Candidate for City Council, 3rd Ward
Education: North Park University BA in Arts & Organizational Management
Occupation: Retired, Metropolitan Water Reclamation Commisioner
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.
Using bonds to pay down city debt has been customary as a pass practice. I would demand a complete forensic audit on the method of how this debt is paid and if in fact it is permissible by law. However I would support legislation to change the use of TIF funding that would allow essential city services debt to be paid down in addition to the original use and intent of Tax Increment Financing which was designed to rebuild blighted communities within the city of Chicago. I support a commuter tax increase on persons that work in the business district and reside outside the city of Chicago limits and a public way infrastructure/ development tax increase on utility companies using public property to provide cable, light and gas services with respect to current and future development projects. Finally I will advocate for cuts and spending that do not compromise critically needed services to the citizens of the city of Chicago
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.
I would support legislation to change the use of TIF funding that would allow essential city services debt to be paid down in addition to the original use and intent of Tax Increment Financing. I support a commuter tax increase on persons that work in the business district and reside outside the city of Chicago limits. I support a public way infrastructure/ development tax increase on utility companies using public property to provide cable, light and gas services with respect to current and future development projects. I will advocate for cuts and spending that do not compromise critically needed services to the citizens of the city of Chicago
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.
. I support a change in Tax Increment Financing funds to be used to pay down existing and future city service debt to include education funding, current/ retired city employee pension obligations, health care and economic development projects specific to blighted communities under its original use and intent.
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.
I have reviewed all of the proposals preliminary and I think they all have something to contribute to what we all now know is a broken Chicago. In short I support the work and input of the many individuals that spent time researching and gathering information related to these proposals.
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 the city of Chicago should keep the office of the inspector general and they shall be given the full power and authority to investigate the alderman and their staff members. I believe a daily publication that identifies the inspector general office in all fifty wards at community meetings and they should be required to attend community meetings in all wards.
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?
Although there may have been minimal academic gains and graduation rates have improved minimally the public school system will remain broken until every stakeholder is involved in the process of providing equality education to our children. The closing of more than fifty schools should have never occurred, because CPS failed to provide adequate resources and assistance to those schools and those communities. I support TIF funding being used to address education and pension payments due in 2016. The key to improving public education is to involve educators, administrators, parents, community and CTU collectively in a transparent process. The Board of Education will improve drastically once it becomes an elected body representative of the entire city of Chicago. Given the crime element and conditions of many communities across Chicago I support our children being educated and mentored in a positive setting therefore I support longer school days and a longer school year. It is my belief that a moratorium be placed on expansion of charter schools until we can assess the entire CPS education system that holds everyone to the same level of standards and criteria. TIF, commuter tax increase and public way infrastructure tax increase funding.
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 will attract employers to the ward through forming an effective chamber of commerce and a master development plan. I support a community benefits agreement that mandates hiring a portion of local residents based on zip codes. I have been involved in successful economic development projects in Rogers Park known as the Gateway project and on the Westside of Chicago as a program director and member of the chamber of commerce.
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 minimum wage that will allow the poor working class an opportunity to advance. However it is important that we do not force small businesses and big box corporations to lay off employees due to a politically motivated minimum wage ordinance that isn't a well thought out plan that includes everyone being at the table.
Q: Should the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art be built at the proposed location on Chicago's lakefront? Please explain.
. I support the Lucas Museum being built in Chicago. However questions have been raised as to the site which was selected and if it is permissible under law to use lakefront property as it relates to this private development project. More research has to be done on alternative site locations and current site, In addition to funding that will be utilized to build this structure.
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?
To improve public safety we must take a multi tier collaborative approach by hiring more police, expanding community policing to residential blocks, and creating more community based programs that create jobs and community accountability. This summer I volunteered with Project Hood along with hundreds of others to take back our streets by mentoring youth and adults in the Bronzeville community. As a child I was shot in the head in the Woodlawn community so I am deeply passionate about violence and have a zero tolerance when it comes to crime.
Q: Do you support Chicago's traffic light camera program? Please explain.
. I do not support Chicago's traffic light camera program for many reasons. It is attached to political corruption, and it has caused a major disaster to Chicago residents and hasn't benefited the city financially to address much of the debt that still exists.
Q: Should Chicago reduce the number of aldermen in the City Council?
I support a reduction in the city council of Chicago if it means better oversight and a more efficient way to be accountable to the taxpayers and citizens of our great city
Q: What is your highest priority for improving your ward? What is the greatest concern you hear from residents of your ward?
Public safety, education and jobs through economic development with comprehensive community benefit agreements attached to eliminate food deserts and expand small business growth throughout the entire ward. Crime, education, food desert and the current alderman refusal to include comprehensive community involvement and transparency at every level.
Q: Please tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
I was the recipient of a sponsorship by 2006 Nobel piece prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, who mentored me in business development and afforded me the opportunity to travel to Bangladesh a third world country to experience how women in rural communities conduct business. The Women's Self employment project of which I was the business agent for and we received the United States presidents award in 1997 from then President William Jefferson Clinton, and we received the award from the first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.