City Services
Budget
Tax Increment Financing/TIF & Education
Job Creation
Open 311 & Chicago Works iPhone App
Public Safety
Casinos
Transparency

City Services

Over many decades, the City of Chicago has been described as the ‘City that Works.’ And during that time, we have been told that our aldermen provide City services.  This is a myth! So who then provides City services? It is the men and women of that work in our City departments that provide your services. Many of us have been calling the aldermanic office to request garbage cans, report power outages, report pot-holes and broken street lights. That is perfectly fine but there is a quicker way to make service requests. Call 311 or use the direct hyperlink on this site to connect to the 311 service request center. By doing this, politics is removed from service delivery and it cuts out an additional layer of bureaucracy that costs you time and money! The City of Chicago’s 311Center is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  This is the most efficient way to make a service request. Once you call 311 and report a problem or make a service request, our team will be able to download the information from 311 and then follow-up with City departments to make sure services are delivered and problems fixed!

Here is something you may also want to know: The City appropriates aldermen $175,000 for three full-time staff. These staffers are supposed to work with the alderman to solve problems and craft public policy and legislation. Instead, what the current system requires is that an alderman operates an in-bound call center to take service requests. So currently, you are paying $175,000 to replicate a call center function at the ward level!  You deserve better and you should demand more from your alderman.

However, if you prefer to call us, we will be happy to take your service request an input them into the 311 system at the ward office.

So if the Alderman does not provide service, then what is he/she supposed to do?

  • Your Alderman is supposed to make sure the people that provide services have the tools and resources to do their job.
  • Your Alderman is supposed to make sure things get done by pulling the service requests and following up with City departments to ensure completion and then following up with you.
  • Your Alderman is supposed to legislate on your behalf to pass a fiscally responsible and sustainable budget so we don’t raise fees, increase fines and raise taxes.
  • Your Alderman is supposed to legislate on city-wide issues related to crime, education, taxes and other issues which impact your services and your bottom line.

In a nutshell, it is your Alderman’s job to make sure services get delivered and to legislate on critical issues so you get the government you deserve.

As your Alderman, I plan on doing just that. But I need you to be a partner in this effort to re-make Chicago government. Partner with me to make service delivery more efficient and effective.

Budget

Solving the City’s budget problems is going to require heavy-lifting from the City Council and theMayor’s office. We can no longer sell off assets and spend down reserves to pass a budget. The only solution is to make services more efficient and cost-effective and make some painful decisions. The expense side of the budget must be addressed and no solution is realistic unless we address personnel. Nobody likes to talk about job cuts but the reality is that 80% of the budget is personnel. There is no solution without cutting some jobs. But before we do that, we must explore every line of the budget to find efficiencies and cut waste.

The 2011 budget deficit is $635 million dollars. This deficit is structural – this means that the only way to eliminate yearly deficits is to cut spending, increase taxes, tax rates and/or fees and fines. I believe we must address expenses before we turn to you for a single additional penny. If you add the unfunded pension obligation (roughly $500 million) the deficit soars to over $1 billion dollars. If we continue to ignore the budget and pensions, we are headed towards bankruptcy. A bankruptcy will have catastrophic impacts on your home value and every City service. The budget and pension crisis is at the top of my list of issues – so I can promise you that we all have to give a little and there are some painful choices that lay ahead. But if we are thoughtful and work together, we can transform government and ensure Chicago remains a globally competitive city.

GROW47 School Initiative

The quality of our schools is going to be one of the key determinants in the long-term success of the 47th ward. We have some amazing elementary schools and some that will require additional support and resources. I am intent on working with the principals, parent groups, community organizations, businesses and residents to make sure every school in the 47th Ward is getting everything it needs to provide a high quality education to our kids. I am going to continue working with elected officials and other community stakeholders to improve Lake View High School. Additionally, I am going take this same approach to Amundsen High School to make sure this 47th Ward high school also receives the attention of this office.

TIFs and Public Schools:

On September 9, 2011, my office rolled out a comprehensive public school initiative: GROW47. In order to keep families from fleeing to the suburbs and to attract new residents to the 47th ward, neighborhood school options must improve. The suburbs offer families complete K-12 school systems and communities where economic development and property values are connected to the school system. In Chicago we have disconnected the importance of what makes communities great: great school systems. To learn more about GROW 47 or to get involved, please click on the documents below or email us at grow@chicago47.org.

I am pleased to announce that community leaders Dan Hynes and Paul Rosenfeld will be chairing the public outreach for GROW47.

GROW47 Presentation

GROW47 Summary of Accomplishments (5/2012):

  • $2 million in TIF funding for Lake View High School STEM Program
  • Allocated $2 million in TIF funding for Amundsen High School, Chappell Elementary and McPherson Elementary Schools
  • Secured $10 million in State capital funding for the Bell Elementary annex
  • Allocated $10-13 million in TIF funding for Coonley Elementary annex
  • Allocated $62,000 in aldermanic menu funding for Ravenswood Elementary
  • Allocated $50,000 in aldermanic menu funding for Audubon Elementary
  • Facilitated the formation of the Friends of Courtenay and Friends of Amundsen groups

We are working on building additional partnerships and we look forward to partnering with you to improve all of our neighborhood schools.

Job Creation

Global supply chain costs and wage inflation in developing nations are forcing manufacturers to re-think producing their products abroad. Check out the Op-Ed I wrote that was recently published in the Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago can be a Factory Town Again.

Jobs are coming back to the United States. The question is whether Chicago will be one of the cities that compete for those jobs. To bring those jobs back, I am putting together a north-side Job Creation/Retention working group. This group will bring all local legislators, the private sector and leaders in higher education together to identify programs and policies to keep jobs and create new jobs on the north-side of Chicago.

Open 311 & Chicago Works iPhone app

When you have to make a service request or report a problem you might normally call the aldermanic office that then inputs the data into 311. Or you many of you call 311 directly. Do you ever wonder what happens with all the data that is collected from your calls? Currently, there is no system to aggregate and analyze the data that is collected from service requests and problems. Each call is answered individually. Implementing Open 311 architecture can help the City connect service requestsand problems to emerging trends and then prioritize resources and dollars effectively. On the customer service side, you will be able to leverage technology to submit and track your service requests. This will increase transparency in service delivery but also enable you to have more substantive discussions withme regarding service issues.

For nearly two years, I have been talking to you about Open 311. If it is fully implemented, you will start to see more cost efficient service delivery, more robust capital improvement programs, better budgets and a more transparent government.

Open 311 Update and the Chicago Works iPhone application

When I was running for alderman, I talked with many of you about Open 311 and how we can make service delivery more transparent and use data to make more informed decisions about service provision. After taking office, I was asked by the Mayor’s office to sit on the Open 311 working group. By opening up the city’s data, software developers will be able to develop service request applications for smartphones and other devices. Simply put, Open 311 will result in smarter and more efficient government.

During my campaign, 2Pens Media and I developed the Chicago Works iPhone application. This app enabled users to take pictures and videos related to service issues and these issues were GPS coordinated and sent to us via email. Open 311 allows independent software developers like 2pens Media to use the city’s data infrastructure to create new and innovative ways for Chicagoans to report problems and see their tax dollars at work. These public-private partnerships will give us additional tools to address service delivery and allow us to think critically about what we do and drive us toward more efficient and informed service delivery system.

The original app was not able to feed requests into the Chicago 311 system. This all changes with our newest version!  Please note that the current 311 system cannot handle images, but by emailing them to the ward office with the Chicago Works app, they will be able to be forwarded independently to city departments, when needed.

Here is what the Chicago Works app will do:

  • Recognize the ward you are in when the app is opened
  • Enable you to make service requests directly into the 311 system
  • Once your service request is submitted, you will receive a tracking number
    that can be used to monitor and track your request
  • The alderman in that area will receive your request and tracking
    number

We are really excited about the new app. It has evolved from a basic service reporting app into a robust city-wide tool. The app will be available shortly in the iTunes store.  We hope to develop an Android Version soon.

Here is a news story on the original Chicago Works app.

Chicago Works Screenshot 1

Chicago Works Screenshot 2

Public Safety

Gang Activity

Public Safety Tips

19th District Consolidation

Casinos

I will never support legislation that calls for a City owned casino. Casino income is a regressive tax on the poor. A City owned casino is a mistake – if the City is the house then the City is betting against its own citizens.

Transparency

The 47th Ward Public Service office will be a transparent office. Transparency is a buzz word commonly thrown around in government and politics. To me, transparency means more than putting documents online or creating searchable databases. Transparency is about presenting governmental information in a digestible manner and then having a discussion about the information. Understanding what goes on in your government is the key to finding solutions to our most pressing problems. Government is simple – it just needs to be de-mystified.

As alderman, I will work with local media outlets, community organizations and you to make the operations of this office transparent. I will also work with Everyblock.com to make sure information related to zoning and development is readily available. Lastly, I want to work with you to craft publicpolicy.