Candidate questionnaires

Placeholder for Michael Duda

Michael Duda

Candidate for City Council, 38th ward

Michael Duda

Candidate for City Council, 38th ward

Placeholder for Michael Duda

Education: High School/Trade School

Occupation: Retired City Employee

Home: Chicago

Age: Not answered

Past Political/Civic Experience: Not answered

Candidates running for City Council, 38th 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.

Not sure if borrowing was justified. Going forward City Hall should cut budgets by 10%. I will argue primarily for cuts in spending.


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.

New employees should pay more of the city's obligation to pension fund and gradually this increase would be reduced with longevity in job. Also existing employees should pick up an additional 50% of what the city is paying into fund.


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.

They should only be used in blighted areas. I don't believe TIF funds are needed in the 38th ward unless it is used for building a new high school/trade school. Excess funds should be used to pay off bond debt. I think DePaul has enough resources to fund 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.

The best way to heal the city is by reducing the burden on residence such as taxes and fees. If we had responsible aldermen we wouldn't be carrying so much debt. The more you owe the less money you have to spend on infrastructure and social issues.


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 I believe any oversight is good. Yes the city inspector should have authority to investigate aldermen and staff. Yes, aldermen should not be able to have any conflicts of interest regardless of secondary employment, such as lawyers.


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 think the academic performance is terrible there is too big of a drop out rate. I think education is a team effort first of all parents involvement, listening to the needs of the teachers and demanding from school board. I don't believe an elected school board would change things it would be filled with politicians friends. It is best to leave the mayor accountable for the board. I do support longer school day and year. I think charter schools should have the same rules applied to them as the public they can't just cherry pick the best students. More funding from Springfield, better oversight of contracts for any school services.


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?

More employers would be in the city if we had a lower commercial real estate tax. Any government funded contract should require city resident employees. Spent my personal money


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 think it is hard have an across the board increase in salaries for all business, it should be based on how much revenue the company generates. You can't expect Mom and Pop stores to pay such an increase. Companies making more than a million dollars in revenue should be able to comply.


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

No I think a better sight would be south of McCormick Place where the old Michael Reece hospital was.


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?

I believe you have to put the police where the problems are. The southeast side of Chicago needs as much help as possible. Also, decrease the overtime the police receive and hire more officers. These officers need to be placed in high crime communities. The neighborhood residents need to know that their reporting of crimes will be confidential. I haven't had the opportunity to change city policing policies.


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

Yes and no. I believe there should be a gradual increase in fines per violation. The first should be $25, the second $50, and the third $75, the fourth $100. But after the third violation the driver should be required to attend a safety class on driving. The only way people are going to change their driving habits is by films of traffic accidents and how serious they can be when not being more attentive to their driving habits. That is the only thing that will improve driving safety.


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

No I believe the wards have a lot of residents already. Decreasing the amount of wards would make it impossible to give hands on personal assistance to ward residents.


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

There are several things that need to be addressed, but the ward is in need of a new high school. As well as reforming the way the Chicago Public school board operates schools. I want more teacher involvement in running schools. The greatest concern is the lack of trust in politicians in general.


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

Most people running for aldermanic office think it is about them once they get in. I actually am doing this because I know the residents deserve better. My goal is to treat every resident fairly and equally. I will have a ethnically diverse aldermanic office that reflects the community. How else can you represent someone if you can't speak their language and if you can't make them feel at home.