First lady Michelle Obama holds up a worm from a compost pile as she visits Iron Street Urban Farm, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, in Chicago accompanied by student worker Jeremy Jackson and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
On Tuesday, we got a chance to see the synergy that President Obama had in mind when he transferred Rahm Emanuel from White House Chief of Staff to Mayor of Chicago.
During his mayoral campaign, Emanuel made a pledge to eliminate food deserts on the South and West sides. Michelle Obama, a native South Sider who has made healthy eating one of the causes of her First Ladyship, accompanied Emanuel to a Chatham Walgreens that sells fresh fruit and vegetables. The First Lady and the Mayor announced plans to sell fresh food at 37 locations around the city.
It’s been said that the definition of a blighted neighborhood is one in which you have to walk more than five blocks to buy an orange. The city needs to do more than just set up produce sections in drug stores. It needs to get fresh fruit into gas stations and liquor stores, which are often the only commerce on impoverished blocks. They’re doing that in Detroit, where is impossible to find a grocery store open after 9 p.m. Detroit also has a produce wagon that drives around town, like an ice cream truck. We could use one of those, too.
While Emanuel gets publicity for his food desert eradication program, the Obamas are getting what they sent Emanuel back to Chicago to collect: money. The Obama Victory Fund held a fundraiser at the Plumbers Hall. Tickets ran anywhere from $100, which got you in the door, to $10,000, which got you a photo with Mrs. Obama.
We elected Emanuel because we knew he would bring the White House to Chicago. Yesterday the White House was here. Pay up.
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