Quick Hit Adam Doster Monday December 6th, 2010, 11:47am

Meeks The "Neighborhood" Mayor; Emanuel's Modest Green Initiative

With Chicago's mayoral election 12 weeks away and the news cycle easing up a bit locally, candidates are slowly starting to unveil portions of their potential City Hall agenda.

State Sen. James Meeks, who launched a "50 wards in 50 days" tour Sunday, announced that he would visit different neighborhoods on every Friday while in office. Although Meeks called downtown Chicago the city's "centerpiece," he said that Chicago's communities should be the "city's true core." On this front, we have to agree; the Daley years weren't always kind to the 2.5 million or so residents who don't live in the Loop or adjacent neighborhoods. Still, listening is different than acting. By February, we hope Meeks brings to the table some concrete plans to develop economic opportunities across the city.

One of Meek's main contenders, Rahm Emanuel, made known that he would spend $10 million in unused stimulus and economic development money to improve the energy efficiency of 21,000 homes and businesses during the first year of his administration. According to the Sun-Times, the investments would be targeted in "12 of the least energy efficient areas of the city," could leverage $100 million in additional capital from public and private funds, and would reduce carbon emissions by 5,000 tons. Buildings account for approximately 70 percent of all city carbon emissions; Chicago's Climate Action Plan calls on officials to retrofit 50 percent of Chicago's homes and commercial and industrial buildings by 2020. In the residential sector alone, that would mean fixing up 400,000 units. So Emanuel's initial plan, while encouraging, is pretty modest.

Expect more coverage from us on the candidate's policy proposals as we edge closer to February 22, 2011.

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