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The Mechanics
« Financeghanistan Mayor Daley's Budget: One Fine Piece of Assets, Pt. 2 »

Chicago Tue Dec 01 2009

Obama Needs to Be the Big City President

I remember when everybody was swooning over our first cosmopolitan "big city" president, who was going to "get" big city issues. Chope hange.

Now mayors are pointing out that the stimulus package was supposed to help cities avoid this nightmare scenario. During the bill's conception, mayors stressed that a state-focused stimulus would bring slow, inefficient results, and that more jobs could be created if money were funneled directly to urban areas. In a report issued last winter, the U.S. Conference of Mayors listed more than 15,000 "ready-to-go" projects that could provide 1.2 million new jobs in just two years.

So what happened, exactly? "I think we were listened to," says Stamford, Connecticut, Mayor Dannel Malloy, who will run for governor of his state as a Democrat in 2010. "I just think we were then ignored. And I don't think we were necessarily ignored by the president. I think we were ignored by the Congress." Vice President Biden, the stimulus sheriff, has echoed this explanation. In a September speech on the stimulus, he lamented that "Congress, in its wisdom, decided that the governors should have a bigger input."

But the White House can't blame this shift entirely on Capitol Hill. Biden, Emanuel, and other administration officials spent late nights and much political capital shaping the finer details of the stimulus package in ways that thrilled states but disappointed cities. As Brookings scholar Thomas Mann has observed, "Obama's hands were all over this bill from start to finish. ... The nitty-gritty legislative work identifying where and how these decisions could be implemented ... was done in Congress with the direct participation of key Obama administration staff."

 
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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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