The Mayor

  • Dave and Ben dissect voting, transit, and development

    21 March 2018

    In an interview by Ben Joravsky with Dave Glowacz on WCPT-AM's Ben Joravsky Show, Ben and Dave reflect on their respective primary-election voting experiences, and more.

  • Voters' options for media and movements

    16 March 2018

    Interview with the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky about the challenges and tendencies of today's primary-election voters, and more.

  • Audiobook: Joravsky on public schools

    22 February 2018

    This audiobook (part of a series) features years of in-depth discussions by Chicago Reader columnist Ben Joravsky and journalist Dave Glowacz about public schools in Chicago.

  • Mr Bike: winter tips, and Emanuel's "cocktail train"

    26 December 2017

    In an interview by Ben Joravsky with Dave "Mr Bike" Glowacz on WCPT-AM's Ben Joravsky Show, Dave and Ben discuss Mayor Emanuel's plan for an O'Hare express "cocktail train," winter cycling tips, and more.

  • FBI's Blago wiretap shows Claypool in Rahm's bro-zone

    13 December 2017

    After the recent resignation of Forrest Claypool as head of Chicago Public Schools, one might ask: Why was he hired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the first place?

    One insight into the Claypool-Emanuel relationship comes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    In late 2008, an FBI wiretap recorded then-Congressman Emanuel mentioning Claypool in a telephone call with then-Governor Rod Blagojevich. The FBI had wiretapped Blagojevich's telephones to gather evidence for the subsequent prosecution of Blagojevich.

    Although a detailed transcript of the phone call didn't surface until Blagojevich's 2011 corruption trial, the conversation was first revealed by Blagojevich himself.

    In his 2009 memoir The Governor (Phoenix Books), Blagojevich describes how Emanuel, who in November, 2008 had just been appointed chief of staff by the newly-elected Barack Obama, wanted the governor's help to "appoint a congressman who was going to keep the [5th Congressional district] seat warm" for Emanuel.

    The "purpose of [Emanuel's] call," Blagojevich writes, "was to see whether or not l would be willing to work with him and appoint a successor to his congressional seat who he would have designated to be a placeholder and hold the seat for him when he sought to return to Congress in two years." When Blagojevich questioned the legality of such a move, Emanuel said "that his lawyers thought there was a way where the governor might be able to make an appointment."

    Blagojevich was reluctant to help Emanuel, he says, because "if I helped appoint a congressman who was going to keep the seat warm for him, then I was going to make a lot of people who wanted to be congressman unhappy with me."

    The fact that it was Claypool whom Emanuel wanted as his seat-warmer didn't come to light until two years later, in June, 2011—in a federal-court filing by Blagojevich's lawyers during the legal proceeding against him.

    The filing contained the FBI's transcript of the phone conversation between Emanuel and Blagojevich.

    In the call, Emanuel says that "all of a sudden, all the aldermen and committeemen" wanted to take Emanuel's congressional seat as he left for the White House.

    "Forrest Claypool, bizarrely," Emanuel says, "would like to be considered, and he says he only wants to do it for, like, one term or two max."

    Claypool didn't make it to Congress. But Emanuel, after becoming mayor, appointed him to successive positions as Chicago Transit Authority president, mayoral chief of staff, and finally CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

    The federal government never released an audio version of Emanuel's phone call with Blagojevich. However, Inside Chicago Government has created an exclusive audio reenactment: Find it in the premium version of the interview titled "Rahm fired up about—but wouldn't fire—Forrest Claypool."

  • Rahm fired up about--but wouldn't fire--Forrest Claypool

    8 December 2017

    Just before the resignation of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Forrest Claypool, Dave Glowacz and the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky examined how Claypool got to be the CPS chief—and why Mayor Emanuel protects him.

  • Ben Joravsky's guide to asking tough questions

    5 November 2017

    Dave Glowacz interviews the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky about Ben's recent radio experience. Ben and Dave explore how journalists develop trust with the people they interview—including how and when to call bullshit.

    Dave and Ben discuss Ben's technique for interviewees who duck the question; Ben's growing reluctance to write direct quotes; and whether Ben gives former Gov. Pat Quinn a pass on Quinn's actions—compared to those of Gov. Bruce Rauner. Length 6.1 minutes standard, 24 minutes premium.

    Music: "Outta Tune" by Poly Action

    Standard audio:

    Premium audio:

    Article: "How Bruce Rauner is trying to cripple the Democratic Party" (Chicago Reader)

  • The Reader's new owners: well-heeled, hands-off

    16 October 2017

    Dave Glowacz interviews the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky about conditions at the Reader after its acquisition by a group of investors.

    Dave and Ben discuss the history of Reader ownership; whether the Reader's new owners have figured out how to turn a profit; and how wealthy and powerful owners have affected Reader journalism. Length 5.7 minutes standard, 10 minutes premium.

    Music: "Machine" by Mercury and the Architects

    Standard audio:

    Premium audio:

    Article: "And now, in local news . . ." (Chicago Reader)

  • Mr Bike: Tips and politics around Chicago bicycling

    3 October 2017

    In an interview by Ben Joravsky with Dave Glowacz on WCPT-AM's Ben Joravsky Show, Mr Bike describes bicycling's inevitable link with gentrification.

  • Mr Bike: Transit assets bring biking boost

    15 August 2017

    In an interview by Ben Joravsky with Dave Glowacz on WCPT-AM's Ben Joravsky Show, Mr Bike describes how better transit could boost bicycling in Chicago

  • Claypool and Rahm: combatants or colluders?

    11 May 2017

    Interview with the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky on CPS chief Forrest Claypool's threat to end the 2017 schoolyear early.

  • Do Chicago bike riders blindly support the mayor?

    12 April 2017

    Interview with the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky on the loyalty of Chicago bicycle riders to bike-friendly mayors.

  • School cash crisis tips Rauner's hand, marks Rahm's brand

    7 March 2017

    Interview with the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky on the annual Chicago Public Schools funding crisis, and the roles of Governor Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the General Assembly.

  • Rich-guy Rahm comm

    18 January 2017

    Interview with the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky about a rare window into back-channel deals with the wealthy, provided by a release of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2016 private e-mail communication.

  • Trump and transit: Rahm railroads Red Line appeal

    17 November 2016

    Interview with the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky on the Emanuel administration's scramble, after the presumed election of Donald Trump as president, to secure federal funding and TIF designation for Red Line reconstruction.

  • How to win the door prize in bike lanes: a crash course

    29 September 2016
    St Louis vs Chi bike lane
    St. Louis vs. Chicago bike lane: What's wrong with this picture?

    When Bicycling magazine named Chicago as 2016's most bicycle-friendly U.S. city, the news was soon followed by our town's fifth bicycling fatality this year.

    That got me thinking about the unfriendly side of Chi biking: the hundreds of bike crashes, whereby bikers gets hurt, that occur each year.

    Take, for example, my housemate's recent bicycle crash: She got doored in a Chicago bike lane. The resulting injury required knee surgery. What's more, it was her second dooring—and her second knee surgery. The first time, seven years ago, she injured the other knee.

    Years ago, when I started to teach traffic cycling, I taught my students to ride on the left side of bike lanes—to avoid what I and others began calling "the door zone." At the time, it seemed like teaching a child to use a kitchen knife: You had to learn it, because bike lanes—like big, sharp knives—were inherently dangerous. Why? Because the city often installed bike lanes just to the left of parked cars, so the right two-thirds of a bike lane put bikers on a collision course with opening car doors.

    Over the years, in my role as bicycling author and instructor, Chicago bikers told me countless "dooring" stories. One gal I met could not recall her dooring crash; she remembered biking carefully (or so she thought) down Halsted, and the next moment she was waking up in a hospital bed, her skull fractured. Not surprisingly, she said she couldn't bring herself to bicycle again.

    At some point, Chicago bike planners got the memo: The city began using a bike lane design that includes a striped buffer next to parked cars, showing bikers where not to ride. Unfortunately, many miles of "unbuffered" legacy lanes are still out there.

    I just got back from visiting St. Louis with my bicycle. To my wonder, most of the lanes I saw had a buffer in the door zone. What's more, these lanes looked old. Many of Chicago's buffered bike lanes, in contrast, look relatively new—reflecting the recent innovation that they are.

    While biking around in view of the Mississippi River and the Arch, I thought about these two Midwestern cities: St. Louis, with its unheralded but cannily safe, buffered bike lanes; and Chicago, with its shiny, new Bicycling magazine award.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel is surely proud of getting the "most bike-friendly city" prize. But no one in the Emanuel administration (or at Bicycling magazine, for that matter) is talking about the fact that many Chicago bike lanes are a set-up: The lanes lure credulous cyclists with the appearance of safety, while they actually place bikers in danger that's both predictable and ongoing.

    The mayor and his factotums like to brag about how many miles of new, "protected" bike lanes the city is paying for each year. Why not put that effort on hold—and, instead, spend the money on fixing Chicago's legacy lanes, all of which are crashes waiting to happen?

    It won't win Rahm any awards—which maybe is why it won't happen any time soon.


  • Alderman's shot at shorting TIF slush thwarted?

    8 August 2016

    The Lathrop Homes redevelopment brackets a purported mayoral slush fund, an alderman's bold claim that he'd reform it, and little-known uses of your property-tax dollars.

  • Lucas Museum narrative is a mixed art

    17 May 2016

    Interview with the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky on Mayor Emanuel's obsession with international visitors, and more.

  • Watching the public schools ship sink

    10 February 2016

    Interview with the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky on why CTU leadership accepted a contract offer that some felt its members would surely reject, and more.

  • Rahm cops to 'owning' McDonald fiasco—or does he?

    28 December 2015

    Interview in which the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky looks at aldermen's assertion that the Emanuel administration misled them about the McDonald shooting, and more.