I posted Sunday about Chicago gaining Motorola Mobility and the suburbs (Libertyville) losing the firm. It is not too surprising that the Daily Herald, a newspaper serving Chicago’s suburbs, is not too fond of the move but they make a larger claim in an editorial: there isn’t much evidence yet that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is committed to “regional partnership.”
But today, Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel play by a different set of rules. This isn’t the first time Emanuel has raided suburban business with no significant attempt to forge any sort of regional partnership.
And while we appreciate Quinn’s efforts and relative success at keeping Illinois businesses in Illinois, his favoritism toward Chicago at the expense of the suburbs, at least in this case, is clear.
Though he was under no obligation to do so, Quinn signed off on the agreement to transfer Motorola Mobility’s incentive package to its move to Chicago.
And the thing is, that didn’t happen five minutes before the deal was announced. Yet, suburban officials were kept largely in the dark until the deal was done.
This is an ongoing point of contention in the Chicago region. When I heard Mayor Daley speak at Wheaton College, I noted that he talked about regional cooperation but evidence of this happening for some of the biggest issues has been lacking. Mayor Emanuel has made some overtures about the need for regional efforts but it appears that theDaily Herald(and perhaps others?) don’t think this has truly happened yet.
I wonder what it would take for the two sides, Chicago and suburbs, to truly feel like the other side is cooperating. If everything was equal, say both sides got the same number of large firms, would they each be happy? The Chicago area has a long history of many taxing bodies (see the example of 45 mosquito abatement districts in DuPage County here) and it is difficult to get all of these groups working together. Here is my short-term prediction: I suspect both sides will appeal for regional cooperation when they need outside help or funds from other groups but it will be very difficult for them to acknowledge regional partnerships when they might lose something.