Candidates Who Passed the Blizzard Test

Snowpocalypse 2011 added a new issue to the mayoral race: Which of these candidates would you want running the city during a blizzard? Only Rahm Emanuel and Gery Chico passed the test.

The mayor is the city’s chief housekeeper, in charge of cleaning the streets and cutting the grass. As former head of the park district, which supervises more grass than any city department, Chico has some experience in that role.

As the storm hit, Emanuel was attending a fundraiser at the home of President Obama’s best friend, Marty Nesbitt. Chico was helping to push a car out of snow -- and making sure a campaign aide filmed his heroics for distribution to the media.
The morning after, Chico attended the Union League Club debate, where he criticized the city’s handling of the refugee crisis on Lake Shore Drive. Then he headed over to Logan Square to start shoveling out motorists. Emanuel was shoveling, too, in Roscoe Village. He also shook hands with Streets and San drivers at O’Hare and helped push a police SUV out of the snow.

The storm gave Emanuel a chance to indulge in one of his favorite political pastimes: chewing out an underling. Mayor Daley sent Chief of Staff Raymond Orozco out  to explain the Lake Shore Drive crisis to the media, so Emanuel showed us how he’ll take that task from the mayor

“We need to get to the bottom of what happened last night on Lake Shore Drive. With hundreds of passengers stranded for hours, it’s clear that there were mistakes made that we can never let happen again,” Emanuel said in a statement. “And we need a comprehensive review to determine what went wrong and what went right throughout the city.”

 Crain’s Chicago Business’s Greg Hinz interpreted that as, “If he’s elected, heads will roll.”

If he’s elected, Emanuel will carry on Daley’s tradition of finding a fall guy for his administration’s failures. (As John Kass wrote, that will be Streets and San Chief Tom Byrne, whose department failed to keep Lake Shore Drive passable.)

Del Valle got up at 6:30 a.m. to shovel himself out of his garage so he could make the Union League Club debate. (His alley was blocked by a trapped car, so he had to get a ride from a supporter.) But as a candidate, he seemed more focused on phonebanking to snowbound voters.

Before the storm, he issued a press release on meeting the needs of the homeless who were about to freeze. Afterwards, he speculated that the cost of snow removal may require a supplemental budget appropriation this year. Important issues, but not what Chicagoans want to hear during a blizzard. They want to hear how their mayor is going to get rid of the snow.

Carol Moseley Braun only said she was “disappointed” that Mayor Daley was not directly involved in snow removal efforts.

Full Coverage: Blizzard 2011
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