Crusader staff report
Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy is accusing Mayor Rahm Emanuel of “leading a strategic gentrification plan” that aims to push out Blacks and make the city “white” and wealthier.
Those strong words came at a press conference Wednesday, January 3 in Lawndale, where Kennedy turned up the volume on his campaign with just over two months left before the primary. With his opponent Democrat Jay “JB” Pritzker silent on his views about Emanuel, Kennedy is stepping up his efforts for the Black vote by speaking out against a figure who has been the center of controversy in the Black community in the last several years.
“I believe that Black people are being pushed out of Chicago intentionally by a strategy that involves disinvestment in communities being implemented by the city administration, and I believe Rahm Emanuel is head of the city administration and therefore needs to be held responsible for those outcomes,” Kennedy said.
Emanuel spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement, “It’s sad to see Chris Kennedy using President Trump and Gov. Rauner in politically-motivated attacks about Chicago’s communities for his own personal gain. His divisive comments today are a direct assault on one of this city’s greatest strengths-our diversity.”
In his statement, McGrath said Kennedy’s attack on Emanuel “ignored work being done in neighborhoods across the city to improve the quality of life for everyone who calls Chicago home.”
Emanuel launched several projects in Chicago’s Black neighborhoods after a video was released showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. The city and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez fought to keep the video from being released as Emanuel sought reelection for a third term.
At the press conference, Congressmen Bobby L. Rush and Danny K. Davis, and Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin stood behind Kennedy as he attacked Emanuel, who has been called at times the “one percent mayor” and accused of not replacing public housing projects the city tore down years ago.
Kennedy during his campaign has criticized House Speaker Madigan and Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios, who is under fire after the Chicago Tribune published a report that questioned the fairness of commercial properties while properties in poorer neighborhoods are over assessed.
Kennedy said he is adding Emanuel to his list. Kennedy said the mayor shouldn’t claim credit for the decrease in homicides last year compared with 2016.
In a statement, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said, “I’ve never heard from Chris Kennedy. I’ve never even met him. He’s never visited a police station or asked me or my team for any kind of briefing on what we are doing in Chicago to address the gang violence and ongoing infusion of illegal guns on our streets. I’m not a politician, but I do take issue with the hard work our men and women are doing to beat back this violence (sic) is used to score political points.”