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The City that Works?

1:51 PM, Oct 15, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Chicago's weekend body count has become a depressingly routine story:

Two teenagers were killed and 24 others were wounded across Chicago Saturday night through Sunday morning.

The pathology of gang violence is not the only crisis facing Chicago  and its mayor, Rahm Emanuel.  There is also the matter of how to meet pension obligations which “could reach $1.2 billion by 2015, the mayor's office says. That's equal to 22 percent of the city's annual budget, or about the amount spent each year on salaries for the entire police department. To cover that bill without cutting basic city services, taxpayers would have to pay 150 percent more in property taxes — an option Emanuel has called ‘unpalatable’ and ‘absolutely unacceptable.’”

Mayor Emanuel recently settled a strike by the city's teachers by giving them a nice raise.  This, in spite of the demonstrable failure of the teacher's to do what they were already being paid very handsomely to do, namely educate the city's children.  

So: Unsafe streets.  Uneducated children.  Unpayable bills.  Still, one feels a certain amount of sympathy for Mayor Emanuel who has inherited a city where, for as long as anyone can remember, one-party rule has been in place with the public sector unions and the ruling political machine joined happily at the hip.   

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