Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Policy-Making & Negotiation

By | September 11, 2019


[MUSIC] [APPLAUSE]
>>Well Mayor Immanuel it’s a great honor to
be here with you today. I know you’ve been traveling the country
promoting Chicago as a center for entrepreneurship, and many of the 400-plus GSB students here
are interested in being entrepreneurs. So, why should they go to Chicago
rather than Silicon Valley?>>[LAUGH]
>>Well, first of all,
since we’re out here, Chicago, there was a comparison of ten of
the biggest cities in the United States. It has the lowest cost of living
of any of the major 10 cities.>>[LAUGH]
[APPLAUSE]>>You can actually get an apartment with a view and still afford a meal.>>[LAUGH]
>>I’m saying that out here. The second thing is I’ll say this. This is serious thing. Time Out Magazine did
a thing of worldwide cities. And was rated as the best,
number one city to live in in the world. And my kids tease me often,
because I’m a big booster of Chicago. But I’ve got to be honest. I was a little shocked at that evaluation,
myself.>>[LAUGH]
>>But on the entrepreneurship. Not to name another business school,
so I apologize. I’ll have to go into a witness
protection plan now. Harvard Business did a case study of
Chicago’s entrepreneurial culture and high tech. It’s going to come out in a couple months. And it talks about what the unlike
what happened here in San Francisco in the valley, we’ve done it from
a more diversified basis, and what’s created now in the city of Chicago. And the Harvard Business study says it’s
a classic study of what public sector, private sector has happened. And in looking across the students, I
should also say there was a study came out that Chicago was the number one city for
female entrepreneurs.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And we a lot of emphasis in that space. And I think it’s Pitch Magazine rated
Chicago as the number one city for return on VC money. So, now those are all my facts and
I’m done now.>>[LAUGH]
>>And the other thing is it’s raining here,
and it’s about 15 degrees in Chicago.>>[LAUGH]
>>And we actually can use our lakefront, but
there’s a great quality of life to it. And I also think, I always used to refer to Chicago as
the most American of American cities. You know we have 140 languages
spoken in our public schools. And I was at a school the other day
where we were doing an addition and 26 different languages came up to
say welcome to the city where we’re making a critical capital investment. And that’s America, that’s the city of Chicago and I think
that’s the strength is our diversity. And whether it’s b to b, b to c, you can
create a company, you can start a company. And you have a very supportive community. We have a community culture
that’s true of our theater. That’s true of our business community. And it’s true of our
entrepreneurial community, which is why you see people
succeed even when they fail. Which is your greatest
learning experience. Have the support to continue to go on and
push on, which is true both in theater, entrepreneurship and,
obviously, in politics as well.>>You mentioned education. It was a passion of yours.>>Yeah.
>>What are you doing in Chicago to help those who want to be educated?>>Well, I hope it doesn’t turn on
that last point, want to be educated.>>[LAUGH]
>>Well, we did a number of things, and I want to be honest. I ran for mayor. One, it’s my home, it’s a city that a hundred years ago
this year my grandfather came to, 13 years old by himself,
leaving the pogroms of Eastern Europe. And his grandson is
the mayor of that city. It’s only in America, and
I’ll tell you, only in Chicago.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And>>[APPLAUSE]>>My grandfather was a dreamer. 13 years old, by himself, advantage
to meet a third cousin he never knew. And through meat cutting, steel working,
truck driving his grandson’s, one is a Hollywood, I don’t know
what you would describe Ari as.>>[LAUGH]
>>The other one is a doctor and his other grandson,
is an elect in public service. That’s in a great American story and
that’s the strength of this country. And he just basically followed
his dreams and allowed us. So I believe and I ran for mayor, not just
because I wanted to pay tribute to my grandfather but I believe firming
what the city has to offer. So we’ve done a couple of things. The first thing I made kindergarten
full day kindergarten. Universal for every child. It use to be half the kids had seven
hours a day, half had four and trust me the kids that are getting
four should have gotten seven. The kids that were getting seven
could have afforded to get four. It was, I suppose I could say you could
get me out I was only at 51 minutes. It was ass backwards, to be blunt. So we made universal kindergarten. We added an hour and 15 minute to
every day and two weeks to every year. So every child now gets two and a half more years of school
education than they did before. The largest increase ever in
the history of the United States. Now, we also did a couple of other things. One, I think the debate about education
is too focused on teachers and not enough about parents and principals. No teacher can afford to
do it all by themselves. A school principal runs that building so we reinforced them to be held
accountable for results. Finding teachers and
having a recruitment system on that. We’ve reconverted our high schools
to be college preparatory. End result, on the NAEP test last year our
eighth graders led the United States in math gains. Our fourth graders were third in
reading gains of urban systems. There were three school districts in
the United States whose fourth and eighth grader’s reading went up. Miami, Washington DC,
and the City of Chicago. When I became mayor,
our graduation was 57%. Our freshmen on track right now is 87%. We match the United States, kids going
on to a four year institution and kids going on to community college. And trust me, the demographic of the city Chicago
is not the same as the United States. And where the first city in
the United States that if you going to be average in high school
community college is free.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And if it’s the only scholarship
public refunded where undocumented kids can go to college,
only one in the United States.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And, which we’re also excited about is, if you get a B average in high school,
community college is free. And it’s the second largest system in
the United States that the World Bank called the best college career
program in the United States. If you keep the B average
in community college, all the schools in the City of Chicago,
16 of them. You got to get the right ACT but if you keep the b average, they give you
a 40% discount on tuition, on average. It’s the only place in America you can
go to college for basically a year and a half at cost. And that is the single greatest
pressure point on parents. Now, I’ll say this as I’ve said
to my kids and I’ll say here. I don’t know all of you obviously. I just walked on. We’ve got two things in common, the love
of our parents and a good education. I can’t do anything about number one, but I can do something in
public policy about number two. And I have to guarantee parents
a quality education for their children, they pick what’s right. So we put principles first,
school principles. Reinvented high school so it’s relevant
to college, community college for career. Made kindergarten universal full day, pre-k where 60% of our kids
now get a full day pre-K. And we’ve been willing to take on failure,
whether that’s consolidation of schools, turning around schools. And I also don’t see myself as a reformer. I think that’s nuts. Nobody sits around the kitchen
table going hey let’s go to reform. Trust me. You sit around and
go Either quality or mediocrity. And I want quality for my kids. And the goal should not be reform,
the goal should be quality. And then what fits into
quality versus mediocrity. So we now have the largest international
baccalaureate system in the United States. We have every branch
of the armed services. Runs a high school in
the city of Chicago and the largest Junior ROTC
in the United States. And I say that here just so you all know,
every kid competing to get in on it, there’s eight applicants for every high
school seat that’s run by military. And 80% of those kids graduate,
and 90% on to college. And it’s all kids of color. Unbelievable system, and
we also have seven of the ten best high schools in the state are in
the city of Chicago. And so that’s our story and
we’re sticking to it.>>[LAUGH]
>>With change comes challenge especially as a political leader and you’re
balancing a lot of competing interests. So as the mayor of a large city, how do
you think about negotiating through that process to get to the place where you
want to actually affect outcomes? Well, you know you to weigh equities okay. There’s never look,
life is a serious a trade off okay. That’s not different in public policy,
but you’re going to have to weigh as I do when I go through budgets or exercise,
I always say to my staff pain to pleasure. What I mean by that, I can see by the stunned faces that
was really insightful by the mayor.>>[LAUGH]
>>How much pain am I ready to give to how much gain? And I’ll give you this one story
It was about the third day we were having a teacher strike. It was over the longer school day,
in the longer school day, and I made a pledge when I ran,
we were going to do it. Chicago before I became Mayor
had the shortest school day in the United States of America. If 85% of your kids are in poverty,
would you design as a ticket out of poverty a five
hour day, five and a half hour day? That’s what we have. We had kids out of high school going on to
the streets of Chicago at 2:20, really? And we couldn’t afford recess because
we couldn’t give up the academic time, which everyone knows kids need recess,
it’s actually conducive, the academics, that exercise. So anyways, about the second or
third day kids are, you know, teachers are outside my house screaming
at me, screaming at my kids, whatever. And I’m about to walk out and
Amy looks at me and goes. I’ve seen you through an impeachment,
I’ve seen you through healthcare. I’ve seen you through NAFTA, I’ve seen
you through the assault weapon ban. She goes, I’ve never seen you
calmer at like one of these. I said I have never felt more
right about what I was doing. And then I walked out the front door. I just would like the record
to show I kept it clean here.>>[LAUGH]
>>But you have to weigh equities constantly,
>>And you have to look at what is
a core versus what’s not. And I’ll give you one thing. I hope this is helpful from a negotiation. Bruce Reed and I were responsible in
the balanced budget agreement in ’97 for getting kids health care. It was kids who where two parents
worked but for Medicaid they were too high income, yet the private
sector they didn’t have healthcare. And so President Clinton had
proposed pediatric care and eye and dental, but
part of Medicaid expansion. Gingrich responded, pediatric care, no
eye and dental, and outside of Medicaid. Well, it’s pretty straightforward. I mean, now in retrospect, it looks
straightforward, so we said, okay, here’s the deal. We’ll do pediatric care,
plus eye and dental, which is what President Clinton’s
healthcare proposal, but we’ll do your idea outside of Medicaid,
which was a cigarette tax but separate. It was called KidCare,
separate from Medicaid. They got their win because
they hate entitlements. They didn’t want to see Medicaid expanded,
and President Clinton got his win,
which was expansion of KidCare, or creation of KidCare, but
with eye and dental as part of care. And so, everybody got something
that was core to their effort, and we could have sat there beating
the crap out of each other, but at the end of the day Who is finding out
a place which was a good enough win for them and a good enough win for
the president to move forward. And Bruce Reed and I and
Gene Sperling were the key. And you never really want to
give up on your end goals. But you gotta be very, very flexible
about your means towards that end, and never confuse what your
means are with your ends. And sometimes, it’s very hard in
the midst of the battle where if you’re middle child and
you want to win every point. A moment of self reflection,
>>[LAUGH]>>That don’t, remember what your goal is. And then be strong about that,
but flexible on the road of which road you would take
to get to that goal line. So that’s a kind of way
you’d try to think about it. Or as I used to say about Washington,
they’re firm in their opinions. It’s principles they’re flexible on.>>[LAUGH]
>>I left the town so I can say that.>>[LAUGH]
>>You mentioned your brothers. It seemed like the Emmanuel’s were
destined for greatness whatever they did. But what chose you-
>>I would not say that.>>[LAUGH]
>>Fair enough.>>I think it was closer to death.>>[LAUGH]
>>So why did you choose politics? And that’s where I want to go. Maybe it’s like death, but what drove-
>>No.>>You towards that direction? First of all,
I don’t think of it as politics. I think of it as public service. So let me back up. First, it was not destined. I played soccer. I wanted to improve my soccer game,
so I took up ballet. And I actually had a scholarship
to the Joffrey Ballet. And, much to a Jewish mother’s chagrin,
I didn’t take it. I went to Sarah Lawrence, and
I convinced her I’d be a dancer. And the moment my parents drove off,
threw the ballet shoes. But then at college I started
studying child psychology and early childhood education. Sometimes I think prepared
me to deal with politicians. In one summer, I volunteered for an interest group and
I realised this is what I love. And then my parents who were very
big about following your passion. My mother, but then everybody I talk
to now that I know from high school, says we always knew you were
going to go into public service. I had no idea. Now at our dinner table, which some people
refer to it as a cage match at our house.>>[LAUGH]
>>My mother was very active in the Civil Rights Movement early on and
she ran a thing in Chicago called Congress on Racial Equality
>>And she was basically gone and arrested
during the week, etc., not around. My father who is an immigrant
quit the AMA in 1962 over National Healthcare with
barely like five words of English. Not exactly a way to build a practice and lead the campaign in Chicago to
eliminate lead from household paint. And so dinner conversation. And we also grew up in
a non-nuclear family. My grandparents lived with us. My father’s mother, my grandmother
she lived with us for eight years. And dinner discussions was
always about current events. And career-wise, I stumbled into it. I will also tell you when I got out and
I was doing community service, when I got out of college
to move back to Chicago, I wanted to work in the White House for
a President I believed in. And I got there with Clinton, and I
thought I was all over with my life at 38, and And when I was dating I told Amy, I will never run for office,
I would never do that to a family. And then this seat opened up and
then I decided… but I always wanted to work in
The White House, work for a president. And I believe firmly in
what I think my family, let me give you one other story which
I think is true for all of the boys. So in our family room,
on the wall in the middle, was a picture of my grandmother and
mother sides purse, and the passport from my grandmother and
my two great aunts to come to America. And on either side of that picture
which is framed of that purse and the passports were
the pictures of family members who never made it to America and
in Europe, died. And there’s nothing
subtle in a Jewish home. And it was my parents reminder that
every one of us were fortunate. We were in the greatest
country in the world. And you are to do something to
give back to this great country. And each of us in one way or another
through either healthcare, entertainment, or public service has tried
to give a part of their lives to giving back because this is
the greatest country in the world. It is still a beacon of hope. I don’t care what happens. And it’s still a place where people
whether they come from the Pacific, Atlantic, or the Rio. They come to give their kids a better
tomorrow than the one they left, and it is still that and always will
be if we stay true to who we are.>>You served two presidents in
the White House, President Clinton and President Obama. What was the worst day in
the Clinton presidency for you and what did you learn from that that
helped you in your future career?>>[LAUGH]
>>If one of you guys get your knapsacks out. Man, we’re going to stay here for,
what’s my worst day.>>[LAUGH]
>>Or a slew of them, where’s mine?>>Let’s see,
let’s just roll them all out.>>[LAUGH]
>>No, there’s a personal, and then there’s a, so I’ll give you, my God.>>[LAUGH]
>>This should be good.>>No, it’s not, it’s not. So I told you my life long dream, right? I’m going to go to, I want to work in
a White House for somebody I believe in. So Amy was still in Chicago and
we’re dating. She decides she will move to Washington
and join me on this, once in a lifetime, I’m going to work for
a person in the White House. Six months into it,
now my recommendation on the White House, don’t really say what you think to
the first lady, not a good idea. And it was around the travel office. And I had to try to stop us
from doing the travel office. We’ll just leave it there. So we buy a place together and
I don’t have any money, but anyway, she arrives the day that I was
being told that I was being fired. Not really a good thing. So she doesn’t have a job,
I’m out of the job and we have a mortgage that we can’t afford. That was kind of a low moment. That’s a personal low moment and
I do not know, except for my parents my father where I found, all of
the sudden, I said to the Chief of Staff, well, I’m not leaving until
the president tells me I’m gone. I don’t know where I
thought I would [FOREIGN]. I mean they forgot.>>[LAUGH]
>>No, I’m not leaving until
the President tells me I’m fired. He said what do you mean,
I said, I’m not going. And I basically knew that
the President Clinton wouldn’t fire me, and I don’t know where I found,
I’ll just say chutzpah, leave it at that.>>[LAUGH]
>>And so that was a very low point. And I’ll tell you another low one. So that was one low and
at the end of the day I didn’t leave. And they gave me, as my concession,
so I didn’t get fired obviously. And I was given NAFTA to save and
that’s when we had like three votes. And so, like here, give it to Mikey. Like here, right? And we ended up, I say we,
Bill Daley, and I just talked to, I’ll tell you a funny
story about that too. So I’ll come back,
that was a low point and here was another. Bruce Reed and I were responsible for
welfare reform, to get it done. And if you go back then. That was a big thing about work. It was a big thing for
a Democrat to end entitlement. And a lot, and it was very contentious. And it’s actually, to be honest, it was exactly what you want
in a public policy debate. I remember when President Clinton
walked into the cabinet room we had an hour to decide to sign or
not sign, he had vetoed two prior bills. The White House was split, etc. And you would actually, in your mind’s
eye, would want that four hour debate about something really intense, that you
were about to embark on something unknown. Was it worst than the known,
even though the known was a failure? And not succeeding trapping
people in dependency, etc. But in this whole process and debate. So, and he’s a good friend,
so let me just say this. There was, Senator Moynihan then, the late
Senator was saying that kids are going to be on crates,
sleeping out in the middle of the night. And it was a really and contentious
debate as a country about whether, for the first time ever, we ended
a guaranteed entitlement to some minimum. And on the high holidays,
this is also the Rabbi that married us. On the high holidays,
my Rabbi attacked me. In his sermon for
what I was doing in my government job. And I’m still a Jewish,
I still going to sit there, no. But it was actually, it was
an intense pressure because there was a lot of pressure in the way there
was a lot of people against the bill. There was a few of us for the bill and willing to take the risk of the unknown
versus the failure of the known. And thought we had done a good job in
negotiating to the president’s policies. But when my rabbi from the pulpit and
I take my duty as I’m seriously. But attacked to those of us who were
advising the President on welfare reform. There was not a lot of
us in the synagogue.>>[LAUGH]
>>It was, and we weren’t in the cheap seats. So that was a low point. I will be honest about why I
felt like I was doing what. I have a rule about politics, if I can. Because it runs against the grains of what
people want to think which is I think you have to be idealistic enough to know
why you’re doing what you’re doing and then ruthless enough to get it done. Sometimes my family thinks I’ve got
the ruthless thing down really tight. Working on that, no. But I think a lot of people like to
think back, this idealistic, etc. I’m a lover of reading history. Lincoln was idealistic enough but
he was also ruthless. Okay, he didn’t start to, I teach eight grade,
he didn’t start the war to end slavery. Now you can see and read his early
speeches where he was thinking, but he knew if he got there too soon, he’d be, way ahead of where the country was and
he couldn’t move it. And so he knew in his mind’s
eye where he was going, but you’ve gotta be idealistic enough to
want to put up with this all the time and then ruthless enough to get it done and
it’s not a either one. And so the low point in
the Clinton was being able to be true to what I thought was right, help
a president see through what they wanted. And then be able to take your
rabbi’s personal criticism in front of 1,600 other
fellow Worshippers.>>When you took over as-
>>That was it for cloud services.>>[LAUGH]
>>I’m never stepping foot in that synagogue again,
okay, go ahead.>>When you took over as Chief of Staff
in the White House, very early on, the President wanted to push for
healthcare reform. And you were one of the early opponents
within the White House and then changed. But how do you think about being-
>>I wouldn’t say opponents but->>Well, maybe you recommended against it. How do you think about being a principal
to a leader and having a robust debate, and then going out and selling his policies when you
may not agree with everything?>>Well, first of all,
you owe the President the honesty. And the good news is I worked for two
people that would never want yes people around, and boy, did I excel at that part.>>[LAUGH]
>>So here’s the thing, as Chief of Staff, your job is to help a President,
look guys, nothing is good and bad,
easy and hard, okay? It’s all very complicated,
and it’s not clear. And my advice to him, and
I want to be clear about what I said. I didn’t say, don’t do healthcare. Okay, so
I’ll say what I said to the President. Okay, 100 years, Presidents have wanted
to do universal healthcare, they failed. Every President has tried, has
universalized a segment of the population, not the population, MediCare, seniors,
Medicaid, poor, veterans, kid care. Nobody has succeeded at
universal healthcare. My advice was, know what has come before,
so you understand this. And as you go forward, in the top
drawer of that oak desk, what’s plan B? because we’re more likely to
get to plan B than to plan A. And if you get to plan A,
the consequences, given you’re going to take on one-sixth of
the economy, is going to be unbelievable, both you trying to do something else and
to everybody else. One of the things I always say, I’m proud
to have worked for the President, but if it wasn’t for the 06 and 08 House gains,
he wouldn’t have gotten his agenda done. It’s just not possible, and I spent a lot
of time recruiting a lot of people and convincing them this was worth doing. Okay, so that’s A. B, I had to evaluate for him, which is what he wanted,
what are the trade-offs between the end, the means, and
what is the pain to pleasure? And if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t
be doing my job as Chief of Staff. And once he made his decision, my role
as giving advice and counsel was over. And it was to go get the votes. Now some people argued, I said to myself
another anecdote or another story. I said, I’ll make this feel, but I said we’re not having the House
vote on Zac Permit’s phone. Big deal,
because that’s exactly what happened. So Zac’s done with the half tour section,
I’m running out of the synagogue, going back. And we’re getting Bart Stupeck and the 13 Catholic Republicans on
birth control in legislation. We did a legal document, and
Bart used to work out with me, etc. And so, my only point to him was, understand what it’s going to take
politically to get this done, and if you get it done, what
are the consequences of getting it done? And there’s good things policy wise,
and there’s challenges politically. And after healthcare, it was Dodd Frank, but I’ll give you the rest of
the Presidency was executive orders. You didn’t replenish the political bank,
you drained it. And if you were a democratic President
with a great vision of what government can do and what you want to do, understood. And that was my job was to say what
I believe, and I believe that. And I’m happy he did it, I think there’s
been great things that’s gotten done. But if I had not done that,
then all this notion, go into that Oval Office and
tell him the truth. Okay, I did. That’s what I did. And I believe still to today
you have to evaluate equities. And it’s not A to B,
there’s a lot of complications to it. And you give the President advice, and
he makes or she makes the decision. And then your job as a staff person is to
execute it, and that’s exactly what I did.>>So in 2011, you went from being that
executive agent of the President to actually being the principal yourself. And what kind of leadership
changes did you have to make, or what kind of things as a leader
did you have to shift about your engagement with your staff to
actually be the person in charge?>>Thank God you’re not
interviewing the staff.>>[LAUGH]
>>So there’s a couple things. Well, first of all, I think there are three qualities
a chief executive has to exude. This is true for Presidents, it’s true for
a mayor, true for governor, but I can’t say it for the private sector. But I can say in the public sector,
you always have to communicate strength, confidence, and optimism. Nobody goes for the weaker, not sure,
insecure, or a dark person, or whatever. So those are qualities, but
remember, unlike an elected official who’s a legislator, as a Congressman,
you have to represent people’s views. As a mayor or as a president,
they give you that responsibility to take care of business, not to represent them, but it’s
a different role and a different function. And I’d run for office before, been
a Chief of Staff to run a White House, and mayor though, it is a transition from being an agent for somebody else
to being the principal for your city. Totally, it is a different voice and
a different role. But I’ve been in office before and so
that, and one level is not different. On the other hand, there are things I do
when I was a Congressman to Chief of Staff that I continue as mayor, which are weekly
reports to keep tabs of what I need going. And making sure that people are executing
on a certain mission, like this Thursday, I’m giving a major address. It’s the five year anniversary of
the first address that I gave on infrastructure and
laying out our plan from our runways to our rail to our roads and
what we’re doing and stuff like that. But also understanding what the staff’s
job is versus what I’m trying to do. Does that make sense?>>Yeah, absolutely, thank you.>>Okay.>>Last year-
>>Good, because I had no idea what I was saying.>>[LAUGH] You’re a politician,
so you’re doing a very good job.>>[LAUGH]
>>You have a bad view of what public service is about.>>Last year, your approval ratings hit an
all time low, but they’ve since recovered. So as a leader who’s at the whims
of the public to some extent, how do you get through those difficult
times and then recover as you have?>>Find a different rabbi.>>[LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH]>>I think, Look, There’s a difference,
also it’s not always consistent. So what I mean by how a President or
how, if you are in the second term versus the first term where you are,
that will kind of weigh different. I always kind of remind myself or try to, which is the decisions we
do today and I tell my staff and more importantly the Cabinet,
what we’re doing today for the next two, three years will determine what Chicago
will be like for the next 20 to 30 years. And you’ve gotta be willing
to take certain political points pressure today that’s
worthwhile down the road. So I have certain things I learned
out of Clinton and Obama and I This is a bad example, but
it’s one to illustrate the point. So we’re embarking,
we did it five years ago, I’ve raised water rates 25%, 15%,
15%, 15% and then indexed them so nobody has to go back and
to this vote again on raising water rates. And we’re replacing 900
miles of water pipe. Everything that’s a hundred years or older
in the city will be replaced by 2019. Every 670 miles of sewer
will be the relined, replaced everything 100 years or older. We’re replacing 167,000 catch basins and
the two largest water filtration plants in the United States
of America, built top to bottom, and I indexed it, and the reason is,
once I got that vote, it passed 50 to 0. But, I didn’t want another Mayor,
or in city council, to have to go through the politics
of raising rates again. So it’s now indexed
once we’re done at the. You will continue to fund so the
infrastructure continues to go forward, straightforward. I didn’t had think somebody should go back
and try to do once I did those politics. And a certain things that what we’re
doing on the rail, stuff etc., take care of the politics, get it out. Does that make sense,
what I’m trying to say? And so in that sense,
I’m trying to make decisions that I think over the time will stand
the test of time for generations to come. And that, and probably the biggest
one there was a bad example, but now I’m thinking about it. I ran on the fact that Chicago
had the shortest school day and the shortest school year, and
I was going to do something about it. And I was not going to let our
kids be dead last on time. And I knew that time in class mattered. And when it came to that strike, could I
solve the strike, or not had a strike, if I threw the towel in and said,
wow, this is harder than I thought? Yes. Do I think another mayor
after me will go back and say it like you go back to
the shortest school day? No, I think they’re going to
say I’m glad that hour and fifteen minutes was added and
now I don’t have to debate it anymore. And so you’ve got to be,
as a person, comfortable with that sometimes you’re going to
take it in the shorts. But its worth your taking the politics. Now, here’s the deal I took a week
strike in the city which I hadn’t, I’m not proud of it. But was it worth the hour and
15 minutes of everyday for every child and two weeks every year? The fact that your eighth graders
now lead the country in math games. Your fourth graders are third in
reading gains in the United States. Your graduation is triple rate of
the United States of America for every year for the last four years. Yeah, it’s worth it, so
I’ll take a week’s strike. And our kids our now leading the country
in educational gains, totally worth it. And I would do it again,
I would like not to. But there are certain that you have to
take the political hit short term etc. If you think the long term gain for
other people is worth that. And that was a same thing in
a different venue that Presidents when they make tough calls in the chance of
Obama and healthcare, that’s worth doing. And you think it’s worth the gain. And you’re willing to take
the political hit and spend it. I would also,
nothing’s stagnant in politics. It’s a dynamic thing. And yes, we’re in a better position, but
you go through those periods of times. And hopefully,
you learn something out of them.>>One of the tensions, I think, a lot of startups face is 20th
century regulatory environment. The 20th century regulatory environment. So, Uber tried to come to Chicago,
they had some challenges there. Austin has done some things to maybe
exclude Air Bnb, Uber and Lyft, how do you think about integrating new technology
and cutting edge things when it comes to actually, also maintaining the regulations
that keep your city safe or whatever? How do you blend those two things?>>Well, we just went through this with
Uber, who I also met with this morning, so I’ll give you an example. The hotel, so when I became Mayor, the
hotel industry we had 39 million visitors. We now have 54 million visitors and
it’s been an incredible growth both in tourism beyond business
travelling to tourist and we are really marketing and the hotel
industry loves what’s happening and we’ve redone Macormic place,
convention business, blah blah blah. There was an official business term,
blah, blah, blah.>>[LAUGH]
>>So that goes forward. So Airbnb comes and I said to the hotel
industry, who’s very supportive. Look, they’re here. We’re not keeping them out. The question is what are the rules
they’re going to operate under? So we did something which
I’m really proud of. Beyond they paying a hotel taxes
that’s AirBNB, I put a 4% surtax for homelessness. And we now raised 2.5 to $3
million now just started but beyond the 16% tax that
gives all hotels pay and AirBNB pays there’s a 4% surtax just for
homeless services. And we’ve discussed today something new
which no other city’s going to do which we’re going to try and I can’t say it
now because I gotta work something out. But I’m confident I will,
you’ll be the first to know.>>[LAUGH]
>>But you’ve gotta be able to see what are the fundamentals. And then what’s your goal out of it. Nobody in a negotiation,
nobody ever signs on to a loss. Everything I always say to our
team before we go into anything. So that was like true when the hotel
industry wanted to throttle, and I said okay,
they want to throttle AirBnB. There are other people, nobody signs
on to a loss, nobody willingly. And so the question is, as I always
say to my team what’s their wins? I always, before a negotiation, draw out
on a piece of paper their wins, my wins. Always. Now, can I give them what
I think are their wins? Can they give me my wins? And then, how close are we to that
kind of ideal paper at the beginning? Then when we get to the end. Usually people like to walk or
make [INAUDIBLE]. We did it recently with the teachers. There are things in there, the teachers
can claim to their members, they won. Fair and square. Not a problem. There’s things we won, fair and square. Otherwise it’s not a very good
negotiations or contract. If you try to make the other side lose. It’s not usually good way to get a deal
done, and they won’t sign on to it, and, if they do sign on to it,
it’s because you crushed them, and, trust me,
they’re going to come back and get you. What goes around comes around. So, I always try to start, when we negotiate something,
sit at a table with my staff, and says, okay, write out to me their wins, and
the ones we can afford to give them. Now right out my wins that
they can afford to give me. And then let’s try to keep that
as our north star in this deal. But my biggest problem, for
me, is we kind of know it so let’s just get to it already. And usually like
negotiations have their own theater performance before you get there. And I’m not one for that. Patience is not one of my strong suits.>>[LAUGH] Following the 2016 election,
democrats are in a tough spot.>>You noticed?>>[LAUGH]
>>They’re a minority across the federal government.>>Really?>>In 2018, they’ll have to
defend 25 of the 33 center races.>>Yeah.
>>You’ve lost over 1,000 state
legislatives since 2009.>>[LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH]>>But in 2006, you As the GCCC chairman, who won the House, what do the have
to do to regain their [CROSSTALK]>>Are you my rabbi?>>[LAUGH]
>>I could be.>>Wow. Really. Well, here look. I probably shouldn’t be too honest.>>Okay. So look, There’s a couple things. No, this has not been 2016 on
the house and state house. 2016 now, Democrats are at the lowest
level since 1928 in the House of Representatives, and the lowest
levels since 1925 In the state houses. Not really good, okay? I know you didn’t pay me the big bucks
to come here and tell you that, but it is hard to imagine it getting lower. So there’s a lot of different problems. One, you gotta go out and
create a farm team. In 06 and 08, when I and everybody goes,
that’s when we took back the house. I got a lot of crap for
recruiting Iraq war vets, football players, sheriffs,
and business people. Well I said they’re running
in a Republican districts. I wanted to take cultural
issues off the table and I wanted to present economic issues. You know, we as Democrats like
to walk around like, deal. No, you got to be ruthless enough. We recruited people who
matched the district. If you’re running in
a Republican district, you got to get at somebody who
can win in a Republican district. Winning’s everything. You don’t win,
you can’t make the public policy. I say that because it is hard for people
in our party to accept that principle. Sometimes you just gotta win, okay.>>[LAUGH]
[APPLAUSE]>>Our party likes to be right, even if they lose. I don’t go to moral victory speeches. I can’t stand them I’ve
never lost an election. It’s about winning. Because if you win, you then have the
power to go do what you need to get done. If you lose, you can write
this book about what happened. Great, that’s really exciting. And my view is, right now, number one. Get on top of redistricting. I want it all handled by courts and
commissions, get the state legislatures out of that, because we have not
done it the other way and they have. Gotta change that. Second, go get a firm team. Third, in this effort, stop arguing about Democrats love
doing a firing squad in the circle. Stop it. Okay? They’re too moderate. Forget about it. This guy and these people are about
to do something on the tax code, the regulatory environment, and
things that are more threatening than what a fellow Democrat may
slightly disagree with you on. Stop it. We’re not strong enough to do that. And then you gotta pick which
ones you’re going to fight about. Not every pitch has to be swung at. I only use that because
of the Chicago Cubs. I don’t know anything about baseball,
but I know that’s what I say, okay. We don’t have the power to
swing at everything, so you have to pick what is essential. Now what we do know I would say also. Time is not the incumbent party’s friend,
time is the opposition’s friend. Slow, go slow. They want to rush,
we want to go slow, real slow. B, wedge. Wherever there’s a disagreement
among Republicans, I’m for one of those disagreements.>>[LAUGH]
>>I’m all for it, okay?>>Fair enough.>>Presidents want Russia. I’m with John McCain and Lindsey Graham. I’m for NATO.>>[LAUGH]>>[LAUGH]
>>Why? Wedges. Schisms have to be wedges. Wedges has to be divides and divisions. And third, let me be real clear. We gotta lower the president. Why? Because they are strong enough to get
them to us, we’re not strong enough. And that’s my kind of take on this and
that is how you built. Now, you also got to know you
can’t beat something with nothing, that was Bill Clinton’s
always lesson to me. You have to have an alternative. So when I was in Congress and head of the
DZZZ I wrote a book with Bruce Reed about a set of policy ideas for
the Democratic party. You have to give people your vision. So those are kind of the rules of
what I would say to take part and I would also be honest. It took us a long time to get this low and
it ain’t going to happen in 2018. Take a chopper man. This is what you going to be and
miss for the long hole. And if you think it could be a quick
turn around like that it’s not. You have to be part of this for a long hall coz our ideas
are our ideas like theirs. They didn’t get to this
point just overnight so things are going to be like this. You are going to have a success here,
you are going to have a success there, and then you build the critical mass and
bet if it is worth fighting for. And I think this country
is worth fighting for.>>I have one last question before
going to the Q and A with the audience.>>I have two last answers.>>[LAUGH] Fantastic, hopefully. Who is the republican you most respected
in Washington when you were there?>>[LAUGH]
>>Who’s the Republican I’m most respected? So here’s the thing. In 08, I handled the negotiations around
the debate between Obama, the structure. Lindsey Graham did for the other side. And Lindsey and I ended up developing a friendship that goes beyond. We used to have dinner,
and stuff like that. Not that that we just have dinner. But it was, I even picked up the tab, no.>>[LAUGH]
>>But anyways, so and I say that because he and I at the end of the day with Carl
Levin negotiated an agreement to handle the trials for terrorist and a structure in which you would put
Republican votes to close Guantanamo. And he was willing to take
a political risk to get that done. Now, what is, let me stop right there,
we always say a political. A political risk means you’re willing to
do something where you spend political capital and
people that are friends and family, are going to hate you at the end of it but
you think it’s the right thing to do. And I respected Lindsay in the end of
the day because on that one deal that we worked out the conference table in
the Chief of Staff’s office Carl Levin, he and I over lunch had worked through the
agreements to both achieve the president’s goal of shutting down Guantanamo. Lindsay’s goal of what cases were
military trial versus civilian. That was the big issue then. And a set of protocols
they could work through. And he was willing to take
the risk to come out and work with Obama and stand there. And I think,
I’m trying to separate both respect and the fact that we got along, which
probably influenced the respect part too. The other person I would say
is Senator Susan Collins. And probably Bob Gates,
the Secretary of Defense. Those would be the three. Thank you so much.>>Sure.>>Any questions from the audience?>>There, do I call people or you?>>So
we got some ushers back there that will->>Just like certain, okay. Thank you for being here.>>Sure.
>>I was actually at your 2011 inauguration, and remember how great
Chicago felt to live in at that moment.>>Come on back.
>>[LAUGH]>>It feels like the political moment now is a little different, and
you addressed this on a macro level. But I’m curious, having faced your
own populist challenge in 2015, what strategies you think work for
candidates, or for even people who feel like they’re
fighting against a wave of populism.>>Because I want to take more questions,
I don’t want to argue out what populism means, because that would
be the definitional point here. Let me say, so I was up for re-election in 2015 and I told President Clinton in 2014. I said, I’m just telling you right now,
this is a funky moment. I said I’ve never seen anything like this. Now, let me say, I have a picture
in my office of the first meeting, on the first day at 9 AM
with President Obama. And you know because the fire’s
in the background, it’s winter, it’s January 20th. If I told him,
in the darkest moments of the recession, the auto industry about to collapse,
financial sector offers up, you’re going to have unemployment from
10 some odd percent down to 4.9%. Health care will basically be universal. Energy costs and interest rates will be
probably at the lowest levels in decades. Will people be content,
or really honked off? They would have gone with content,
you know? And they are honked off, like really honked off. And 4.9%, 4.8% unemployment. Now I understand and I would argue
two points, there are two things that are really driving us and
I don’t see them out being discussed. They’re not a part of what I think is
what, quote unquote, driving the populism. Two things I would say to you. One, people are more upset at the politics
than they are at the economics right now. Everybody’s talking about the economic. People are really frustrated with
the politics and the dysfunction. Not just here, look at France,
look at what’s going on. The second, what’s driving that? I also believe people have made a huge
compromises about their position today. And what I mean by that is, over the last
20 years their spouses went to work, your mother-in-law’s have moved in, the kids
graduate college, they’re coming home. They’ve kind of made
all those compromises, adjustments to kind of
hold it all together. What is really driving people’s angst,
is their kids. They think that even if they send them to
college, that’s not a guarantee anymore, and they have to go to the poorhouse
just to get them there. And they don’t see the political
system addressing the future better. They know the future’s going to
be rough for their kids. And what they’re worried about is the
dysfunction of the system is not getting its stuff together to make that
future better rather than worse. And I think that’s where the populism,
that’s where the anger, that’s where the frustration is. It’s not about this class,
and I’m not saying for the last ten years this staticness
around middle class incomes, and the loss pre-recession
versus post-recession. But I actually believe the biggest
angst that’s driving people is around a dysfunction in the political system, driven mainly by their fear about
tomorrow will not be better than today. And that’s the first time that’s
ever happened in America, and that’s my kind of take on it. Did that help? Okay. Come back to Chicago
>>[LAUGH]>>It’s raining here too often. You gotta pick on people,
I’m just a little bit [INAUDIBLE].>>Mayor Immanuel,
thank you for coming here. My name’s George, I am a second year
MBA student from St. Louis, Missouri. And I am interested in understanding, what
are some specific policy areas that you’re excited to work with
a new administration on?>>[LAUGH]>>Reversing their policies and
immigration, reversing their tax policy. No.>>[LAUGH]
>>Here is my basic north star, cooperate where we can, confront
where we must, that’s my attitude. So, I’m giving Thursday what I think is
a big speech about what we’re doing on our airport, our public transportation,
our roads, our parks, our schools, out community colleges,
and our street lights. It’s the five year anniversary of
my first speech on infrastructure. We’re the only city with
a infrastructure bank, etc. I’m willing to cooperate, not only
cooperate, do something on infrastructure. I’m not sure I understand what the tax
credit idea is, but that would be a place. But I won’t compromise on
principles about Chicago being a welcoming city and a place where
you can dream for your children. I will never compromise on that. I will never ever allow the city that
gave my grandfather a chance, to turn its back on kids whose only reason they’re
here is because their parents thought that America could offer them something
that their place of origin was not. Amy and I, a week ago,
had six dreamers at our house for dinner. A kid was from India, there was a kid
from Nigeria, and four kids from Mexico. Every one of them are the first in
their family to go to college, or thinking about going to college. That is power of this country. That is the power of this city, and I’ll
never compromise on that because it’s not worth being in public
service giving up on that. It’s just not.
But you want to invest in helping us
build our public transportation? Great, I will always take your money.>>[LAUGH]
>>So those type of things, that’s where I’m willing to do it and
I’ll be clear about that, and wanting to. I should be quicker on the answer.>>Time for one more.>>Well, I’ve got like 20 answers.>>Go ahead.>>You pick, you got like five hands,
not me, six, right there.>>Thank you, Mayor Immanuel. Matt, MBA two, from outside of Chicago
>>What does two mean? You’re second year?>>Second year, yeah, sorry. [LAUGH] From outside of Chicago.>>What’s that?>>I am from outside Chicago. Question is what are you
currently doing to address crime, and in particular violent
crime in Chicago? I know it is very complicated, but curious
to get some insight beyond the headlines.>>Well, first of all, thanks Matt, two.>>[LAUGH]
>>A number of things that we’re doing, and then also
understanding of the issue, okay? So, we have 77 neighborhoods in Chicago, last year 37 of the 77 experienced
a decline in shootings and homicides, and
in January still experiencing that. Two neighborhoods or areas, Englewood
which is on the South side in the seventh, and the Harrison which is on
the Austin area on the Westside, and Garfield,
are driving almost 50% of the challenge. So, I laid out at
Malcolm X Community College back in September a four point plan. One was to hire another 900 plus officers,
and that included lieutenants, captains, sergeants, leadership, so
you had a more intimate relationship between leadership In rank and file. And to, and
more intense training around real life experiences they’re going to
see in the streets. Two, and this gets to a life commitment. So, first of all,
I dramatically in my first term and second term expanded our after school and
summer jobs. So we went from 14,000 kids in
our summer jobs to 31,000 kids. I believe in that as a positive effect,
and if you get the job. So there’s 64,000 kids that apply for
those 31,000. You have to pledge to go to college. You don’t get the job unless you
pledge you’re going to go to college. We now started for
7,200 young men, 8th, 9th, and 10th grade,
in our 20 most challenging neighborhoods, universal mentoring, four hours a day,
Monday through Friday in school. It’s a program called BAM, Become a Man. I just have Theo Epstein from
the Chicago Cubs come to a circle. When President Obama introduce
my brother’s keeper, the young man Christian who
introduced him was a kid that, I have a kid at presidency in 2012
at Highland Park High School. And he participated for like an hour and
a half in this BAM circle, it’s a circle. And the kids really learn how to, They
learn what your father would teach you, and they get that kind of guidance
of knowing right from wrong, how not to give up on themselves,
how to study. There’s a whole host of
things that they do. The third thing is, unlike New York,
or other cities or California. We have a one year minimum for gun crimes. In New York,
they have a three year minimum. And repeat offenders barely
ever serve a sentence. They know it’s a joke. So I’m for stiffening sentences for
gun crimes. Reducing them for minor narcotics. But you take somebody’s life,
I got no, I’m not, I’m Old Testament.>>[LAUGH]
>>Okay? I am. Regardless of what my Rabbi says.>>[LAUGH]
>>My view is we went crazy on narcotics, but on gun crimes. And then fourth and finally,
invest in the neighborhoods. There is despair. A lot, it’s also true, I don’t know, San Jose last year experienced
a 60% increase in homicides. Right here, next door to you. Okay, not the numbers we have,
but they saw a big increase. San Diego was up 81% last year. So something else is happening and
that’s a larger conversation. So, more police, more mentoring,
certainty around sentencing for gun crimes repeat offenders, and investing
in neighborhoods’ economic opportunity. So you replace despair with hope. Now, I believe that’s a big piece. So just now let me give you some counter. Chicago had the biggest
drop of deep poverty of any big city in the United States. Deep poverty which is 12,000 or less. Now I believe poverty plays a big role, if
you don’t think you have hope, you don’t have a high school degree, you’re
going to do something really stupid. The reason I’m driving towards high school
degrees, the biggest factor that determine whether somebody does something stupid or
not, is their education or lack thereof. But it may not be the biggest
factor that we think it is. It’s a big contributor. We have a oversize population and
it’s neither in school, in work or has any of those two things in their
background and that’s a driver, okay. I also in the midst of a major
reform of our police department. I think we as a country made some mistakes
in the past, and I said this before. The reforms should not be done to cops. They should be done with cops. They are fighting crime and
violent crime in a very serious way. You’re asking to fight crime and
make serious changes simultaneously. They should be part of that
process of making the change. Not seen as the change
is being done to them. And I think when you look at what’s
happened around the country. Indianapolis and Memphis have the highest
homicide rate in their history. San Jose is up, San Diego is up. Austin, Texas, 70%. San Antonio, 49%. Louisville, 44%. But why? Why, all of a sudden? And I think it was clear
over the last two years, things were done as if the police,
they have to make reforms. There’s no if’s, and’s,
or but’s about it, but they have to be brought to the table as
a partner to help think of the solutions. Because if you do it to them, they’re
going to, so the four points to deal with it and is to deal with it
from an economic standpoint, a moral standpoint, a criminal justice
standpoint, and making sure your officers are doing community policing in the most
intimate way in building that trust. And it’s, we can do it, but
it’s going to take not one. And the other thing is,
a lot of people want to look for the one thing, you’re dealing
with 30 to 40 years of stings. Both in the police department, in neighborhoods,
in the criminal justice system. You’re not,
there is on one thing to this challenge. And you ask me the toughest things
in the Clinton White House. I can handle anything in this job but
one thing. So I’d make a purpose to go visit,
usually it’s a parent, a mother, but not limited, or grandma whose family,
who has lost a child. Only if they want it. I call them all. If you want, I’ll come by, but if you don’t because of
how your feeling I get it. And I’ll always say,
I’m not here as a mayor. I’m here as a father,
because I have three teenagers. I don’t know how you are doing this, if
you want to just have a hug, just want to talk about your son or your daughter,
and that’s the hardest part of this job. Figuring out a pension,
what’s right about school. How to recruit people like
you to come to the city. It’s not hard. You go into a home. You’re a parent, and
maybe some of you are, but you’ll get there, where the most thing
that you can do which is to provide for your child and you just didn’t succeed and
all you have is somebody’s shoulder. That’s the hardest part of this job. Everything else is politics and
you can handle it. But the good news is,
we have a police department and a police superintendent leadership and we have people in the city that want
to make tomorrow better than today. And they are committed to
making the changes necessary. My job as mayor is to
help lead that effort and bring everybody to the table
to work through the solutions. And that’s why this is the greatest
job I’ve ever had in public life.>>Thank you so much.>>[APPLAUSE] [MUSIC]

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