Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision not to name a high school planned for the North Side in honor of President Barack Obama may keep the president’s name out of a nasty re-election campaign.
But it won’t stop the mayor’s opponents from using the issue as part of the “tale of two cities” narrative that has grown since Emanuel was elected in 2011.
Just about every initiative Emanuel has undertaken ends up being debated as a racial slight — starting with his decision to shut 50 Chicago Public Schools.
Indeed, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis went so far as to accuse CPS, which is run by the mayor, of “engaging in racial discrimination” because the shuttered buildings were overwhelmingly South and West Side schools.
If Lewis follows through with her tease — that she will challenge Emanuel next year — the divisive school closures will likely be the centerpiece of her campaign.
So Emanuel’s plan to build a $60 million selective-enrollment school on the Near North Side near Walter Payton, played into some itchy palms.