|Rahm flew Randi out to build union support for the Trust|
"We've debated this long enough. I'm not in the position of analysis. I'm in the position of getting things done." -- Rahm to the City Council in 2012Back in 2012, Rahm Emanuel's proposed Infrastructure Trust got him him great press, especially with flack David Axelrod pumping it like it was the second coming of the Marshall Plan. The New York Times hailed it as the $7 billion plan that would "transform the city’s infrastructure from the skies above to the pipes underground".
This at a time when the mayor was closing half of the city's mental health clinics and school system was reportedly on the brink of collapse.
Rahm even flew in AFT Pres. Randi Weingarten to laud the Trust at Bill Clinton's Global Initiative Conference, even while the CTU was taking its strike authorization vote. Teachers were angry as hell after Rahm reneged on the 4% raise promised them the year before and the last thing on their minds was new grand privatization plan from the mayor.
I wrote at the time that this was one of the great misuses of the word trust ever. I and others pointed out that rather than creating jobs or saving schools, the Trust would more likely line the pockets of a handful of Rahm's billionaire patrons and give the mayor an unregulated slush fund to use for his own political advantage. No city program had ever been rushed through the City Council without careful review since the great parking meter heist during the Daley administration. As it turns out, the Trust did nothing and all Rahm's big "investors" were all show and no go.
|Why the question mark?|
S-T Watchdog Tim Novack writes:
But the infrastructure trust has fallen short of the expectations the mayor laid out. It has yet to raise a dime in private financing for a single public works project, records show. At the same time, it has cost Chicago taxpayers more than $5.1 million to pay for its handful of employees, offices on Wacker Drive, consulting fees and other expenses.
A top city official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, wonders why the mayor hasn’t shut down the trust.
“There’s no excuse for the mayor to avoid closing down this thing that’s been a complete failure,” the official said. “They’ve done nothing that can’t be done by [the Department of Fleet and Facilities Management] or the Public Building Commission.”
The agency’s five-member staff is overseen by a seven-member board headed by Emanuel’s appointed city treasurer, Kurt Summers. The board includes Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th), four business leaders and Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, which is an investor in the Chicago Sun-Times. There’s also a four-member advisory board that includes Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th).If this all sounds to you a lot like the mayor's current scheme to entice Jeff Bezos into moving his Amazon's HQ2 here with the promise of 50,000 new jobs, you're on to something. You get it.