Platform

 

Working Together to Grow the 40th Ward

The 40th Ward is defined by our eleven unique neighborhoods that span across nine square miles on Chicago’s North Side.

Working with residents, we created a 40th Ward Community Roadmap to better address our neighborhoods’ needs. As a start, this roadmap will work to:

  • Expand small business development through community zoning and licensing reform to give residents an opportunity to be a part of the growth process

  • Establish 40th Ward participatory budgeting and provide community members their rightful place in the decision-making process

  • Immediately determine high-risk infrastructure repairs that impact residents’ lives each day

  • Attract new affordable and transit-oriented developments to create density in our shopping districts and main transportation arteries

  • Close the loopholes in the Affordable Requirements Ordinance, which requires that new developments provide 10 percent of units at affordable prices

Safety

Cohesive communities are safe communities. Our local government and representatives are not providing the resources to truly keep our neighborhoods connected, healthy, and safe. Our 40th Ward Community Safety Plan will be run by neighbors and backed with resources, attention, and energy from our alderman’s office. We plan to:

Create new Online Block Clubs to:

  • Report safety issues and infrastructure needs within our communities (including broken streetlights & tree trims)

  • Recruit block club captains who can provide reports to the 40th Ward office and interact on-the-ground with neighbors

  • Track progress and resolutions for residents to proactively address issues before they become problems

Establish new and transparent 40th Ward communication channels and spaces to:

  • Hold regular community-led events, town halls, and ward nights for neighbors to meet with their alderman, police commanders, and service-providers

  • Connect small business owners together to tackle common crime problems

  • Develop regular public safety bulletins and crime trend reports

Education

Our local public schools have been improving and seeing record enrollments thanks to the hard work of parents and students in the ward. But increasing property taxes and rising housing costs threaten this progress. Too often, families are pitted against other families in a fight for resources. And well-connected education providers get their projects greenlit by City Hall to make record profits rather than invest in neighborhoods.

Our current way of funding public education is unfair and unsustainable. Each child in Chicago Public Schools deserves equitable funding, no matter where they live. As your alderman, I would:

  • Suspend the creation of new charter schools or magnet schools in the 40th Ward

  • Expand Universal Pre-K and Kindergarten access to provide high quality, full-day school days to families and educators

  • Seek grants and partner with local nonprofits to boost after-school programming and safe havens for students

  • Establish an elected Chicago Public Schools board to truly represent the needs of parents and children

Affordable Housing

One of the biggest challenges for 40th Ward residents is continuing to afford to live in the community they helped build. Homeowners have seen their property taxes increase to levels that they have never seen before and renters have seen their rents increase right alongside them. So how did we get here?

Decades of misrepresentation, lack of community input and contributions from major developers within the 40th Ward have given rise to increased single family homes and a shortage of multi-units that support affordable housing for all—a problem that we see not just in our ward, but across our city. For Chicago to grow as a city that truly welcomes all people, regardless of how much money they make, this must change immediately. I support the Development for All Ordinance, which would eliminate in-lieu-of fees and require developers to include 30% affordable units on site. I would also work with the Progressive Caucus to create new policies that support a consistent supply of affordable family-sized units available to families.

Environment

Building sustainable communities across Chicago is essential to making sure the next generation – new families and our children – keep living in our city. The 40th Ward can serve as an exemplary community to help lead others and the city forward.

Our comprehensive environmental plan, Green 40: A More Sustainable Chicago, will work to:

  • Invest in green jobs and infrastructure

  • Commit to less wasteful living

  • Better protect our natural resources

City-wide Issues

Equity

Systematic disinvestment and disengagement from our local government has resulted in increased loss of life, potential, and revenue in our city. When a fully-funded education and after school programming, affordable housing, and job opportunities become scarce in any part of Chicago, more and more people are pushed to the suburbs, or leave the city altogether and we lose business, revenue, and the diversity that is key to our success.

In the 40th Ward, we are experiencing higher levels of crime and more and more of our residents are getting priced out. We need city council members who will fight for adequate resources for our communities hit the hardest with violence, lack of jobs and disproportionate disinvestment in economic development because when more people are able to stay in the communities that they helped build, our communities are safer and more prosperous, and the burdens of our budget are resolved in a way that is manageable for our current residents. I fully support implementing universal Pre-K, the full funding of our schools & after school programming, and economic investment into communities that have been historically divested from so that more people are able to stay in Chicago and contribute to the success of our economy and progress as a people.

Our City Debt

Our longest-standing and highest debt is associated with our pensions, and there is no quick fix to solving the crisis we are in. We need to invest in our public schools, in affordable housing, and invest in our small businesses to stop the exodus from Chicago because when more people are able to stay and contribute to our city, we broaden our tax base and create enough revenue to pay our debts and obligations in a way that is sustainable and manageable for all of us.

I fully support exploring creative revenue streams such as the legalization of marijuana, so long as it comes with the expungement of records for people with marijuana-related charges. We need to move away from the regressive ticketing and taxing of our residents and elect officials who will address the problems that we are facing instead of putting them off.

TIF Reform

The term “blight” has been over-and-misused to expand districts covered by this funding, especially in our downtown TIF districts. The whole system is in serious need for reform. For example, porting of TIF dollars is a serious abuse of power and a main reason why so much corruption has escaped public oversight.

I support the proposed “Back to Basics” TIF reform ordinance put forth by the Progressive Caucus. It’s a great start to making a more sustainable and trustworthy system for Chicago taxpayers to understand what their property taxes are funding within their community. We need to make this a more transparent process, informing homeowners that they live within TIF districts. If we can’t do that, then we should start planning on how to scrap the system and phase TIF districts out entirely.

Police Accountability

In many of our communities, the relationship between our neighbors and our police has become strained and we have stopped working together. In order to build the public’s trust with our police, and for our police to have starting point to work with our communities, I believe we need:

  • Elect a community oversight board of CPD

  • Finalize the proposed consent decree

  • Publicly renegotiate police contracts to eliminate the “code of silence” & make investigation into misconduct more transparent

  • Enact our 40th Ward Community Safety Plan to connect and engage neighbors in their safety & give police local assistance in crime prevention with help from the community they serve