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Emanuel Denies Yelling At Activists After Community Forum

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 5, 2015 10:00PM

For much of Rahm Emanuel’s mayoralty the public has not seen signs of the Beltway vulgarian who would send a pollster dead fish wrapped in newsprint or threatening to emasculate political enemies in blunt terms. The mayor’s media team control his schedule so he doesn’t have those moments. News conferences are often tightly controlled affairs with a rosy view of the city as Emanuel trumpets Chicago’s “world-class city” status, often with no media availability following.

Here’s an example of why Emanuel’s appearances are kept on a short leash.

Check out the frustrated look on Emanuel’s face as the woman in the video, Debbie Delgado, demands answers for why the mayor decided to close half of the city’s mental health clinics three years ago. Look at the rush of Emanuel’s handlers to shut down Delgado and Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle, who filmed the video, as they tell Delgado and Ginsberg-Jaeckle “this is not an open forum.”

To read Delgado and Ginsberg-Jaeckle’s account of what happened off camera, some may argue the lack of an open forum to discuss these matters is one of the major problems with the Emanuel administration.

After trying to keep his cool, he told us that he would speak to us after the event in a separate room. There, we saw the Real Rahm. Now off camera, Rahm's voice raised, his demeanor changed, in no time he was shouting in Matt's face, nose-to-nose "YOU'RE GONNA RESPECT ME!"

An Emanuel campaign spokesman denied the mayor yelled at Ginsberg-Jaeckle and told Huffington Post Chicago Emanuel had a “very cordial” 15-minute discussion with Delgado and Ginsberg-Jaeckle.

One of Debbie Delgado’s sons was shot to death in 2006. She and her family sought treatment for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder at their neighborhood public mental health clinic until Emanuel’s decision to shut it down. Some may watch that video and say Delgado and Ginsberg-Jaeckle were disrespectful to the mayor. Knowing how carefully cultivated his public images is presented, it’s also easy to argue this may be the only way to get Emanuel’s attention and force his hand into addressing the concerns of a city with more than canned, rehearsed sound bites.

Delgado, for one, recognizes this is larger than the loss of her son.

"This isn’t just about me," Delgado said. "I’m not going to accept his offer. This is about the whole city. We need [mental health services] everywhere -- not just the six that he closed."