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RAHMWATCH: Taxpayers are paying for every iteration of 'Rahm's Rainbow' as faux news stories pour out of the Mayor's Press Office. They come complete with photographs of Rahm Emanuel surrounded by (usually) smiling African American women and children

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is sparing now expense to show the world that every day he is engaged in uplifting Chicago with worthy projects, and that he is surrounded by African American people -- usually children -- who smile for the cameras like they are at a birthday party. Left out of the faux news stories is the fact that they are carefully staged by a small army of Rahm Emanuel press flacks and that every penny of the cost is paid for by Chicago taxpayers. Between July 16 and July 19, Chicago's news outlets received two completely synthetic news packages, each with photographs, to publish. Sort of like a Shake And Bake reality, but designed to keep the face of Rahm Emanuel in the news...

Straight from City Hall cameras to your doorstep, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel shovels it with the help of a very small (and apparently captive) African American child at the July 16 groundbreaking at 115th and Western. The synthetic press package suggested that the photo above read: Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Park District Break Ground On Morgan Park, Beverly Sports Center. Photo Credit: Patrick Pyszka, City of Chicago.

On July 16, 2014, City Hall provided the following to the press:

MAYOR EMANUEL, CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT BREAK GROUND ON MORGAN PARK, BEVERLY SPORTS CENTER. Combination Gymnastics Center and Ice Rink to be Complete in Summer of 2015...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. July 16, 2014. CONTACT: Mayors Press Office

312.744.3334. press@cityofchicago.org... Jessica Maxey-Faulkner, 312.742.4786

jessica.maxey-faulkner@chicagoparkdistrict.com

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Matt OShea (19th Ward), Chicago Park District General Superintendent Michael Kelly, and members of the Morgan Park and Beverly communities today hosted a groundbreaking ceremony break ground on the long awaited Morgan Park, Beverly Sports Center.

"On the 10th anniversary of the opening of Millennium Park, we're breaking ground on a new sports complex that will do for the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhoods what Millennium Park has done for downtown Chicago," said Mayor Emanuel. "Chicago is only as strong as its neighborhoods and this facility is a prime example of the type of neighborhood investments we are making across the City to provide economic opportunities, recreational activities and the chance to strengthen the social fabric of this community."

The new 64,000 square foot sports facility, which was announced last year, will feature a state of the art indoor ice rink facility and a world-class gymnastics center. Additional features will include skate rentals, concession areas, meeting and party rooms, viewing areas, offices, restrooms and team locker rooms. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015.

This incredible new sports complex will open the doors to two increasingly popular sports as well as other recreation opportunities in Beverly, Morgan Park and surrounding communities, said Michael Kelly, General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. State-of-the-art facilities combined with specialized gymnastics and skating programs will give athletes, whether beginner or elite, the opportunity to learn and excel at these sports.

A second "news" photo provided by City Hall depicting Rahm's Rainbow was distributed with the July 16, 2014 press release praising Rahm's contributions to the upgrading of Chicago's parks. As park field houses and swmming pools are closed because the mayor has cut workers and Park District baseball and soccer fields endanger players because of their rutted conditions, Rahm counts on Chicago's corporate media to continue adding chapters to CNN's "Chicagoland" by providing stories like this one, "free" of charge. Morgan Park, Beverly Sports Center will accommodate a range of ages, from preschool children up to club-level athletes, and will feature a public viewing area and standard USGA competition events for men and women. The center will also feature a large pit area and in-ground trampolines for additional training opportunities. The indoor ice skating rink facility will have an 85 x 200 dimension with a seating capacity of 850-1,000 spectators. This facility will allow for year-round competitive hockey, figure-skating and recreational ice skating.

The $16 million project is being completed with a combination of state, Park District and TIF funding.

"I think it is a grand idea to bring ice skating to the Beverly area. Recreation and the good use of ones leisure time should always be taught in our schools and available in our communities. I am proud to stand here at the groundbreaking to see, what I hope will be, one of the first new recreational facilities in the community, said State Representative Monique D. Davis.

"The community is excited to have this new gymnastic center and ice rink. This is a wonderful addition to the community and an excellent project to make use of property that has stood vacant for too long," said State Representative Fran Hurley.

"Providing recreation and physical education opportunities for children needs to be a priority for city and state government," State Senator Bill Cunningham said. "I am thrilled that Mayor Emanuel and Governor Quinn share this view and have made this investment in our community."

Already this week, Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Park District have celebrated new investments in park facilities across the city, with the opening of three new playgrounds at Cragin Park (Belmont Cragin), Montgomery Park (River North) and Lucy Flower Park (Logan Square), new investments in Kelly Park (Brighton Park) and the groundbreaking for a skate park in Grant Park (downtown).

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For more information about the Chicago Park Districts more than 8,100 acres of parkland, more than 580 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, nine museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312/742.PLAY.

Photo Caption: Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Park District Break Ground On Morgan Park, Beverly Sports Center. Photo Credit: Patrick Pyszka // City of Chicago

Three days after the publicity stunt at 115th and Western, Rahm's Rainbow was ordered out again, this time to Jackie Robinson Park for another mayoral publicity stunt. While Rahm is diverting attention to the new, shiny park playlots, a few yards away baseball fields and other facilities are unusable even after a brief rain because of Rahm's Park District budget cuts. And poor black children can no longer play in Little League because even in Park District parks Little League costs a family between $50 and $100, per child, a fee that many poor families can't afford. While the city's wealthiest suburban neighbors enjoy some of the best baseball fields in the USA, Chicago's are a national scandal where older pitchers and other players are in danger from the ridges and holes that dot the playing areas when they are dry.

The "news" story was provided by the Mayor's Press Office (see here):

MAYOR EMANUEL, CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT CUT RIBBON ON JACKIE ROBINSON PARK PLAYGROUND, IMPROVEMENTS. City Officials Cap Off Week of Park Investments to Coincide With the 10th Anniversary of Millennium Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. July 19, 2014

CONTACT: Mayor's Press Office. 312.744.3334. press@cityofchicago.org

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Park District Chief Administrative Officer Tanya Anthony, Alderman Carrie Austin and members of the Washington Heights community today cut the ribbon on the new playground and other park improvements at Jackie Robinson Park.

Rahm's shows his love for African American children by hoisting them to the gym bars at Jackie Robinson Park on July 19, 2014. Fourteen months earlier, Rahm had ordered his school board to close 50 of the city's real public schools -- more than three-quarters of them in African American communities -- but the mayor denied that racism had anything to do with it. Photo provided to Chicago and other media by "The Mayor's Press Office," located on the fifth floor of Chicago's City Hall (paid for completely by Chicago's taxpayers."The new and improved Jackie Robinson Park is more than a safe place for kids to stay active, it's a place for friendships to form, for neighbors to get to know each other and for the community to come together," said Mayor Emanuel. "This is a great example of the kind of investments we are making in neighborhoods all over to Chicago to build a stronger city, one community at a time."

The new ADA accessible playground, part of Mayor Emanuel's Chicago Plays! program, includes challenging play equipment for children aged two-12 years old. Other improvements include rubberized soft surfacing, pathway improvements, picnic tables and benches and landscaping.

"I am pleased to present to the Jackie Robinson Park community and beyond the essential upgrades they've requested for quite a while," said Alderman Austin. "I likewise thank the Mayor for his broad ranging commitment to improve all of the City's park districts. I'm often quoted as saying we're often overlooked because funding for services and improvements run out by the time they reach 99th Street. But today is a great day for our community and I value the potential this park facility and grounds holds toward reinvigorating the use of this vital recreational asset."

The improvements to the park cost approximately $449,000, consisting of $350,000 in NATO funds and $114,000 in Chicago Park District funds.

The playground at Jackie Robinson Park is one of 103 playgrounds to be renovated this year under Mayor Emanuel's Chicago Plays! program, which is hailed as the most aggressive playground renovation in the country. The Chicago Plays! program was launched last spring by Mayor Emanuel, who announced that the Park District would rebuild, repair and/or refurbish 325 playgrounds in communities across Chicago over five years. Last year, 50 playgrounds were rehabilitated under the program. The Park District partnered with Friends of the Park to seek community input to prioritize locations.

When Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is creating an iteration of the famous "Rahm's Rainbow" in Chicago's African American communities, he doesn't bother to import white, Latino or Asians for the diversity photographs. When he appears in mostly white communities (as he did on July 16 in Beverley), Rahm's agents call Calumet Park or someplace else and order minions to round up enough children to provide Rahm's Rainbow. The above photo accompanied the press release about Jackie Robinson Park. This week, Mayor Emanuel, First Lady Amy Rule and the Chicago Park District have celebrated new investments in park facilities across the city, with the opening of an additional five new playgrounds at Cragin Park (Belmont Cragin), Montgomery Park (River North), Cornell Square Park (Englewood), Lucy Flower Park (Logan Square), and Cornell Square Park (New City), an announcement of an artificial turf development in Kelly Park (Brighton Park) and groundbreakings for a skate park in Grant Park (downtown), a track and field at Lindblom Park (Englewood) and a sports center (Morgan Park/Beverly).

For more information, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or call 312.742.PLAY, 312.747.2001 (TTY).

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For more information about the Chicago Park District's more than 8,100 acres of parkland, more than 580 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, nine museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312/742.PLAY.

Photo Caption: Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Park District Cut Ribbon On Jackie Robinson Park Playground, Improvements. Photo Credit: Brooke Collins // City of Chicago



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