Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rahm! Where You Been Hidin' Yourself, Man?

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Rahm! Where You Been Hidin' Yourself, Man?
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Rahm Emanuel is neither a linguist nor a lawyer, but when confronted with a dictionary definition of the word “reside” at Tuesday’s residency hearing, he parsed it deftly.

“To live; to be present it,” the objector read from a pocket dictionary. “By that definition, do you reside in Chicago?”

“I would say yes to the first part, no to the second,” Emanuel responded.

Emanuel is arguing that legally, he need not be present in Chicago to live here, and he may be right. Even if he’s not, the Board of Elections will probably agree with him. Word is that the hearing is a sham. The fix is in. 

But if Emanuel is placed on the ballot, voters can make that same distinction. Emanuel may legally reside here, but he’s been gone the last two years, which means he’s missed out on many of the experiences that are animating voters in this election.

On his infrequent visits to Chicago, he’s flown into O’Hare and stayed at a hotel, which means he hasn’t had to drive in this town. He’s never received a $100 ticket for making a rolling right turn at a red-light camera intersection.

And since he hasn’t driven a car, he hasn’t had to park one, either. Which means he’s never called Chicago Parking LLC’s 800 number on his cell phone, to complain that the machine didn’t issue him a sticker, and been told, “We’ll send a technician. Go find another meter or you’ll be risking a ticket.”

Beyond those daily aggravations, new to Chicago life since Emanuel left for Washington, he also missed our snub by the International Olympic Committee, the trial of Rod Blagojevich, and the struggle to lower the highest sales tax in the nation.

Chicago reached a peak on Nov. 4, 2008, the night Barack Obama was elected president. The city has changed a lot since then. We’re broker and less optimistic. We’re looking for a mayor who can bring back our solvency, and our spirit. Can a guy who hasn’t been struggling alongside us understand our problems?

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