Friday, November 21, 2014

Official Bridgeport Alliance Statement: Rahm's "Clean Air" Pollutes Our Reputation

November 21, 2014
For immediate release:

Earlier this week Chicago Together, Rahm Emanuel’s campaign for reelection, released a video titled Clean Air. It highlights the closing of Fisk and Crawford, a pair of South Side coal-fired power plants that had been exposing residents to harmful pollution for decades. Local residents and community groups worked for years to close these plants, but the 30 second ad spins the story differently, implying that Rahm was the true hero. In his attempt to take credit for the closures, it is the opinion of Bridgeport Alliance that Emanuel is claiming a victory that belongs to the communities, exploiting their success to bolster his campaign.

The video also implies that Emanuel has the support of local community activists. In fact, he does not. Community member and lawyer Jerry Boyle commented, “The people who struggled to close those toxic coal plants were arrested by Rahm Emanuel, who only showed up to take credit for their victory.” In a similar vein, Bridgeport Alliance Chair Ruby Pinto expressed anger, stating, “Our neighbors fought tirelessly to restore our air quality, and that meant going against Emanuel and his corporate favoritism. To see our efforts distorted into support for Rahm feels like a bully taking our lunch money and buying votes with it.”

Though we are happy that the clean-power victory was won under his mayorship, his one  positive decision (in response to community pressure) is outweighed by other decisions that have devastated our communities. School closings, cuts to mental health services, and the enactment of policies that consistently favor large corporations over the people he claims to serve have earned our outrage, not our support.

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