Live-blogging WBEZ's First 100: Mayor Emanuel's Early Impact on Chicago

August 24, 2011

By Elliott Ramos and Meghan Power

WBEZ will be live-blogging the forum "First 100: Mayor Emanuel's Early Impact on Chicago," which is being hosted by WBEZ's Eight Forty-Eight

The forum, which commemorates Rahm Emanuel's first 100 days in office, will happen at 7 p.m. CT, in front of a packed auditorium at the Chicago History Museum, with portions being aired Friday morning on 91.5 FM.

You can follow the full forum here via our live blog and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/wbez.

The crowd is being briefed about participating in the forum. Mics are on each end of the auditorium, where attendees can come up and ask questions to the panelists.

 

Update: 7:02PM

Alison Cuddy takes to the stage and addresses the audience

"There's a lot of excitement and enthusiasm at the idea of change. 

We hope to give you a voice in the process.  The mayor is not taking questions from the audience."

Cuddy introduces Mayor Emanuel to the audience.

 

Update: 7:09 PM

Cuddy: People were writing about fallen branches and the budget deficit.  There are many people here that will pose those questions. 

What are the top three things you're hearing from people?

Emanuel: It comes to the quality of life.  Safety of the streets, schools and finances.  Those are the fundamental issues that allow families to move forward.

 

Update: 7:14PM

Cuddy: How do you intend to compensate teachers for an extended school day considering the budget.

Emanuel: 75 percent of the teachers are getting pay raises. They are getting a two percent pay raise for another 90 minutes of class time.

Nobody’s asking anybody to not work without some type of compensation.  You cannot get from here to there on the shortest school days in the country.

"Our children are being shortchanged, they’ve been short-changed for a decade."

"The education system is for the [kids] not the adults."

 

Update: 7:27PM

Alison poses a question from a listener: Most of his 20something friends are talking about leaving Chicago.  Talking about quality of life issues, city fees and local taxes. What are you (the mayor) going to do to make Chicago more attractive to young people?

 

What is the mayor going to do to make Chicago more attractive to young people?

"They want to stay in the city, with the opportunities that come with that. [We] put 750 officers in our neighborhoods. I hold the commanders accountable. "
-- Mayor Rahm Emanuel 

 

 

The mayor talks about increasing the number of cops on the street and the investments in the school systems.

Emanuel: They want to stay in the city, with the opportunities that come with that.  [We] put 750 officers in our neighborhoods.  I hold the commanders accountable. 

Alison asks about the raising of property taxes:

Emanuel: I made a commitment, in 6,000 more kids are going to get full-day kindergarten. Parents are going to have new choices for charter and magnet schools.  No school classroom size was increased.

"We have protected the classroom."

The mayor repeatedly sidesteps the issue of raising property taxes in regards to the public school’s new tax.

Update: 7:32 PM

Emanuel comments on the hiring of Accenture, and the consolidation of the city’s services and Cook County’s.

Alison asks about the fees around parking.

Emanuel, looking to make a joke said: “We’ve all come together in our feelings about the parking meters.”

The crowd laughs and applauds.

 

Update: 7:38PM

Before Mayor Emanuel departs, he said we have to ask some core questions. This is not just a budget exercise. 

Emanuel:  “I’m not interested in doing this for government. I’m interested in doing this for the people of Chicago and their dreams.”

Chicago right now, because of its people, location and transportation is a world class city, competitive. We have to continue to invest to stay competitive.  We have the best transportation system in the country.

We have some of the best education and research systems in the country.  We lead in risk management, in insurance, pharmaceuticals.  Where are we going to grow?  When I say I want to use casino money, it’s to stay competitive.  

Everyone of these decisions are about our future.

Emanuel thanks Alison and wishes the crowd a good night.

 

Update: 7:45PM

Alison introduces Chicago Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy, CTA president, Forrest Claypool, city comptroller Amer Ahmad,  and Michelle Boone, Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

 

Update: 7:58PM

An audience member asks if the comptroller's office have any plans about looking to the Universities for talent?

Ahmad: The comptroller’s office is focused on being an excellent stuart on all of the city’s resources. We are in a budget situation, we’re not hiring lots of folks, but we are always looking for support from our partners in the accounting world.  One of the things we’ve all noticed is there are a lot of folks that have been here for a long time, and that processes have changed.  I do look forward to brining new talent to bring some of these practices into play.

 

Update: 8:04PM

Question from the audience: What is the face of the CAPS program? They seem to be disappearing.

McCarthy: We’re about to take introspection to the entire agency.  I have a philosophy that CAPS has sunk into a program. Some of the structure is certainly salvageable.  I want to create CAPS 2.0. We’re going to enhance it. And have it be a model for how you do community policing.

 

CAPS Program
"I'm looking to tip the scales on community policing. I want to create CAPS 2.0. My goal is to set the model for how we should be doing community policing in this country."
-- Garry McCarthy, Chicago Police Superintendent 

 

Joe Ferguson, the city's inspector general, takes to the mic:

 

Ferguson: At this particular moment, we have a great opportunity to openly discuss all the ills because blame is not an issue.  Because everyone is new more or less. There are structural problems.

Update: 8:21 PM

Question from the audience: Are you going to be doing any additional enforcement?

 

McCarthy: We do stop pedestrians in Chicago, we don’t do that in New York. (audience laughs)  I’m a big believer in taking care of the little things.  

Every single day, I sit down and go through every single shooting that occurred in the city.

Cuddy asks about curfew enforcement.

McCarthy: I want to keep kids off the streets and in the schools.

Citizen involvement

"I need citizens to step up and take a corner, so we can move on and take the next corner. I don't want the citizens to take the lead, we will take the lead. I'm not asking them to do anything they shouldn't be doing, I'm not asking them to do anything out of the ordinary."
-- Garry McCarthy, Chicago Police Superintendent 

 

Update: 8:30 PM

 

An audience member asks about contracts, hiring and corruption.

Boone: Our department is working very closely with Joe Ferguson’s department.  We’re not doing a lot of hiring right now. We’ve eliminated about 10 percent of our positions. We’re following the rules.

Ahmad: We’re following the procurement rules on bids… There’s a heightened awareness on procurement issues.

McCarthy: We’re creating a system that’s based on talent.. not campaign contributions. 

 

Chicago Transit Safety
"Those efforts have lead to a whole spade of arrests, people very effectively targeting the system. We're arresting a lot of people who are repeat offenders. Safety has been our top priority."
-- Forrest Claypool, President of Chicago Transit Authority 

 

Cuddy thanks the audience and the panelists for coming.  The forum has ended.

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