Rauner: I would sign Chicago mayor recall bill

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Governor Bruce Rauner says he would sign legislation allowing voters to recall the mayor of Chicago, but he says the law wouldn't apply to Rahm Emanuel. (WLS)

Monday morning, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner commented on the Chicago police misconduct scandal and the roles of two elected officials including his personal friend, Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"I am very disappointed in the mayor and the state's attorney for Cook County," Rauner said. "Very disappointed."

Rauner says he would sign legislation allowing voters to recall the mayor of Chicago, but he says the law wouldn't apply to Emanuel.

Citing ongoing investigations, the governor would not detail his disappointment in how Emanuel and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez handled the Laquan McDonald police shooting. He was also asked about the bill filed in December in the General Assembly that would allow Chicago voters to recall the mayor.

"I've not studied the bill that's been proposed, but what I've been informed about it, based upon that, I would sign that bill," the governor said.

But Emanuel ally U.S. Senator Dick Durbin cautioned the governor and lawmakers against acting emotionally on a recall bill.

"Recall is extremely serious because it basically challenges the verdict of an election," Durbin said.

Self-described friends Rauner and Emanuel, who shared an expensive bottle of wine a few years ago near the governor's Montana ranch, are at odds over how to resolve the Chicago Public Schools' budget deficit. The mayor has rejected the governor's demand that the city support pro-business, anti-union reforms in exchange for state cash.

Political analyst Maze Jackson says the police misconduct scandal and calls for Emanuel's resignation has caused the mayor to lose leverage in any negotiation.

"I think no one is scared anymore. I don't think anyone is worried about a fish coming to them in the mail. They might send it back, actually," Jackson says.

At his morning news conference, Rauner appeared to step up pressure on the mayor to support the governor's turnaround agenda.

"We'll work together cooperatively. If the city is helping us reform the state, we'll work together to solve some problems," Rauner said.

The governor was asked about CPS threats to layoff thousands of teachers if there is no state aid by the end of this month.

Rauner insisted again, he would not be moved to support cash for CPS without reforms.

Late Monday, a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office said in a written statement: "We're a little surprised given that at the governor's own request, our team has been actively involved in trying to untangle the logjam in Springfield. At a time when Chicago's children are leading the nation in academic improvement, it's unfortunate that yet again they are being used as pawns in a political chess match."
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politicsBruce Raunerrahm emanuelchicago police departmentcpspublic schoolSpringfieldChicago - Downtown
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