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Rahm Emanuel Booed At South Side Basketball Tournament

By Jon Graef in News on Sep 29, 2013 7:30PM

AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato

At a recent anti-violence basketball tournament at Saint Sabina, a Catholic Church on Chicago's South Side, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was booed after an introduction to the crowd. Want to see video? Of course you do.

Of course, there are also cheers for the mayor, no doubt. But the booing is significant in many respects. First, there's the location: Saint Sabina is a Catholic African-American community, whose Father Michael Pfleger has made a considerable amount of news over the years.

Next, there's the tenor of Mayor Emanuel's actions toward the African-American community itself, which can be best described as an amazingly wrongheaded exercise in biting the political hand that feeds you.

As the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky explains:

Mayor Emanuel owes his election to Chicago's black voters, who gave him more than 50 percent of their votes. Saint Sabina itself is in the 17th Ward, where the mayor received 60 percent of the vote.

And yet the mayor's budget cuts have hit hardest at the black wards...[a]t times it seems he actually relishes firing teachers, mental health workers, and other public employees who form the backbone of the south- and west-side middle class.

He calls it reform that's necessary to save Chicago from a budget catastrophe.

As opposed to economic development, which is what he calls doling out tens of millions of TIF dollars to his wealthy cronies for projects that no one particularly needs or wants.

One such development is an arena being built for DePaul University near McCormick Place, at the cost of $55 million of taxpayer money.

This while schools close due to lack of funding, and school fieldhouses are destroyed with hardly a moment's notice. Not to mention the city's continuing plague of horrifying violence.

Maybe a basketball tournament, especially one with positive spin on it, isn't the appropriate place to boo the mayor. But given how in the dark he leaves Chicagoans, can anyone really blame them?