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:No

Please Explain: Chicago’s pension system has already been restructured once, as a recent retiree this strikes at the core of fair play. I ( and everyone I know of) have paid their “fair share” while the city failed to equitably fund its side of the bill. The funds can be put on sound footing but not to detriment of one or two groups that have done what they’re supposed to do, pay their bills on time

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 support a tax increase only when the city has place a moratorium on any and all non essential spending, stop new purchases for at least six months, and only when we exhausted all other potential revenue streams

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 stop any new expenditures and look at the existing revenue streams. I would favor a forensic audit of the Chicago Board of Education’s monetary income and output

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: Yes

* A tax on non-Chicago residents who work in the city
Yes or No:Yes

* A tax on electronic financial transactions on Chicago’s trading exchanges, known as the “La Salle Street tax”

Yes or No:Yes

Please explain your views, if you wish, on any of these three revenue-generating measures.

A: Everyone has a part in the repairing of the financial mess occurring currently in the State of Illinois. The issue is that not everyone who has benefitted from the largess of this crisis is willing to replace what he or she took out. Everyone has to share the burden not just a few.

Q; Do you support hiring more police officers to combat crime and gun violence in Chicago?

Yes or No:Yes

Please explain: As a former officer I’ve observed the current administrations position of doing more with less. While this might work in certain situations it will not work, and has not worked in regards to the delivery of police services. I’ve seen the higher than normal rate of “burnout” and the attitude of “doing only what’s required” become the accepted norm

Q: What legislation in Springfield would you support to try to stem the flow of illegal guns into Chicago?

A: I don’t believe we can legislate ourselves out of this problem. The problem lies in the enforcement of the numerous laws already in place. For instance we observed within the last few weeks persons who had been arrested for gun charges released and on bonds commit other crimes (Bailey- Chicago Sun-Times 15 Dec 14). While law enforcement can do its job the other branches of government (i.e. prosecutor, court, judges) should be held accountable for their actions (or lack of) as well

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: Yes

Please explain: My belief is that if the school board is elected by the people they will be accountable to the people

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

Q:What reforms would you propose for the city's TIF program?

A: There are presently 165 TIFs within the city of Chicago operating as of this writing. The most recent research available ( DC think tank says Chicago pension crisis fueled by TIFs,October 3, 2014, By Miriam Y. Cintrón, GAZETTE NEWS) states that the TIFS are draining resources from the general revenue fund that directly impact the issues of pension viability

Q: What would you do as alderman to boost economic development in your ward, and bring jobs to your community?

A: I would encourage businesses to come to our ward by showing them a ward that encourages and supports business. I would also encourage them by showing the business owner the amount of skilled workers available for work within our ward

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: We should mandate the elimination the practice of gerrymandering, look at the current configuration of the 2nd ward for example. We know that every ten years the legislature redistricts the wards and reconfigures the ward maps based on population shifts. Based on these two issues we could reduce the city council by the same number.

Q: Do you support, in general concept, establishing a gambling casino in Chicago?

Yes or No:Yes

Please explain: As a concept a gambling casino could serve some purposes as long as those purposes for which it being built are strictly adhered to. I also favor a Chicago Lottery with the funds going directly to help ease the pension crisis

Q: Does the city have an acceptable number of red light and speed cameras currently, and are they properly employed?

Yes or No:No

Please explain: The city has too many red light cameras in my opinion. They are not employed or deployed correctly, it seems that they are deployed far to heavily south and west sides of the city.

Q:What are the top three issues in your ward — the ones you talk about most on the campaign trail?

1) Crime and Safety, 2) Education and Training, and 3) Housing

Crime and Safety-We have to reign in the violence and crime in the ward. Our seniors and the community have earned the right not to be afraid to go out of their house or go to the neighborhood store without fear of attack.

Education & Training-Ensure that our ward receives it’s fair share of educational funding both on the state and federal levels. Bring back vocational training, and real job placement.

Housing-Stop the blight of foreclosures in the ward by identifying additional revenue sources that will allow homeowners to keep and maintain their homes.

Joseph J. Moseley III

Candidate for alderman, 7th Ward

Occupation: Retired Chicago Police sergeant

Education: 1) Saint Xavier University Masters of Business Administration Concentration in Training and Performance Management. 2) Chicago State University Bachelor of Arts Degree. 3) Northwestern University Traffic Institute Command School Certificate of Completion