Candidate questionnaires

Portrait of Denice L. Davis

Denice L. Davis

Candidate for City Council, 46th Ward

Denice L. Davis

Candidate for City Council, 46th Ward

Portrait of Denice L. Davis

Education: Graduated for The Rayen High School, Youngstown, OH. Graduated from Catherine College, Degree in Secretarial Science, November 1989.

Occupation: Service Coordinator, Servicing adults that are mentally challenged

Home: Chicago

Age: Not answered

Past Political/Civic Experience: Not answered

Website: http://www.davisforthepeople.org

Candidates running for City Council, 46th 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.

Forensic audit of city finances to identify areas of waste in all departments- this will save money. Increase transparency to indentify how existing dollars are spent. Identify different sources of revenue that are not fines and fees. The inevitability of an increase in property tax to ensure that we can address our debt obligation and pension obligation, propose and increase in the service tax commuter tax.


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 fact that the city did not do its part in paying into the pension which has caused the pension crisis. Employees should contribute more. The age at which pensioners can draw on their pensions should be addressed. Increase the age at which employees can draw from their pension. Everyone has to be willing to share in the pain of addressing the pension problem It's in our collective interest..


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.

Increased transparency - need a clear accounting of how TIF dollars are used. Increased accountability - the advisory board should not be handpicked by the mayor. More community - driven input on how TIF dollars should be used in the community. No I do not support the 55 million allotment of TIF funds to buy land for a Marriott Hotel and DePaul basketball area. The project lacked community input, does not directly benefits the community, and there are better uses for tax payer dollars.


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.

1. Fixing Schools to fix Chicago. 2. When families struggle. 3. It's their Chicago too. Particularly the related article (A more accountable competive choice driven Chicago Public School) I could elaborate further but I would never get throught the questionaire..


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.

They need a Legislative Inspector General to make sure alderman are accountable but it should be adequately funded and with enough enforcement power to be effective. It also must be highly independent to avoid conflicts of interests. Transparency.


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 in Chicago is to implement sound education policy and practice - not just doing what is politically expedient. We must put our education system back in the hands of educational professionals, not corporate managers or those who have no sense of what good education policy and practice looks like. I support and elected school board. Yes I support longer school day and year when it comes with adequated resources to implement. The issue is opening up charter schools while simultaneously closing public neighborhood schools. Public neighborhood schools should be adequately funded.


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?

Launch and implement workforce development programs so that you have a high quality labor force in the ward. Developing a comprehensive economic developmenmt plan for the ward helps create cohesive development. The plan must be developed with community input at the forefront. Example - TIF funding for Wilson Yard. We used TIF funding to send people to Dawson Technical to get skills so that they were employable.


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 a $15 minimum wage. The step increase to $13 by 2019 is far too long. By that time the increase would be null and void.


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

No. the City's has historically enacted measures to protect the integrity of the lakefront. The project could have been placed in other ideal locations (i.e. the Mercy Hospital site) which could have spurred additional development thus maximizing the project's impact in the neighborhood. It should not be on the lakefront.


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?

Improve public safety human capital investment and resource investment in the neighborhoods. This means access to mental health services, access to job training programs and jobs, also use of restorative justice practice to build accountability and trust within the community. Police departments should focus on building relationships in the community (this can build trust). Also police departments should move away from militarized training and humanize people in the community. This helps to avoid volatile situations.


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

I support the red light camera program only when it is implemented fairly and is not used primarily as a revenue-generated scheme.


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

Unless they add more support and more employess to the aldermanic staff, it would be very difficult for a total of 5 people to manage a significantly larger ward.


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

Transparency. Right now only a chosen few are making decisions for the entire ward. Most constituents are not aware of issues that are going to directly effect them until it's actually implemented. The current local elected official do what he wants without diseminating information or asking for the community input. Crime is a huge issues we have had five homicides this year. A 400% increase over 2013. If we keep taking resources out of our communty with nothing to replace,this is what's going to happen. We need to fight for Choices and Resources and enhance the current resource we currently have in place now. Affordable housing, Over the past couple of years across the city we had 2200 SRO units closed and converted or in the process of converting into high market rate rental units or condos. Out of the 2200 units that were closed 1200 closed in Uptown. Displacing 1800 people. Housing is a huge concern.


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

Most people think I have a very small appetite because I am thin. I am an excellent cook and eat like a pig.