Candidate for City Council, 26th Ward
Education: Political Science Degree University of Mexico Metropolitan Leadership Institute (Chicago) Carpenter Journeyman
Occupation: 45th Ward Superintendent, Department of Streets and Sanitation, City of Chicago
Age: Not answered
Past Political/Civic Experience: Not answered
Q: Last year, the Chicago Tribune's investigative series "Broken Bonds" reported that, since 2000, Chicago had issued long-term bonds to spend nearly $10 billion, much of it for short-term operating expenses. Hundreds of millions of dollars went to delay bond payments by refinancing old debts, a tactic known as "scoop and toss" that extends payments far into the future. Was this borrowing justified? Going forward, how should City Hall change its finances to pay down existing debts and provide services? Will you argue primarily for cuts in spending or for tax increases? Please be specific.
Stop borrowing money and refinancing old debts. Cut unnecessary expenses like Maggie Daley Park, the DePaul arena construction project and or any use of TIF's for the renovation of Wrigley Field. I am against tax increments unless that is the only alternative. I am also opposed the selling or leasing of Chicago assets.
Q: Chicago will face a substantial increase in contributions to its police and fire pension funds in 2016. Chicago's unfunded pension liability amounts to about $7,000 for each resident of the city. How should the city solve its pension crisis? Please be specific about pension changes, spending cuts or revenue increases you would support.
The City of Chicago should start paying its part into the unfunded pensions not relying on the residents to make up for the neglected and irresponsible investments made in the past by the former administration. Pension should have a "caps". Any individual that collects a city pension above $125,000.00 should not be entitled to apply or to be appointed to any other city position within any city department where he can withdraw a second pension. The city can create revenue by tapping into the gamming industry, supporting the LaSalle Tax, tax individuals working outside city limits and impose higher taxes on medial marijuana establishments stakeholders.
Q: What changes should be made in the city's use of tax increment financing? Would you support expansion or extension of TIF districts in your ward? How should excess TIF funds be spent? Do you support the $55 million allotment of TIF funds to buy land for a Marriott Hotel and DePaul basketball arena? Please explain.
I will support the extension and process of TIFs Districts only to help economic growth and first time home buyers in the wards. The use of TIF money should be transparent. I do not support the usage of TIF monies to build or to buy any land specially if it is a private ownership project. These projects should be funded with private donors dollars or the owners themselves.
Q: The Tribune Editorial Board recently offered "12 ways to heal a city" — the best ideas among more than 1,000 suggestions from readers on how to craft "A new Plan of Chicago." These proposals are available at chicagotribune.com/plan. Please tell us which ideas you would champion. We invite you to offer additional ideas for dealing with Chicago's challenges.
I would champion the idea of parents getting involve in their kids education. Children tend to achieve more, regardless of ethnic or racial background. Children would achieve better grades, test score and attendance.
Q: Should the City Council keep or abolish the office of legislative inspector general? Should the city inspector general be given the authority to investigate aldermen and their staff members? Do you have other ideas to improve government ethics in Chicago? Please explain.
Yes, the City Council should keep the LIG. Moreover, the city needs to provide enough financial support so that the IG can successfully do their job. Alderman and their team should be held to of accountability and ethics. The only way to ensure accountability is with oversight from a neutral party.
Q: The Chicago Public Schools system has seen significant improvements in freshmen on track and high school graduation rates. CPS has also closed dozens of schools, used fiscal 2016 revenue to balance its 2015 budget and faces a roughly $700 million pension payment in 2016. Please give us your assessment of the academic and financial performance of the city's public schools. What is the key to improving public education in the city? Should members of the Board of Education be elected by the public or continue to be appointed by the mayor? Do you support the longer school day and year? Should CPS expand or reduce the number of charter schools? How should CPS close its significant budget gap?
The top priority should be to protect investments in students learning as much as possible. The CPS should set high standards, create a curriculum that meets the needs of all students and not measure their success based solely on standardized testing. Additionally, the success of teachers should not be measure on solely how well their children perform on tests. Until we begin to look at the social and political impact n the success of children in our schools we will not be able to address the inequities in our public educational system. The Board of Education should be elected by the people not appointed by the mayor. I will support longer school days, only if CPS teacher's are compensated for the additional time spent in and outside of the classroom.
Q: How would you attract more employers to your ward? How would you encourage employers to hire local residents? What have you done to promote economic development in your ward?
In my Ward attracting employers is tied to public safety. The only way I can attract more businesses is by abating crime in the main business corridors. If elected, I think the most effective way to encourage business owners is to simply talk to them about the benefits of supporting the community by hiring locally. I have been talking to financial institutions, investors and outside business owners promoting my ward and the need for new responsible business.
Q: Do you support or oppose the City Council vote to increase the minimum wage in several steps to $13 an hour by 2019? Please explain.
I not only support it but have canvassed, collecting petitions to increase the minimum wage. Every worker deserves a fair wage and $13 an hour should be in place by 2017 to keep up with the cost of living in the City.
Q: Should the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art be built at the proposed location on Chicago's lakefront? Please explain.
No, it should not be in Chicago period. This is an example of patronage politics as Mayor Rahm E. received hefty donations from Lucas' wife Mellody Hubson. Also why would a billionaire get a break by leasing the lakefront land for a $1 a year
Q: How can the city improve public safety? Please address the role and performance of the Chicago Police Department and the role of neighborhood residents in crime prevention. What have you done to improve public safety in your community?
To improve public safety, we need to hire more police and keep up with the demand of those retiring. Also, the city needs to consider bringing back saturation teams. The judicial system needs to work closer with Police and apply tougher sentences to those felons that commit crimes with firearms. My role to improve public safety has been very active, for the past 12 years I was part of the CAPS program as a Beat Facilitator and a group Court Advocate. I spearhead the closing of a couple irresponsible business that were detrimental to my community and have kept them closed. I continue to work closely with different levels of Law Enforcement from local to Federal to abate crime in my Ward. As a result of my activity I have received several awards and testimonial letters in regards to my commitment to public safety in my neighborhood.
Q: Do you support Chicago's traffic light camera program? Please explain.
I do not support red light cameras. It has not proven to help in the reduction of accidents where installed and is in essence tied to create revenue for the city. .
Q: Should Chicago reduce the number of aldermen in the City Council?
No, Alderman in what are now relatively expansive areas are vital to communicating and advocating neighborhood needs within the city council.
Q: What is your highest priority for improving your ward? What is the greatest concern you hear from residents of your ward?
There is no one priority, my ward has been neglected for many years and is not improving. I would say that all things impacting my community are top priority. Really, it all depends on what the community identifies as top priority: lack of constituents services, school closings, public safety and/or infrastructure and business development.
Q: Please tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
I am a recipient of many awards for my dedication to preserve and improve the quality of life in my Ward. I come to this with an authentic desire to implement change for the better in my community.