Candidate questionnaires

Portrait of Faheem Shabazz

Faheem Shabazz

Candidate for City Council, 8th Ward

Faheem Shabazz

Candidate for City Council, 8th Ward

Portrait of Faheem Shabazz

Education: Walt Disney Magnet/ Lane Tech H.S. Art Institute/ Cain's Barber College

Occupation: Barber Stylist/ Real Estate Consultation

Home: Chicago

Age: Not answered

Past Political/Civic Experience: Not answered


Candidates running for City Council, 8th Ward

Responses to the Chicago Tribune's questionnaire

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.

This fiscal recklessness was and is an abuse of borrowing priveleges! Cuts in spending would always be a first option to rectify existing debts.

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 underfunded pension crisis is now in the hands of Rahm Emanuel. I don't agree with creating more debt but in this case I would agree to a short term borrowing contract. Pensions have to be safe. As a citizen of Chicago I would contribute a percentage of my income to help the crisis. We didn't create the problem but we need to find sound solutions together that will remedy it. Chicago firfighters and Policemen deserve it.

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.

Alderman Michelle Harris is a case study in my ward for inappropriation of TIF's. How can you ignore job creation for your ward but yet allow A. Finkle & Son's, along with Jay's Potatoe Chips to receive over 22 million of our TIF dollars? There is no transparency in Chicago when dealing with our tax payer dollars that go into TIF's. I'm deeply upset to see our dollars being used as a slush fund for projects that do not create jobs and beautify the communities for the 'existing' residents. Excess TIF funds should be alloted for the same purposes that they were accumulated for. Another thought would be to extend the 23 year period that TIF's can be used. I would also like to see transparency and accoutability for the interest that is made off ot these funds and where it goes.

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 Please tell us which ideas you would champion. We invite you to offer additional ideas for dealing with Chicago's challenges.

Schools as tools, Sister Neighborhoods, City in a garden, Oasis in the jobs desert, Kids and careers. Convert schools into trade facilities to address unemployment which results in lower crime. Homework HUBS! In my community the libraries are full or parents and children who have to wait hours on end to use a computer or printer for homework assignments. Homework HUBS will consist of free wifi, free printing services, tutoring and even after school care.

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.

Keep the office! The inspector general should be allowed to thoroughly investigate Aldermen and staff, especially in this city. Mandatory public publications of expenditures and payment along with contributions should be made easily accessible to the public on a quarterly or bi annual basis.

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?

I am not for the closing of more schools. I blame the poor performance of CPS's schools on non accountability. These problems have existed for several years and I think that they should have been addressed long ago, before it was too late. Underperformance in students has a direct tie to the home and the teachers. I feel that if the citizens were to elect the members of the Board, then we would see better results. A recent study also showed that charter schools are under performing even below public schools. Longer school days would definitely help in core communities as well as others. Unfortunately, raising taxes would seem a quick fix because the finances of CPS are still a disaster despite firings, layoffs and budget cuts.

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?

I have worked for non profits for several summers to enhance the 8th Ward's employment situation. We hire over 300 youth and young men and women. There is a huge labor force of individuals in my ward that WANT to work. Many of these people have hit rock bottom and are ready to get on a track of employment and responsiblity.

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.

Yes but no. The incremental increase to $13.00 by 2019 will not be enough to live off then. Increases should be made sooner.

Q: Should the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art be built at the proposed location on Chicago's lakefront? Please explain.

Put it where jobs are needed! The museum will create green space, billions of dollars in LOCAL economic impact and hundreds of jobs.

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?

More police in the streets walking beats. Hiring local groups to aid in safety. B.M.U. Black Men United is my organization and is well respected on Chicago's Southeast side. I have an idea that I would love to see come to fruition. STAND OUTSIDE is what I call it. It involves resident to simply stand outside their homes at certain hours of the day and night to deter crime.

Q: Do you support Chicago's traffic light camera program? Please explain.

No, unless the cameras are located everywhere and not just in CERTAIN areas. The next time a mayor wants to decrease the national yellow light average length from 3 seconds to 2.9, let us know.

Q: Should Chicago reduce the number of aldermen in the City Council?

No. That was a scare tactic that was used to control these Aldermen that vote 100% with the Mayor. Reduce the amount of rubber stamp Alderman! Harris etc...

Q: What is your highest priority for improving your ward? What is the greatest concern you hear from residents of your ward?

My highest priority is job creation. The 8th Ward is drying up and there are no jobs being created at all. That's all I hear, "I want to work", "I'm hungry" and "please give me a chance when you win Shabazz, because I haven't seen the current Alderaman"

Q: Please tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.

As a child, I always read comic books because I wanted to be a superhero. As I got older I realized that I could be a real life hero by representing my community against gangs, drugs and even villains that lie to us and give us a turkey for a vote.