Mayor Garcia probably sounds good to this guy too.
  • Brian Jackson
  • ‘Mayor Garcia’ probably sounds good to this guy too.

As must be painfully obvious to everyone by now, I have what you might call a complicated relationship with Chicago voters.

At least when it comes to electing aldermen and mayor—especially mayors—I generally find myself on the losing side of the campaign.

Most Chicagoans seem to favor a brutish kind of boss—generally, short-tempered men who ruthlessly plow over anyone who gets in their way. As they lead us into a ditch.

So once again I find myself clinging to the long-shot hope that this time will be different and voters will elect Jesus Garcia as mayor.

I realize, of course, that this sounds delusional, given that just the other day the Tribune came out with a poll that said Mayor Rahm was up 58 to 30 percent among likely voters.

Think about that, Chicago. A 28-point lead for one of the most disliked politicians of our time.

It’s amazing what $20 million or so in commercials can buy.

Now, some of you want to know what it is that I like about Chuy’s platform and plans for our future.

Alas, I can’t answer that question in much detail because Mr. Garcia has been preciously short on details about what taxes he’ll raise or budgets he’ll cut or deals he’ll make.

The same, of course, can be said for Mayor Rahm. So really one is no different than the other in this particular matter, as they try to avoid offending any voters before the big vote.

But I have a sense of what Mayor Garcia won’t do. For instance . . .

I don’t think he’ll provoke a strike by picking an unnecessary fight with the president of the Chicago Teachers Union and bashing the integrity of teachers by saying they gave their students the shaft.

And I don’t think he’ll close 50 schools after a ginned-up review process in which he pretended to be listening as parents and students begged to save their schools.

Only to be out of town, skiing in Utah, when the deal went down, as though he had nothing to do with it.

And I don’t think he’ll strangle the schools with a series of cuts that leaves them with fewer janitors, not nearly enough art, music, or drama, and passing the hat for toilet paper.

And I don’t think he’d use a pre-K program as a way to pay about $17 million in financing fees to some of the world’s wealthiest bankers.

And then brag about the pre-K program in his commercials.

And I’m hoping that at the very least Mayor Garcia would give back a portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars a year in property taxes that the TIFs strip from the schools so at least they can hire some freakin’ librarians.

Or at the very least, I don’t think he’ll use librarianless libraries for the backdrop to his press conferences where he shamelessly brags about how much he’s doing for the schools.

And I don’t think he’ll close mental health clinics in low-income, high-crime neighborhoods. And then have the police spy on the movement that erupted to protest the closings.

And I don’t think he’ll plunder the TIF slush fund to spend at least $55 million on a basketball arena for DePaul and a hotel for Marriott. Thus taking more money away from the schools.

And I don’t think he’ll waste his first few months in office putting together a silly spectacle like the NATO summit, which put the city on lockdown.

And I don’t think he’ll use the FOIA process to stonewall journalists and ordinary citizens who are looking for basic information about how he spends our tax dollars.

Well, on second thought, I fear that Mayor Emanuel may have set a precedent on stonewalling that other mayors find too tempting to resist.

Call it his legacy.

The bottom line, Chicago, is this. You’ve been electing bullies and despots for years. I’m hoping even you realize it’s time to try something else.