Ideas and Solutions
“It’s Nice to Be Important, but It’s Important To Be Nice”
I will be a full time, accessible Alderman who responds in a timely, professional manner to each and every constituent concern in the 43rd Ward. I have many years of experience working with government agencies through my time as a lawyer, my experience in Chicago Public Schools and as a member of the Oz Park Advisory Council. I know what works in this neighborhood and I have a proven record of getting things done. My Aldermanic office will be staffed with helpful, friendly employees who have lived in the neighborhood and understand your concerns. In contrast to our current leadership, on a weekly basis, I will hold Ward Night, an “open door” evening to discuss whatever concerns might be on your mind. One week per month, Ward Night will be held in the Gold Coast. When constituent requests are phoned or emailed, they will be logged in and reviewed on a weekly basis. Our office will follow up with you regarding your issue and will continue to do so until the issue is resolved. My first priority has been and will always be the residents of the 43rd Ward.
I will fix the broken development process in the 43rd Ward. I will establish a 43rd Ward Community Zoning Board to restore a more proactive, inclusive, and transparent process for zoning. This advisory Board will be responsible for creating a set of guidelines for zoning decisions to create a dynamic urban plan for our ward and to protect what we love about our historic and architecturally rich neighborhoods. The 43rd Ward Community Zoning Board will be comprised of representatives of all of the existing Neighborhood Organizations, plus representatives from the business community. In cooperation with the local Neighborhood Organizations, it will encourage feedback and incorporate ideas from neighbors, and representatives will have an opportunity to discuss zoning decisions before plans for proposed developments become final. I will always listen to resident concerns and place greatest weight on the neighborhoods most closely affected by an upcoming project.
I support all schools in the 43rd Ward – public and private. I will ensure that our high performing public schools will adhere to the best practices in education policy. I support well spaced schools close to where families live, and well proportioned schools with ground level playgrounds for the social and physical development of children as well as the protection of open space. I am highly supportive of the Field of Dreams at Alcott School. It represents a successful model for educational facilities in our ward. I strongly support Lincoln School, but opposed the Lincoln School Annex because it eliminated the Lincoln playground from use before and after school, increased Lincoln’s capacity disproportionate to its common spaces, and was a fiscally unwise expenditure of funds during a time of fiscal crisis for our city, state and public school system. Instead, I favored several solutions that would have retained playgrounds in the community, preserved small neighborhood schools, satisfied LaSalle’s long desire to expand their school, Old Town families’ long desire to gain greater admission to LaSalle School, and preserved the Lincoln playground, which was rehabbed and greened at great community expense just a decade ago. I will always encourage robust community debate about decisions of this nature and I will never impose an unvetted solution on our community. I will push for capital improvements at Lincoln Park High School, our high-performing local high school whose physical plant has been neglected for far too long.
Our retail corridors have been suffering for far too long and are in desperate need of a renaissance. We have one of the highest income levels in our community but one of the highest levels of leakage of our consumer dollars into other parts of the city as we travel to Bucktown, Wicker Park, Downtown, Andersonville or Southport to dine, shop and be entertained. I will create a Community Development Corporation to work in conjunction with my office, the Chamber of Commerce and the Local Merchants Associations to devise a ward-wide retail attraction strategy. The Development Corporation will map the assets of the ward and determine the needs of the community and the types of businesses that will be patronized by the residents who live here. We will recreate a “main street” feel with more pedestrian traffic and local stores that are patronized regularly, and we will restore the vibrancy of our retail corridors. The Community Development Corporation, in conjunction with my office, will hold regular events in the evenings and weekends to attract local residents to local businesses. The Community Development Corporation will also tackle the parking issue in the 43rd Ward and make recommendations for improved traffic management to avoid needless circling for limited spaces and will also create plans to encourage biking, walking and public transportation.
I will fight for more police on our streets to make our community safe. Residents of the 43rd Ward do not feel as safe as they should, and too much information about crime has been suppressed in this Ward, handicapping residents’ ability to control their own safety. I will reinvigorate the Neighborhood Watch program in the Ward, and launch a Rapid Alert System to notify residents when and where crime occurs. I will not engage in one-off publicity stunts to check crime fighting off my list, but instead work in conjunction with Police Commanders to make the best use of scarce police resources and fight for more officers in the ward and on the streets.
• PARKS AND OPEN SPACE
For two decades, I have been a strong advocate for parks and open space in the 43rd Ward and will continue to be one as Alderman. We live in a densely populated community with limited private yard space. Our City Council passed the City Space Plan of Chicago, which makes the preservation of open space a priority in the City, especially open space adjacent to schools. This is an ordinance I will fight to support, for we have far less open space per capita than many other major cities in the country, including New York, Philadelphia and Boston. Families who raise their children in the city depend on parks and open space; others depend on it for peace and psychological relief from our built environment. Parks and open spaces attract businesses and tourists, improve our quality of life, are a vital part of our urban experience and should be protected to the greatest extent possible. I will place a high priority on preserving and enhancing our open space and I pledge never to remove a park or an open space in the ward without a very good reason distilled from significant community debate.