Greising: Emanuel Hasn't Fixed Chicago's Crime Problem. Will the Next Mayor?

Rahm Emanuel has been widely praised for accomplishments in many parts of his job. But despite his many talents, the crime issue has proved beyond his capacity to fix, and those who want to succeed him must prove they’ve got ideas that might work.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes a biweekly column for the Chicago Tribune.

No one, other than Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will ever know exactly why he decided against seeking re-election.

But there can be little doubt that the decision to sit on the Laquan McDonald video recording played a factor. In 2015, as he stood for re-election, Emanuel delayed release of the gruesome video until a court finally demanded the public see it — months after Election Day.

Emanuel has struggled to tamp down the outrage ever since, without much success. But that doesn’t mean Emanuel has lost his political instincts altogether. In fact, the day after he announced he would not run again, Emanuel demonstrated that his spot-on instincts are still intact.

None of the dozen people who had challenged him to that point would have thwarted his re-election bid, the mayor predicted.

Until Emanuel’s noncandidacy, a few of the tepid 12 had started to look like serious contenders. Former police oversight board leader Lori Lightfoot, former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas and former top cop Garry McCarthy had even drawn some blood.

But with Emanuel bailing, it’s no longer enough to be the best anti-Rahm candidate. Left to stand on their own, the stature of the initial group of mayoral wannabes has shrunk before our eyes.

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