Mayor Rahm does good, breaks bad Daley deals

By Editorial Board

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has undertaken an aggressive series of actions since he came into office. From installing speed cameras to closing down schools, he has made it clear he intends to end an era of lenient government policy.

In fact, Emanuel has undone two deals former Mayor Richard M. Daley had his hands in while in office. Emanuel’s moves are bold and will have consequences, but his actions are necessary and required

by law.

One of these old deals was a tax break for Lollapalooza organizer C3 Presents. Since the festival’s beginning, C3 has been exempt from liquor and amusement taxes because Chicago’s Park District was footing the bill under Daley’s deal. Now that the festival is hugely successful—it was the biggest music festival in the nation in 2011, topping off at approximately 270,000 attendees—it should pay its dues. The downside of Emanuel getting rid of this tax break is the inevitable increase in ticket prices.

“This is a good deal for the city, and we felt it is the right thing to do,” Charlie Jones, owner of C3, told the Chicago Tribune. “But it will affect ticket prices. There will be an increase. How much? To be determined.” This is a bummer for concertgoers, but the new Lollapalooza tax will generate much-needed revenue for Chicago.

Emanuel crushed another Daley tax break for Millennium Park’s Park Grill restaurant.

The mayor sued Park Grill on Dec. 1, 2011, because it had not been paying its base rent since opening in 2003. The mayor’s suit may have seemed sudden, but the restaurant is costing the Chicago Park District $275,000 per year—money that could go toward Grant Park’s proposed renovation.

Park Grill may have been serving tourists and ice skaters who come from around the world to see Chicago, the city hardly seems to be benefitting.

To add even more insult to injury, the restaurant’s contract specifies that it won’t have to pay its rent until it repays a $7 million investment to Daley’s family and friends.

Emanuel hasn’t been the perfect mayor. In fact, his speed camera initiative might be nothing more than a deal to help out a political buddy who works for the firm that would earn millions from the purchasing contract. But Emanuel’s crackdown on Lollapalooza and Park Grill is just what the doctor ordered.