WBEZ | big box http://www.wbez.org/tags/big-box Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Mayoral hopefuls face off at activist forum http://www.wbez.org/story/big-box/mayoral-hopefuls-face-activist-forum <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/DelValle3.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago mayoral candidates are facing each other in three forums this week. But former White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel isn&rsquo;t participating in any of them.<br /><br />At a community activist forum Tuesday night, several of Emanuel&rsquo;s competitors slammed him as they pointed to an empty seat with his name on it. <br /><br />City Clerk Miguel del Valle accused Emanuel of stalling efforts to overhaul the nation&rsquo;s immigration laws. &ldquo;The individual who was supposed to sit in this chair is the individual most responsible for blocking immigration reform in the United States as a congressman [and] as the chief of staff to the president,&rdquo; del Valle said. &ldquo;How are we to expect him to protect the rights of immigrants in this city? It won&rsquo;t happen.&rdquo;<br /><br />The only other candidate hit with criticism was lobbyist Gery Chico. Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun answered a question about Chicago school closings by pointing to Chico&rsquo;s years as school board president. &ldquo;Quite frankly, Mr. Chico, you need to be responsible for some of the things that went on with the Chicago public schools,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We can do better. Our future depends on it.&rdquo;<br /><br />Chico responded. &ldquo;In 1995, the Illinois General Assembly said our schools were in crisis, long before I got there. And by the time I left in 2001, we were on the upswing,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t close schools. We built them.&rdquo;<br /><br />About 2,000 people attended the forum, sponsored by New Chicago 2011, a coalition of more than two-dozen groups. It took place at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Besides education, topics included violence prevention, human rights, jobs and housing.<br /><br /><strong>To hear the entire 74-minute forum, select &ldquo;Listen to this Story&rdquo; (above). Note that forum organizers turned off the microphone whenever a candidate exceeded a time limit.</strong></p></p> Wed, 15 Dec 2010 06:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/big-box/mayoral-hopefuls-face-activist-forum