Candidate questionnaires

Portrait of Rory A. Fiedler

Rory A. Fiedler

Candidate for City Council, 47th Ward

Rory A. Fiedler

Candidate for City Council, 47th Ward

Portrait of Rory A. Fiedler

Education: School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Occupation: Designer

Home: Chicago

Age: Not answered

Past Political/Civic Experience: Not answered

Website: http://fiedlerforthe47.com

Candidates running for City Council, 47th 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.

I would be in favor of cuts in spending. The increased city taxes are forcing many long time residents to leave the city for more affordable living. Once elected, I would look for more creative solutions to pay down existing debt without incurring more.


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.

Pension cuts, especially for the police and fire departments is an unacceptable solution.


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 believe that the TIF program should be used only in depressed or blighted areas. I do not consider my ward to be one of these areas. I also believe that TIF money should not be allocated to privatized businesses. Proper distribution of TIF funds would help to balance the tax burden.


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 believe that excess TIF money could be used for the proposal to revive closed public schools as community centers. I also believe that city owned properties could be used for micro home development which would create a much needed new property tax base.


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.

I feel that a city inspector general should be retained and that he/she should have the authority for investigation. There should a forum for residents to express concerns regarding ethical issues in their ward. in the


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 public should elect the Board of Education based on experience, qualifications and positive past performance.


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?

Offer tax incentives to small and start up businesses. To retain the character of my neighborhood, I have spent many years rehabilitating properties that had been distressed.


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 wage increase, however, I believe that it will impact those on a fixed income. it may also affect small and family owned businesses that may not be able to afford labor costs. A tax incentive program should be granted to these businesses instead of larger corporations.


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

Need more information on the proposal.


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?

The city should hire more police officers.


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

No! I feel that it is a failed proram.


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

No


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

I believe that over development of density in my ward needs to be monitored. I strongly feel that the senior and long time residents are being forced out of the ward that they have built over the many years. My ward residents are concerned about the density, parking and tax issues.


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

I prefer to ride my scooter through the city rather than my car.


City Council, 47th Ward