Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Rahm's budget hearing not exactly what he had in mind

Rahm finally meets with Dyett hunger strikers. But makes no commitments. Strike continues into Day 16. 
The Sun-Times  reporter Stefano Esposito keeps referring to last night's public response at Rahm's budget hearing, as a "gripe session". Strange, but not a surprising view of democracy.

The mayor says his current public meetings are "to discuss the City's current budget outlook and solicit savings, reform and revenue ideas from residents to assist in the preparation of the 2016 budget." But in reality, as David Vitale once told me, such meetings are really about "reining in" dissident community voices.

Well, that sure as hell didn't work yesterday. With the creditors and Moody's breathing down his neck and with Dyett hunger strikers now into a health and life-threatening 16 days without solid food, those voices were not about to be reined in. The budget meeting at Malcolm X College, was turned into a demand for Rahm to stop stonewalling the Dyett school process they themselves launched months ago, and to meet face-to-face with the hunger strikers and begin serious negotiations.

Tresser: "Where is our money?"
Others grilled the mayor about the lack of transparency over the city’s tax-increment financing districts (TIFs).
“The question I have for our mayor is: Where is our money?” asked Tom Tresser of the TIF Illumination Project
In the end, Rahm was forced to agree to meet with the hunger strikers or face direct responsibility for further risks to their lives. I hear it was Forrest Claypool, Rahm's new schools CEO who pushed for the meeting. He needs this to go away.

The mayor and Claypool did meet with them after the budget meeting. But according to hunger striker Jitu Brown, the meeting with Emanuel, Claypool and board Vice Chair Jesse Ruiz lasted only about a half hour.
“It was a cordial meeting, but they made no commitments,” Brown said. “That’s not acceptable. So we’ll be on this hunger strike.”
Brown said the mayor’s office asked the protesters to end their hunger strike.
“What we got from Claypool is that he’s new, the board is new,” Brown said. “We hear that from every regime. We are not going to be pulled on that string again.”
Where does that leave things? Last night was a small victory. The protests forced some movement on Rahm's part. Possibly some division in his camp. But hunger strikers are saying that token gestures are not enough. There needs to be some serious movement on a public high school for Bronzeville and more before this battle ends.

Speaking of serious discussion, don't miss this dust up between the brilliant former Chicago teachers and Harvard doc student, Eve Ewing and charter flack Peter Cunningham on WBEZ. Brilliant Eve is too much for over-matched Peter and his consumer model (smooth-or-chunky) of education. It's about Dyett and a lot more. Listen to the whole thing.

Nice job, Eve. Facts are indeed stubborn fellows.

More support is needed. Come to the VIGIL FOR DYETT this evening at 7:30PM, Tribune Tower 435 N. Michigan


  1. "The mayor says his current public meetings are "to ... solicit savings, reform and revenue ideas...."

    Oooh, pick me, pick me! I have some revenue ideas. Lots of 'em. I'm sure the mayor will be calling me any minute....

  2. Cunningham is his own worst enemy. He contradicts himself all over the place. He says we can't have new schools because of lost population. Then he says we need new (charter) schools because parents want more choices.

    Is it just me or does "lost population" mean black and "parents want more choices" mean white?

  3. Of course it's underenrolled, the mayor purposefully screwed over the kids and the school by giving up on them. I remember reading about the online PE class and not believing it:


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.