Gun Violence May Cost America’s Most Famous Mayor His Job
It’s been another violent summer in Chicago.
More than 80 people were shot, 16 fatally, over the Fourth of July holiday weekend — the bloodiest weekend of 2014. In the two weekends that followed, a total of 76 people were shot, eight fatally.
Victims included 11-year-old Shamiya Adams, whose family is raising money for a funeral after the girl was killed by a stray bullet July 18 while making s’mores during a sleepover at a friend’s house. Shamiya didn’t make it to sixth grade.
Police charged an 18-year-old in Shamiya’s slaying, saying he fired aimlessly into a building to avenge a young friend’s beating in a fistfight.
As the toll of the bloodshed mounts, there are indications it may spread to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s re-election, according to experts.
Two polls this month show Emanuel’s approval far below potential challengers. The headlines practically wrote themselves: “Rahmbo” is in trouble.
News coverage of Emanuel’s poll plunge failed to note that the survey showing the worst news for the mayor was conducted following the bloody Fourth of July weekend.
The city’s violence, back in the national spotlight two years after some news outlets incorrectly called Chicago America’s “murder capital,” is a major factor in Emanuel’s unpopularity, according to Dick Simpson, a University of Illinois-Chicago political science professor and former city alderman.
Emanuel’s popularity also has been plagued by mass closings of public schools, largely in black and Latino neighborhoods, and “the general problem of the perceived arrogance and unwillingness to have citizens involved in making decisions about the city,” Simpson said.