Emanuel on Term Limits, Chicago’s Affordable Housing Challenges

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s second term hasn’t been without its share of controversies – namely the cloud of police brutality that’s followed him since the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in November 2015.

But that hasn’t stopped Emanuel from outpacing his mayoral challengers by several million in campaign funds ahead of the Chicago mayoral election in February.

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And he’s undaunted by former Gov. Pat Quinn’s effort, however unlikely to succeed, to place a binding referendum on the November ballot asking whether Chicago mayors should be limited to two terms – effectively barring Emanuel from running again.

In the two years Quinn has been lobbying for the term limit referendum, he’s gathered about 50,000 signatures – the former governor has acknowledged he’ll need at least double that to survive a likely petition challenge from Emanuel’s camp.

The chances of that question being posed to voters got slimmer this week when City Council voted on three fairly noncontroversial referendums relating to legal pot revenue, a plastic straw ban and a homeowner’s tax exemption.

State law limits ballots to three referendums.

“Gov. Quinn has been working on this – he doesn’t have the signatures ready,” Emanuel said. “And the City Council, and I, moved forward with the three referendum.”

Beyond term limits, a recurring question in Chicago is whether the city should elect its Board of Education.

That question may seem increasingly valid to some Chicagoans in the wake of a Chicago Tribune investigation which revealed troubling lapses in how Chicago Public Schools handles sex abuse allegations made by its students.

At the moment, the mayor is zeroing in on affordable housing – he kicked off the week by proposing a new city housing department to work with developers and an investment fund to concentrate affordable units in hot areas on the Near West and Northwest Sides.

The pre-election plan follows another Chicago Tribune report that found developers aren’t building affordable housing in fast-growing areas like Logan Square and the West Loop at the same rate as more underserved, and sometimes dangerous, neighborhoods – despite a 2015 ordinance designed to increase affordable housing throughout the city.

Emanuel joins Chicago Tonight’s Paris Schutz to discuss these issues and more.

Follow Evan Garcia on Twitter: @EvanRGarcia

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