Chicago's millionaire mayor is no friend of Chicago's real neighborhood parks... Emanuel whimpering against Friends of the Parks is just another example of how out of touch Rahm is...

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel regularly promotes himself through media events like the dedication of the Beverly sports center (above). At such events, Rahm regularly surrounds himself with "Rahm's Rainbow" (a carefully selected group of adults and children that will show a smiling cross section of Chicago's "diversity" when the story is run on TV) and his army of propagandists work then to get the narrative told from Rahm's point of view. But reporters who cover the stories only from Rahm's angle are rarely seen in the city's real parks on summer afternoons and evenings when children and young adults are trying to play baseball, soccer and other sports on fields that have been neglected for years because of the administration's privatization and union busting policies. City of Chicago photo.Before anyone add to the berating of "Friends of the Park" being orchestrated by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his propaganda team (which includes a number of local corporate media reporters) answer the following question: When was the last time Rahm Emanuel or a member of his family used a Chicago park for baseball, soccer, football, frisbee, or any of the other activities that most families do when they go to a Chicago Park District Park? Answer: Never. Rahm Emanuel only goes to a Park District Park for carefully orchestrated media events, and maybe for something like "Shakespeare in the Park." The last Little League games he was at were when the controversial Jackie Robinson West baseball team was heading to the Little League World Series. While the average Little League player in Chicago risks injury on Rahm's pitted and cratered playing fields every day during the playing seasons, you can find Rahm and his ilk playing in the suburbs or out at the East Bank Club.

That is, unless Rahm is posing and pontificating for the TV cameras and other media.

After George Lucas and his wife Melody Hobson announced that they were no longer considering Chicago for their so-called "Museum of narrative art" and were returning to Hollywood, Chicago's mayor Rahm Emanuel went on a full-force media attack against "Friends of the Park." Despite the fact that Friends of the Park, a local organization, which has been around Chicago since Emanuel was an arrogant teenage bully growing up in the city's wealthiest suburb, much of Chicago's corporate media followed Rahm's "narrative arc" and let the group take the hit. According to the mayor, the loss of the Lucas museum was a major loss to all Chicagoans.

Really? How many Chicago children would have utilized the "Museum of Narrative Art" had it eventually been splayed along the lakefront on the South Side? And how many children this afternoon will be trying to use parks that have been neglected for so long that baseball players are in greater danger of injury on Rahm's fields of nightmares the harder they play their game and the more they "get dirty" as baseball kids are supposed to do.

But any family that tries to actually use Chicago's fairly large public park system can see every day that Rahm Emanuel is no friend of the parks. The deterioration of the city's real neighborhood public parks has continued and accelerated since Rahm was inaugurated in May 2011. While no one can blame Rahm Emanuel and his closest cronies for all of this deterioration (which was begun in a major way by former mayor Richard M. Daley through massive austerity, union busting, and privatization), it would have been good reporting for those who are in late June 2016 simply quoting the mayor or pontificating on his ponderous attacks on Friends of the Park to spend a few days going through the parks where Chicago's children and families are supposed to play and picnic this summer.

Baseball is a dramatic example of the neglect of Chicago's parks. Any baseball family (disclosure: this family is one) whose children play ball in the Chicago Park District can easily travel from a Chicago park baseball field to a suburban (or private) one and see the difference in dramatic contrast. Chicago may proudly promote the fact that it has two Major League baseball teams, but Chicago's mayor simply ignores the fact that he has allowed the ball fields at the city's hundreds of public parks (Park District and Chicago Public Schools fields, for the most part) to become dysfunctional -- and in many cases dangerous to players who take their games seriously.

The most dramatic contrast between city fields and the suburban ones that are also public is in the condition of the infields. In Chicago, the pitchers -- from Little League all the way to "Pony" -- are required by Rahm Emanuel to pitch off mounds that are pitted with craters, some deep enough to hide a baseball in, that will eventually result in an injury to a young player's legs or other stressed parts. Rahm may periodically wander into a park to urge Chicago kids to play hard (like when he utilized the Little League World Series two years ago to self-promote during the run of the ill-fated Jackie Robinson team), but it's clear he has never once watched a real Little League game or watched anyone in his family try to navigate the dangers that his privatization schemes have created for Chicago's children.



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