- The 11th Ward is struggling. Bridgeport and Canaryville, Chicago’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods, have been unfairly neglected for decades as their old-boy political status quo paid more attention to private profit than to improving their home communities. Elect me the next Alderman and this is how I will fight for a better 11th Ward:
CITY BUDGET CRISIS
- I will fight the constant efforts to starve government of the resources it needs to serve the public. We have too long accepted excuses that money is scarce while at the same time millions of our tax dollars are found for sports stadiums, charter schools and other subsidies for the wealthy. Because I know that ordinary Chicagoans pay for these subsidies with extra potholes, rising crime and declining services, I will work tirelessly to break that cycle.
- I recognize that many millions of Chicago’s tax dollars have been set aside in a shadow finance network that seems designed to enrich the already wealthy. I will ensure that TIF disbursements in the 11th Ward are used only as intended. I will closely review and approve any TIF disbursements according to the greatest benefit to the people of the 11th Ward, not just to developers.
- I will implement my plan for the revitalization of South Halsted street. The 11th Ward’s main artery to nearby downtown has become an eyesore thanks to decades of political neglect and property mismanagement. I will continue to work with urban planning professionals, granting bodies, nonprofits, property owners, current and future business owners and developers to finally end South Halsted’s era of blight.
- As Alderman, I will continue to spearhead the effort to restore the beloved Ramova Theater. Since 2005 I have worked to protect this most important commercial property, doing battle with the city owner, creating tenant interest, organizing thousands of Ramova supporters and forcing the budgeting of hundreds of thousands of dollars for tuckpointing and roof protection. Elected Alderman, I will step up the fight from inside government.
- Because listening to the input of the people is critical to the health of the community, and because the people of the 11th Ward pay for their government, I will ask the people of the 11th Ward how to spend the money. I will implement participatory budgeting for the Ward, allowing voters to set budget priorities and vote on 11th Ward improvement projects.
- I will never be a “rubber stamp” in the City Council. There is no excuse for voting on legislation without understanding what is in it. I will work with other progressive Aldermen, pooling our staff resources when necessary, to properly interpret what the army of lobbyists downtown have put before the City Council and the people of Chicago.
- Crime is what happens when opportunity dries up and education is undermined. As Alderman I will act on behalf of public safety by continuing to work closely with Chicago Police, Bridgeport Citizens Group, CAPS, landlords, our schools and non-profit organizations. I will fight the constant efforts to cut public programs that help to keep our youth engaged and focused on their future.
- I will work with the Police Department to increase foot/bike patrols in order to have Police connect directly with the residents instead of driving past them in a car. There is too often confusion as to whose responsibility it is to keep the 11th Ward’s parks secure, and I will encourage the Police and Park District to work together closely to get that job done.
- My years of efforts to clean up Bridgeport’s streets of garbage will only become more effective when I am elected Alderman. Unlike the present administration, I will recognize the function of public garbage cans and ensure that they are in place and picked up regularly.
- As Alderman I will fight for city resources to add garbage cans and solar trash compactors along our business districts.
- I will extend my successful neighborhood Clean And Green volunteer program, expanding it to at least a quarterly event.
- I will personally encourage window washing, sidewalk cleaning and improved general building maintenance among all of our commercial and residential building owners.
- I will implement an education program for responsible pet ownership including requiring that dogs are kept on leashes in public to comply with city code. Dog owners that fail to clean up after their animals will be fined.
- Educational outcomes are the result of parents, educators and students working together. Attendance is a critical problem. Using my background as school council member, as Alderman I will press for the restoration of truant officers to serve the families of the 11th Ward.
- I will strongly advocate for an elected school board. The notion that educating children is a job best left to people with no background in education is a ridiculous and damaging trend that must be stopped. Restoring democracy to the Chicago Public School Board is the first step back toward sanity.
- As Alderman, I will continue to work directly with our public and private schools to ensure that the proper amount of resources, funding and marketing are made available to students and teachers.
- I will organize health fairs, find opportunities for cross-collaboration between schools leading to shared resources and extended education opportunities. Because the most important part of education is learning how to learn, I will encourage more art, music, athletics and cultural curricula in our schools for students of all ages.
- The 11th Ward should have a centrally located public high school: I will advocate for a new local public neighborhood high school.
- I will ensure that the elderly of the 11th Ward are protected and live in dignity. My ward office will provide needed assistance with navigating Social Security and Medicare programs and will work with senior community leaders to ensure our streets are not a hazard to older people.
- I will actively promote the creation of a new senior center offering opportunities for recreation, education, exercise, entertainment and family get togethers for the 11th Ward’s seniors.
- As Alderman I will leverage my time spent as President of the Bridgeport Business Association by continuing to work closely with employers large and small in our Ward to help them thrive, to navigate bureaucracy, find sustainable programs for building repairs and business development, and to actively connect our businesses with schools, colleges and community organizations to find employee recruitment and learning opportunities.
- As Alderman I will put to use what I have learned as planner of Palmisano Park’s largest events: I will create and promote city-wide a Halsted Days event to showcase the Ward’s legendary businesses and brands.
- CTA is the lifeblood to our community’s working people. As Alderman I will step up my long-standing support of a reinstated 31st Street bus. I will move to increase nighttime hours of the Halsted, Archer and Wallace bus routes.
- I will also actively promote ride sharing, bike sharing and a local shuttle for those who need a lift to do their shopping similar to programs offered by other communities.
- Taxicab service to the South Side is legendarily bad. As the taxi industry faces enormous changes and challenges from technology-enabled alternatives, as Alderman I will apply pressure to cab operators to serve our community as they are already mandated to do.
THE NEW 11th WARD
- I recognize that the visual condition of the 11th Ward will be only improved by giving it the attention it deserves from its political leadership. That leadership needs to be have been trained in aesthetics, community service and business — not in sweetheart real estate dealmaking, hustling the public or vanishing until right before an election. I will provide the kind of leadership that leaves the Ward in better shape than when I was elected.
- When special or high-impact uses of 11th Ward land are proposed, I will not simply and blindly accept the promises of the developer. Our land and how we manage it reflects on our quality of life, which means I will negotiate the best deal for the people of the 11th Ward — and I will get it in writing.
- The 11th Ward is a central, high-density community located in the heart of the greatest city in the world. We have the most amazing and diverse demographics and some of best location the city has to offer. But neglect from the 11th Ward’s political leadership and its property owners has left it lagging far behind where it should be. I will always work to reclaim the 11th Ward’s position as a top-level entry in Chicago’s living experience.