The Hyde Park Community Kenwood Conference (HPKCC) held a candidate forum for the upcoming 4th Ward special election on Feb. 28. The forum was held Saturday, Feb. 4, at Kenwood High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave. All five candidates; Ebony Lucas, Marcellus H. Moore, Jr., Ald. Sophia King (4th), Gregory Livingston and Gerald Scott McCarthy agreed to complete a follow up HPKCC survey that would be published in the Hyde Park Herald after the forum. As of Herald press time, only four of the candidates returned the survey to HPKCC.
Note from HPKCC: Thank you [candidates] for attending the HPKCC 4th Ward Candidates’ Forum. Approximately 150 questions were consolidated and edited by a committee of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. We read all questions and made our best effort to include everyone’s questions. Thanks to Hyde Park Herald for agreeing to publish the answers.
1. What are the top three priorities that you will pursue as alderman?
Lucas: Addressing safety and violence will be my top priority. I want to make sure that all street lights are in working condition, trees are cut, and other hazardous safety conditions are addressed. I also want to improve communication and visibility of youth programs and creating partnerships with community based organization and public schools to increase opportunities for youth engagement and access to programs that foster the love of arts, music, sports, and other co-curricular activities.
Next, I plan to work with community members and businesses to create a comprehensive development plan for theentire ward. This would include planned commercial and affordable housing development for 31st – 50th St and on Cottage Grove. It also includes performance of infrastructure studies in areas like Hyde Park and the South Loop to ensure that the schools, parking, traffic, etc. can support the increased density.
Finally, I plan to have a strong focus on building community and ensuring that I am keeping 4th ward residents informed and engaged. This includes making sure that I am consistently holding monthly town hall and community advisory board meetings and effectively communicating with 4th ward residents about decisions that are being made, road work that is being performed, and activities that are going on in the 4th ward.
Moore: 1.) Crime/Violence; 2.) Education (schools & training opportunities); 3.) Development (residential & commercial).
The area that is within the 4th Ward is, in my opinion, some of the, if not the GREATEST piece of land in the United States. It has a significant amount of lake front property, it is directly adjacent to downtown Chicago, it is home to several of Illinois’ primary tourist attractions as well as our former President’s home and has been my home for the majority of my life. It is now where I raise my three (3) children.
Unfortunately, there does appear to be an issue with violence throughout the ward…from the South Loop portion of the Ward all the way to the most southern portion of the ward. In the last twelve months, there have been shootings and robberies in some of the most populated and affluent areas throughout the ward. Until crime/violence is addressed…whether it is actual or perceived…and until people feel safe living, working, shopping and “playing” in the community, the area will be challenged to attract families to move to the area…schools will find it difficult to attract teachers to the area schools…and businesses will be challenged to justify opening businesses in the area. This is why I believe crime/violence must be the number one priorities.
King: Education, jobs and public safety are among the most pressing concerns we face as a community. And they go hand in hand like an ecosystem – each affects the other. We need to make sure that we continue to bring jobs and economic development into under-resourced communities and continue to find opportunities to hire and train our most vulnerable populations. I have also dedicated myself to working with my community and its many self-made leaders to promote our neighborhood public schools, and in turn, our youth. We are building stronger after-school and sports programming in the Fourth Ward, providing much needed relief to kids and their families who need options to keep them off the streets and in school. I also strongly believe in co-curricular education so after school programming should not be an after thought. As co-founder of Ariel Community Academy in the North Kenwood/Oakland area, I have learned a great deal about the challenges and triumphs of our city’s educators and their students. Safety in our neighborhoods will require the cooperation and participation of all community members, from law enforcement to the local neighborhood watch. Our inaugural Safe Summer Initiative, which extended safe passage to the summer for the first time, was comprehensive in its approach. It brought jobs, youth engagement and collaboration with police. I will continue to be comprehensive and collaborative to fight to protect our children and families: to ensure that children have access to quality education where they are safe and able to stay in school; and that families have access to living wages that provide hope and stability?.
McCarthy: I want to uplift the residents of the 4th Ward, restore the people’s faith in government and promote fiscal accountability and transparency. To learn more about how I plan to do that, please see my 6-Point Plan on my website.
Crime and Safety
2. What will you do to improve policing?
The police department’s collective bargaining agreement expires in 2017.
The negotiations should include specific requirements related to training, supervision, transparency in hiring and promotions, a specific disciplinary process for officers involved in misconduct, and requirements for community policing. I would also work collaboratively with the CAPs office to encourage more activities to bridge the gap between police and community because a stronger relationship between the police and the community will improve policing. I will also encourage more walking and bike riding by officers throughout the ward so that they are able to better interact with residents and address issues.
Moore: Two-pronged approach:
Prong 1: Top Down…work with The Chicago Police Department to understand current policing efforts and determine whether there are more strategic ways to police. My immediate thought is more “community policing” and community engagement. Without strategic policing, I don’t believe adding more police is the solution. Additionally, evaluate partnerships like the one CPD has with University of Chicago, and see if it can be replicated in any manner with some of the other schools in and around the 4th Ward, like NEIU (in the middle of the ward), IIT (just to the west of the ward), and the collection of colleges in the northern part of the ward (DePaul, Columbia, Roosevelt, Robert Morris, etc). While I realize that none of those schools have the size of U of C, there may be components of that partnership that can be used elsewhere to have a more collaborative effort between those different security/police entities.
Prong 2: Bottom Up…work with communities to get engaged. We need to not just talk about there being more Block Clubs, but as alderman, I would proactively support the establishment and ongoing efforts of block clubs throughout the community. Even if it’s as simple as hosting occasional meetings with coffee and donuts, it would be my goal to directly interact with those clubs. Once you’ve established those, look at neighborhood businesses and churches. Imagine the local business hosting block clubs on a regular basis…or the area churches bringing these groups in on a regular calendar. I believe that once we get our communities reengaged with themselves, it can help support the police efforts listed above.
King: We have to take a comprehensive approach. We need to address systemic issues that indirectly and disproportionately impact affected communities: concentrated poverty, joblessness and the lack of youth engagement opportunities. To address the violence in our communities, we must seek to understand its social and economic root causes. Without substantial investment in all areas of our city, young people lack hope and needed assistance in dealing with the trauma of witnessing or experiencing violence. Evidence suggests a small network of people makes up the majority of offenders and victims of violent crimes in Chicago. Disproportionately, these are people who are economically disadvantaged or have been victims of abuse or neglect. If we don’t address these symptoms while showing an opportunity to have a piece of the American Dream, we will not control the violence. We also have to look at direct approaches like more true community policing strategies. In order to do this effectively we have to look at police training and diversity seriously. In addition, we have to try effective and innovative solutions that have worked in other cities like targeting the top 100 potential victims and offenders of gun violence and offering them mentorship, stipends and/or jobs/counseling. Restorative justice should be an approach as well.
McCarthy: I will work for more and better trained police. Under-trained officers contribute to hair-trigger responses and unwarranted action against unarmed citizens. This is a reason we pay millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements. I also will develop initiatives to improve or re-establish trust between CPD and the community, and fight for greater transparency in the CPD budget, including cuts, any reduction of the work force, and the incremental addition of new officers.
3. What is your position on police walking a beat and living in the neighborhood they serve?
Officers should be required to walk their beat regularly. I understand the safety reasons behind officers living in the community that they serve. I do not think that it should be a requirement, but they should be required to participate in volunteer and community activities in the communities where they serve.
Moore: I absolutely agree with this! There is no question that the bonds of trust have been broken with significant segments of the population. To re-connect and get the community re-engaged, it is critical to get police connected within their community. I completely agree with police walking, riding, seg-waying and living in the neighborhood they serve.
King: I believe that police officers should walk their beat and interact with the community they serve.
McCarthy: I am an absolute advocate of police walking a beat in the neighborhoods they serve. I do not think a requirement to live in the same neighborhood is an absolute necessity or practicality.
4. What will you do to keep youth from being involved in crime?
Lucas: There are both immediate and long-term plans that I have for keeping youth educated, active, and productive. The immediate steps that I will take include building collaborations between nonprofit, community, and faith based organizations and schools to strengthen the cocurricular, after school, and summer programs. In addition, I want to expand the resources available for teen programming and increase accessibility to programs such as After School Matters and One Summer Chicago. I plan to work directly with the 4th ward high schools to provide information and access to the summery internships offered at the museums in the ward.
Moore: More youth engagement and activities. Having been involved with the Hyde Park Kenwood Legends Little League for the past decade, as well as my current involvement with the Southside YMCA, The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Ladies of Virtue and other organizations…as well as being the father of three (3) “youth” myself, making sure our young people have opportunities to be engaged in activities throughout the year is critical. If we can start bringing our communities back together as expressed in Question 2 above, I believe it will lead to more opportunities for our youth…or at least the communities will have a more vested interest in making sure our young people get involved…and more importantly, are aware of opportunities. As alderman, I would make every effort to make sure the information was being communicated properly. For our young people, my office would engage an active social media person as well as liaison’s with the local school and LSC’s to make sure the youth and their parents are aware of opportunities.
King: We need more co-curricular programs that engage our children and keep them off the streets. I am currently in the process of establishing a 4th ward after school program. We established programs like the Safe Summer Initiative, which extended safe passage to the summer for the first time. It brought jobs, youth engagement and collaboration with police to improve safety during the summer months.We need to allow people with non violent drug crimes to be able to be active citizens again. We need wrap services around children in bad situations get the support they need. We need restorative justice programs in Chicago Public Schools. We need to ask struggling families what they need.
McCarthy: I want more social programs for youth; like most people, I believe that an “idle mind” leads to young people flailing for something to do, and that something isn’t always good. I want more grassroots programs that help keep, or get, young people on a path toward engagement (positive social interaction), then graduation, employment or education. One example of a program that is working is the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Urban Warriors program that pairs military veterans with gang-involved youth to mentor them; the veterans are self-less, serving twice (once in a recent war, again in this community program).
5. How would you increase police transparency in the 4th Ward, including providing accurate crime incidence reports?
Lucas: I plan to maintain a 4th ward website and to provide a monthly newsletter that will be in print form for senior buildings, properties with low income residents, and for individuals who may not have the ability to access the internet with information about CAPS meetings so that residents have an opportunity to attend and provide input.
Moore: The [Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy] CAPS programs, from my experience, seem to be a great resource, but heavily underutilized by the community. So I would make efforts to increase engagement and participation at the CAPS meetings. Can they be televised or put on the radio? Can there be a conference call so people who can’t be personally in attendance still have an opportunity to participate and ask questions. Then, beyond CAPS meetings, are there resources for the community to reach out to get information on crime incident reports? As alderman, I would make sure to include recaps from area CAPS meetings as well as my own meetings with the area commanders during my town hall meetings, in my newsletter and available on the website. I would also welcome the commanders to give their own reports at each of my individual sub-community meetings. [*I have suggested to have monthly All-Ward townhall meetings as well as meetings in each of three “sub-community” town hall meetings each month…i.e., 1st Wed: South Loop; 2nd Wed: Gap/Bronzeville; 3rd Wed: Kenwood/Hyde Park; 4th Wed: All-Ward meeting.]
King: I will work with my Police Commanders and the Department of Research and Development in CPD along with independent organizations to make sure that data is not only accurate and consistent but that we are comparing “apples to apples”. In addition, I will vote in favor of measures that include more police accountability and transparency.
McCarthy: I plan to include my voting record and an explanation of my position on each vote on my website. One of the cornerstones of my 6 Point Plan is promoting peace by rebuilding trust between the community and the police department. Ultimately, the release and accuracy of crime incidence reports is in the hands of the Chicago Police Department. However, as we start to rebuild the fabric between the Community and the Police by instituting true community policing, the transparency in reporting should necessarily follow.
6. What would be your basic approach to loitering, littering, open air drug sales, gun violence, and gang violence?
Lucas: The visibility of police and community member is a deterrent to crime. I will work collaboratively with the police department to have a community-policing program which includes officers biking and walking the beat and officers with office hours in community businesses. I also want to encourage more outdoor events and neighborhood clean ups throughout the year to build a sense of community and create positive loitering.
Moore: I believe a lot of this can be addressed with some of the solutions I’ve outlined above…more strategic, community & neighborhood policing (walking, riding, Segway beats) and stronger neighborhood, block and business engagement.
King: I will work with police in the area to take a targeted approach to gun violence and open air drug sales. It is important that our police are trained properly to target those actually committing the crimes and not citizens at large. More mental health training is also needed for our police as we see more and more people loitering because of mental health issues. We need to as a community find a way to help these individuals so that police can put more of a focus on the gun violence that plagues our community. Positive loitering, beautification, block clubs and increased funding for organizations that specialize in gun violence prevention are also needed.
McCarthy: You’ve described what appears to be an escalating program – today’s loiterer becomes tomorrow’s litterer, and next week’s something else. Small, nuisance activity, when unchecked, becomes a bigger problem. So, my basic approach would be serve youth with time and programs that give them a way to be engaged – to DO something positive, to be trained for some greater purpose. There is no amount of policing or policy that is going to reverse the negative spiral of our youth if we don’t provide access to positive community engagement and a path toward education and employment.
7. Do you favor an appointed or an elected board to review and monitor Chicago police?
Lucas: I favor an elected, accountability board to review and monitor Chicago police.
Moore: Elected. The citizens of the City of Chicago must have a voice in any board that is tasked with monitoring the Chicago Police Department.
King: I believe that civilians should have a strong voice in monitoring the police and that an elected board should certainly be an option that we consider.
McCarthy: I favor an elected board.
8. How will you address the increase in robberies and rape in this area?
Lucas: I will have a 4th ward app that will allow residents to easily report dangerous and hazardous conditions that can breed crime like open vacant properties, broken street lights, etc. and allow the Alderman’s office to assist with communication and follow up.
Robberies and rape are often unreported crimes so I will work with the community to determine ways to make it easier to report these types of crimes so that they can be tracked and neighbors can be aware.
Finally, I will encourage the formation of block clubs and ensure that we have resources for outdoor events such as movies in the park, block club parties, and other events throughout the year that encourage positive loitering.
Moore: In addition to some of the solutions listed above, I would work with police to understand if there are areas that are considered “hot-spots” to determine, “is more lighting necessary”…”are additional bus/train routes needed to provide safer transportation”…”do certain areas need additional patrol” … among many other questions. It is critical to evaluate the underlying causes for robberies and rapes in the area to determine a proper solution. I’d work with CPD and area officials, businesses and residents to see what help is needed.
King: Working with my Commanders to identify affected areas, bringing enhanced community policing strategies and strongly advocating to bring them the resources they need in order to be successful.
McCarthy: First and foremost, let’s raise awareness to the increase in these crimes – data should be shared so that residents know what’s really going on, and where, so that they can be vigilant for themselves and each other. Then, let’s repair relationships between the community and the police as a step towards community members becoming more actively involved in community policing. This will reduce all types of criminal activity.
Development, Housing, and Jobs
9. What would you do in City Council to ensure economic parity for the residents of the 4th Ward (e.g. the kinds of investments made in other parts of the city)?
Lucas: The 4 th Ward needs a strong development plan, particularly in the Bronzeville, Oakland, Kenwood neighborhoods. Once we have that plan in place, I will advocate for the resources necessary to make that development plan work.
Moore: I’m committed to listening to the constituents of the ward and being vocal about the voice of the community!!! City council has 49 other aldermen also trying to get resources for their wards. It is critical that the 4th Ward elect someone who can not only listen to what the constituents want, but who will be vocal with City Hall about demanding that appropriate resources be provided to the ward and then keeping the community aware of what’s going on.
Beyond that, it requires some level of diplomacy…meeting with surrounding alderman and the mayor. The reality is that there are limited resources that everyone is vying for. Understanding the needs of surrounding communities, the goals of the mayor and strategically pursuing the needs of the community must be a thoughtfully conducted process. With the business acumen that my Kellogg MBA and corporate work experience has provide me combined with the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law JD and legal work experience I have, I am confident that I have the skill set to successfully navigate this process.
King: I will continue to be a voice and advocate for resources for the residents of the 4th ward. In the time I have been in office, I have fought hard to bring resources to our community such as: the Safe Summer Initiative which extended Safe Passage workers to the summer months for the first time; millions of dollars for neighborhood schools; expanded bus routes and shelters for seniors and other citizens. I will continue to fight and advocate for the city to invest in our citizens.
McCarthy: As Alderman for the 4th Ward, my number one priority will be to stand up and ensure that the 4th Ward receives equitable funds, at a minimum. My concern is the residents of the 4th Ward and I am unbound to anyone or anything else but my advocacy for the 4th Ward.
10. What kind of development do you support for the Michael Reese site?
Lucas: I support a commercial development plan that creates long term jobs, supports small businesses, includes opportunities for local developers and contractors to participate throughout the process, brings amenities to the community, includes preservation and celebration of the cultural history of Bronzeville, and uplifts the legacy of those who were born at Michael Reese.
Moore: Mixed use-retail, hospitality and (maybe) residential…NO CASINO!!!
With the proximity to downtown, McCormick Center and a number of Chicago area tourist attractions, not to mention the accessibility to the beach, the Michael Reese site is the most prime development opportunity in Chicago. For residents of the community, it’s an opportunity to bring and attract businesses that are absent from the southside. While new development in the Ward has positively occurred in the past few years (Target, Wal-Mart, Mariano’s, Ross, etc), we are still missing or have limited retail options in some areas.
Having had a decade long career in commercial real estate working for retailers and companies from T-Mobile to Bank of America to Bally Total Fitness, and having worked with developers and landlords, I have the experience and have retained the relationships to bring real estate opportunities to the area. A more comprehensive assessment must be taken of the overlap with McCormick Center development and the needs/wants of the community so that a targeted package can be presented to developers for the right development.
King: The Michael Reese site is considered to be one of the premier lakefront properties. I would like to see a development that provides great amenities like exceptional restaurants and retail, green space and housing that reflects and respects the diversity of the Bronzeville community.
McCarthy: I will support any development that positively impacts the community in terms of jobs and economic sustainability. The community should have a seat at the table regarding the development and the structure of Community Benefits Agreements. I will also work to ensure any never developments are energy efficient and sustainably green.
11. Will there be a provision to select businesses in the 4th Ward for new developments such as the Michael Reese site?
Lucas: Businesses, developers, and contractors in the 4th Ward should have an opportunity to participate in all 4th Ward development.
Moore: I would support a focused effort to offer opportunities to current 4th Ward businesses to be part of any development at the Michael Reese site, but while I may be willing to offer incentives to current 4th Ward businesses, I cannot say that I would support a requirement to do so. A provision outlining such requirements may hamper potential opportunities. I would not want to be handcuffed from a great opportunity by such a provision if the proposed development would otherwise benefit the ward. That said, voters must select an alderman who has proven they are genuincely and sincerely committed to the best interest of the ward. I believe I have shown that through the years of commitment to service directly impacting this ward that I have shown.
King: I am open to expanding existing businesses to the Michael Reese site and other developments in the ward. Improving communication and reexamining how we support the current small businesses in the ward is crucial to helping them improve their services and helping them to expand.
McCarthy: Please see my response to question #10.
12. What is your position on Community Benefits Agreements?
Lucas: Community Benefits Agreements should be signed, publicly distributed, and followed up on annually so that we can ensure that the businesses in our community are maintaining high quality standards and providing the level of service and selection of products that residents need and deserve.
Moore: I support CBAs. Any efforts which hold developers and their elected officials accountable when public subsidies are involved is positive for the constituents of the community.
King: Major economic development projects and infrastructure investment can present both tremendous opportunities and significant threats for communities and residents. Using a CBA is a powerful tool to gather direction from the community to ensure projects provide the greatest social, economic and environmental benefits while protecting and enhancing the integrity of the vested community.
Community Benefits Agreements (CBA) are an asset we have available through economic development and can be used to meet community needs. Examples include community access to jobs, affordable housing, health, and community services and open spaces.
As Alderman, I plan to encourage negotiations of CBA’s between developers and community coalitions; enact ordinances and policies establishing baseline community benefits for future projects; incorporate community benefits into land use and planning policies; and convene key stakeholders to reach agreement on community benefits principles for future projects.
McCarthy: I support Community Benefits Agreements.
13. Do you support construction of a casino in the 4th Ward?
Lucas: I do not support construction of a casino in the 4th Ward because we are lacking in so much commercial development, amenities, and services in our community that developments such as Michael Reese can be used to enhance and fill in gaps as opposed to taking away from the community.
Moore: NO. there is NO scenario that I support a casino anywhere in the 4th Ward. There is not an appropriate location ANYWHERE within the ward.
King: I do not support the construction of a any casino in the 4th ward. I have met with the community through several town hall meetings and found this is not something they’d like to see here.
McCarthy: I do not support the construction of a casino in the 4th ward at this time. There needs to be a substantial rebuilding of trust, transparency and accountability between the community and government. If the community can be a “willing partner” in a casino venture geared to drive tourism and growth to the 4th Ward, then I think it could be considered in the future.
14. Would you involve the community in making development decisions before designs are chosen and decisions are made? If so, how?
Lucas: Yes. I plan to have a website, newsletter, regular, consistent weekly town hall meetings and a monthly community advisory board meeting. The purpose of these diverse mechanisms of communication will be to provide information and allow for feedback opportunities.
Moore: Advisory Committees and Regularly scheduled meetings for “all-ward” as well as sub-sections of the ward.
* 1st Wed of each month: South Loop Sub-section “town hall”
* 2nd Wed of each month: Gap/Bronzeville Sub-section “town hall”
* 3rd Wed of each month: Hyde Park Sub-section “town hall”
* 4th Wed of each month: ALL WARD “town hall”
**this is an EXAMPLE ONLY. The specific day and order will be determined once I’m officially in office.
For each of these sub-sections, I’d like to have a small advisory board made up of residents and local business owners. This advisory board would provide specific feedback regarding concerns for that portion of the ward.
King: Yes. I have an open and transparent process to hear resident feedback in development decisions. I listen to communities and plan public meetings to get input. We have also begun the process of a strategic plan, which will include stakeholders and residents inside and outside of the ward to align goals with resources and priorities.
McCarthy: Yes, I would. Part of my 6 Point Plan is to ensure that the Alderman’s office is accessible and accountable to the community. I will also support a TIF Advisory Committee and community think tanks.
15. What actions will you take regarding vacant lots in the 4th Ward?
Lucas: I will work with the community and real estate professionals to develop a comprehensive development plan for the community.
Moore: I would start with taking an inventory of all vacant lots, check with the owners and make sure that all privately owned lots are being properly cared for and managed by their owners. For any that are not, proper notice should be sent and after failure to respond appropriately, eminent domain proceedings should be initiated.
For City owned lots, I like the $1 lot program, but it must include some plan outlined by the new owner.
A slightly more aggressive idea I’d like to investigate is donating some lots to community/block clubs. This could help incentivize the development and ongoing maintenance and utilization of such lots. I envision a block club working to maintain the lot into an area that the neighbors of that area could use. Such uses may include dog areas, benchs, playground material, but would be managed by the block club. This would create a place for people on the block to congregate. I believe an effort like this would support my ideas for strengthening the community.
Another idea is to look at vacant lots for additional parking in areas where there are parking challenges.
King: It is our goal to increase the density and vibrancy of neighborhoods that need it. To this end we would like to see increased housing where appropriate. We’d like to see vested neighbors develop their blocks first if they have the capacity. No matter the developer we have a process to vet any project that comes into a community through community input and expertise.
McCarthy: I support the city’s (existing) vacant lot sales program. I also plan to actively seek out business and community opportunities for the vacant lots and vacant businesses in the community.
16. How will you as alderman respond to those who wish to buy adjacent vacant lots or enlist your office for support in dealing with expensive and time-consuming legal issues such as evicting squatters?
Lucas: As a real estate attorney, I have participated in legal workshops that have been held by Alderman in other wards to assist residents with dealing with legal issues such as vacant lots and evictions. I will respond by providing information and resources for support. In addition, I will make the process for purchasing adjacent lots public and transparent.
Moore: Having practiced law in this area, I have some experience with evictions and can give both general advice as well as point constituents in a good direction to deal with those eviction issues. Regarding the adjacent lots, similar to my answer above in question #15, the proposed owner must have a plan. The strength of that plan and how it fits into the best interest of the community will guide how I respond.
King: It is our goal to increase the density and vibrancy of neighborhoods that need it. To this end we would like to see increased housing where appropriate. We’d like to see vested neighbors develop their blocks first if they have the capacity. No matter the developer we have a process to vet any project that comes into a community through community input and expertise.
We have an attorney present during constituent nights that can give legal advice pro bono.
McCarthy: The landlord and tenant laws are for the protection of both parties. We know there are holes in the laws and I will actively seek to close those loop-holes, while still providing the intended protections for both landlords and legal tenants.
17. What can you do to enable individuals and small businesses to stay in their neighborhoods as development occurs, keeping the area vibrant, diverse, and affordable?
Lucas: As we plan development in the 4th ward, we have to continue to ensure that small businesses have the support that they need. I plan to highlight the businesses in the ward so that residents can patronize them. I will also make affordable housing a part of my development plan.
Moore: First and foremost, as Alderman I can promote those individuals and small businesses to help encourage business to come, not only to the ward, but to visit those businesses as well. As they succeed, so does the Ward. I would also work with area organizations to provide ongoing support to small businesses. Whether that be banking/finance assistance, grant writing, legal or other, as I small business owner myself, I would support anything that can support all small businesses in the community.
King: We have great development in some areas while others parts of the ward are underserved. I have been working to identify development opportunities community-by-community, and will work to bring parity to the ward to the extent it makes sense. Discussion with stakeholders about community driven development opportunities and a community benefits agreements as part of the plan is important and I believe will help ensure the integrity of the unique neighborhoods remain intact.
Preserving affordable and livable housing for the long time residents and residents on a fixed or limited income has to be a part of the plan as well. I want to ensure that we keep the ward vibrant, livable with jobs and income for the foreseeable future.
Small businesses are the heart of most communities – often employing people from the community who are vested and living in the community. I would support small businesses through marketing, local SSA’s and SBIF’s (Small Business Improvement Funds). I would also leverage large development projects in the area to support small businesses.
McCarthy: There is a myriad of opportunities for businesses to prosper in the 4th Ward. My plan is to support businesses by building partnerships between residents and businesses that will ensure that local business continue to thrive in the community. I’d like to see more businesses work cooperatively, marketing to one another’s customers, for example, or taking advantage of opportunities to pool their small marketing dollars to do more, together. I will also work to ensure that quality, affordable commercial and residential space remains in the area for business owners and current residents.
18. What specifically do you plan to do to spur residential and commercial development in the hard-hit areas of the Ward (including youth employment) while maintaining economic diversity?
Lucas: First, I plan to create a comprehensive development plan that includes commercial development from 30th to 50th St and on Cottage Grove. I also plan to make sure that programs like After School Matters and One Summer Chicago are accessible to youth in the community. I also plan to host ward hiring fairs as the ward grows to make sure that 4th ward residents have an opportunity to apply for and participate in the new businesses that are coming to the ward.
Moore: Having spent almost a decade working for two of the largest commercial real estate companies in the country, if not the world, I know what it takes to attract commercial development to the area.
King: I will continue to strongly encourage careful development and use other economic tools to simultaneously enhance small businesses and streetscapes. Encouraging development to provide affordable housing above and beyond what currently is required by ordinance. My office also works with residents to see which programs they qualify for and help them apply.
I have been looking at the business attraction and retention process to identify new opportunities community-by-community. When looking to attract businesses, you have to look to the needs of the community, what businesses we are adding and how they fit within the community. Working to develop a culture that supports new business ideas and how they best meet local needs is important to me. Hiring from within the community is an essential part of this. I plan to work with existing establishments like the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce to develop organizational structures throughout the ward with the intent of developing sound infrastructural committees that understand the particular need of their community from an economic standpoint and address deficits. I will work to make sure this process is sustainable and accountable.
McCarthy: I plan to tie any TIF funding and other funding from the city to a requirement to provide youth training and employment programs.
19. What is your position on Section 8 housing in the 4th Ward?
Lucas: The 4th Ward is diverse and there are advantages for the entire community to maintain the diversity by offering different types of housing include subsidized, affordable, and market rate housing.
Moore: No resident of the ward should be displaced…PERIOD. There is not enough information available to provide information on Section 8 housing in the 4th Ward specifically for me to provide a thoughtful answer to this question, but to reiterate, no resident of the ward should be displaced, so I support maintaining any levels of Section 8 housing in the 4th Ward.
King: Section 8 is a valuable tool to help people find decent safe affordable housing. I fully support the merits and goals of the Section 8 program. I believe as a community we have a responsibility to ensure affordable housing is there for our residents and have forced developers to incorporate affordable housing in their plans.
McCarthy: Participation in Section 8 housing is a decision of the property owner. I will work towards building communities in all neighborhoods of the ward that will give property owners as many options as possible when making rental decisions.
20. What is your plan for infrastructure improvement in the 4th Ward?
Lucas: My plan is to work with residents to understand infrastructure needs and to make sure that every dollar of the 4th ward budgeted funds are spent in the 4th ward.
Moore: 1st, listen to the community to see what is wanted/needed. 2nd, prioritize the needs appropriately throughout the community balanced with the resource available to address them. I have some focus on Cottage Grove Ave, 47th Street, 43rd Street, 39th Street, and 35th Street as those streets offer the most potential opportunity for commercial development, but a deeper assessment of internal residential areas must be considered as well.
King: Our office is in the initial stages of a strategic plan with the 4th Ward residents – taking a comprehensive look at the ward, including infrastructure. We will see what needs to be done, align that with what the city is planning to take care of and determine our priorities for the remainder.
McCarthy: I would actively seek programs and businesses to take ownership of vacant lots and empty structures to build the tax base.
21. Will you support the Chicago teachers’ union? If so, how?
Lucas: Yes I will support Chicago Teachers’ Union and schools. I will start by advocating for the city to stop taking funds from the schools and using them for development. We need to make sure that teachers are compensated, health care is provided to educators, and that pensions are paid.
Moore: As the father of three (3) children who are in or are the product of CPS schools, I will support whomever offers solutions that best serve the needs of our students.
King: As a former CPS educator I am in full support of the Chicago Teachers’ Union. I am for an elected school board and believe in a moratorium on charter schools. I will continue to be an advocate for a system that will bring a superior product for our children especially to our neighborhood schools. Children must have a quality education and strong neighborhood schools are the backbone of our community.
McCarthy: Yes, I will support the teachers’ union by actively working to make the city fiscally solvent. Once our financial house is in order, we can address many of the support issues that strain the relationship between the city and the union.
22. What is your position on an elected representative school board for Chicago?
Lucas: I support an elected school board. Chicago needs an independent board who will be stewards over the funds for the schools and will have a specific focus on strengthen the schools and who are accountable to the residents of Chicago to ensure that our children are receiving quality education.
Moore: As a community representative on two (2) Local School Councils, which are elected positions, I am in support of an elected representative school board for Chicago. I believe the school board must represent the voice of the people.
King: I support an elected school board.
McCarthy: I think a hybrid system would be the most effective method of selection. An open, at large, election under our electoral system could leave gaping holes in areas of expertise that are necessary for an effective school board.
23. What would you do as alderman to fund schools?
Lucas: First, the schools need to receive ALL of the funds that they are entitled to from property tax dollars. Second, we need to work collectively with community and faith based organizations, nonprofit organizations, libraries, and park districts to ensure that we are using all of the resources in our community to strengthen school programs and provide children with a comprehensive education.
Moore: Having seen budget cuts first hand and how they impact the local CPS schools, I would work aggressively to find solutions to fund schools. There have been some creative usages of TIF funds, which I support.
King: I have a long history of working with local schools, I continue to want to learn the needs of my principals, LSC’s and students and work with them to achieve goals. I have already delivered TIF money for certain priorities and I plan to be inventive in ensuring that we meet the school’s needs through private partnerships as well as we are doing with an after school program in the 4th Ward.
McCarthy: The steps I’d take to fund schools are the steps I’d take to fund a litany of needs in our ward and our city – the first step is to address the fiscal issues facing our city across the board. Nothing is an island; it’s all tangled together.
24. What would you do to repurpose vacant [Chicago Public Schools] CPS buildings?
Lucas: At least one of the vacant CPS buildings in the ward should be re-opened to provide adult education and training on trades so that we can increase the ability of community members to get jobs. I propose selling those buildings that we are not going to use or repurpose as soon as possible so that the funds can be invested into other schools and we can stop wasting money on vacant properties.
Moore: My immediate answer is to repurpose them as community centers…but we must first find organizations to utilize them. I do believe, however, that there are plenty of organizations that are in need of space similar to schools that could effectively use them. I’d also want to discuss opportunities to use some of the vacant CPS buildings as possible Chicago Park District fieldhouse and park facilities.
King: I would like to repurpose vacant CPS buildings to fit the specific needs of the community.
McCarthy: The re-development strategies for CPS buildings need to come, in large part, from the communities. I will support any development that positively impacts the community in terms of jobs, economic and green sustainability.
25. How will you support public charter schools and public neighborhood schools?
Lucas: All schools need to be supported by receiving adequate funding, being held accountable to standards in education, and programming should be augmented to provide the best education for all learners.
Moore: I first and foremost support GOOD schools. That said, as the father of three (3) children who are all in or the product of CPS schools, I will not support anything that will take funds away from CPS schools. It is not reasonable to support the development and expansion of charter schools at the detriment of public neighborhood schools.
King: Schools have the ability to change the vibrancy of the community. I will continue to make sure that the children in the fourth ward have all the resources they need to succeed. My goal is that every school in this community be competitive and every child gets a quality education. Communication with principals and administrative staff is a starting point; and because I was apart of helping to found ?Ariel Community Academy ?I have direct knowledge of what supportive strategies we should start with.
McCarthy: Charter schools are now a part of our public school system. Overall, it is unacceptable for any of our schools to be below Level One; a school that has sat at Level Two for years is one that has, perhaps, grown complacent with trying to get better. Public or charter, these are schools I’d want to work with to improve their status. For these schools to have more funds, we have to get our city’s financial house in order so that we can refocus on a quality education for every student served by our system.
26. What are your plans to increase access to quality education in the 4th Ward?
Lucas: I plan to advocate for adequate funding and to bring programs to the schools so that we can address the needs, interests, and talents of all learners.
Moore: SUPPORT CPS!!! Support area Local School Councils!!! The issue isn’t the “access”, but rather the “quality”. By supporting CPS and being vocal at the LSC level, I believe we will get more attention for our area schools and in turn, a more appropriate share of funding to support the school.
King: As alderman I am committed to looking at creative and collaborative ways to increase the quality of education throughout the ward. Strong neighborhood schools are the backbone of our community.
McCarthy: I plan to work tirelessly until each of our children has access to a quality Level One school. School funding is going to be an issue until we are fiscally sound. However, we can as a community work with volunteers to add to the quality of our schools by “spending time” on volunteer programs for our students.
27. How will you involve the community in school decisions?
Lucas: I plan to make sure that all 4th ward schools have an [Local School Councils] LSC and to provide information about LSC meetings so that community members can attend the meetings and work with the LSCs to get involved in school decisions.
Moore: Local School Councils is the answer to this question. As the member of two (2) LSC’s, we are significantly involved in school decisions of existing schools. I would encourage area residents to participate in LSC meetings for the areas schools.
If the question is referring involving the community in school decisions such as school closings, this is part of communication, transparency and collaboration within the community that I have spoken to in other places throughout this questionnaire. I would work to make sure the community is aware of any concerns with our area schools, but also be prepared to direct people to appropriate LSC, CPS and other meetings that address these concerns…in addition to addressing them in the meetings outlined in Question #14 above.
King: I seek to be transparent, having an open door policy and seeking input from the community. I plan to continue community meetings around specific projects and school improvements as well as making sure that I am present in all parts of the ward. In addition, we have started the process of a strategic plan in order to better inform the ward about our assets, challenges and resources.
McCarthy: I will involve the community in school decisions by establishing (or supporting existing) a Community Advisory Committees and community think tanks.
28. What ideas do you have to generate revenue for the city?
Lucas: I support a financial transaction tax and TIF reform. I would want to work with my colleagues in city hall to determine ways to generate alternative streams of income for the city that do not involve continuously adding taxes and fees to the residents of the city.
Moore: This question requires a much more thoughtful assessment of past efforts and future opportunities within the City than I have had the opportunity to have. I would need to conduct more research to effectively answer this question more thoroughly.
King: I support increased revenue but in ways that have the least impact to residents of the 4th ward and city. Some example are: selling naming rights to various public assets and commuter tax for suburban commuters.
McCarthy: Revenue can be generated by continuing to support programs and developments that put current abandoned lots and buildings back into active ownership to augment the tax base.
29. What is your position on credit swaps and high cost borrowing to cover city and CPS expenses?
Lucas: We should not be borrowing money at high interest rates to pay off our city debt. The interest rate swaps must be renegotiated and the city of Chicago needs to enter into negotiation to obtain some of the money back that we paid in interest on deals that violated anti-trust laws.
Moore: I support any efforts to lower the cost of borrowing to cover any city and CPS expenses.
King: Credit swaps are riskier ways to borrow. I believe in eliminating “Scoop and Toss” and identifying revenue sources and a path to solvency for pensions. These and other important steps towards improving the fiscal health and credit of the City of Chicago will help reduce the cost of borrowing for limited and necessary projects. In the coming years, we should look for ways to borrow minimally and cut the cost of debt services and interest wherever possible. Finding ways to tighten budgets while creating non-taxing sources of revenue without slashing necessary services to residents will continue to be a challenging task that will require collaboration and creativity amongst government officials, administrative offices as well as the public. I also support a progressive income tax at the state level that will help fund CPS.
McCarthy: As a temporary measure in a comprehensive fiscal plan, they can be used. I am against them, if they are to be used as a stop gap measure that is not part of an overall solution to our fiscal shortfalls.
?30. Name at least one city or ward expense you will vote to cut.
Lucas: I would want to review the budget and speak with residents of the ward in order to determine an expense that should be cut.
Moore: A thorough, thoughtful review of the City’s budget is necessary to answer this question. I am unwilling/unable to name a specific expense I would vote to cut without such a review.
King: I think there is more of a need to redistribute and trim resources than to cut. However, there will be tough decisions to make and I will make sure that any cuts I support do not impact the working class and our most vulnerable citizens.
McCarthy: It would be irresponsible for me or any candidate to promise cuts to expenses without having complete information on these budgets.
31. Are you willing to raise property taxes?
Lucas: I do not favor raising property taxes until the city has reviewed the budget, cut waste, reformed TIFs, and implemented alternative streams of income. The city of Chicago continuously raises taxes and fees without consideration to seniors and working families. Having been a housing advocate for the past 9 years, I want to ensure that we are making housing affordable and increased property taxes raises housing rates for homeowners and tenants.
Moore: I too am a tax payer and never favor tax increases. The sad reality, however, is that taxes help support city services and are sometimes inevitable. A key obligation of our elected officials must be to have an honest, transparent dialogue with their constituents so that people have input and understand why decisions are being made and what the ramifications are to doing so.
King: Raising property taxes should always be the last option. We need to make sure the city’s fiscal and financial issues are not solved on the back of working families.
32. What is your position on the water tax?
Lucas: The city of Chicago needs to stop the practice of nickel and diming its residents and develop larger, longer-term solutions to its budgeting and financial issues.
Moore: I am not in favor of any tax, however, a thorough, thoughtful review of the alternatives must be considered before jumping to conclusions. In this example, my understanding is that the tax is being utilized to prevent the insolvency of the City’s largest pension fund.
King: I voted in favor of the water and sewer tax to help bring solvency to our pension crisis and to also honor our obligation to our City workers for the work that they have already provided. Our bond rating had plummeted to junk status which increased the difficulty and cost of borrowing. I did not want to see our city go into bankruptcy like Detroit so we had to make some tough decisions. In the future we will have to think of creative ways to increase revenue without hurting the working class and our most vulnerable citizens.
McCarthy: The tax should be repealed as soon as it is fiscally sound to do so.
33. What is your position on [Tax Increment Financing] TIFs?
Lucas: I am an advocate for TIF reform. TIFs were created to provide economic development in blighted communities. Currently, TIFS take money from the schools and for vital city services and they are not being used to develop blighted communities as they are supposed to. TIFs should not be funded by the schools and, to the extent that there are surplus funds, ALL of it should be given back to the schools. Finally, there is no transparency with respect to TIF spending.
Moore: If utilized correctly, TIFs can be a great tool for revitalizing parts of the ward. It is my belief, however, that the public should be much more involved in the evaluation of when TIF money should be utilized.
King: TIF’s should be used how they were initially intended – to spur economic development in under-resourced communities.
McCarthy: I believe TIFs are useful as designed, however, they have been abused.
34. What background do you have to competently represent us on complex budgeting, revenue, and spending issues?
Lucas: I have a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management and performed budgeting and fundraising for United Way and Mercy Education Project. I am also a successful business person and understand the need to have multiple income streams. I read and research, and will continue to do so throughout the year so that during the budgeting process I fully understand how and where funds are being spent. As a lawyer, I have over 13 years of asking questions. I will ask questions throughout the budgeting process and ensure that there is proper reporting of spending.
Moore: a.) owner of my own business; b.) previously on the budget committee of NEIUF managing a $10M budget; c.) one of my responsibilities as Director of Operations for the Hyde Park Kenwood Legends; d.) one of the key responsibilities of the two (2) Local School Councils that I am a member of.
King: My undergraduate and graduate degree have given me some expertise in this area. However, my practical experience in managing millions of dollars at CPS, as? ?a small business owner and as officer on several nonprofits has given me real life day to day experience with managing budgets, payroll day to day operations, etc. My combination of education and experience makes me well qualified to represent the ward on complex budget and spending issues.
McCarthy: I am a lawyer and a Certified Public Accountant in private practice for over thirty years. I am a former business law and accounting professor, having taught at a major university in the Chicago area. I also am a small business owner on the south side. I understand numbers; I am not intimidated by them, I enjoy explaining them to those who have questions, and I enjoy the challenge of deciphering and demystifying their complexities. I’m a fiscal guy.
Parks and Public Amenities
35. What is your position on building in public parks?
Lucas: It is imperative that we preserve our environment for future generations so we must preserve green spaces. That said, I support building in public parks to the extent that the building enhances the ability to use the parks throughout the year, such as field houses, indoor soccer fields, ice skating rinks, and other facilities that expand opportunities for youth and community health and engagement.
Moore: I am generally against building in public parks, but each opportunity or proposal should be evaluated individually. Chicago’s green space is beautiful and should be maintained. But I am open to at least evaluating proposals, assessing the public’s perception of such project and considering each proposal based on its own merits.
King: Public Parks are a public asset and therefore before building in public parks I would seek feedback from the community to get a pulse on what is needed and wanted. However, in general I believe in protecting green space but I believe there are possible exceptions that warrant discussion and consideration.
McCarthy: I am against building privately owned structures in public parks.
36. What are your plans to keep facilities such as museums and golf courses affordable and accessible to residents?
Lucas: I would not support a vote to increase the cost of museums and golf courses and will advocate for more free days so that all residents have access to Chicago’s cultural and recreational institutions.
Moore: Residents should be entitled to “resident discounts” for museums and golf. Fees for non-residents should help support those “resident discounts”.
King: Museums and golf courses should be accessible to all Chicago residents. My office provides free passes to the ward residents to all Chicago museums.
McCarthy: I know that it’s important that residents maintain access to cultural and recreational institutions; certainly, I want to see our museums continue to offer free days and free passes through the library system. I’d also like to work with the schools in our ward to ensure that their budgets allow for transportation to museums for students; access doesn’t start at the museums’ front doors, but at the schools’ doors. As for the golf courses, with limited dollars, we have to get our fiscal house in order before we can subsidize golf course usage. These services need to be budgeted at cost until such a time as we can assist in funding.
37. What is your position on sustaining the library system of Chicago, including Blackstone Branch Library?
Lucas: The libraries in the 4th ward have severe capital improvement needs. In addition, they need more resources. I will support the Friends of Blackstone Library and encourage the development of similar groups so that the community can participate in the improvement and preservation of our libraries.
Moore: I support sustaining the library system of Chicago. I would listen to the community with regards to any specific branch, including Blackstone Branch Library, to better understand any issues, then address those issues with the library and/or the Chicago Public Library system as appropriate.
King: As a former educator I understand the need for students to have safe places to go and study after school and for communities to access knowledge. I support libraries and would look for creative ways to increase programming and funding for libraries for our children.
McCarthy: I fully support funding for the library system, including Blackstone Branch.
38. How will you improve access to transit in the 4th Ward?
Lucas: I would meet with residents of the 4th ward to determine barriers to public transit and work with the relevant departments to make changes as needed.
Moore: I will work with CTA and Metra to evaluate how transportation can be made more efficient and accessible. I am in support of efforts to link CTA and Metra. It is also necessary to evaluate the current routes and needs of the constituents.
King: In the time I have been in office I have already taken steps toward improving public transit in our ward. I’ve extended the 43rd street services on the weekends and we are awaiting a pilot of the extension of the 39th St. bus on weekends. I have also brought back bus stops and shelters. I will continue to listen and assess the communities’ concerns and advocate on their behalf.
McCarthy: I will work to ensure that the 4th Ward has equal access connecting all of the city’s transit systems.
39. Parking is an ongoing problem in parts of the 4th Ward. What is your plan to address this?
Lucas: There are specific areas of the 4th Ward where permit parking and other alternative parking solutions are needed. Residents of the 4th ward should be able to park within the vicinity of their home for safety and convenience. As our ward grows with commercial development, we need to make sure that residents do not lose this convenience. I will take a comprehensive look at the ward and work with residents to determine parking solutions.
Moore: After listening to the constituents of the ward to understand where parking is an issue, I would look to the area to see if there are options including a.) vacant lots to turn into additional parking; b.) reconfigured parking; c.) permit parking.
Regarding permit parking, each area should be assessed individually. Residents of the Ward should be confident that they are able to park at their homes. We also want to make sure that businesses in the area have sufficient parking, so a careful assessment of each individual situation should be had.
King: Parking is a valued commodity in our ward. With the increase in density and development, I will make sure that any new development that is planned in our ward has a parking plan prepared to measure the impact that development might have on parking.
McCarthy: Currently, new housing developments require one space per unit. That can and should be upgraded to 1.5. Paid parking structures are another option in business areas. Unfortunately, parking is a problem in burgeoning residential communities.
40. What are your commitments to constituents west of Cottage Grove?
Lucas: My commitment to constituents west of Cottage Grove will be the same as my commitment to rest of the ward. I will keep them informed and engaged, fight for the funding and improvement of schools, develop and implement a plan for commercial development which includes opportunities for training and jobs, and ensure that there is a community policing effort which requires the maintenance of dignity in the treatment of all residents.
Moore: I am equally committed to all constituents within the ward. As with all parts of the ward, one of my first initiatives is to evaluate what each part of the ward needs and working to address those concerns thoroughly.
King: Parity is a very important strand that runs through my commitment to this Ward and the City. I am very committed to constituents in all parts of the ward but have been more diligent about this part of the ward given the disparity in resources that have existed here. I will continue to pay more attention to this area and spur the type of quality economic development that it deserves as well as provide additional resources as we move forward. Listening to the residents will of course be an essential ingredient in making decisions and attracting the right businesses and development opportunities.
McCarthy: I plan to be an Alderman on the offense actively seek out development for all areas, especially the areas that have been under served.
41. How will you support the Bronzeville area of the ward and work to preserve its history and culture?
Lucas: I will support the Bronzeville area of the Ward by creating a plan for development which includes the preservation of Bronzeville’s history and culture. Our community needs restaurants and music venues that celebrate and feature jazz and blues.
We also need a museum that will preserve the history of the community.
Moore: As a resident of the Bronzeville area of the ward, I support preserving its history and culture. I would support efforts to rehabilitate properties and projects throughout this Ward as well as in the Bronzeville part of adjacent wards.
King: The Bronzeville community is responsible for tremendous cultural and social advances in the African American and greater community as a result of the “Great Migration”. It has left a legacy of jazz, blues and gospel music along with noted contributions in history, math science and every other sector of the community. With contributions from the likes of Ida B. Wells, Gwendolyn Brooks, Daniel H. Williams and Louis Armstrong to name a few. I am committed to preserving the great and storied history that exists in the Bronzeville community and working with organizations such as the Black Metropolis Convention and Tourism Council, the Bronzeville? Community Development Partnership and other? stakeholders in this community to make sure the rich history and culture is preserved.
McCarthy: Bronzeville is a historic area. I plan to aggressively seek out partnerships that will develop tourism.
42. How do you imagine that the mid-south side will look in 5 years?
Lucas: I imagine that we will continue to have cultural and socio-economic diversity as we grow. Michael Reese will have shops, restaurants, and family entertainment that will provide a tribute to the cultural history of Bronzeville jazz and blues. Cottage Grove will be a center for technology with an Amazon fulfillment center and large-scale opportunities for jobs. 31st, 35th, 43rd, and 47th streets will be centers for local small businesses. Our youth will have opportunities to use the indoor and outdoor facilities at Ellis and Mandrake Park throughout the year.
Moore: Between the Michael Reese development, the Obama Library and the planned golf course at Jackson Park, the mid-south side may look completely different. I hope that our elected officials will work to maintain the character that the area has historically had.
King: I imagine a strong and vibrant community with great public schools, amenities and strong economic development.
McCarthy: I imagine that pockets of the ward will resemble the growth in north-side neighborhoods, such as Pilsen and Andersonville. There, we see diverse retailers, visible business districts set apart from residences, walkable streets, some amount of residential density (but nothing overwhelming) and varied affordability, and good community policing activity.
43. What ideas do you have about improving health and mental wellbeing?
Lucas: I support better use of the parks, more community walks, and raising the profile of walking, running, and other exercise groups throughout the ward. As Alderman, I will sponsor seminars on health and wellness, including healthy eating, exercise, and mental health. I also support funding and expansion of programs which provide resources for mental illness.
Moore: As alderman, I will make sure we have a complete catalog of health and mental wellbeing facilities and providers within the ward. Having a catalog of resources dedicated to caring for those with such problems is a critical first start.
King: I think we need to increase our budget for our mental health institutions. I think the cuts that were made prior to my tenure were short sighted which is why we have seen an increase in mental health related crimes and homelessness. I also think our police need to be better trained on this issue and perhaps emergency medical doctors. We should encourage our varied and strong medical institutions to take the lead here as well.
McCarthy: I happen to think this is a great question; physical and mental health are often overlooked traits of what makes a community good, safe and livable. I’d like to see if we can first ensure that the children of our ward are doing well in these areas – are they getting access to fresh, healthy lunches, are they getting recess and active time in school, and are they being supported emotionally by counselors and social workers? I happen to know that there are fewer than two dozen full-time social workers employed by CPS, and that schools of nearly 1,200 students generally have one full-time counselor. Our kids witness and experience a lot of trauma, and we need to pay attention to their mental wellbeing.
44. What is your position on working with the community for a more ecological 4th Ward, specifically for urban gardens and green spaces?
Lucas: What is your position on working with the community for a more ecological 4th Ward, specifically for urban gardens and green spaces? I support more urban gardens, preservation of green spaces, and better visibility of our farmer’s markets.
Moore: I support encouraging a more ecological 4th Ward including urban gardens and green spaces.
King: I am committed to working with the community whether it’s through community meetings, forums, office hours to get ideas for green spaces. One idea that I am working to get done is a dog park which I hope to bring to the ward soon.
McCarthy: I vehemently support green and sustainable living and building practices. One of the pillars in my 6 Point Plan is incorporating energy efficient living into new and existing projects in the ward. I’d like to school each of the schools in our ward have learning gardens that are now at more than 125 schools, and I certainly want to explore how I can be helpful to the large community gardens that exist now.
45. Will you commit to bringing technology innovation to the 4th Ward?
Lucas: Yes and with the technology innovation, I support bringing training so that 4th ward residents are qualified for technology-based jobs.
Moore: Yes, I will commit to bringing and supporting technology innovation to and within the 4th Ward.
McCarthy: I absolutely will commit to bringing technological innovation to the 4th ward.
46. Do you support city council transparency, including allowing public comment at City Council meetings?
Moore: Yes. My campaign is centered on collaboration and transparency. Public officials must ensure that their constituents are involved in and aware of decisions that are being made by City Council. A reasonable allotment for public comments should be included, but such allotment must be practical. With so many committees and joint-committees as well as 50 Wards, careful thought must be put into how to manage this process however.
McCarthy: One of the main pillars of my 6 Point Plan is to make city government and agencies more transparent and accessible to the public. I do believe that public comment at City Council meetings is logistically inadvisable.
47. Will you support the mayor, or be independent?
Lucas: I will be independent. There are over 32,000 voters in the 4th Ward and the mayor is one person. I will effectively challenge the mayor’s policies by making it a collective effort. Understanding the needs and interests of 4th ward residents, reading what is before me, asking questions, and arming myself with knowledge and constructive suggestions will allow me to effectively challenge and bring change.
Moore: Completely independent. My decisions will be based on community input, collaboration and the best interest of the 4th Ward…not based on any specific individual. As any of the mayor’s budgets or policies do not support the strengthening of the 4th Ward, I will be vocal in my challenge. Where they promote moving the 4th Ward forward (#4thWard4WARD) I have no problem supporting the mayor.
King: If independent, how will you effectively challenge the mayor’s budget and policies? In my view, to hold the seat of Alderman is not only a privilege, but an opportunity to make change where we need it, to continue the course of progress that the 4th Ward deserves, and to advance conversations that need new life.
I have used town hall meetings as a way to have targeted, cooperative conversations with the community at large, and to create an agenda that is representative of their needs and their voice. I have been engaging, transparent, accessible and an independent voice and will continue to be so for the 4th Ward and its residents, and vote for the best interest of the 4th Ward. I think it’s important to note that many ordinances, at least since I have been alderman, have begun with a narrow scope but have often ended with its contents reflecting a collaboration and thus more inclusive of not only our ward but the entire city. However, I have certainly taken votes and have made decisions, already, that suggest that I will advocate on behalf of the Ward and my constituents first and foremost. I voted against a referendum that would have blocked the voice of airport workers. I voted against an aviation bond deal that wasn’t inclusive of the diversity that our ward and this great city represents. I voted against the sale of menthol cigarettes in close proximity to elementary schools. I voted against a parking facility that wasn’t open and inviting to the public. I will continue to represent the interests of and deliver for the 4th Ward.
McCarthy: I will be independent. I am for the 4th Ward first and foremost. As Alderman, I will support any policies that will maintain the fabric of our neighborhoods and uplift our communities. If those policies come from the mayor’s office, I will support them. Any budget that does not increase fiscal responsibility and treat the 4th Ward equitably at a minimum I will fight.
48. Do you support finding ways to take money out of local politics?
Lucas: Money should not determine who we elect. I support finding ways to keep people informed and engaged in the political process throughout the year so that politicians cannot buy themselves into office at election time.
Moore: Absolutely. After this experience, I consider myself the “poster child” for campaign finance reform :). I believe that candidates should be evaluated on their merit and ability to contribute to promoting the best interest of the community rather…not based on who has the deepest pockets.
King: I support public financing of campaigns as long as there are guidelines, we should not waste taxpayer money on frivolous campaigns but we should work to reduce the effect of outside money in politics.
49. What are specific examples of ways you have been able to work with opposition to find common ground and get something done?
Lucas: I have represented over 500 people over the past 9 years in foreclosure, code violation, condominium governance, and distressed sales. Being an advocate for my clients requires negotiation and compromise.
I represented a large building in south shore. The building had millions of dollars in code violations and the owners, primarily seniors on fixed incomes were unable to pay for the repairs. The city of Chicago attorneys fought for years to have a receiver appointed to the property so that they could sell it and the owners would receive nothing. It was a tough decision for the seniors who had lived in the property for years to decide to sell, but I fought the city of Chicago so that my clients could find their own buyer and sell their property. I worked with the owners and a local real estate broker to find a buyer that not only paid them top dollar for the property, but also paid them $10,000 each for moving expenses.
My experiences as an attorney have provided me with the knowledge and experience to be an advocate and master negotiator for residents of the 4th ward.
Moore: On a daily basis in my current role as Child Representative/Guardian ad Litem where I am appointed by judges in the Cook County Circuit Courts, I am tasked with working with parents who are in the middle of conflict to get to their child(rens) best interest.
King: I will work with anyone to improve the lives of the residents of the Fourth Ward. One example is working with other aldermen on the COPA ordinance who did not want to see real reform to civilian police review. While COPA is not perfect I fought hard to get things in there like superseding collective bargaining so future city councils do not bargain away important civilian protections that COPA provides..
McCarthy: For most of my adult life, I have worked with volunteer organizations serving the community. Disagreements regarding funding and expenditures arise constantly. My method has always been to find the common goal. The common goals are most times easily defined, such as rebuilding trust between the community and the police department, quality public education, or increased fiscal responsibility.