above actions are encouraging to residents, a great deal of transparency will come through the TIF reform taskforce. Their job will be to regulate wards by deciding on guidelines for the TIF to follow. They will also measure returns on investment through performance as well as make TIF information available to the public.
With these notables it is hard to argue that Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has failed to accomplish much beyond speaking. In fact, it seems he is well on his way to fixing Chicago.