Mayoral candidates discuss the 'politics of snow'

February 6, 2011 4:58:19 AM PST
The blizzard clean-up and response have been hot topics for many of the candidates for Chicago mayor.

For three of the mayoral candidates, Saturday morning politics began at a community forum held by Secretary of State Jesse White.

Gery Chico, Rahm Emanuel and Carol Moseley Braun told voters how they would each tackle problems with the city budget, schools and public safety.

But the talk soon turned to snow still covering city side streets and the alleyways, which are officially the responsibility of residents.

"They were slow to get plowed out, some are still not plowed out," Moseley Braun said. "We heard about disparities. One ward had the alleysbeing cleaned while in another ward the main streets were not cleaned yet. So we have to fix this."

Moseley Braun said she would have shut down Lake Shore Drive before it got bad.

At a campaign event Saturday at a Rogers Park coffee shop, Rahm Emanuel says emergency response is a constant learning process.

"They'll be an aftermath report saying what worked, what didn't work and what are the steps to be improved, and that's what we'll have," Emanuel said.

When asked if he would have closed Lake Shore Drive, Emanuel said: "There is no Monday morning quarter-backing here."

As Gery Chico got support from former Bears players at Manny's Deli on the South Side, he, too, expressed his concern for the snow that still sits.

"You can go to different places in the city and we are not moving quickly enough," Chico said. "It's not just a casual conversation. They can't get to work, they can't get to school, they can't get their kids to where they need to be and that's happening right now as we speak."

Miguel de Valle canvassed neighborhood businesses on the North Side Saturday. He also questioned the cleanup process and the "response" after Lake Shore traffic froze.

"I think the real question about Lake Shore Drive is not whether it should have been closed or not, it's what happened after it was closed, how did people get stuck there for nine hours? How is it that people can sit a few yards away from emergency vehicles and still sit for nine hours?" del Valle said.

City leaders have stood behind the decision to keep Lake Shore Drive open, so people could get out of the loop. Many officials and motorists have also commended the rescue efforts.

The city also says it's doing everything possible to get rid of the two feet of snow.

New endorsements for Chico, Moseley Braun
Chico and Moseley Braun each picked up another endorsement Saturday.

Alderman John Pope of the 10th Ward endorsed Chico for committing to help re-develop the Southeast Side.

Moseley Braun was endorsed by the Illinois chapter of the American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections. The chapter called her "a good friend of the Muslim community."

The election is just more than 2 weeks away and people can also vote early until the February 17.