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Whittier Demolition Represents Emanuel's Cowardly Lack Of Transparency

By Jon Graef in News on Aug 17, 2013 4:34PM


Chicago should be used to secret, middle-of-the-night demolitions by now (or at least be aware that such events can occur) but the demolition of Pilsen's La Casita really represents Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration's lack of transparency at its most cowardly. These are the actions of a despot, not a democratically elected leader.

How else to explain the razing of a community fieldhouse, which began on a late Friday evening during a community class, without warning; deliberately ignoring previously held agreements, which were the culmination of at least a year's work of hard, community-based work; and the reneging of a promise to renovate a fieldhouse, which, according to one alderman, was four years in the making?

This latest action represents the lowest of the low. It's been no secret that this mayoral administration loves secrets, meeting with millionaires but leaving community members out of the picture entirely. He has cravenly ignored the needs of communities of color time and time again.

Forget George W. Bush. It's Rahm Emanuel who doesn't care about black people. (Or Latinos, in this case.)

If you think that's an exaggeration, remember that, in 2010, he snubbed Whittier protestors as he was on his highly touted listening tour as a mayoral candidate. Evidently, all voices are equal to the mayor's ears, but some voices are more equal than others.

Rahm Emanuel is a 21st Century Michael Bilandic. With any luck, the La Casita demolition will be his snowstorm, and the communities he has solely neglected will rise up and make him a one-term mayor.

For the record, and for whatever it's worth, this writer is ashamed to share a hometown and high school, respectively, with the mayor.