by Don Washington on 2011/06/28
Evil, sneaky, petty and stupid, this is what we have to look forward to for the next four years from the Emanuel Administration. I base this on what's happening at Whittier. Evil, I mean this in the metaphysical sense of the word, the impulse that drives the action is fundamental out of relationship with human values like empathy, reflection and cooperation. The impulse for the action, in this case reneging on a ratified and funded deal to build a library because of God only knows what sinister reason. They don't feel they have to honor any agreement with anyone that they don't see as equals. That's evil because it will always lead to an abuse of power.
Sneaky, they know what they are doing is wholly unethical. They are both not living up to a political and contractual deal but they are doing so in the dead of night and are depending on the press being too damn lazy to cover this thing. Think about what they did. They showed up with construction equipment to start building the library inside the school. Ironically in the very beginning the Whittier parents just wanted a library and the struggle evolved as struggles do into La Casita. Now they are engaged in a shadowy strategy where they toy with arresting the parents, use police intimidation to pressure the parents and are probably just waiting the parents and press out. No matter what they've already decided what is not going to happen; they are not going to honor the original agreement. If it's about money it's about TIF funds, not the cost of the building. If it's about money it's about who controls the money spending decisions and what they mean by that is not you and not me, the public has no role in what happens with its tax dollars but one can't just say that or nakedly break an agreement... so expect the under handed weasel like policy practices to continue. It defines Mayor Emanuel and he may not be able to help himself after a lifetime dedicated to being small ruthless and sneaky.
Petty, let's be clear what's happening here. A community spent a year engaged in civic action to get their Alderman Solis and State Rep. Acevedo to help them broker a deal with the Daley Administration's Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to get a library... to put books in the hands of kids. What we have here are committed citizens doing a bonafide public good and for reasons that come down to control not money CPS is not going to follow through on their end of the deal. I've seen toddlers act better than this when fighting over a blanket. The Emanuel Administration is setting an example about control. Think of it as a Neo-Con approach to public policy. What they want is control so that no one else will feel like they can ask for anything other than what they want to give people. So this dickering over a library is just how they roll and will continue to roll. Whittier is a lesson that no fight is too small for them to get into.
Stupid, they won't come meet with the parents. Just like in the campaign, when you have the personality of a sociopathic cobra you need to shake hands and say very little. If Brizard ends up in a room full of parents Emanuel only knows what he will say and he knows we don't want to hear it. Basically instead of doing what was already set up to be done they are striking a new deal that will meet the “minimum requirements”but the library with the handicapped accessible library will be on the second floor with noway to get kids to the library on the second floor because they can go to another library a mile away. That's right, we will make the library handicap accessible but no one in a wheel chair can get into the library because they will be going to another library a mile away. These are the geniuses in charge of our children's educations.
The Whittier parents need your help. Go there and joint the picket line. Bring them food. Bring them entertainment and work the phone. Call Brizard 773-553-1500 – ext. 1497 and demand he come there, explain himself and live up to his predecessor’s deal. Also demand that he explain how what he plans is going to serve the needs of these kids in that school. Call Anna Valencia the Special Assistant to the Mayor City of Chicago
Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs because this is breech of contract on some level and will demonstrate a level of knowledge that will upset them. 312-744-2471. Tell her to tell that prick-rat-bastard he needs to try and live up to a public covenant. If you are an off-duty police officer go there and stand with the parents. You need to call Sen. Munoz773-869-9050, Ald. Solis 773-523-1400 and State Rep. Acevedo 773-843-1200 because they are ultimately responsible for what happens to their constituents here. They need you to stop these people because what's going to happen next is going to tell the Emanuel Administration what they can do to ordinary citizens anywhere in the city.
Nothing happens in isolation. What is happening to the parents at Whittier is part of a pattern and practice that we can expect to see from the Emanuel Administration whenever they feel they have enough at stake. When I say we I mean the soul-dead bean counters who dominate the administration of a corporate agenda meeting/embracing Mayor. By corporate agenda I mean a man dedicated to the proposition of profit over people and the bending of the law to create the conditions to disempower ordinary people and horde resources and power into the hands of the monied business class. That's why their “education” reform comes down to cutting costs and snatching powers and protections away from parents and teachers and demonstrating to them that they set the rules and agendas not parents, teachers and certainly not students. It's all about the money and how it will be spent. Quality is an incredibly secondary consideration, it's called a cost-benefit analysis. You have heard these words before and that what drives the Emanuel Administration, period.