Emanuel reflects on first 100 days as mayor

August 23, 2011 4:37:51 PM PDT
Tuesday marks the 100th day in office for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

He has been taking on many of the city's daunting challenges head-on. But has he been succeeding?

Emanuel and his press office insist that all the goals are met for the first 100 days of the new city administration. Our one-on-one interview this afternoon focused on other actions the mayor has taken or not taken since his inauguration on May 16th.

The centerpiece event of Emanuel's 100th day in office was a news conference to announce that high-tech EMC Corporation would hire 200 people to staff a downtown office.

"Every day in my administration is about jobs," said Emanuel. "It's not one day. It's every day."

Since his inauguration, Emanuel has held a half dozen events to announce new jobs, but none so far to stop Chicago companies about to lay off workers. That effort, he says, continues behind the scenes.

"There's companies I'm talking to all the time, and that's just private conversations, OK?" said Emanuel.

The 51-year-old former White House chief of staff spent all but the last few of his first 100 days commuting between his mayoral duties in Chicago and family in Washington, D.C.

The Emanuels finally moved back into their refurbished North Side home last weekend.

"It's great, and it was great after ten months to all be not just under a roof but your own house and get your own kind of sense back," said Emanuel.

Tuesday morning, the mayor took the CTA Brown Line to work at City Hall and produced a fare card to prove he paid for the ride.

"I like taking mass transit... yeah, I do," said Emanuel.

During his first 100 days, Emanuel has, without fanfare, called the parent or guardian of every Chicago child killed or injured in neighborhood gun violence.

"I have talked to some incredible parents who have got a stamina that you have to as one parent, not just as a mayor, admire," said Emanuel.

Finally, the mayor responded to complaints in high places that during his first 100 days in office, he has not kept the power players informed and has governed by press conference.

"The political system has always been set up for vested interests and they've left the bill for the taxpayers. For the first time, somebody is in the system speaking on the behalf of the taxpayers and demanding they be involved in the conversation," said Emanuel.

Within the next 100 days, in mid-October, Emanuel will present a detailed 2012 city budget. The spending plan must balance a projected $635 million deficit.

That is when we will find out how Emanuel plans to restructure city government, and that is when you can expect the pushback to begin.

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