RSS Feed  

Nobody says he's dumb, but everyone says he's an asshole.

"a terrifying death machine built from revolving doors"

don't touch the crown

Posted by teasel 02/17/2011 at 01:50PM

When Mayor Dick Daley decided not to run for another term Rahm Emanuel stepped down from White House Chief of Staff to run for Dick’s position, and Obama replaced Rahmbo with Dick’s brother Bill. Rahm and Bill worked closely together during the Clinton administration to ratify NAFTA in 1994, gutting out the labor and environmental provisions that Obama promised to re-insert during the campaign. Obama’s White House abandoned that campaign promise a few months after assuming office. You can hardly blame them: Rahmbo’s work to shove NAFTA through ratification is something he ”considers one of the crowning achievements of his government service,” and you wouldn’t want to reset the jewels of his crown. He might swear at you if you did that, or even poke you in the chest.

Filed under: |

"a terrifying death machine built from revolving doors"

"separate, unequal, and ignored"

Posted by teasel 02/17/2011 at 12:15PM

From Steve Bogira’s excellent Reader article on racial segregation and the mayor’s race:

I sought to speak with the six mayoral candidates about racial segregation, and five of them obliged. (Carol Moseley Braun’s spokesperson didn’t answer numerous calls and messages.) None of the candidates have a comprehensive plan aimed at directly addressing racial segregation, and I got the impression they hadn’t thought about the issue much. … Rahm Emanuel would only answer questions by e-mail….

I asked him in a follow-up how a city could provide those things in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty.

“We start by promoting economic development,” his response said, “and that can begin by establishing strong anchors in each community—a grocery store where there isn’t one, a transportation hub that helps residents access job opportunities, a great school that serves as a community center for job training.” He offered as an illustration the Old Town School of Folk Music’s move in 1998 to Lincoln Avenue, into a space “that had little economic vitality. By creating a strong anchor in the community and pushing small businesses to fill in around it, a vibrant local economy that creates jobs and produces revenue for the city can be established. We need to do this in more communities.”

That may be a good example of neighborhood economic development, but it seems unrelated to addressing concentrated poverty. Lincoln Square’s individual poverty rate was 13 percent in 1990 and 11 percent in 2000—well below the citywide rates of 22 percent and 19 percent those years. If Lincoln Square had been an area of concentrated poverty, would the Old Town School have even considered moving in?

I asked Emanuel if he’d make any direct efforts to desegregate neighborhoods, or if he saw desegregation as mainly a by-product of the safe streets, good schools, and jobs he’d ensure. “The latter,” he said.

He noted that he’d worked on the Plan for Transformation as vice-chair of the CHA. This was the federally funded program under which most of the city’s high-rise projects were demolished. A few of the residents got units in mixed-income developments built on the sites of the old projects; most were given rent vouchers and settled elsewhere. “While the policy was not perfect, combating the cycles of poverty that were fostered by the CHA high rises and building mixed-income housing developments scattered throughout the city has helped promote integration,” he said.

The tearing down of the high-rises offered an extraordinary chance for widespread desegregation, which might have happened had the displaced residents gotten more counseling and support to help them move to middle-class neighborhoods. But a study of the plan in the 2009 Journal of Public Affairs found that most of the displaced residents merely moved from their vertical ghettos to horizontal ones, settling in “disadvantaged, predominantly black neighborhoods.”

This is the first article I’ve seen that gives Rahm’s role at the CHA more than a passing mention. He was appointed by Mayor Daley to be its first vice chairman after the CHA regained its independence from the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1999, and helped produce the original “plan for transformation” that has guided the CHA policy to move families from public housing into homeless shelters for over a decade.

Filed under: |

"a terrifying death machine built from revolving doors"

rooting out waste and corruption in Chicago would be easier if we elected a mayor who wasn't rooted in waste and corruption

Posted by teasel 02/17/2011 at 09:43AM

21 minutes into the WTTW Valentine’s debate, Carol Marin asked Rahm Emanuel about his service at Freddie Mac, and he answered the question he wished she’d asked:

MARIN: Mr. Emanuel, in a recent debate you never answered a question about whether you earned $320,000 to attend six meetings a year on the scandal ridden mortgage giant Freddie Mac, where, on your watch, the ground work was laid for the greatest housing crisis since the great depression. Would you agree that you and your colleagues on that board were asleep at the switch? But, first of all, did you earn it?

EMANUEL: I was paid like every other board member.

The question was “did you earn it,” not “were you paid like other board members.” Did any board member earn it? Did the other board members get campaign contributions too?

Rahm continued:

EMANUEL: I was appointed to that position because I was Vice Chair of the Chicago Housing Authority, and President Clinton wanted somebody with public housing and mixed income housing background. In addition to that point, I was there in 1999 and 2000, the housing crisis is in 2007 and 2008. As you well know, Ben Bernanke, as well as Alan Greenspan, the entire Treasury Department, as well as the entire fed, nobody predicted in 2000 a housing crisis in 2008. The only person who probably believes that I could have seen ahead is my mother. Eight years ahead of time, not possible.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Rahm served on the board from February 2000 through May 2001, not from 1999 to 2000. It was during his actual time on the board that Freddie Mac was misreporting its earnings to mislead investors, the same board that ignored warnings about the accounting scandal from regulators that resulted in $50 million in fines for Freddie Mac. It was immediately upon his leaving the board to run for Rod Blagojevich’s congressional seat that Freddie Mac illegally donated $25,000 to Emanuel’s campaign, his third largest contributor. That contribution was part of a plan hatched during Emanuel’s time on the board to influence the House Financial Services Committee that oversaw Freddie Mac, coincidentally the first committee Rahm was appointed to.

To be fair, the Obama administration is blocking FOIA requests so we don’t actually know if Rahm ever showed up at the switch to sleep at it. For all we know he may have missed the meetings he was paid $320,000 to attend, much like taxpayers paid him not to attend the committee hearings on Freddie and Fannie because he recused himself over the conflict of interest he created when he accepted those illegal campaign contributions.

Rahm tells us he was appointed by President Clinton to serve on Freddie Mac’s board because he had been appointed by Mayor Richard Daley to serve as vice-chair of the CHA. That’s two appointments from public officials for whom Rahm raised millions of dollars ($7M for Dick’s first mayoral bid in 1989, $70M for Bill in 1992), and he’s somehow got the nuts to complain about revolving doors during this election. The number of revolving doors he’s been through makes your head spin.

He wants us to believe the appointments were based on merit and experience, but somehow he doesn’t know enough about campaign finance law after financing campaigns for over a decade to know that the campaign contributions organized by the organization he served on the board of were illegal. Asleep at the switch? He’s narcoleptic around switches.

Rahm’s role in overseeing housing finance didn’t end when he left the CHA or when he left Freddie Mac. During his first term in congress he served on the House Financial Services Committee - a detail he neglects on his campaign website - where he oversaw federal regulation of the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries. Nobody may have seen the housing crisis coming in 2000 when the groundwork was still being laid for the bubble, but well before 2003 the alarm bells were ringing and Rahm was asleep at an even bigger switch.

Forbes questioned the “wild appreciation” in the housing market all the way back in September, 2001. UCLA economist Ed Learner warned about the bubble in June 2002. Economist Dean Baker raised the same warning two months later. Economists Karl Case and Robert Shiller - who invented the Case-Schiller Home Price Index - published their warning about the housing bubble shortly after Rahm took his seat on the Finance Committee. Less than a year later Chicago’s own Northern Trust, among many others, was predicting disaster. Rahm is using the “nobody could have predicted” excuse, but plenty of people got it right. Greenspan and Bernanke were just famously wrong, and at least one of them had the decency to be embarassed by the error.

Rahmblo says he’s serious about education reform, but here he is trying to rig the curve by ignoring the people who got the answer right.

Filed under: | |