CHANCE TAKES TURN ON THE MIC DUR­ING CITY COUNCIL MEET­ING

Rap­per scolds City Council for spend­ing $ 95M on ‘ cop academy’ in­stead of schools, men­tal health ser­vices

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY FRAN SPIEL­MAN City Hall Re­porter Email: fspiel­man@ sun­times. com Twit­ter: @ fspiel­man

Chance the Rap­per ac­cused the City Council Wed­nes­day of hav­ing mis­placed pri­or­i­ties, but the celebrity scold­ing did not stop al­der­men from au­tho­riz­ing a $ 9.6 mil­lion land sale that will pave the way for con­struc­tion of a $ 95 mil­lion pub­lic- safety train­ing cam­pus on the West Side.

“What is y’all do­ing?,” Chancelor Ben­nett asked al­der­men dur­ing a rau­cous pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion ses­sion.

“Fi­nan­cially, this pro­posed plan doesn’t make sense. We don’t have $ 95 mil­lion. They’re just ask­ing for $ 10 mil­lion to­day to pur­chase the land. But we don’t have the rest of the money to do it, so why let them go ahead with this right now? There’s a lot of dif­fer­ent ser­vices that need to be funded.”

Chance had en­tered the Council cham­bers sur­rounded by an en­tourage of as­sis­tants.

When a Chicago Sun- Times re­porter tried to take his pic­ture, the aides put their hands in front of the re­porter’s cell­phone. The re­porter asked the rap­per if he had any prob­lem with her tak­ing his pic­ture. Chance said he did. He said he wanted his pri­vacy.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on hand for the start of the 30- minute pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion ses­sion but walked out be­fore Chance got his three min­utes to un­load. Emanuel later said he stepped out of the cham­bers to call his mother to wish her a happy 85th birth­day.

That ab­sence was not lost on the Chicago- born rap­per, whose fa­ther once served as a top aide to Emanuel.

“I guess the mayor had to step out when I came up. But . . . it’s cool be­cause I’m here to talk to you,” Chance told the Council.

The rap­per then talked about the work he has done with Orr Academy, which is “right down the street” from the va­cant land at 4301 W. Chicago Ave. where the city wants to build the new po­lice and fire train­ing academy.

He noted that Orr, “with just $ 100,000 in three years,” was about to make “some trans­for­ma­tive changes.”

“It would be awe­some, though, if we could get them pools at their school or a new li­brary or a mu­seum

“WHAT IS Y’ALL DO­ING? FI­NAN­CIALLY, THIS PRO­POSED PLAN DOESN’T MAKE SENSE . . . THERE’S A LOT OF DIF­FER­ENT SER­VICES THAT NEED TO BE FUNDED.’’ CHANCE THE RAP­PER, on the City Council au­tho­riz­ing $ 95 mil­lion for a pub­lic- safety train­ing com­plex ( ren­der­ing above) in­stead of schools

or any of the things that are pro­posed in the bud­get for this $ 95 mil­lion cop academy,” Chance said.

Chance ar­gued that bol­ster­ing men­tal health ser­vices and school fund­ing should be higher pri­or­i­ties.

“Ob­vi­ously school­ing is my big thing. But there’s a lot of ways to trans­form the city that don’t have any­thing to do with po­lice train­ing,” said Chance, a Jones Col­lege Prep grad.

Chance said he didn’t want to “take any­thing away from the West Side . . . I think the West Side de­serves more at­ten­tion than it’s been get­ting. I just think that there’s dif­fer­ent ways to go about it.”

“You guys have a lot of power . . . That’s the rea­son I showed up at 8 a. m. It’s be­cause I feel like maybe, if you guys just hear me say it, it might make a dif­fer­ence,” Chance said.

Declar­ing his in­tent to use ev­ery sec­ond of his three min­utes, Chance said, “I’ll take pic­tures with ev­ery­body af­ter­wards if you want me to.”

The crowd dis­solved into cheers more suited for one of his con­certs.

Chance was long gone by the time al­der­men got around to de­fy­ing him by a vote of 48 to 1.

Ald. Emma Mitts ( 37th) led the charge with an im­pas­sioned plea for a project that will flood her gang- in­fested ward with thou­sands of po­lice of­fi­cers and fire­fight­ers.

“I’m not try­ing to say the fa­cil­ity is go­ing to change po­lice be­hav­ior. . . . But I want the per­cep­tion to change for our youth that all po­lice of­fi­cers or fire­men . . . are bad,” Mitts said.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate Chance the Rap­per when he gave a mil­lion dol­lars to Orr H. S. He gave a mil­lion dol­lars to Austin H. S. — all in the 37th Ward. I can’t take that away. I don’t have a mil­lion dol­lars. . . . But what I can say is, sit down with me and hear my per­spec­tive be­cause I live there. Sit down with my com­mu­nity and let them tell you what they want to see . . . We want more po­lice. Don’t you know ev­ery time we see po­lice rid­ing down the street we’re glad?”

RICH HEIN/ SUN- TIMES

Chance the Rap­per ap­pears at the Chicago City Council to crit­i­cize al­der­men over their spend­ing pri­or­i­ties.

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