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Rahm Emanuel: Is he a Chicagoan or not? And who #*+@\&% cares?

Rahm Emanuel testifies at a hearing to determine if he is a legal Chicago resident to run for mayor 12-14-10

Rahm Emanuel is trying to convince a special Chicago hearing officer that Rahm Emanuel is a legal, genuine, bona fide resident of the Windy City, even though said Rahm Emanuel has been residing 596 miles distant working long hours in a high-profile job for Barack Obama, receiving mail, swearing a whole lot and being paid by U.S. taxpayers.

The issue is not a parochial one.

According to Chicago law, you must be a resident of Chicago for one full calendar year to run for the office of mayor. That's a big honking job because it....

...controls the Democratic machine that controls all 50 wards and can decide things like whether some South Side community organizer gets to be a state senator, stay a state senator and run successfully for the U.S. Senate.

This law means that Rahm Emanuel would have to be living in Chicago from last February, which he clearly wasn't. That's because no one knew then that the current mayor, Richard M. Daley, was going to retire, so no one could look like they were preparing to challenge him, if they wanted to have any future political life above the PTA level.

The late February vote will be the first open election with no incumbent or Daley on the ballot in more than 60 years. A rare opportunity to launch a new dynasty and pack the place with your own people.

Today will be the third day of the contentious hearing over the residency of Rahm Emanuel, who's tried to project a calm, good-natured mien even during snotty questioning from opponents who better change their municipal residency if Rahm Emanuel pulls this off.Two smiling Chicago Democrats

Which, of course, he will because that is the Chicago way.

Emanuel and his wife maintain that they maintain residency regardless of their actual whereabouts. Before becoming Obama's chief of staff, Emanuel served four terms in the House, where he helped recruit many of his Democratic Party's majority until they were whacked by Republicans on Nov. 2.

Before the House, of course, Emanuel was a White House advisor and campaign finance aide to Bill Clinton, another job that kept him out of the city with broad shoulders.

The Emanuels cite as proof of their residency intentions the annual purchase of city vehicle stickers and storage of cherished personal belongings like a wedding dress and baby clothes in their North Side home.

The tenants who leased that home and refused to leave early have said they know nothing of 30 boxes of precious belongings stashed somewhere secret.

And Rahm Emanuel's potential mayoral competitors drive for a literal interpretation of residency because they've seen a new Chicago Tribune poll showing Emanuel leading undecideds, 32% to 30%, with the other candidates jostling down in the single digits. Emanuel continues to campaign, shaking commuters' hands and saying he must talk about real city issues, not what's in his basement.

The poor hearing officer is Joseph Morris. In a few days he will issue a nonbinding recommendation to the city's Board of Election Commissioners. Its decision is certain to be challenged in court by someone.

Chances are, however, someone somewhere will miraculously discover an old state law that has a residency exemption for, oh, say, someone working temporarily out of town for the federal government. But that's just a guess.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images; Associated Press (two Chicago Democrats shown not there).

Comments () | Archives (13)

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Yeah, who cares about the rules. That's what Liberals always say when they can't get their way LEGALLY!

I guess Chicago will always be a den of iniquity, and that's because the guys running the show want to keep it that way. Why don't the concerened citizens of Chicago want to change it?

Chicago politics as usual - it makes me sick.

This clown went to Washington with Obama. He has NOT been living in Chicago. Maybe if the Board of Election Commissioners grows a pair and tells him "NO - BAD DOG - GO HOME!", it will help the elitists understand that they CAN'T do whatever they want any more.

Of course Rahm says he is a legal resident...even though he moved to Washington and rented out his house for nearly two years! He is a legal resident because the rules don't apply to "people like Rahm". Why Chicago would even consider voting him in is ridiculous...I guess they like their 10.25 sales tax rate and the regulatory nature of Chicago OR could it be that the unions own Chicago? I think the latter makes more sense!
Chicago is a governmental cess pool, I am a former Chicagoan...I know!

Rahm Emanuel is a self serving sociopathic jerk. His advice to President Obama on issues of free trade and the bank bailout was a disaster.

Good story, but right off the bat you're wrong. This is not about a "Chicago law" it's Illinois municipal code that says Rahmbo in not eligible to run for mayor. But as you say "who #*+@\&% cares?"

See (65 ILCS 5/6‑3‑9)

Go Rahm !

He's more a resident of Chicago than Dick Cheney was of Wyoming.

You are still a resident if you work for the government and have to live in a different state. He owns a home, pays illinois taxes, was born here, grew up here. The people trying to get him off the ballot are what's wrong with chicago. I think he will be good for chicago and I hope he gets a shot. Compared to some of the other candidates like meeks who said minority contracts should not include hispanics,asians, and women. He's are best candidate.

Jackie and Dan, If I were to go on a temporary job somewhere and rented out my house, which I have done before, does that mean I'm no longer a Chicago resident? I wish someone would come tell me to my face that I'm no longer a Chicago resident because I took a temp job someplace else. I'd tell them to go f#ck themselves.

Anyway, you two nuckleheads have no clue what you're talking about just as the L.A times. Btw, Jackie, I'm glad you're a former Chicagoan because we really don't need anymore cluess voters in this city.

What's happened to this country? It has become lawless..... You people have the government you deserve.

He's a true Chicagoan - take it from a Chicagoan, you f^*&#*&U# worthless cynics!

A guy goes off to DC to help his friend and President, and country - and suddenly he's no longer a Chicagoan? - f*#^ NO!

You WILL vote for him - and you WILL make him the next mayor - end of story.

Rahm took responsability for letting the Salahys crash one of the numerous
WH partys.Chicago just cant afford this kind of suppository for mayor.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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