Not really sure what it is about Mayor Emanuel and public libraries, but the dude never looks so happy as when he's cutting their hours or firing their staff.
In this case, he's vowing to close the branch libraries on Mondays. Or as he might put it—let those fuckers get their books on Amazon!
Apparently, neither the mayor nor anyone he knows actually uses a public library, even though the one in his hometown of Wilmette is positively lovely, with a fireplace and everything.
But what the mayor should know by now is that thousands and thousands of ordinary Chicagoans depend on the libraries, if for nothing else than a relatively quiet place to do homework after a long day in the classroom.
And as we all know by now—the mayor loves long days in the classroom. Well, at least for everybody else.
In fact, lots of those ordinary Chicagoans showed up to protest at city hall last fall, when Mayor Emanuel proposed to cut about $11 million from the libraries, which are already understaffed and underfunded.
Those protests got so many aldermen fired up that they forced Mayor Emanuel to compromise and "only" cut about $8 million from the libraries.
In turn, the aldermen got so giddy with appreciation for the mayor that they voted fifty to nothing to approve his budget, mental health clinic closings, and massive water-sewer tax hike included.
What a crew....
Now, Mayor Emanuel has decided to break his word and close the branch libraries on Mondays, even though he swore up and down he'd keep them open six days a week.
They're already closed on Sundays—during which time, under the mayor's plan, children are supposed to study at Starbucks.
Let's get one thing straight—this has nothing to do with finances. This city's loaded with money, starting with the $700 or so million in the Tax Increment Financing slush funds.
Not sure why Mayor Emanuel won't tap the TIF slush to fully fund the libraries—probably cause he's gearing up to waste most of it on some spectacularly stupid spectacle like the G-8 summit he's so thirsty to bring to town.
Why, this city's so rich we're getting ready to throw roughly $31 million to a developer who has enough brains to hire Mayor Emanuel's former campaign manager as his consultant on a deal on the north lakefront.
Here—read all about it....
And we can waste another $7 million on a grocery store in Greektown that will go across the street from another grocery store. No money for libraries but millions for Greektown grocery stores.
Here—read all about that.....
Oh, and let's not forget the $4 million he wants to spend on a grocery store in North Center. Or the $15 million in TIF funds that Mayor Emanuel is practically begging the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to take.
Please, CME, please—will even close the libraries if you take our $15 million!
That would be the same CME which recently got well over $100 million in tax breaks from the state. Speaking of spectacularly stupid wastes of money.
So if money's not the issue, why is the mayor being so hard on the libraries? I suspect he's looking for another opportunity to beat up a union—in this case, the union for library employees. The mayor loves beating up unions. Probably figures it will get him contributions from gazillionaires—like the boys at CME—when he gets ready to run in Iowa's 2016 Democratic caucus.
Though with his record, the mayor might be better off running in the Republican caucus.
In the meantime, here's a hint for kids and parents looking for a library on Mondays. Head on up to lovely Wilmette. Just tell them Mayor Rahm sent you. I'm sure they'll be happy to give you a cozy seat by the fire....