Why Rahm Might Be a One-Termer

Challenges facing Chicago require painful solutions
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2011 11:43 AM CST
Rahm Emanuel Might Be a One-Term Chicago Mayor, Thanks to Challenges Facing the City
Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel smiles and points to a friend before addressing the crowd Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011 in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Rahm Emanuel won the Chicago mayor’s race—but will he be able to keep the job for more than one term? The Sun-Times, the Tribune, and the New York Times take a look at the many, many challenges facing him:

  • Financial crisis: Chicago is on the brink of bankruptcy. Mayor Daley borrowed and spent, and the city’s structural deficit is approaching $1 billion. All the solutions will likely be painful. Emanuel outlined $500 million in savings during the campaign, but must find ways to bring in income that will fill the gap.
  • City Council: The aldermen basically did what Mayor Richard Daley wanted, but their relationship with Emanuel could be fraught with tension, especially since the new mayor wants to reorganize. In particular, he faces a big fight with 40-year veteran Edward M. Burke.

  • Pensions: They’re underfunded, and four of the funds for city employees will run out of money by 2030.
  • Schools: They’re underachieving and struggling financially, with a $720 million deficit. Emanuel will need to decide which schools and programs to close, who should lead Chicago Public Schools, and how to work with the Chicago Teachers Union.
  • O’Hare Airport: Emanuel will inherit the problems surrounding Daley’s runway expansion program. It’s under fire from United and American Airlines, which argue it isn’t necessary and would cost too much.
  • Police: The department is understaffed, and Emanuel will have to dump the police superintendent before he can implement his promise to put 1,000 more officers on the street.
(More Rahm Emanuel stories.)

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