Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board questionnaire responses
Q: Chicago's fire and police pensions are greatly underfunded, and the city is required by the state to make a $550 million payment into the pension funds by the end of 2015. Do you support restructuring the pension systems, inevitably reducing benefits, to put the funds on sound financial footing?
Yes or No:
Please Explain: Yes, I would tie the budget system with the pension system so that all state pension employees contribute to one state pension system.
Q: Chicago's pension systems for municipal workers and laborers already have been restructured, reducing benefits, but the city has yet to identify where it will find the revenue to sufficiently fund those systems. Under what circumstances would you support a property tax increase to raise the needed revenue for the fire and police pensions and/or the municipal workers and laborers pensions?
A: I would not support a property tax increase to fund pensions.
2) Chicago Public Schools pensions
Q: Large and growing payments required to keep the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund solvent are squeezing CPS' budget, forcing cuts elsewhere and limiting investment. The Chicago Board of Education has increased property taxes, but it is not enough to keep up with the high annual costs. What measures do you support to ensure a solvent retirement system and to improve the district's finances?
A: I would tie all pension funds into one state wide pension fund. For one, I would increase corporate tax.
Q: In light of the financial issues discussed above, do you support any or all of the following measures, each of which would require, at a minimum, approval by the Illinois Legislature?
* A statewide expansion of the sales tax base to include more consumer services
Yes or No:No, we already have the highest state tax in the country.
* A tax on non-Chicago residents who work in the city
Yes or No:No
* A tax on electronic financial transactions on Chicago’s trading exchanges, known as the “LaSalle Street tax”
Yes or No:Yes
Please explain your views, if you wish, on any of these three revenue-generating measures.
Do you support hiring more police officers to combat crime and gun violence inChicago?
Yes or No:Yes
Please explain: More officers would lead to more public safety.
Q: What legislation in Springfield would you support to try to stem the flow of illegal guns into Chicago?
A: The existing legislation needs to be enforced.
5) Elected school board
Q: An advisory referendum on switching Chicago to an elected school board, rather than an appointed board, is expected to be on the ballot in more than 30 wards on Feb. 24. Currently, the mayor appoints all seven board members and the Schools CEO. Do you support a change to an elected school board?
Yes or No:
Please explain: Yes, it will help create a more efficient school board.
6) Tax-increment financing districts
Q: TIFs are the primary economic development tool of the city. In a TIF district, taxes from the growth in property values are set aside for 23 years to be used for public projects and private development. Do you support increasing the annual TIF surplus that the mayor and the City Council have declared in each of the last few years, money that goes to the schools and other city agencies?
Yes or No: No, because the funds should only go the school system, not other city agencies.
Q: What reforms would you propose for the city's TIF program?
A: The TIF program should be partially overseen by a citizen’s review board.
7) Neighborhood economic development
Q: What would you do as alderman to boost economic development in your ward, and bring jobs to your community?
A: I would promote the availability of economic commercial real estate in the area and the availability of a young educated work force.
8) Size of the Chicago City Council
Q: The City Council has 50 members, but civic groups and other regularly argue for reducing the size of the Council. What should the size of the Council be? Please provide a specific number. And why?
A: Number should remain the same, system works efficiently as it is.
9) A Chicago casino
Q: Do you support, in general concept, establishing a gambling casino in Chicago?
Yes or No:
Please explain:Yes, it promotes economic development.
10) Red light and speed cameras
Q: Does the city have an acceptable number of red light and speed cameras currently, and are they properly employed?
Yes or No:
Please explain: No, they need to be eliminated.
11) Ward issues
What are the top three issues in your ward — the ones you talk about most on the campaign trail?
Jobs, gangs, and garbage.
Office running for: Alderman, 22nd Ward
Political/civic background: Ran for alderman, 22nd Ward, in 2011
Occupation: Small business owner
Education: 3 years, Loyola University