Chuy the Challenger vs. “Rahm Love”

Jones community weighs in on upcoming Chicago mayoral election.

By the time they graduate, the class of 2015 will have experienced an influx of snow days, witnessed thousands of teachers walk off the job, and watched as 49 CPS elementary schools were forced to close their doors in 2013.

Is it a coincidence that this extreme load of change coincides with Rahm Emanuel being elected as Mayor of the city in 2011: the year the current seniors were welcomed into the Jones community as freshmen?

Now that those freshmen are all grown up and graduating later this spring, it is only fitting that the mayoral election pops up as well. With two fairly liberal candidates, Rahm Emanuel and Jesús “Chuy” García, vying for a seat in city hall, it is only appropriate to wonder what CPS students might be in for the next four years.

“These past four years, we’ve seen [Emanuel’s] administration that has been balancing a budget on the backs of working people, like cuts to social services, closing schools, and closing mental health clinics,” Ross Floyd ‘15 said, who has been working on Jesús “Chuy” García’s campaign. Floyd went on to say that these are vital services that, when stripped away, thousands of people become negatively affected.

“Just for making [my] voice heard,” Floyd said that he was kicked out of Board of Education meetings, which is just one example that “shows that there is a lack of interest in having a conversation in [Emanuel’s] administration.”  Floyd went on to say that “the mayor likes to make decisions by himself and he doesn’t like to listen to the communities or to the citizens, and I think Chuy would listen to people.  [Chuy] has built his career on listening to people.”  Furthermore, Floyd supports García’s strategy in raising revenue by taxing the top 1% of citizens and investing this money in communities rather than closing institutions in communities.

In all, Floyd passionately supports García’s focus on “caring for each other and having strong communties”.  Floyd said that García has the potential to shift the values and principles of Chicago in the right direction, and this is already being demonstrated in García’s campaign strategy of “going through the streets every weekend talking to neighbors.”

On the other side of the issue, Alex Medow ‘16 holds some different views on Emanuel’s effectiveness as mayor.

Medow said, “I like that he’s expanding selective enrollment because he’s allowing more people to get a quality education instead of just a neighborhood school education.”  Along with this, Medow also favors Emanuel’s implementation of more fines and fees as this brings in more money into the government.

Medow, who went to grade school with Rahm Emanuel’s children until they moved to D.C., admits that Emanuel does not possess the most likeable personality.  Nonetheless, Medow said, “I’d rather have a mean guy that gets things done than a nice guy that doesn’t know what he’s doing.”  Medow also recognizes the negative impacts that come from closing schools and other institutions, but he said that this is a necessary evil that comes with investing money in things that will better Chicago.

“Chuy says he wants to help the economy, but he’s going to have to do something negative to do something positive.  It’s not one way,” said Medow.  Even with the negative impacts, Medow said that he believes the city has gotten better and that Emanuel has gotten a significant amount done while in office.

English teacher Amy Fritsch has an uncertain opinion as to what will happen to the future of CPS. We have a “non-public-worker friendly politician” in Emanuel, and a mysterious money maker in Garcia. “I have no idea how reliable he [Garcia] is as a good accounter of the money and where it has gone,” Fritsch said.

What is known, is that the fate of the next four years for Chicago Public Schools will be determined shortly after voting ceases on April 7.