HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD? Now Chicago can get INSTY NEWS from Rahm Inc. (just add a headline and a byline)... Rahm hypes 'Howe [AUSL] School of Excellence' with 'Cabinet Meeting'... but real reporters are not invited

Here is a question for Chicago in this era when "corruption" seems to be defined only as things that poor, working class, and unionized middle class people can engage in. What would have been the response from Chicago's newspapers and other news media had any previous mayor — or politician — turned a $5 million City Hall press office into a private publicity stunt generating personal PR operation? Yet that's what Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been doing, at enormous public expense, since he took office amid Grant Park fanfare, in May 2011.

The latest iteration of it came from the Mayor's Press Office on February 3, 2012. It was, one might say, a "Do It Yourself Rahm Booster Kit... Just Add Headline and You've Got an Insty Story..." The February 3 iteration of this new genre wasn't the first, but it was by far the most interesting (at least in the eye of this reporter).

In one of the more bizarre publicity stunts hosted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel since he stopped answering reporters' questions following the exposé of his "Rent A Preacher" and "Rent A Protest" programs during the recent school closing and turnaround hearings, Chicago's mayor held a "Cabinet" meeting on February 3, 2012 — not at Chicago's City Hall, but at the so-called "Howe School of Excellence" on Chicago's West Side.

Is Chicago's mayor receiving a blessing from Michael Jordan? Above, the photograph sent to the media by Chicago's City Hall (see press release below) on February 3, reporting, without reportorial intervention, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "Cabinet Meeting." The meeting was held, not at City Hall, but at the so-called "Howe School of Excellence," an AUSL "turnaround" school on Chicago's West Side. The photograph above was distributed to reporters and the press in a press release issued by City Hall after the event was over. As usual, Rahm appears in the photographs with the "rainbow" of people that are required to be in any photograph of the mayor, proving his diversity cred.Howe is one of the schools taken over by the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) in recent year for the expensive "turnaround" program that Chicago hypes routinely but which is laughed at across most of the country. It's probably no coincidence that the principal of Howe has been appearing regular at "turnaround" hearings in early February, some times as the only person to testify in favor of "turnaround." Although she claims wonderful gains, no legitimate educational research validates her claims, because Howe has been in "turnaround" for too few years to be evaluated.

As usual, the claims are more marketing than research-based, but that has never stopped Chicago from its trajectory.

What is unusual about the recent "Cabinet Meeting" is that the mayor's people excluded real reporters from the event. But City Hall then sent out a complete press kit — including photographs — so that any media that didn't want to bother with reporting could "report" the mayor's story with almost no effort.

And although the mayor's publicity materials claim it was the "third" meeting of the mayoral cabinet (since Rahm's inauguration in May 2011?), a search of Substance files of mayoral press releases (of which there are hundreds) shows no report of the first two "Cabinet Meetings."

The official press release issued by the "Office of the Mayor" providing Chicago's media with the complete story about the mayor's "Cabinet Meeting" at Howe School. No reporting necessary. Just add your own headline.Also obvious in the photographs sent out is "Rahm's Rainbow."

At every major mayoral publicity stunt, the mayor's media handlers made sure that he never appears on camera without a "rainbow" of human beings smiling with him. Usually, the group includes the mandatory African American, a Latino or two, and at least one Asian. The mayor has never allowed the press to meet or view his corporate shadow cabinet (the major donors who support, directly or indirectly, his programs, including Rent A Protest), which is virtually all-white and almost all male. — and which consists of multi-millionaires like Rahm and some billionaires as well. The media kit sent out by City Hall included a text description of the "Cabinet Meeting" and two photographs of Chicago's mayor, sleeves rolled up, in action.


February 4, 2012 at 5:23 AM

By: John Kugler

Juking the Stats, Again

from our brothers over at second city cop

Crime Down 20%

Everything is down. Except that silly homicide number:

Ten days after Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a point to highlight Chicago went 24 hours without a homicide, he confronted a more sobering statistic on Monday: the murder rate is up 53.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

Through mid-day Monday, Chicago had recorded 40 January homicides, compared to just 26 murders during the same period a year ago. The number of shooting incidents remained constant at 140 during both periods.

McCarthy argued that Chicago’s overall crime rate is down 20 percent over the same period a year ago and that “every single [other] category of crime” is down. from suntimes

Everything else is down, but the BIG stat is up almost 54%? Something isn't tracking here. And the number of shootings is exactly the same as last year, even though the weather is waaaaaay warmer? Can you smell the bullshit from here?

He further noted increases in a host of “enforcement actions” by rank-and-file police officers: contact cards filed by police making stops (up 43 percent); administrative notices of violations (up 48 percent); gang dispersals (up 18 percent) and curfew violations (up 25 percent).

Ah, that explains it. CompStat is notorious for cooking the numbers. In fact, we believe that the book we've referenced the past couple of days exposes the number baking for what it is.

February 4, 2012 at 10:56 AM

By: Sue

Howe School

Howe school had around 1000 students before it was "turned around." It currently has about 500 students. So, what happened to all those kids? How difficult is it to turn a school around when you eliminate all the low performing students and discipline problems?

This is all smoke and mirrors.

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