Amid the fallout of the Laquan McDonald police shooting controversy, Emanuel has seen his Police Department come under a federal civil rights investigation, which has prompted him to revamp the training of officers and overhaul civilian oversight of the department. And with a few weeks to go in the year, Chicago already has surpassed 700 homicides, the most for any year in almost two decades.
Given the difficulties, NBC-Ch. 5 reporter Mary Ann Ahern asked Emanuel whether he would be glad to move on from 2016.
“I think that’s presumptuous of you, if anything,” responded Emanuel, with a grin. The mayor then said the city enjoyed some successes this year, highlighting what he called improvements in education, continued relocation of corporations to the city and a reduction in poverty.
“There’s a lot that got done. We did some very important things for the city, but there is no doubt in 2017 I would like to see … a different result as it relates to communities that are having havoc wreaked on them by gun violence,” Emanuel said. “I’d like to see those economic gains translate into a similar drop in violence.”
Emanuel said he’s thankful for the health of his family, before noting how he often phones Chicagoans after they’ve lost family members to gun violence.
"There is a lot I’d like to see changed in 2017, and I think I’ve highlighted what I want to see, because I either call or go visit individual family members, and I don’t think any family, parent or grandparent should go through what I have seen individual parents on their own go through,” Emanuel said. “And I would like to see for the city a different sense of community, specifically on the South and West Side where this senseless violence occurs.
“I have things we can collectively be grateful for, but other things that we’ll dedicate ourselves in 2017 to resolve because they actually tear at the human soul let alone the fabric of a neighborhood and a community.” (Bill Ruthhart)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Emanuel’s public schedule was not available.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner will continue his criminal justice-themed week by signing a bill to make it easier for inmates to get IDs upon release. He’s not scheduled to take reporters’ questions.
What we’re writing
*Ald. Willie Cochran indicted on federal fraud, extortion and bribery charges.
*The indictment was first reported as Cochran sat in his chair during the City Council meeting, where aldermen were gushing over the Chicago Cubs. He left shortly afterward as reporters gave chase.
*Amazon drone delivers TV gadget and bag of popcorn to British customer.
From the notebook
*Wrath of Khan?: Federal prosecutors on Wednesday handed out some credit for the indictment of 20th Ward Ald. Willie Cochran to a source the Chicago City Council knows well: Faisal Khan.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said the Cochran investigation arose from information provided by Khan, the former Chicago legislative inspector general who 13 months ago turned over his investigative files to the FBI after aldermen eliminated his post. Aldermen said that Khan did not use enough discretion in his investigations to separate the wheat from the chaff and contended he repeatedly overstepped his bounds.
Khan has long maintained that those critical aldermen were upset only because he tried to do his job, despite the legislative and financial limits they placed on him. On Wednesday, he told the Chicago Tribune that the Cochran indictment “vindicated our work.”
He noted that since 1972, 29 aldermen have been convicted of crimes related to their official duties and called the charges against Cochran “an indictment of Chicago and the Chicago Way.”
Khan also suggested Cochran’s indictment might not be the last to result from his city work.
“We referred a number of investigations to the FBI,” Khan said. “This is one of them. … I hope to see more results as this moves forward.”
After leaving the city, Khan became head of Project Six, a government watchdog group that refuses to disclose its donors and has ties to the free-market championing Illinois Policy Institute, which received contributions from Republican Bruce Rauner before he was elected Illinois governor in 2014.
Khan also contended Wednesday that aldermen and Emanuel have not done enough to reform city ethics rules, a bit of a slap at a mayor who often talks about his efforts to change the way the city does business.
The mayor hit that theme again Wednesday after the council meeting, while also cautioning reporters not to paint aldermen with a broad brush.
“I know it’s just easy to kick the council and make everybody who ever worked in it carry a badge of dishonor,” Emanuel said. “I wouldn’t do that, OK? It’s an easy thing to do.”
Asked if aldermen got rid of Khan because he was being too effective, Emanuel said, “I don’t know what they think.” (Hal Dardick)
*Smith on Cochran: Former 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith was at Wednesday’s council meeting and weighed in on the indictment of 20th Ward Ald. Willie Cochran.
“It’s sad to hear these kind of things and hope for the best,” Smith said. “We don’t know the details of what went on, and ultimately I guess we will find out. But the family is disrupted. Life is disrupted. It’s a thing that really hurts everybody.
“It’s always very, very bad to hear these kind of things, because it sort of maligns everyone,” he added. “Because the old adage is, ‘You know what they (aldermen) are.’ And that’s always bad.” (Hal Dardick)
Follow the money
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.