RAHMWATCH: 'Chicago Mayor kisses babies, shows love of Bronzeville!' could be the headline... Rahm doubles down over the weekend with two publicity stunts on South Side and the usual photo ops with African American children ... But no 'media availability'!

Chicago's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, must have studied propaganda by reading some of the masterpieces of the last century. He has virtually stopped talking to most reporters while having his taxpayer-paid City Hall press handlers ("The Mayor's Press Office") stage more and more media events at which the mayor's office provides corporate media with the entire story, written by public relations people paid by the taxpayers. The packages also include photographs taken by photographers (the mayor has at least two) also paid from the public purse.

Although Alderman Pat Dowell is quoted in the City Hall press release praising the mayor for the upgrading at Anderson Park in her ward, neither of the two photographs that came with the propaganda story about the event depicts Dowell. The above photo is credited to Brooke Collins, City of Chicago and like the photo below with the little baby, it doesn't include the alderman who was supposedly there to praise Rahm Emanuel.And so it was on July 27, 2014 that the media got two BIG STORIES about Rahm from Rahm basically written by Rahm. At one Rahm announced that Rahm had put another great play opportunity (as part of Rahm's "Chicago Plays" initiative) into the South Side for the sake of the children. Then, Rahm and Rahm took the opportunity to get a boost from Rahm's buddy, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, to tout the long-awaited (and not to be completed until almost a year after the 2015 mayor election) walkway across South Lake Shore Drive.

Although the press releases announcing the events were sent out before the events, both also said "No media availability" -- meaning that reporters can't ask questions, but are just supposed to be there to do the mayor's bidding by creating TV video events to add to the public perceptions of Rahm Emanuel and his works.

The official stories from Bronzeville and other parts of Chicago's massively segretated African American communities when the Mayor's Press Office organizes them are all smiles all the time. The mayor's media handlers, most of whom are young and white, arrive early at the events and begin ordering around everyone in the vicinity, whether the events are inside schools (where the principals are often ignored or overriden) or during the nice weather outdoors (where the mandatory "Rahm's Rainbow" is carefully assembled on orders from the mayor's "team."

"Rahm's Rainbow" changes from community to community. When Rahm is in mostly white or Latino communities, a handful of African American people are positioned to be in all photographs with the mayor. When the "Rainbow" is in the heart of Chicago's still massive Black Ghetto, often the only white people in the photo are Rahm appointees like the chiefs of the Park District or the Chicago Transit Authority.

Some are now betting that within each month from now until the February 2015 mayoral election, Rahm Emanuel will host publicity stunts in every ward in Black Chicago, with mandatory appearances from Black Aldermen. Although Emanuel has the support from the majority of Black Aldermen, he knows that many -- perhaps most -- of the voters in those communities now dislike him, thanks to his constant attacks on the public schools (he closed 50 of them in May 2013, the largest number of any city in U.S. history) and the elimination of veteran Black teachers and other professionals from the ranks of public servants.

Although a handful of the schools closed by the Rahm-appointed Board of Education in May were white and in communities outside the ghetto, the vast majority of schools closed (and charter schools opened or real public schools subjected to so-called "turnaround") were in the city's African American communities. In every event, as the Chicago Teachers Union, Substance, and many community groups and leaders have documented, veteran community leaders are eliminated in the purges and the communities destabilized.

Because the mayor is afraid of people picketing and jeering him because of his destructive policies in the South Side and West Side, he rarely makes appearances there with much early notice. In many instances, nobody in the areas knows Rahm's coming until Rahm arrives. The whole point of each operation is to perpetuate the myths created before the 2011 mayoral election, when Rahm rode into office on the backs of the votes from the wards that are majority African American. This was thanks to the endorsement of President Barack Obama and Rahm's deft use of video, which he staged prior to the voting at events and "El" stops (particularly 95th St.) in the Black community.

But that was 2011, and in 2014 the mayor can't even be certain he won't be booed in the churches whose pastors owe him the most. The public officials who are made to join him in many of his photo ops are often told at the last minute as well so the word of Rahm's coming doesn't get out in time for community groups to show up and jeer the man who has been destabilizing Black Chicago even more than his predecessor.

One of the two photographs supplied by taxpayers to go with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's publicity stunt "news" stories on July 27, 2014. The above photo is supposed to be captioned "Mayor Emanuel joins Bronzeville community members as they cerebrate the opening of a new playground at Anderson Park" and the photo credit goes to Brooke Collins. Collins is a City Hall employee in the mayor's office.The first press release came an hour before Rahm went to the Anderson playlot in Bronzeville to tout Rahm's summer of "Play."



CONTACT:. Mayors Press Office. 312.744.3334.


Bronzeville playground one of 103 playgrounds to be rebuilt or refurbished as part of Mayor Emanuels Chicago Plays! program this year

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Park District General Superintendent Michael P. Kelly, Alderman Pat Dowell and Bronzeville community members celebrated the opening of a new playground at Anderson Park. This playground is among the 103 neighborhood playgrounds that will be built or refurbished across the City this year as part of Mayor Emanuels Chicago Plays! program. We are a strong City because our neighborhoods are strong, and this new playground will help to further strengthen Bronzeville, said Mayor Emanuel. This playground is a place for friendships to form, for parents and neighbors to meet and for the fabric of the community to be woven together. The Chicago Plays! playground renovation program was launched in the spring of 2013 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. Of the 103 playgrounds to be rebuilt or renovated this year, 26 have already been completed.

"The new and improved Louis Anderson Park is another great example of the kind of investments we are making in the Bronzeville community," said Alderman Dowell. "This new park is a hidden gem and a place for neighbors to get to know each other and for the community to come together and get active.

Mayor Emanuels Chicago Plays! program invests approximately $125,000 in new playground equipment at each park location for a total program cost of $37,500,000, providing a broad investment in capital projects throughout the City. The Chicago Park District partnered with Friends of the Park to seek community input to prioritize locations. Mayor Emanuels Chicago Plays! was developed in effort to ensure that families across the city can access colorful and inviting playgrounds, said Superintendent Kelly. We are thrilled to be able to renovate more playgrounds and impact more communities than expected this year. Mayor Emanuels Chicago Plays! program underscores the major announcements the Mayor has previously made regarding parks, including a comprehensive plan to build and improve parks throughout the city so that every Chicagoan is in within a ten minute walk of a park.

The new playground renovation at Anderson Park provides a vibrant, welcoming place for the community to enjoy. Anderson Park is also home to robust day camp and after school programming. On Saturday, August 16, the park will host a block party as part of Chicago Park Districts Night Out in the Parks programming. The Night Out in the Parks series brings 1,000 events and programs to more than 250 neighborhood parks throughout the City. The Park District has partnered with more than 50 artists and community organizations to expand and produce this successful initiative.

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


Photo Caption 1 - 2: Mayor Emanuel joins Bronzeville community members as they cerebrate the opening of a new playground at Anderson Park. Photo Credit: Brooke Collins // City of Chicago

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 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.

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CONTACT:. Mayors Press Office. 312.744.3334.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Alderman Will Burns today celebrated new work to construct a new pedestrian bridge at 35th Street over Lake Shore Drive, which will be a modern, S-shaped suspension bridge that will replace a dilapidated structure and create a stronger and more aesthetically pleasing connection between the lakefront and the Bronzeville neighborhood.

The "Mayor's Press Office" provided the press with the photograph above of the "old" pedestrian bridge over Lake Shore Drive at 35th St. The banner on the bridge reads "Building a New Chicago" and appeared on the bridge on July 27, 2014. Since reporters were not allowed to ask questions at the media event that afternoon, no one was able to ask why Rahm Emanuel's team didn't simply have the bridge above scraped and painted. Although the press materials distributed by the mayor included two photographs (the second was the "after" picture of the pedestrian bridge, which will supposedly be completed in October 2015) neither photo shows Alderman Will Burns, who is quoted as praising the project.This new bridge will open up the lakefront to more children and families of the Bronzeville community and serve as a great tribute, not just to Bronzevilles past, but also to its future as a neighborhood on the move, said Mayor Emanuel. Chicago is only as strong as its neighborhoods, and we are making investments throughout our city like this new bridge in Bronzeville, that will help strengthen every neighborhood.

The $23 million construction project is being led by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and supported by $18 million from the US Department of Transportation and $5 million from the State of Illinois.

This project is part of the City's overall investments in Bronzeville as part of the Mayor's neighborhood development strategy, Chicago Neighborhoods Now. Since the strategy launched in 2013, Bronzeville has seen $1.85 billion in planned and completed public and private investments including the Artists Lofts, a development with housing and an art incubator; the Shops & Lofts at 47, a mixed-use, mixed-income housing and retail project; a new Marianos grocery store; and the rehabilitation of the Rosenwald Courts apartment complex, among others.

The new 35th Street pedestrian bridge will provide a safer, more convenient way for Chicagoans to access our world-class lakefront, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. More than $18.6 million in federal funding has been invested in the project to increase accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and people living with disabilities. Im pleased to join Mayor Emanuel today to get this important infrastructure project underway.

"As one drives south on Lake Shore Drive the old 35th Street bridge served as a sad and decrepit welcoming icon of the south side," said Alderman Will Burns, 4th Ward. "This new pedestrian bridge with its ambitious design is another marker that a renaissance is happening on Chicago's south side."

CDOT is removing the existing 35th Street Pedestrian Bridge over Lake Shore Drive and the adjacent railroad tracks, and constructing a modern S-shaped suspension bridge in its place. The new bridge will be fully ADA accessible, and will include new plazas at either end, landscaping, drainage, lighting and traffic safety improvements. The project was developed in coordination with the Chicago Park District and local community to improve the overall pedestrian experience. The new bridge, designed by engineering and design firm exp, will feature a 20-foot-wide walking surface, which will accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge will be illuminated by LED lighting in the handrails, along the suspension cables and on the center pylon.

The park space on the east side of the bridge will be landscaped with recovered stone from the old lakefront revetment, brick pavers, and a water fountain. The west plaza will serve as a gateway to the bridge and feature new benches and lighting. Additionally, 35th Street from South Cottage Grove to Lake Park Avenue will be resurfaced, as well as Lake Park from 35th to 36th Street. A new cul-de-sac turnaround at 35th and Lake Park at the west entrance of the bridge will improve traffic flow.

The new bridge is expected to open in October 2015. During construction, work will be staged to maintain one lane of traffic in each direction and one sidewalk 35th Street from Cottage Grove to Lake Park and on Lake Park from 35th to 36th Street. The existing bridge is now closed and will be demolished in the coming weeks. The detour for pedestrian access to the lakefront trail is at Oakwood Boulevard over Lake Shore Drive.

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There is no indication as to whether Senator Durbin was actually there. The two photographs are a "before" and "after" shot of the pedestrian bridge. But since the bridge won't be completed until October 2015, "after" is still a fiction.


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