Emanuel Warns Chicago Could Become Another Cleveland

CHICAGO (CBS) — In a clear warning to those who aren’t ready for his vision of city government, Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel said Chicago needed some major change or it could “veer off to a Cleveland.”

Poor Cleveland. It, along with Detroit, are the cities that Americans associate with urban decline. Now Emanuel is warning Chicago could go right with it.

“I think the decisions we make in the next two years, three years, will determine where we’re going to be in the next 20-30 years,” he said at the Chicago Tribune series, Conversations about the Future. “If we get them wrong … we could veer off to a Cleveland.”

Emanuel’s Cleveland reference came from a Tribune editorial that endorsed his mayoral candidacy.

It was an hour-long session before a packed house who’d come to hear his vision for Chicago’s future, CBS 2’s Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.

He refused to apologize for being impatient and pulled no punches when it came to issues like negotiating with the teachers’ union.

“Do not come to the table defending the status quo, come to the table, roll up your sleeves help solve these problems on behalf of these kids,” Emanuel said. “The kids of Chicago deserve a better future than we’ve given them to date.

The warning came two days after he chose an innovative educator, J.C. Brizard, who’d clashed with teachers at his current post in Rochester, N.Y., to be his schools CEO.

Yet Emanuel implied he was looking for a kinder, gentler police superintendent to replace Jody Weis, whose policies cut crime, but also hurt rank-and-file morale.

“I wanted to have somebody that lifted the morale of the department so they were out doing what they needed to do, which is fighting crime,” he said.

  • tom sharp

    No chance of this happening unless he lays off hundreds of the crooks working on Streets and San., the police dept., and the ward offices. We’re way over Cleveland’s numbers and percentages there!

  • travis

    keep taxing us to death and that will happen. Rahm wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Al albir odicho

    try me iam up 2 it.

    piec of cake looooooooooool

  • Carlo

    Youe folks in Chicago are so Chicago smart. You hire the same Obama associate and expect a Tea Party solution. Fat chance. Hold on to your walets, the tax man cometh.

    • Friend of Carlo

      The die is cast Chi Town is F’ed. The fish rots from the head. Carlo may be right.

  • JAY

    i understand that he have to cut the fat for chicago to survive but he trult need to start with what making chicago have an expensive overage and thats the ALDERMANS we have toooooooo many on payroll making well over $100,000 plus there overage with the XTRA staff if Rham really means what he says HE’LL START RIGHT AT HIS DOOR

    • Really?!?

      Great, cut the Aldermen 50%, reduce my say in how the city runs by half, save me LITERAL pennies from my tax bills (and I’ve got a few of them), and force me to deal with a guy who thinks raising enough money to run a two year US Senate campaign from Hollywood is “communicating with the people of Chicago”.

      Jay, you are part of the reason why we’re going to get a terrible new chief of CPS, AND all of the ‘XTRA (Rahm) staff’ of Ayn Rand incompetents, and I can only PRAY the new City Council, which includes some people Rahm tried to beat with his big war chest, has a spine, and listens to the average people that elected them, instead of Richie II.


    Cleveland?! Think Haiti ! And, No, taxing and spending more will NOT work in a SHRINKING economy. We need to get and become INFINITELY more competitive with the rest of the world.

  • Jim W

    Umm Carlo, no one that lives in Chicago wants a “tea party” solution, we will survive as we always do, tea parties are what children do, then they grow up…
    less alderman, less brick walls in government, responsibility to the public, help out our own, many social service agencies are in trouble, hold Springfield responsible to Northeastern Illinois..

    • bart

      Sounds like a tea party solution to me……….
      Less government, personal responsibility…..
      Yep, tea party.

      • peepersq

        No bart ‘tea party” are witches, and open there front doors and see Russia, and rejected from the Republucans..

  • Zaf

    Is Emanuel serious? We need to change the way we educate our children in Chicago. Forget the longer day– kids have horrible attention span as is (not to mention the teachers– short attention spans, short tempers, and just not willing to deal with what comes with longer hours– which, truth be told, they shouldn’t have to– especially when they work hours outside of school and don’t get paid nor recognized for it). Instead– let’s do something practical– EXPAND THE SCHOOL YEAR!! FORGET THIS LONG SUMMER VACATION BULL! Unless you know a bunch of urban kids that then go helping on farms in the summer or go overseas for 2 months at a time– let’s stick with school 6-7 hours a day and make the year go from mid-August and into mid/late June. A short summer session from week after July 4th to first week of August. Makes more sense and leaves everyone more productive!

    • Cathy

      Fine but be prepared to pay the teachers more!

  • Kelly

    Oh great scare tactics even before he gets in office ugh. Talks about lifting morale but then says about how bad things are. Does that work?

  • jimmy

    what derek rose is going to go to miami?

  • dj

    Maybe you should start with the parents who aren’t involved with their kids and stop blaming everyone else.

  • me

    chicago is already way behind the curve. for 30 years i called chicago home and thought it was a great place, until i moved on to other cities and saw how behind in the times chicago really was. just because there’s more people doesn’t necessarily make it ahead of anything.

  • JustSayin

    I can’t wait for Chicago to become another Cleveland! I love when I visit Ohio and the food and gas are cheaper! Sales taxes are less and the people seem happier since there is less government financial pressure! Hopefully all this traffic in Chicago will lessen and be more Cleveland like as well!

    • Mr. Justice

      Good Response. I am from Ohio, and it is a much better and cheaper place to live than Illinois. By the way, Chicago has a greater crime rate than any city in Ohio.


    The man was just trying to wake up some of you Rip Van Winkle types, Chicago remains a vibrant city, and tourists flock here on a daily basis, I don’t much about Cleveland, except that they have a beef with Lebron, the new Mayor is blunt, he wears his heart on his sleeve, so don’t expect him to cuddle everyone with kind language, I will merely say, everyone should try and do their part to make the city of Big Shoulders, remain great, don’t litter, don’t commit crime, don’t break laws, be a law abiding citizen and the rest is easy! The new Mayor has spoken, are you listening?

    • Are you stupid

      Those are some of the most “dumb A$$ comments I have ever read. Chicago will only get worse as taxes continue to rise, crime is out of hand, and the school system is one of the worse in the country.

  • gee-reg

    Did you notice that common factor with the decline of Detroit and Cleveland was a large infux of welfare loving, non-working, always complaining, baby making, dope smoking, blacks…….That combination always leads to the working people moving out and taking their tax dollars with them which will leave just the non-working behind with nobody there to pay their bil;ls.

    • Sambo

      Exactly gee-reg. No other factor plays in to the decline of an economy, and therefore a city as a whole, as much as a large population of blacks. No neighborhood, city, country, or even continent has EVER prospered with a large black population. Look to history to see the future!

      • Jim

        Even the blacks are moving out. Eventually most of Cleveland’s poor neighborhoods will be plowed under and rebuilt. It’s happening already. I own 3 city blocks of now vacant land and will give it to my kids in 20 years. They’ll make a bundle on it. I have under $100K invested. It will eventually be worth over a million. I’ve seen this play out before. It will happen again. Print this out and put it on your wall and check it in 20 years (2031).

  • Dave

    Check out the Cleveland tourist video 1 and 2 on Youtube. It’s hilarious.

    • Jim

      They’re a PARODY by a local comedian.

  • chicago's own.

    no problem.let the mayor’s friends with money take care the city.he won ,because of their help and bought the election with their money.

  • jim

    Wow … in 20 years years Chicago can have better, toll-free roads, a cornucopia of ethnic restaurants, several national and regional theaters, the #2 orchestra in the world, the #1 heart hospital in the world, several Fortune 500 companies with headquarters in their city, a first-place baseball team (where are the Cubs and White Sox these days?), affordable, quality housing, a lower overall tax rate, less congestion at rush hour, cleaner water, oh how I could go on….

    Next time you make a comment, Rahm, make sure you can back it up with facts. Last time I was in Chicago (about a month ago) I was hardly impressed.

    Cleveland, Ohio

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