Sec. of State Jesse White's election advice for Emanuel

CHICAGO (WLS) -- One of state's most influential politicians has advice for Mayor Rahm Emanuel that he says will help him win the runoff election.

Secretary of State Jesse White, 80, is the undisputed dean of Chicago politics. The man who regulates traffic safety in Illinois says the candidate he has endorsed for mayor could help himself.

Speaking to reporters at the Thompson Center, White - who co-chairs Emanuel's re-election campaign - said that Chicago's red light cameras are a political problem for the mayor.

"He has to re-think those red lights, those cameras, that's going to be up to him," White said. "I think he has to do all he can to make sure he has the requisite number of votes so he can be retained."

All of Emanuel's first-round challengers - including runoff opponent Jesus "Chuy" Garcia - said if elected, they would shut down all or most of the cameras that they allege were set up only to generate revenue.

"This administration is blind to the impact on drivers and residents," Garcia said.

Meanwhile, businessman Willie Wilson, who finished third Tuesday with 10 percent of the vote, said he will take 10 days to consider whether he'll endorse Emanuel or Garcia.

Secretary White said the mayor, who met Wednesday with Wilson, had work to do to increase his share of Wilson's predominantly African American support.

"He is going to be more visible in the African American community than he has been so far," White said. "First of all, you don't have that much of a choice in this race considering the fact that Rahm's reach is far better than the rest of the candidates."

On Thursday night in a public television interview, the mayor said he's made changes in the red light camera program already and will make more.

"One of the things I'm talking about going forward is there should be a countdown clock at every intersection so people know and be alerted with the information," Emanuel said.

The mayor insists the cameras save lives and free up police officers for other duties. Emanuel's opponent in the April election, Chuy Garcia, has also called on the mayor to get rid of the cameras.


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