Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mayor Daley on the middle-class in Chicago

The same day that school vouchers passed through the Illinois Senate, they also approved legislation to allow Chicago Public School teachers to live outside of Chicago's city limits. Our mayor had this to say about this issue:
"Go to Detroit, St. Louis, the rest of ‘em. When they allow government employees to live outside the city, they lose all their middle-class," the mayor told reporters after a City Council meeting.

"If you say government employees don’t have to live here, I guess maybe elected officials don’t have to live here, too. You could start a trend. I don’t have to live in the ward. I don't have to live in the city. I can work on a contract. I firmly believe that is the essence of keeping neighborhoods strong."

And what would happen if Chicago lost its middle-class tax base?

"In other cities, they put a city income tax on it. I don’t believe in city income taxes,” the mayor said.
I got wind of this article via Newsalert but Joe Zekas at YoChicago calls Daley's quote, "Unbelievable!"

So then we should ask if being middle-class means that you must be a government employee? That or as Newsalert suggests a middle-class of government workers in the city is a strong patronage army.

Would Chicago's middle-class drop off because city public school teachers (for now at least) were no longer forced to live in Chicago?


  1. There is some truth to what the mayor is saying and also I believe it does help to have teachers live in the city. I believe that teachers are more motivated to help their students when they live and see them outside the school setting as well as worrying about how a teacher is treating their child versus what is happening now where the teachers jump in their cars and forget the students at the end of the day and going to see the suburban teacher that they respect and trust to teach their child.

    The reality is all Rev. Meeks is doing is clearing his conscience as he knows that many of his parishioners who work for CPS do not physically live within the city limits.

  2. OK, I think you have things totally backwards.

    The mayor is saying that teachers and elected officials are middle class. (If they weren’t , they are either being vastly overpaid, or being exploited by not being paid a fair wage…with the exception for Teach for America).

    He is NOT saying that because you are middle class, you are automatically an government employee.

    Chicago Teachers, and other CPS workers, ARE government employees (schools are actually a part of government, though more independently run than a typical city Bureau).

    According to Wikipedia, there ARE 43,000 CPS employees…even ¼ of them moving out of the city can have a severe economic impact on the city.

    Daley was also suggesting if that attitude of allowing city government employees to NOT live in the city would be very significant (I believe the city is one of the largest employers in the state).

    Here are a couple ways to think about it:

    Landlords are far more likely to take care of their property & address issues, and address them quickly, when they live on the property. The farther away they are, the less likely the property will be well kept & issues addressed.

    Pastors make a far greater impact if they live near their church is another example.

    Also, teachers who serve in our schools then help contribute to Chicago’s tax base, making them more invested in their city.

    The patronage army is a stupid assumption.

    Regarding Worlee’s comments:

    The first part I agree with (see above)

    I think the second part is slanderous against Pastor Meeks.


PLEASE READ FIRST!!!! Comment Moderating and Anonymous Comment Policy

While anonymous comments are not prohibited we do encourage you to help readers identify you so that other commenters may respond to you. Either read the moderating policy for how or leave an identifier (which could be a nickname for example) at the end of the comment.

Also note that this blog is NOT associated with any public or political officials including Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer!