"I think he's got all the right skills," said Zamkovitz, 70, who lives within walking distance of Millennium Park. "He's highly motivated. But the city's in a crisis situation, and they need to work it all out."
-- Ryan Haggerty
Emanuel to lay out challenges in inauguration speech
9:14 a.m. CDT May 11, 2011
As he is sworn in as Chicago's 46th mayor today, Rahm Emanuel is expected to lay out the challenges the city faces.
Excerpts released this morning by the mayor-elect's transition team show Emanuel paying tribute to outgoing Mayor Richard Daley but also reiterating campaign themes about difficult decisions that loom with the city spending more money than it collects.
"New times demand new answers. Old problems cry out for better results. This morning, we leave behind the old ways and old divisions and begin a new day for Chicago. I am proud to lead a city united in common purpose and driven by a common thirst for change," one excerpt reads.
"From the moment I began my campaign for mayor, I have been clear about the hard truths and tough choices we face: We simply can't afford the size of city government that we had in the past. And taxpayers deserve a more effective and efficient government than the one we have today," another excerpt reads.
'I'm here to see. . . if he'll get my vote next time'
8:25 a.m. CDT May 16, 2011
People have begun trickling into Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park this morning, trying to secure the best view to witness history as the city gets its first new mayor in 22 years.
As of 8 a.m., about two dozen people lined the fence at the front of the general admission area on the lawn, watching as musicians practiced on stage in front of a giant Chicago flag for Rahm Emanuel's inauguration.
David Rodriguez Jr., 26, of Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, said he came to support Emanuel even though he voted for Gery Chico. "I didn't vote for Rahm, but he's our next mayor," Rodriguez said, leaning on a fence in a brisk wind. "I'm here to see what he has to say and if he'll get my vote next time."
Many of the first spectators arrived early because they have children singing in the ceremony.
Gerardo Galan, 47, a West Side resident, has three children singing today with the Chicago Children's Choir. "I think it's an honor for them to be in this kind of event," Galan said, drinking a coffee while he watched his daughter rehearse on stage. "They're so excited. They were preparing for this for a long, long time."
Galan said he would have attended the inauguration even if his children weren't participating. "It's a huge event for Chicago," he said. "It's a big change. It's like a new city is starting again. A new mayor, a new city."