Emanuel gets book deal, will write on political vacuum being filled by cities

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel has talked often — particularly since the election of President Donald Trump—about the declining power of the federal government and the political vacuum being filled by major cities.

Now that he’s chosen political retirement over the uphill battle for a third-term, Emanuel is planning to write a book on one of his favorite subjects.

New York mega-publisher Alfred A. Knopf announced Tuesday it will publish a book in 2020 by the man who will soon be the former mayor of Chicago titled, “The Nation City: Why Mayors Run the World.”

The mayor’s office did not immediately disclose the advance Emanuel will be paid to write it. Emanuel and his wife, Amy Rule, plan to donate “a percentage of the proceeds” to the BAM and WOW youth mentoring programs he has championed that are now serving thousands of disadvantaged young people in Chicago.

An embargoed press release issued by the publisher describes the, yet-to-be-written book as attempting the demonstrate what Emanuel has called a fundamental shift in political empowerment—not only across the nation, but around the world.

While federal governments have “historically led change,” major cities have now become “the places where things are getting done, reforms are being addressed and grand projects are being realized.”

That’s certainly true of the ongoing reform of the Chicago Police Department triggered by the police shooting of Laquan McDonald and the U.S. Justice Department investigation triggered by that shooting and culminating in federal court oversight outlined in a now-pending consent decree.

The claim about about “grand projects” is less certain. The mayor’s $8.7 billion O’Hare Airport expansion project is likely to survive, no matter whom is elected mayor.

But visionary billionaire Elon Musk’s plan to build a “Tesla-in-a-tunnel” transit line to whisk travelers between downtown and O’Hare Airport in 12 minutes has been described by mayoral challenger Paul Vallas and others as “fool’s gold” that will “collapse of its own weight.”

Vallas has flatly predicted that the $1 billion project would never get built because of concerns ranging from environmental impacts, regulatory approvals and financing costs to what lies underground and Musk’s unproven, low-cost, high-speed tunneling technology.

He also pointed to how preoccupied the Tesla CEO now is with more recent troubles of his own making caused, in part, by Musk’s erratic behavior.

A similarly uncertain fate awaits Emanuel’s long-promised, $2.3 billion plan to extend the CTA’s Red Line from its south terminus at 95th Street all the way to 130th.

Weeks before pulling out of the mayor’s race, Emanuel declared the Red Line South project to be “one of the top, if not the top public transportation priority for me.”

“We’re the only state in the Midwest that has not passed an infrastructure bill in the last decade. I’ve communicated to the leadership that-if they pass and I’m advocating they pass-a transportation bill, that Red Line South be the top priority, meaning the extension,” the mayor said then.

In a press release issued by his New York publisher, Emanuel was quoted as saying that cities like Chicago are “now the hub of innovation and ideas, the places that drive the economic, intellectual and cultural energy of the world” with mayors “leading the way.”

“We acknowledge and address climate change. We deal with immigration and infrastructure. We grapple with education, disparities in wealth, health, housing, terrorism, crime and gun violence,” Emanuel was quoted as saying.

The mayor noted that local residents in Chicago and around the world are “increasingly frustrated with federal governments where partisan rancor has become the norm.”

But he argued that “effective governing need not be a ting of the past,” thanks to the work of mayors around the world.

“Cities have become the place where function has replaced dysfunction,” the mayor was quoted as saying.

Noting that people are “closer to” and demand more of municipal governments than any other level of government, he said, “Constituents can—and do—affect outcomes and policies through their engagement because paralysis is not an option for local municipalities.”

Long known for his pragmatic, results-oriented style of government, Emanuel’s book will articulate a vision for, what he calls a “new localist liberalism for Democrats in the 21st Century, built around urban areas.”

Never mind that he has struggled to shed his own image as “Mayor 1 percent.”

Emanuel has been engaged in a running legal and political battle against President Donald Trump, who has used Chicago as his favorite punching bag.

Until he dropped out of the mayor’s race, the no-risk battle against a Republican president in this overwhelmingly Democratic city appeared to be ailor-made to rebuild Emanuel’s national image and bolster his popularity among Chicago Hispanics most threatened by Trump’s immigration policies, and by the president’s threat to cut off funding to sanctuary cities.

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via Politics – Chicago Sun-Times https://ift.tt/2xAxGgE

September 18, 2018 at 10:09AM

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