If suburbanites were allowed to vote in this mayoral election, Rahm Emanuel would win in a landslide. He was born in Chicago, but grew up in Wilmette, and his victory would represent the rediscovery of a city that many suburbanites -- including Emanuel’s family -- once rejected as dirty, decaying, corrupt and crime-ridden.
Although suburbanites don’t get a vote, they do have a voice: through the newspapers. The Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business all endorsed Emanuel. With few exceptions, the leadership of these publications lives outside the city of Chicago.
John Barron, the Sun-Times’ publisher lives in Oak Park. The paper’s editor, Donald Hayner, is a Chicagoan. Its most prominent editorial writer, Neil Steinberg, who wrote a column declaring that Carol Moseley Braun “represents the egomaniacal muddle that Chicago black leadership has slid into,” observes Chicago black leadership from Northbrook.
Over at the Tribune, publisher Tony Hunter is from Homer Glen, while editor Gerould W. Kern is a resident of Long Grove. The paper’s political columnist, John Kass, takes plenty of crap on his comments page for keeping an eye on the Chicago political scene from the distance of Western Springs.
Rance Crain, the man listed as editor-in-chief of Crain’s Chicago Business, doesn’t even live in Illinois. According to his official biography, “Mr. Crain works in the New York and Chicago offices of Crain Communications and resides with his wife Merrilee in Windermere, Florida.”
I’ve never expressed an opinion on who should be mayor -- or village president -- of Oak Park, Long Grove, Homer Glen, or Windermere, Fla. I can’t name any of those mayors. Given the fact that they’re not run by Chicagoans, a mayoral endorsement from the Sun-Times, the Tribune or Crain’s is like a presidential endorsement from the Toronto Star. These people are our neighbors, and they have an interest in how the election turns out. But it’s our decision to make, not theirs.
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