Critics react to Mayor Emanuel's plan to address violence

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel made many promises in his address to the city on Thursday. (WLS)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel made many promises in his address to the city on Thursday. But most of his plan was heard before last night, including earlier in the week.

One part of the plan that was already heard was the announcement that additional cops would be hired.

The mayor's office tipped the news media that Emanuel, to show solidarity with police, would join a pre-dawn run at the training academy. He joined a class of police recruits on a three-and-a-half-mile run.

Before the 5:45 a.m. run, the mayor echoed his message from Thursday night's major policy address on public safety.

"This is everybody's effort. Everybody has a role to play. I have a role to play. The city government has a role to play. Our companies have a role to play. The U.S. citizens have a role to play. In being a mentor to a young man, investing in your community, partnering with your neighbors and creating safety. This is not on one person. This is not on one entity," Emanuel said.

WATCH: Emanuel's full speech

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled a plan Thursday to tackle Chicago's gun violence epidemic in front of about 200 people at Malcolm X College.

But critics were also tipped to the mayor's appearance and criticized Thursday's speech on violent crime saying Emanuel did not focus enough on economic development in affected neighborhoods.

"If you want to de-escalate the crime, escalate the resources," Rev. Gregory Livingston, Coalition for a New Chicago, said.

The mayor confirmed his promise to spend over $100 million for more cops and $36 million to expand a mentoring program for teenaged boys.

That's the same "Becoming a Man" or BAM program he talked about during his second inaugural address 16 months ago.

"I have become a believer in BAM's work because I have seen its lasting impact," he said.

Emanuel backed off a reported earlier plan to criticize African-American parenting skills as he praised his own effort to find jobs for young people.

"The deck has been stacked against the kids and its time we re-shuffled the deck and put our kids on top of that deck," Emanuel said.

But he had no plan to find work for the kids' unemployed and underemployed parents.

"It's important that we start to address it now because this is not something we want to see go on indefinitely into the future," Shari Runner, Chicago Urban League, said.

And some criticized the mayor's emotions when he talked about the cop who returned to duty after his college-student son had been murdered.

"Found the courage and strength to put his police uniform, his badge back on," Emanuel said.

"We don't need tears, we need you to find creative ways to raise money," Livingston said.


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Mentoring children to help stop the violence is a major part of Mayor Emanuel?s plan to curb crime and bloodshed in the city.

Mentoring children to help stop the violence is a major part of Mayor Emanuel's plan to curb crime and bloodshed in the city.

BAM stands for "Becoming a Man." It is a 15-year-old program which targets at risk male students in Chicago Public Schools.

It is one Mayor Emanuel said has proven to be successful with a 50 percent reduction in arrests for violent crimes among BAM students.

"I want to the city of Chicago to look at these men, because they are men that they are, making the right decisions because we gave support to them," Emanuel said.

And the mayor is offering more support. In his speech on violence, he said the city will spend millions on expanding the BAM program in the city's most violent neighborhoods.

"The BAM program is a pretty good program no doubt about it, but the fact of the matter is many of programs he is helping to grow aren't impacting the kids who need it the most," Mack Julion, St. Sabina Youth Program, said.

Mack Julion said the kids who need it the most are not in school, the ones he and Lamar Johnson try to reach through their youth program at St. Sabina. They said those kids are more likely to commit and or be victims of crimes. While the program's Peace Basketball League has helped youth get off the streets, funding has been cut during the past two years.

"It needs to be quality across the board, if you give funding to one program do the same across the city," Lamar Johnson, St. Sabina Youth Services coordinator, said.

Johnson and Julion are disappointed the mayor doesn't have a plan to target gang members beyond school walls.

"You've got to start somewhere," Emanuel said. "And taking the 20 most difficult neighborhoods, and getting every eight grader, ninth grader and tenth grader, every year for the next year, ensures that we don't have another generation lost to the gangs and to violence."

While the mayor admits more work needs to be done to target youth not in school, he disputes the notion that the city isn't doing enough.

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Andrea Zopp joined ABC7 News This Morning to speak on Emanuel?s plan and how the city intends to implement change.

Andrea Zopp, Chicago's deputy mayor and chief neighborhood development officer, joined ABC7 News This Morning to speak on Emanuel's plan and how the city intends to implement change.

But the mayor's critics continued to ask where the money is going to come from to pay for this plan, hoping that it doesn't come at the expense of people in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

"I just think that Mr. Emanuel is disconnected. He's very good at running in front of the police, but he needs to be good at running with his citizens as well," said Pastor Greg Livingston, of the Coalition for a New Chicago.

Emanuel maintained he will find the money to fund his strategy and promised to reveal his financing plan later this fall.

"If I could say to the city of Chicago - since I'm about to go run - everybody strap on your shoes because this is the future of the city of Chicago. This is your fight too," Emanuel said.
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