Candidate for City Council, 22nd Ward
Education: Holy Name Cathedral High School Class of 1983 Northern Illinois University Class of 1987 BA Political Science Minors in Spanish, English and Philosophy
Occupation: Full time Alderman
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.
The City needs to stop mortgaging our future revenue sources. That said, all future budgets have to be developed with an emphasis towards honestly looking at our revenues and balancing that with how we provide vital city services. the focus needs to be both on belt tightening as well as other creative revenue sources.
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.
We need to take a clear and unapologetic view of TIF's and how those diverted revenues that are not committed to specific projects can be reclaimed by the various taxing districts. We should continue to work with the State's legislature to ensure that any pension bill that might be adopted also includes the city of Chicago in it's relief.
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.
TIF's should be reformed to it's original intent. Criteria for TIF eligibility should return to the "but for" clause. "but for" this TIF can the development proceed. There are two general types of TIF's, project driven and speculative. I would support project driven TIF's in my ward if the project met the "but for" clause. I do not support the allotment of TIF funds for the Marriott Hotel and DePaul Basketball arena.
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.
First and Foremost, we have to improve the city's police community relations and increase the number of officers patrolling our streets. Your Curb Crime, Save Chicago piece addresses one of the elements that impacts our neighborhoods. we need to figure out a way to make home ownership a staple of our neighborhoods.
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.
We should abolish the office of legislative inspector general and give the Inspector General city council oversight.
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 key to improving public education is to have an elected representative school board that is accountable to the city's residents. School closings, proliferation of charter schools and toxic swap deals have all made for a bad storm that continues to cripple our education efforts. A Longer school day as well as year is good to keep students engaged and involved.
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 very closely with the Little Village Chamber of commerce to make my office and city services accessible to existing owners as well as new businesses. I represent a working class neighborhood where local companies have the opportunity and they take advantage of it to hire local. We are currently working with St. Anthony Hospital on a 500 million dollar project on the corner of 31st and kedzie that will be anchored by a hospital and have local shopping opportunities, open recreational space and many other amenities.
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 support the increase and believe the phase in process will give small and medium businesses the opportunity to plan for it.
Q: Should the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art be built at the proposed location on Chicago's lakefront? Please explain.
No, the lakefront should remain open and public.
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?
In 1993, the 10th police district was one of the 5 pilot Community Policing districts and we have worked tirelessly to have neighbors and police be partners in crime prevention. The city and it's police leadership has drifted away from true community policing and that needs to change by renewing our commitment to true Community Policing. We also need to curtail our reliance on police over time and hire additional officers to be able to adequately police our city.
Q: Do you support Chicago's traffic light camera program? Please explain.
I voted for both the red light as well as the speed camera programs, however i have serious reservations about the speed camera program and it's effectiveness. I would support an audit by the city's inspector general in order to determine if the speed camera program has met it's program goals.
Q: Should Chicago reduce the number of aldermen in 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?
Preventing Crime!!!! working with the 10th and 8th district police commanders in order to give residents a voice in how we police our neighborhoods in order to prevent the crime and not only react to it.
Q: Please tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
I love to cook.