Soon after Mayor Emanuel took office, Ben and I were curious about who and what was on his daily schedule. So we started taking a look with the help of Freedom of Information Act requests.
The answer: lots of millionaires.
Also: lots of millionaires who donated to Republicans trying to unseat President Obama.
Plus: Well, we guessed there were more millionaires. But we don’t really know, because the mayor started keeping many of his meeting partners secret.
But last week I continued the tradition by going over the mayor’s schedules for the months of October through December 2015.
That’s of course when he and his staff were struggling to quell growing outrage over the Laquan McDonald shooting video and the city’s efforts to keep it under wraps for more than a year.
It turns out the mayor picked up his trips to the South and West Sides, hoping to limit the damage by visiting and being seen in African-American neighborhoods.
From Sunday’s Sun-Times:
Mayor Emanuel stops for pictures at Pearl’s Place, a popular South Side restaurant, a few days after the release of the Laquan McDonald video. From the mayor’s Twitter feed.
THE WATCHDOGS: Rahm’s post-video forgiveness tour
By Mick Dumke
Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded to the growing outrage over his handling of the Laquan McDonald case by embarking on a campaign to step up his presence in black Chicago, according to newly obtained records that show how the City Hall public relations machine worked to limit the political damage.
After the release of the police dashcam video in November — showing now-indicted Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting the teenager 16 times as he walked away from officers — Emanuel began making more visits to African-American churches.
His staff posted photos on Twitter showing him eating at soul food restaurants.
He pressed to keep minority political allies on his side.
Those were among the steps Emanuel took in the face of the deepening political crisis he faced just months after black voters were key to his reelection, according to mayoral schedules and staff emails released to the Chicago Sun-Times in response to public records requests.
A spokesman for Emanuel wouldn’t discuss details of his visits with community residents and religious and political figures in the two months after the release of the video.
“Those private conversations are meant to be a real dialogue with the people who will play an important role in addressing a decades-old challenge in Chicago and restoring trust in our police department,” Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins said.
But Collins also acknowledged, “They have certainly increased in frequency over the past few months.”
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