Chicagoans involved in the hard-fought campaign to close the Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants in the city are demanding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel pull from the airwaves his first campaign commercial touting his role in shuttering the facilities.
Emanuel's 'Clean Air' campaign ad features Kim Wasserman, a mother from the Pilsen neighborhood, who lauds Emanuel for his help in shutting down the power plants.
"He said, if the right thing to do is to shut them down, then that is what I will do," Wasserman says in the ad. "That's the kind of leadership that our communities need."
Rising Tide Chicago, one of the organizations that worked to close the plants, says Emanuel's campaign ad includes a photo of a protest that the group participated in and helped organize.
"Permission to use the photo was not granted to the Emanuel campaign by the photographer, and most of the activists that participated in this event are objecting that it's being used to promote his campaign," the group said in a statement. "They assert that through this ad, their activism is being used to promote a mayor who has put forward neoliberal policies such as closing and privatizing public services while giving handouts to the wealthy."
Members of Rising Tide Chicago as well as the Bridgeport Alliance, the Pilsen Alliance, the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization and Reclaim Chicago are holding a press conference at City Hall Wednesday morning to denounce the ad. Two Reclaim Chicago-backed aldermanic candidates, Maureen Sullivan for the 11th Ward and Byron Sigcho for the 25th Ward, will also be at the presser.
After speaking with reporters, the group plans to deliver "a Cease and Desist Order to Mayor Emanuel's office, demanding he remove a copyrighted photo he uses in 'Clean Air' without the photographer's permission."
"How dare Rahm Emanuel take credit for our victory," Jerry Mead Lucero of the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization said in a statement. "This is a victory won by the thousands of Pilsen and Little Village residents and their allies who fought for a decade to close those plants."
The activists say the ad implies that Emanuel has the backing of local community environmentalists, which they claim is not the case.
"Our neighbors fought tirelessly to restore our air quality, and that meant going against Emanuel and his corporate favoritism," Bridgeport Alliance Chair Ruby Pinto added. "To see our efforts distorted into support for Rahm feels like a bully taking our lunch money and buying votes with it."