Emanuel, challengers face off before Sun-Times board

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel was out in force on Friday. His day included a debate with his challengers.

Rahm Emanuel is in full re-election campaign mode, using his incumbency and taking advantage of any good news about Chicago. At a hastily-called news conference to officially announce subway WiFi service, the mayor used it to celebrate the city's falling jobless rate.

"For the first time in a decade, Chicago has a lower unemployment rate than New York," Emanuel said.

But what about Friday morning's Urban League report that Chicago black teen unemployment rate was 91%?

"It doesn't mean we rest on our laurels. It means we double down on making sure everybody has a tremendous education providing them with an opportunity for good jobs," Emanuel said.

"He has not done a great job in terms of moving Chicago forward," said William Walls, candidate for mayor.

Earlier, the mayor appeared at the Sun-Times editorial board meeting, where his challengers resumed their attacks on Emanuel's governing style.

"There has been a lack of engagement, a lack of sensitivity and a lack of sitting a big tables and having real stakeholders there," said Cmsr. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, candidate for mayor.

"I have a problem with people when they have to sell the city out to their friends," Wilson said.

Emanuel was unclear on if re-elected, he'd try again for a tax increase on homeowners to pay pension debt.

"We cannot raise property taxes. It's another form of foreclosure," said Ald. Bob Fioretti, candidate for mayor.

But the mayor again rejected Fioretti's commuter tax on suburbanites.

"It's the wrong step for the city of Chicago. I don't think it's constitutional first of all," Emanuel said.

"I can understand how he feels about a commuter tax when his roots are in the suburbs," Fioretti said.

Elsewhere, the mayor was endorsed by Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who neither lives in nor represents the city of Chicago.

"She understands how important Chicago plays for the overall economy for the people who live here, but also for the state," Emanuel said.

Also, the mayor continues his advertising blitz on broadcast television as polls indicate he is well ahead, but still well below the 50% plus one majority needed to avoid a runoff election. His pitch right now is to the undecided voters in the city that surveys suggest are still out there.
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