When Rahm says “It’s for the kids,” look out!

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday morning visited the three Chicago Public Schools where teachers last week voted in favor of a controversial proposal to add 90 minutes to the school day this year.

It’s getting to be a predictable warning sign – Mayor Emanuel surrounds himself with a bunch of sweet-faced CPS students just as he’s sharpening his dagger for his next victims.

Here’s the latest. With little notice, the Illinois General Assembly has given Chicago the go-ahead to install speed cameras within an eighth of a mile of all city schools and parks. The speed zones will be in effect from 6 am to 8 pm around schools and even later around parks.

It’s for the children, you see. We’ve got to keep them safe (Rahm even called up the name of the little girl who was killed by a speeding car on Halloween).

Now, there are over 600 schools in Chicago and 580 parks. An eighth-mile boundary around each one covers a whole lot of the city.

So, under the new law, if you are driving 6 – 10 miles over the 20 mile school zone speeding limit in one of these – well, nearly anywhere in the city at almost any time of day, you’ll get a $50 fine. 11 or more miles over the speed limit will be a $100 fine. And you WILL get a ticket, since the camera WILL catch you.

In fact, you will probably get tickets even if you weren’t anywhere near a school or park or even in your car, if the many I-Pass and other traffic camera errors are any indication.

It’s just the next in a long line of Mayor Rahm’s “child-centric” initiatives such as the longer school day which had to happen immediately in a way that breached the teachers’ union contract but was NEVER about tripping the union up.

I’m all for safer streets for our children, but squeezing their parents for wads of money for driving 26 miles an hour down a city street long after school is out for the day displays a disturbing hostility towards the public in order to grab more money to cover the enormous debt run up by the corruption in this city.

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.