In his first extended interview with a member of the Chicago press corps, mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel promised "an era of reform" but punted on a number of specific questions Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman put his way. He wouldn't say whether or not if elected he'd extend Police Superintendent Jody Weis' contract leading that department. Asked how an Emanuel administration would boost city revenues, perhaps by supporting a casino in Chicago or by instituting a city income tax, the candidate responded by saying he would "never sit there and talk about a city income tax until you ask some fundamental questions about the government. That's a ridiculous thing to do." Emanuel also declined to say whether or not he would have privatized the city's parking meter system. "It's done," he said.
Emanuel and the other candidates who've tossed their hat into the mayoral ring will likely face questions about the meters again, given the controversy that's surrounded Mayor Richard Daley's 75-year, $1.16 billion lease of the system and the possibility of more privatizations of city assets and functions down the road. Perhaps next time, more specific answers will be forthcoming from Emanuel. We do know that while Emanuel was serving as President Barack Obama's chief of staff, he held two meetings with a principal at William Blair, the company the Daley administration chose, without a competitive bid process, to shepherd through the meter privatization. Whether or not Emanuel and the Blair representative talked about the lease during those sessions isn't specifically known.