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Rahm Emanuel Thu Jan 17 2013

Emanuel Questioned at Trib Event

rahm_02.jpgZack and Mia Schultz are thinking about leaving Chicago.

The Ukranian Village couple cites crime and a lack of decent schools to send their five-year-old daughter and (eventually) their other, two-year-old daughter to as the reasons. They've not yet decided to leave, they said Wednesday evening, but they're leaning towards it.

And not even reassuring words about the state of Chicago schools from Mayor Rahm Emanuel could convince them they should stay.

The Schultzs were among a crowd of close to 550 gathered in an auditorium in the Field Museum Wednesday evening to hear the mayor discuss issues facing the city with Chicago Tribune editorial page editor Bruce Dold as part of the Tribune's Chicago Forward series.

Emanuel told Dold that graduation and college acceptance rates of Chicago Public Schools students was up, but that was not enough for the Schultzs, who believe families with kids are leaving the city so their kids can go to school in the suburbs..

"I think the city is on the right track," Mia Schultz said. "I think in 10 years, perhaps, more people will stay."

The conversation was generally cordial, though it became a bit heated when Dold pointed out that while Emanuel supports banning assault weapons, very few weapons confiscated by within city limits last year were, in fact, assault weapons.

"Fewer than five percent of weapons being confiscated were assault weapons," Dold said.

Emanuel stood by his support for a ban, though he acknowledged that other factors were in play when it came to reducing violence in Chicago.

"Gun control is part of an overall strategy," he said.

The audience, for the most part, seemed to be enjoying the mayor's message and rewarded him at the end of the hour-long discussing with a partial standing ovation. Even so, some attendees were left wanting more.

Emily Metz, a 28-year-old from Ukranian Village, said she thinks Emanuel should consider focusing his efforts on fixing problems that affect residents at the ward level.

"I still feel like Rahm is sometimes operating on a national stage," Metz said. "I want to see the focus on a local level."

Emily Barry said after the discussion that she had been hoping to hear Emanuel talk more about development citywide.

"I wanted to hear more about what the development issues are," she said, adding that the mayor seems to focus talk of development on major business districts. "What about development in the Howard area? What about development in Bronzeville or Pilsen?"


Marilyn / January 18, 2013 11:54 AM

My parents left Chicago so my brother and I could get a decent education. That was 1956.

Lori / January 20, 2013 7:02 PM

Why does this so-called Democrat favor privatization of public land (Midway Airport area)? Talk about slippery slopes.

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