Emanuel, Chico sound off on negative ads

February 4, 2011 6:03:26 PM PST
For the past several weeks, Gery Chico and Rahm Emanuel have been the only two mayoral candidates advertising on broadcast television. They've extolled their own virtues and talked about solving the city's problems -- until Friday morning when Chico unleashed the campaign's first attack ad.

"The Rahm tax would be the largest tax in the city's history," the Chico ad says.

The ad attacked Emanuel's idea to reduce the retail sales tax and replace lost revenues with a new 9 percent tax on what Emanuel has called luxury services.

Chico contends the luxuries would include haircuts, fitness centers, pet groomers, bowling alleys and many other services used by middle class Chicagoans.

"This is crazy. This tax is gonna hit families when they don't have one more ounce to give," Chico says in the ad.

Chico insisted the 30-second commercial was not negative advertising.

"I don't think it's negative at all. I think it's an ad that responds to a negative idea," Chico told ABC7.

Emanuel -- who says lawmakers would determine what services to tax -- was endorsed Friday by the environment-friendly Sierra Club. He said he would not respond to Chico with negative ads of his own.

"My view is to attack the problems that are facing the city of Chicago, not attack each other," said Emanuel.

Meanwhile, Carol Moseley Braun has not aired a single broadcast television ad after saying weeks ago they'd be part of her campaign. ABC7 asked her money was still a problem.

"Money's always an issue in a shoestring campaign like ours. We don't have $12 million. But we've got enough and are committed to having television ads," said Moseley Braun.

"We're gonna deliver service to the taxpayers. We're gonna give the best service that they pay for," Emanuel says an ad.

Emanuel's latest ad focuses on city services. It was dropped Friday morning as hundreds of thousands of voters awaited snow plows to reach side streets and alleys.

Chico says he isn't worried that Emanuel -- with a $10 million plus campaign war chest -- might go negative against him.

"Then go. The idea is to get the facts on the table," said Chico.

The campaign of City Clerk Miguel del Valle has not aired any commercials on broadcast television. A spokeswoman says ads are planned during the campaign's final two weeks but she could pinpoint when the commercials might begin.