Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first TV ad of his 2015 re-election campaign is under fire as a coalition of community groups demands it be taken off the air.
The 30-second spot, called "Clean Air," features Chicagoan Kim Wasserman praising Emanuel's response to toxic coal plant pollution affecting residents' lungs (including her son's) in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods on the West Side of town.
Two years ago Emanuel made a pact with the plants' owner, Midwest Generation, to shut down the smokestacks amid growing resident and activist outcry.
But a coalition of community groups went to City Hall Wednesday to demand the ad be taken off air. The groups say it was activists who got the plants shut down, not Emanuel.
“What do you think about a guy who tries to take a community victory and turn it into his own political gain,” said Jerry Mead Lucero from the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization.
Several protesters stood in City Hall with signs saying “ads make me sick” and calling the latest ad a “loser move” before delivering a cease and desist order to the mayor’s office.
Emanuel’s campaign spokesman released a statement on the issue Wednesday.
“Community groups spent a decade fighting these coal plants,” the statement read. “Mayor Emanuel heard their concerns and quickly joined the fight. This was a fight by hundreds of community activists that he was proud to play a small role in.”
Supporters of Emanuel say the groups protesting are linked to those opposing the mayor in the upcoming election.
Protest leaders said that was not was the demonstration was about and would not comment on the matter.