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Rahm Emanuel Tue Aug 23 2011
Yesterday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel celebrated closing in 100 days as the leader of our city by touting some of his accomplishments. Some of the steps forward include better transparency and saving taxpayer money but he also accompanied it with a public opinion poll on the side.
From his release:
• Outlined $75 million in savings for 2011 on the first day in office, over $50 million of which have already been realized;
• Announced the redeployment of nearly 750 additional officers to Chicago's neighborhoods;
• Secured more than 4,000 private-sector jobs in neighborhoods across the city;
• Signed an Executive Order on his first day in office that begins to close the revolving door between City Hall and lobbyists;
• Developed a new City-wide Credit Card and Reimbursement Policy, reduced the number of City credit cards from 500 to 30 and eliminated City petty-cash funds;
• Initiated reforms to the City's procurement process by posting non-competitive contracting online for public review and implementing a Reverse Auction initiative;
• Implemented unprecedented City procurement modernization initiative to reach about $25 million in savings by 2013;
• Championed a stronger curfew ordinance to protect young people across the city;
• Launched Internet Essentials, a public-private partnership that will provide access to high-speed, reliable Internet service for families of 330,000 students across the city;
• Unveiled the Micro-Market Recovery Program to address foreclosures and stabilize property values on a community level to protect residents and neighborhoods;
• Advocated for state legislation to enable Chicago Public Schools to lengthen the school day and year;
• Engaged with Chicagoans through innovative public forums by hosting a groundbreaking Facebook town-hall, answering questions during a telephone town-hall, holding a live conversation during a virtual good government town-hall and launching the City's first-ever interactive budget website, Chicagobudget.org;
• And published more than 200 data sets, allowing the people across Chicago to see City employee salaries, crime statistics, and contracts dating back to 1993, among many others, as part of an unprecedented open data initiative.
Over the weekend Chicagoan were asked their opinion of the Mayor. The general public views the new Mayor with surprisingly good numbers.
Job approval - 79 percent
Job disapproval - 16 percent
Racial breakdown of the job approval numbers...
Polls tend to be snapshots in time of an uninformed public. How many people are paying close attention to the battle between CPS and CTU or Rahm's fight with public union employees?
As a political junkie and a progressive I tend to pay closer attention than the average Joe and have a political leaning favoring workers and public education. Rahm decided to send his kids to a high priced charter school. While he touted private companies bringing jobs to Chicago he was also threatening to cut public employees jobs and/or benefits.
These are details often left out of polls because news media glosses over it or because people are busy worrying about their lives rather than the happenings of City Hall.
Thus his approval ratings remain high. It would take a big scandal or catastrophe for his favorability numbers to plummet in the short-term. In the long-term they will more than likely trend downwards (they are so high right now it is about the only place for them to go). It comes with the territory and it also comes with making tougher decisions that are inevitably ahead. These decision will start to impact everyday people and they will take a notice. Their opinion of the mayor will then change.
Rahm has the opportunity to cash in some of his political capital with these great numbers. It will be a testament to his future as mayor to see what he does with it. Will he sit on it, take the side of a big business by privatizing public spaces or work or will implement real progressive change needed to strengthen the longevity of the city.
100 days in - what is your opinion of our Mayor so far?