Why I’m Running for Alderman?
Families and schools need more support
We need to support children that are underperforming in school. We need opportunities for those within our adult population that are undereducated. People are needing to work two jobs to make ends meet. In other cases, young people are having to choose between working to contribute to the family or go to school.
o I will work directly with school leadership and parents to create opportunities for support to improve educational enrichment.
o I will vote to support a $15 minimum wage that includes wage tip earners.
o I will work to expand the Star Scholarship to other students (and not just those that have a 3.0 GPA) so that less and less students have to pay for college.
o Parents need more childcare support that fits their educational goals for their children.
o The Gage Park Library needs a full-time Spanish speaker within their staff.
o The Chicago welcoming ordinance should be replaced with a sanctuary city ordinance.
o I will work with the new Assessor's office to ensure a fair system of property taxes for our ward.
o In Gage Park, almost half of the adults are without health insurance; in Garfield Ridge, 40% of the adults are without health insurance; in Archer Heights, 40% of the adults are without health insurance; in Brighton Park, 48% of the adults are without health insurance; in West Elsdon, 38% of the adults are without health insurance. The federal campaign for medicare for all is gaining traction, and we should be a part of that.
We are the ones that suffer from poor legislative decisions
The city of Chicago now owes $35 billion to the pension system, and the city council continues to use it as an excuse to not fund much needed public services, such as mental health clinics, and non-profit organizations providing critical services.
o I will push the city council to make better decisions about paying down the pension obligations. Between 2004 and 2009, the city council had an opportunity to use money from the central business TIF (about $370 million) to pay down the pension debt. Instead, they chose to pay for corporate office renovations for some of the biggest corporations on the planet. By the way, this process of over investing in downtown over communities must stop.
o With 30% of the incarcerated population in Cook County jail suffering from mental health issues, and the need for mental health services locally (see the page on 14th ward data on this website), we need radical changes to the way we fund public health in the city of Chicago. I will work with local service providers to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to bring back those much needed services.
Violence prevention and mental health are essential
Our streets continue to see gun violence (and violence of other forms). Our young people are some of the most unemployed in the city, with less and less opportunities afforded to them. Victims of domestic violence have nowhere to go locally (the nearest provider and shelter is Mujeres Latinas en Accion in the Pilsen community). Stress, depression and other mental health issues need to be addressed.
o We should be investing in street intervention programs, diversified programs for youth (in and out of school) that include job training, and restorative justice approaches to problem solving.
o I will work hard to create an Art and Culture center in the ward. It will create educational opportunities as well as create paths for all people to enterprise their art (visual, performance, and literary).
o I will work to develop local support groups with the establishment of a sanctuary for victims of domestic violence or financial abuse. My goal is to have one in Gage Park, one in Archer Heights, and one in Brighton Park.
o I will work with young people to create safe spaces to discuss issues around identity, sexual orientation, peer pressure and interpersonal dynamics at home.
o A study (published 2017) conducted by a non-profit organization, Roots to Wellness, shows that the need for mental health services is high (based on a survey of 2,878 residents on the southwest side, which included people from Gage Park, Archer Heights, West Elsdon, and Brighton Park). At least half of the respondents in those communities expressed a sense of depression, with more than a third expressing issues with anxiety and acculturative stress. However, cost was the main issue in obtaining help (60% for those born outside of the U.S., and 45% for those born in the U.S.)
o A Sinai Urban Health Institute survey (2017) showed that in Gage Park, 59% of the women surveyed responded not feeling safe at night in their neighborhood, with males at 41%.
Politics as usual will come to an end
We have a long-standing political culture that allows elected officials to make pecuniary gains from government and our public dollars. Specifically, there are politicians making money appealing property taxes for businesses, while the rest of us make up the difference. Even worse, public money is being spent every year, and we don't know how or why.
o I will support current legislation in Springfield that seeks to bar elected officials from representing anyone in tax proceedings before a government body.
o I will introduce my own legislation in the city council to bar elected officials from representing anyone in tax proceedings, and also bar political contributions from those seeking a tax reduction to elected officials.
o I will inform the ward about financial opportunities, so that we make collective decisions about how to spend money in the ward by engaging in participatory budgeting.
o Community engagement with the current alderman is very low. I will change that. I will work with leaders at the block level to ensure regular and consistent times for me to meet with their neighbors to discuss and resolve issues, together.
o I will impose a two-term limit on myself.