A Glance at Rahm Emanuel’s First 100 Days as Chicago Mayor

Richard Daley served 22 years as mayor of Chicago. Rahm Emanuel has held the position for all of 100 days. It would, at first glance, appear to be an insufficient amount time to measure the effectiveness of the new mayor. But Emanuel’s not shy about claiming a few early achievements.

There has already been, “a paradigm shift of revolutionary proportions,” he said Wednesday night, regarding an agreement with some Chicago workers to have public employees compete with private-sector peers to perform service at lower costs.

That’s not all. Emanuel has hired a new police superintendent and new schools chief, and announced jobs for a region that carries a 10 percent unemployment rate, according to our partner station WBEZ, which hosted a summit of Emanuel and key advisors to mark the 100-day milestone. He says he’s added 750 police officers to street beats.

Still, a projected $600-million budget deficit looms next fiscal year, and Emanuel has only begun to address deeper questions about jobs, education and crime. “There’s no real meal cooked,” Roosevelt University political analyst Paul Green told WBEZ. “It’s going to take time.”

Other notable moments from the WBEZ event:

  • Emanuel said Chicago students would not get ahead if the city continued to provide what he called the shortest school day of any major city. He said teachers would receive a 2 percent raise in exchange for a 90-minute addition to school days.
  • He aims to cut the number of Chicago residents living in food deserts, approximately 400,000, in half. “We’ll begin to make a dent on the public health piece of this, which is people having the opportunity to have access to fresh fruits, vegetables and meats in their area,” he told WBEZ.


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