Emanuel Preaches Community Service During Lead-Up To Inauguration

CHICAGO (STMW) — A poncho-wearing Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel blended in with a small, soaking wet crowd Saturday afternoon at Grant Park during a concert to kick off his inauguration.

“They’re a great band. I don’t think there’s anything more fitting to give us what we need spiritually to… begin to take on the challenges facing the city,” Emanuel said before the concert by the band Chicago.

“We’ve got a lot of challenges, with a lot of opportunities to do big things for this great city.”

About 200 people braved a blustery afternoon to hear the band and, in a few cases, lend their support to Emanuel.

“I wanted to show I support him,” Julie Lux, a Rogers Park woman hiding under an umbrella, said at the outdoor concert. “He’ll bring new energy.”

Emanuel watched the show’s early acts with two of his children from folding chairs at the Petrillo Music Shell, occasionally shaking hands with well-wishers.

During the concert, however, he stood off to the right of the band at the corner of the Pritzker Pavilion stage with his two daughters, bopping along to the music.

The band played for 30 minutes, with a set including the songs, “25 or 6 to 4,” and of course, “Saturday in the Park.” After the show, Emanuel bent down to shake hands with audience members before leaving the stage.

Later Saturday, hundreds of people hobnobbed with Emanuel and his family at a reception at Venue One in West Town. That gathering was private, for donors who are helping bankroll Monday’s inauguration with contributions of $5,000 to $50,000.

Earlier on Saturday, Emanuel, his wife Amy Rule, their three children, City Clerk-elect Susana Mendoza, Treasurer Stephanie Neely and dozens of local gardeners worked together to prepare two community gardens for the growing season. Emanuel encouraged Chicagoans to get involved.

“We started [the morning] with 3,000-plus folks all over the city,” Emanuel told the afternoon Grant Park audience. “We worked hard cleaning up parks, cleaning up the river. After we worked, we came here and had a great time with great artists from Chicago.”

Earlier, at the nearly one-acre community garden at 6500 S. Woodlawn, Emanuel looked comfortable wielding a shovel, but said that at his Ravenswood home’s garden, his wife was more likely to be planting and weeding.

“This is your city,” he told volunteers. “We all have a role to play.”

At his second stop, the immaculate Fulton Street Flower and Veggie Garden, 4427 W. Fulton St., gardeners Sammie and Angela Taylor said they were “very excited” to see the new mayor come to the vacant lot next to their home.

The lot, now transformed with pink and white flowers and lush green plants, will get a greenhouse next week thanks to a grant. At both gardens, any excess produce is donated to local food pantries.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Sammie Taylor of the call from Emanuel’s transition team about a visit.

“It’s just a wonderful thing. It’s good for the neighborhood and good for the whole community,” he said.

Geraldine Jones, 66, and Eloise Harvey, 82, long-time residents on the Fulton Street block, said they would like to see Emanuel in the neighborhood more often. They said their neighborhood is overrun with drugs and crime, two stubborn problems that planting flowers isn’t going to solve.

“I know he’s up against a lot,” said Harvey.

Jones said that while she doesn’t doubt Emanuel’s commitment to improving city life, she believes he needs to get everyone on board. “He’s got to have the people who work for him do something,” she said.

Emanuel told gardening volunteers he also wanted to work on improving the Chicago River for sports like kayaking and canoeing.

“The river is the next recreation frontier for the city,” he said, adding, “I don’t know about swimming.”

Federal environmental officials have said Chicago needs to improve its wastewater treatment procedures so that the Chicago River is clean enough for swimming.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • will

    Let’s see if Emanuel can count down city council to 16 and dig up some jobs!

    • Taxpayer 2

      Maybe mayor-elect Rahm could start by cutting down the city council in half. Then start with these urban terrorist. Get tougher with them. Start a no loitering on our streets campaign.If they want to hang out, ship them on an island one way trip.

      Start a do not have a baby out of wed-lock campaign. Because we are not going to care of your dumb mistakes anymore ladies. Time to get tough with the stupid, dumb people that living in our society that is causing trouble. Stop the pampering and baby sitting.

      • Taxpayer3

        I have to say it takes two to tango sir so I guess you should have said ladies and gentleman when it comes to having babies out of wedlock. Keep the thing wrapped up or don’t use it!

      • Jimbo2K7

        “Time to get tough with the stupid, dumb people that living in our society that is causing trouble”

        I disagree. Stupid people should be allowed to post their comments here just like everyone else.

  • Right

    He has to stop giving special treatment to minorities like Mayor Daley did.

  • Wolf

    It is amazing how an ineligible candidate for mayor ends up winning the race in this city, county and state. Clearly there is no law in place anymore to protect the people from these charlatans.

  • Julie

    I support him one hundred percent for what he is doing for the city and for making this city livable without any fights of any kind and for better years to come. We all know that there are negative people who want to push him around even before he starts his term in office. Let the guy do his job and prove that he is as good a Daley or even better. The Bible says tha we all should pray for those who are in power and for the souls that will not go to hell because of carelessness. No special treatment to no one. We all are human beings and need to be counted for the glory of God. we are praying for him every single day.

  • http://foldinglawnchair.biz/emanuel-preaches-community-service-during-lead-up-to-inauguration.htm Emanuel Preaches Community Service During Lead-Up To Inauguration | Folding Lawn Chairs

    […] Emanuel Preaches Community Service During Lead-Up To Inauguration Emanuel Preaches Community Service During Lead-Up To Inauguration Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel attended community-service functions and caught an outdoor show by the classic-rock band Chicago on Saturday, as the clock ticked toward his swearing-in Monday. Read more on CBS Chicago […]

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