As Chicago is hit with its biggest snow storm in a good while, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been on vacation – as well as reportedly conducting business – in Asia. Last spring, Chicago’s newest mayor in decades was conveniently in abstention when Chicago announced it was closing some-50 Chicago Public Schools last spring.
The question is not “where’s Waldo?” The question is “where’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel?”
It appears as though he is hard to find when the going gets tough. It was no surprise that the issue of the school closing was coming up last spring when Emanuel and his family headed out west on vacation. The reason was that his kids were on spring break. It’s difficult for the average Chicagoan to figure out that the kids’ spring break would be a reason for taking an out-of-town vacation, because – obviously – most people, these days during the Obama economy, can’t afford a vacation. Most are lucky to have a job and better keep working.
Chicago news has reported that Emanuel has been on a business trip in Asia just days before Christmas, in an effort to promote trade and tourism in China. Of course, there are those who believe Chicago’s biggest hurdle to be jumped in getting business to come to Chicago is the incredible tax rate for businesses throughout Illinois. No Illinois mayors need to travel further than Gov. Pat Quinn’s Springfield office to deal with that problem – where it initiated. (By the way, where are all of the Dominick’s shoppers shopping these days?)
Though unconfirmed, Chicago talk radio via Richard Roeper’s discussion on WLS-AM last week suggested that Emanuel’s business trip evolved into another family vacation. Naturally, the kids are most likely on break from school again – but the question remains: why take a family vacation in the dead of winter when it’s no surprise that, at any time, Mother Nature can start feeling feisty and dump 10 inches of snow on the city – and follow it up with the coldest temperatures the city has seen in 25 years?
Quite sarcastically, WLS-AM’s talkers were saying how Emanuel was guiding the snow removal – remotely – from Asia. What?
If a big city mayor thinks he or she can have vacations – at will – because President Barack Obama takes vacations, they’re wrong. He’s the president – and takes a large amount of staff with him. A big city mayor doesn’t have that luxury – so one would hope.
It’s tough to criticize Mayor Emanuel because – like President Obama – he can be such a nice guy. (Not only that, but he's going to be around for a good while. He's reportedly got $5 million in his re-election campaign fund, and for some reason, people tend to vote for the guy with the tallest pile of money. Go figure.) So, maybe rather than criticize him, it would be better to simply suggest a new law to lawmakers.
Maybe we need a new law that says a person responsible for running a large city - where millions of people are affected by his or her decisions daily - stays home. No globetrotting – until he or she is voted out of office or reaches the end of his or her term limit, should a city be fortunate enough to have a term-limits law. If the politician experiences “the great divide” while in office and never gets to globetrot again – sorry, that’s the breaks. Most regular people don’t get to globetrot, so fair is fair.
But seriously, even though the masses only tend to notice a politician is globetrotting again when he or she is away at a bad time for his or her constituents, the entitlement – yes, entitlement - to grand vacations for politicians seems to have gotten way out of control.