Will Jesus “Chuy” Garcia be the next Bill De Blasio?
Mayor De Blasio, as we all know, has taken the reins in America’s biggest city, and is directing it briskly into a ditch.
He has made the most headlines by alienating all the cops in the city. But he has done more than that. He is aggressively raising taxes, raising the costs of doing business in the city, expanding the size, scope, and power of the government and otherwise making the Big Apple a paradise for the left.
It’s too early to say how this is exactly going to turn out for De Blassio and New York, and he has been lucky thus far, in that the crime rate has not increased, despite the alienation of the police department.
Because New York had two successful mayors in a row – Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg, the city hasn’t had to make the painful choices that face Chicago.
Unfortunately for Rahm Emanuel, the current mayor of America’s Second City, he has had to make those tough choices. He has had to do battle with an entrenched and powerful teachers union. He has had to deal with a pension crisis. He has had gangs run roughshod in Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods.
Rahm hasn’t made many friends by making those tough choices. He’s a tough guy. His verbal fights with the Karen Lewis, who heads up the American Federation of Teachers, are legendary. His style is not exactly Midwest nice. And he has rubbed some people the wrong way.
But the one thing you can say about Rahm is that he is tough enough to do battle with union leaders who never can get enough of the taxpayer’s money. He is tough enough to fight the special interests. He is tough enough to get spending under control.
He has done a great job, for example, of changing how Chicago does conventions. The City of Big Shoulder used to be the king of conventions. But during the Daley years, the price of dealing with the unions made it harder and harder for Chicago to be competitive. Rahm has changed that, and conventions are once again coming to the City.
Will Chuy be able to stand up to the unions, or will he just do whatever they tell him to do?
The one thing that can be said about Garcia is that he is clean. He doesn’t have an ounce of scandal in his past. But he also doesn’t have that many accomplishments and not much of a track record for leading a city as big and as rambunctious as Chicago. And he is very, very liberal.
I’m a Republican and I am more than happy to see Rahm taken down a notch or two.
But I am also a native of America’s Greatest City, and I don’t want to see it go the way of Detroit.
That requires tough leadership. And Rahm has delivered that tough leadership.
My friends who live in Chicago should think twice about sitting out this runoff election. Do you want Bill De Blasio to come to Chicago or do you want the City to become a greater and better and a more fiscally secure version of itself?
John Feehery publishes his Feehery Theory blog at http://www.thefeeherytheory.com/.