Residency issue resolved, campaigning resumes

January 28, 2011 6:20:25 PM PST
The race for mayor of Chicago returned to the campaign trail Friday.

Most of the major candidates are focusing on issues that are facing the city now that the residency challenge of Rahm Emanuel has been resolved.

It was the first full day of the rest of the campaign. The discussion was about the city's sales tax, how much could it be lowered, and should it be levied on services as well as retail items.

A political hymn was soundtrack for Rahm Emanuel's entry to a North Side rally attended by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered supporters.

"As Chicago grows, it will grow because our gay and lesbian community is strong and vibrant, and I'm honored by your support today," Emanuel said.

By noon, his campaign was airing a radio ad featuring recorded remarks of President Obama last fall as Emanuel resigned as White House chief of staff.

"I need somebody at my side who I could count on to help get the job done," Obama says in the radio spot.

Gery Chico was not impressed and not sure the president actually endorsed his opponent in the mayor's race.

"I'd guess we'd have to ask the president if he's endorsing Rahm Emanuel," said Chico. "That's a pretty straightforward question you ought to ask."

Chico spoke at a South Side barber shop Friday, where he criticized Emanuel's proposal to lower the city sales tax on retail items while adding a new 9 percent sales tax on services.

"If you're telling me that was gonna be for a tax on this barber shop and these customers, that's not who I am," said Chico.

Emanuel says his tax would be on luxuries like limousines and plastic surgeries, and never haircuts.

"That's not in my plan at all," said Emanuel. "I talk about, very specifically, charter flights and luxury items."

But Chico said Emanuel's shortlist would never provide enough revenue to make up for the sales tax cut.

"You just can't just pick and choose two services you wanna charge. Good Luck.," said Chico.

"You work with the legislature and you come up with a list," Emanuel said.

As Emanuel and Chico jousted, Miguel del Valle worked his low-budget campaign voter-by-voter at Manny's Deli on the Near West Side. He says sales tax reform should not happen in isolation.

"We need to look at the total tax code in the state of Illinois, and we need to look at what is the fairest way of generating revenue," said del Valle.

Candidate Carol Moseley Braun did not have a public schedule Friday. She is on a fundraising trip to New Orleans.

Candidate Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins released her education plan Friday.

William "Dock" Walls had no events scheduled.