Monday, September 10, 2018

Editorial: Will the next mayor get Chicago its cut of a booming economy?

If this economy is booming right now shouldn't Chicago have already gotten a piece of it? From a Tribune editiorial:
Under Emanuel, the city attracted major employers, experienced a building boom and boosted tourism. He bolstered O’Hare and Midway airports and kept a shine on downtown, the lakefront and many neighborhoods. He made little progress helping the underdeveloped South and West sides, besides recruiting the oft-mentioned Whole Foods to Englewood. Yes, he got the Barack Obama Presidential Center for Jackson Park, but that was a gimme — imagine the scandal if Obama had taken his library to New York. Will Emanuel cap his tenure by winning Amazon’s second headquarters? We’ll know soon.
What connects the mayor’s accomplishments as bond salesman and corporate recruitment cheerleader is his commitment to the cause and ability to speak the language of business and finance. Emanuel, who did a turn as an investment banker, made economic and urban development a priority and went hard at CEOs to convince them to locate in Chicago. With each of those HQs came good-paying jobs.

We’ve echoed the desire of Emanuel’s critics to see private-sector investment spread evenly across Chicago. But Emanuel understood that money invested in an already healthy downtown does a lot more for all Chicagoans than if that money went to Atlanta or Dallas.

So how about the next mayor? America’s economy is booming. Will Chicago get its share? Who among the candidates understands the city’s potential, and who can best balance competing needs to achieve the greater good?

The bond market people will have opinions. So will CEOs and developers. But voters, hiring a mayor who can win their trust is up to you.

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