Rahm Emanuel earned his political breakthrough while working as the chief fundraiser for Chicago’s Richard M. Daley during his first mayoral campaign in 1989. When Emanuel moved on to positions in the White House and a Congressional job, Daley often functioned as a mentor.
Yet in his first five months in the office formerly occupied by Daley, Emanuel has laid the foundation to dismantle many of the core tenets of Daley’s long tenure as mayor. Changing Gears senior editor Micki Maynard, writing in The Atlantic, examines the changes outlined by Emanuel.
In part, they’re driven by finances. In facing an unprecedented $637 million budget deficit, Emanuel has proposed police and fire department cuts – two sacred budget lines in the Daley era – among a laundry list of other proposed reductions.
On Friday, Emanuel’s proposed $10 million cut to the city’s library budget, one that would cost the city 284 jobs, drew a frosty reception from some city aldermen, according to our partner station WBEZ.
After a dozen years of deficits, Emanuel has no choice. “The highest priority is to get the city’s fiscal house in order,” Joe Moore, an alderman from the city’s north side, tells Maynard.
But the differences between the two mayors branch beyond fiscal conditions. Stark differences also exist in their approaches to communication, their transparency in government dealings and personal style.
As The Atlantic headline suggests, Emanuel has become “the Anti-Daley.”