What the Newly Inaugurated Mayor of Chicago Should Not Do

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Earlier today, Rahm Emanuel — the man who rose from being a so-called Democratic “political operative” to a member of Congress to a second term as Mayor of Chicago — stepped up to the podium to formally accept his job to run the city for another four years.

He reportedly made a rousing speech, which was reported in this fine article from the Chicago Tribune. His old boss, Bill Clinton, even was in town for the event.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

I’ll leave it to the established newsmen and women to offer commentary on Mayor Emanuel’s thoughts today, and what he and his administration needs to do to steer Chicago back to a more stable course financially, end the seemingly endless cycle of violence in some parts of the city, and usher in greater overall prosperity.

(As a home owner, however, I still want my trees trimmed, snow plowed and the garbage picked up regularly.)

Without question, the pundits and commentators are already pounding out articles and editorials offering advice. So, I’ll take a different track.

Mr. Mayor, I offer these three things you should not do during the rest of your term.

Mr. Mayor:  If you have to wear a sweater -- please not this way.

Mr. Mayor: If you have to wear a sweater — please not this way.

1.  Do not wear sweaters. We all remember that famous campaign commercial during the run-off election. You donned a nice (probably cashmere) dark grey sweater to show your softer side.  You told voters, that at times, you “rubbed people the wrong way.” To me, wearing a sweater sort of rubbed me the wrong way. Hey, you’re the mayor of Chicago; you look better in a suit. Thankfully, you didn’t have the sweater draped over your shoulders in Burt Bacharach fashion.

Keep these beauties in Chicago, where they belong!

Keep these beauties in Chicago, where they belong!

2. Do not participate in those “contests” with other mayors over sports. You know what I’m referring to: Should the Blackhawks, the Bears, the Bulls, the White Sox or the Cubs (Let’s not count out miracles: The Cubs are in second place) participate in a championship game, decline an offer to wager cheesecake, hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches or deep dish pizza against food stuffs popular in the opposing city. These are just silly ways that local companies get exposure. (Some people call it “free publicity,” you know.)

3. Do not run red lights. I know, the Mayor isn’t behind the wheel when he and his crew are out making public appearances. Someone else is driving. But the media has had a field day reporting on the Mayoral motorcade’s frequent disregard for traffic signals.  Plus, it’s dangerous, for crying out loud! Tell the guy or gal driving to obey the law. Remember: Chicago has lots of red light cameras at many intersections around the city.

And, one more thing: Do not compromise on your integrity. We need a strong leader right now.


Advice for the Next Mayor of Chicago: Three Ways to Raise Needed Revenues

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

In a little over a month, Chicagoans will return to the polls to elect our Mayor, along with some aldermen. As you may have learned, the general election here on February 24 did not yield a Mayor.

Incumbent Rahm Emanuel was forced into a run-off race with Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a Cook County Commissioner who — along with three other candidates — captured enough votes to prevent Mr. Emanuel from getting the 50 percent-plus-one vote majority need to win re-election.

First, best of success to both candidates.

Second, below are suggestions to whoever wins the election April 7 on tackling one of Chicago’s nagging issues: Raising needed revenues without raising taxes, cutting vital city services or enacting other draconian measures.

So, without further ado, three ways to build Chicago’s bottom line.

  1.  Expand the Number of Tiki Bars. For some reason, those of the hipster set have taken to faux Polynesian nightclubs that serve $13 drinks adorned with umbrellas, flowers and large chunks of pineapple. In Lost Lakeour humble Avondale neighborhood, the just-opened Lost Lake tiki bar has patrons lined up out the door, even on cold evenings. As noted from a Yelp reviewer:  “The room is tastefully decorated and comfortable; makes you feel as though you have been whisked away from the cruel Chicago winter to a Caribbean island.” Yes, a Caribbean Island that from the outside looks a lot like Diversey Avenue. But just think of the revenues Chicago would gain from liquor license fees and sales tax revenues if there was a tiki bar on every other block!
  2. Make it a “Long, Strange Trip” Every Weekend. This dead50Independence Day holiday Chicago will be invaded by hoards of the living Dead. You know who I’m referring to — Deadheads, or fans of the almost defunct band the Grateful Dead. Yes, the ultimate jam band will play three shows here as part of its final “Fare Thee Well” tour and mark its 50th anniversary of playing songs that last 47 minutes on average.  Tickets are expensive and very hard to come by, as noted in this commentary. Same goes for hotel rooms, and I trust sales of tye dyed T-shirts will be brisk, too. The result: Millions of dollars spent in Chicago. So why not have the Dead play Chicago every weekend in 2015! Even if the real Dead members won’t perform, just hire some look-alikes. Deadheads reportedly are usually in some alter state of consciousness and probably won’t know the difference.
  3. If You Smoke ‘Em, Pick ‘Em Up. As depicted in the Ciggiesaccompanying photo, some people in Chicago fail to properly dispose of cigarette butts after they’ve enjoyed a smoke. This causes not just unsightly litter, it detracts from the street scape and requires clean up. Here’s a potential solution to combat butt scofflaws and raise some cash: Institute a new law fining property owners for spent butts found on their property. Perhaps $100 per butt? As you can see from the photo above, there’s about $4,000 in untapped potential revenue from this one location.

So, there Mr. Next Mayor. My thoughts on ways to get Chicago out of hock.

And, if you’re wondering who I’ll vote for, here’s my answer: The right candidate.