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Emanuel Says Spirit Of People In Trouble Neighborhoods Has Moved Him Most

Mayor Rahm Emanuel discusses his first year in office and the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago. (Credit: CBS)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel discusses his first year in office and the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago. (Credit: CBS)

dellimore250 Craig Dellimore
Craig Dellimore, political editor for WBBM, joined the station in 1983...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — On the one year anniversary of becoming Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel was talking Wednesday about what has surprised him about the job over the past 12 months.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, for Mayor Emanuel, who is well known for his impatience, it has surprised him how long it takes to get anything done here at City Hall.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

What has moved him the most? He says it’s the people he has met in poverty-stricken, high-crime areas.

“Even in those moments of deprivation – the kind of vitality has been sucked out of a community – there are incredible things still going on there,” Emanuel said. “People haven’t lost their hope. They’re striving against great odds – don’t get me wrong. And I’m always marveled that you’ll find somebody’s putting a neighborhood group together; somebody’s place opened their home to kids; somebody who does something on a day care facility.”

He says those people are his heroes.

The mayor also sat down for an exclusive interview with CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine earlier this week to look back at his first year in office.

On Tuesday, the mayor spent this final day of his first year in office cutting the ribbon at a new health and wellness center on the West Side, celebrating with college-bound graduates of Urban Prep Academy at U.S. Cellular Field during White Sox game, and meeting with pastors and police about his latest push to solve what’s proven to be the toughest challenge he’s faced.

“What’s frustrating … it’s more than frustrating, is not being able to make the type of progress I want to make on crime,” Emanuel said.

He still has a sense of humor, and a down-to-earth view of himself as mayor and father.

“When they were younger, you went to every activity. Now they’re at the point they don’t want me at any activity,” he said.

He loves the interaction with people, and understands their impatience, perhaps evidenced by Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune poll indicating only slightly more than half of those polled approved of the job he’s doing.

“I’ve got three more years to deliver the results that I pledged. Do I think people sense an energy, a focus, a determination? Yes,” he said. “That said, I’m not happy with where we are, and we have work to be done, and trust me, I’m pushing it.”

Emanuel said he’s focusing on creating jobs, streamlining city services, partnering with labor unions, and luring more visitors to Chicago.

You can hear more about “The First Year of Rahm Emanuel” on WBBM Newsradio’s “At Issue” program, Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.