'If you got enough money, you can be any story you want...' (The Wire)... Rahm the coward afraid of 'his people'? Chicago mayor evades public appearances, reduces 'transparency' to a talking point, and avoids the public like most Chicagoans had Ebola... No public budget hearings this month...

Like a lot of other stunts Rahm Emanuel staged during his first year in office, the "Town Hall Meetings" on August 29 and August 31, 2011 (above, Rahm at Malcolm X College during the second of the hearings) were staged partly to get video for the carefully scripted CNN "Chicagoland" show, although most members of the public weren't told that truth at the time. Rahm never did a public event on his municipal budgets after August 31, 2011, and by 2014 he was afraid to appear in public without massive security and careful control of his scripts. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Those who were in Chicago during the warm August of 2011 will still remember that Chicago's new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, had already begun scripting what later became the Hollywood fiction, "Chicagoland" by holding those once-and-only-once "budget hearings." At Malcolm X College and other locations, the newly inaugurated guy who was going to be the transformative person in charge, etc., etc., etc. stood in front of the public, answered questions (evaded most), and vowed never again to do that.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaimed "transparency" during the opening months of his administration. In August 2011, he held two public hearings on the City of Chicago budget, one of them in the gym at Malcolm X College (above). The mayor of Chicago can be seen in the front of the screen taking a sip of water during the public hearing. In the rear is the screen Rahm used to put up his Power Point version of the city budget. The two "public hearings" Rahm held in the summer of 2011 were the last he ever held. In 2012, 2013, and now in 2014, he talks a lot about "transparency" and then avoids unscripted appearances in the public as much as possible. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. But Rahm had the videos "in the can." He only needed to be "transparent" about his municipal budget once. After that, as this month, he can talk about his love of "transparency" while ensuring that never again will he face the public as he did four months after his inauguration at those August 2011 budget hearings at Malcolm X and Kennedy King.

Likewise, Rahm's money staged those "spontaneous" protests outside City Hall and elsewhere on behalf of his fraudulent "longer school day." When Substance first reported them in September 2011, there was widespread skepticism (although a Sun-Times photojournalist was seeing the same story on the west side of City Hall that morning), but by January 2012, it was big news: Paid Protesters Push Rahm's 'Longer School Day' narrative.

Again, though, the video was "in the can" so that Rahm's version of Rahm the Magnificent could be edited into "Chicagoland." After all, the facts didn't matter as long as the story was going to be told according to the script reviewed by Rahm Emanuel and his supporters.

But a funny thing has happened to Rahm's narrative on its way to greater things. Rahm is now afraid to be in public or to be questioned by reporters in public in the city that gave American "Chicagoland." For example, between July 25, 2014 and August 3, 2014, Rahm Emanuel has made more than two dozen public appearances, all announced to the media at taxpayer expense by the so-called "Mayor's Press Office," and not once has the mayor answered one question from one reporter. In fact, in several of those appearances, the mayor's team made sure the press didn't know about the mayor's media event until after the event. And then City Hall provided the press with a complete story -- "news" in several paragraphs, and a couple of nice pictures, too. Usually the photographs that go with one of Rahm Emanuel's canned narratives shows the mayor standing with a bunch of smiling Black People -- wherever the mayor can find them, children. But Rahm hasn't risked being seen in public on the West Side or South Side without a phalanx of media flacks and a larger phalanx of security muscle. Rahm is making sure that he will never have to answer questions from Asean Johnson and the thousands of other children across Chicago whose lives have been undermined and whose schools were closed by his crazy antics. The script of "Chicagoland" called for Rahm explaining why Rahm had to make those "Hard Choices" that Rahm is supposed to get re-elected because of.

What is being carefully edited out of the script is that from the first "Longer School Day" protest in September 2011 through the latest photo op in a walled off section of a Chicago Park District set in the summer of 2014, Chicago's mayor is desperately trying to avoid getting out in public to face those voters -- especially Black People -- he conned into voting him into office back in February 2011.

But that was then, this is now, and facts you'll never read on CNN are in order.

So we will begin with Rahm's "budget hearings" in August 2011, briefly note the Paid Protester antics of September 2011 through January 2012, and then review how few times Rahm is showing his face and answering questions in August 2014.

Other key public events in August 2011 were Rahm's breakfast at White Sox Park for hundreds of preachers, many of whom were soon to be on the mayor's payroll, including a group that brought out their worshippers for media events in support of Rahm's "Longer School Day" campaign against the Chicago Teachers Union.

By September 8, 2011, Rahm's preachers had arranged for nearly a dozen buses to bring a group of mostly poor people to parade outside City Hall with signs supporting Rahm's "Longer School Day." But when this reporter asked them to identify themselves and explain which public school they wanted to have a longer day, most either hid their faces, refused to answer, or demanded to know "Why you asking me that?" Finally, "Protest Bus #9" unloaded a group of black children and a well dressed many wearing a baseball cap that read "Bishop". The children, all in red blazers, filed into City Hall and were allowed to go up the side entrance by City Hall police.

All of them were carrying signs proclaiming their support for Rahm's "Longer School Day."

Among the paid protesters who marched at City Hall carrying signs in support of Rahm's "Longer School Day" were two dozen children from the Promise Christian Academy" who had arrived on "Protest Bus #9." The "Bishop" who led them into City Hall at first refused to answer a Substance reporter's question about where the children came from, only telling the truth when this reporter began asking each of the children why they wanted a longer school day for their school, which was not a public school. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. When this reporter insisted on their bishop explaining who the children were and where they were from (I didn't know of any Chicago public elementary school where the children wore bright red blazers) at first he refused to answer, and then he said "The South End."

"I worked all over the South Side," I told him, "and I never heard anyone from the South Side calling that part of town the "South End. Where are these children from?"

"Promise Christian Academy," he finally answer after I told him I was going to ask each of the children where they were from and why they were there. He found a City Hall cop and was quickly allowed up the back stairs. The City Council was supposed to be holding hearings on the "Longer School Day" that day, but the red-blazer children never appeared again in public. I went to the Council chambers and waited for them to show up, but they had disappeared.


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