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Where do Chicago's mayoral candidates stand on key regional issues?

Amy Boyle Photography

The top four contendors in Chicago's mayoral race prepare for Thursday's debate at the Oriental Theatre.

Much is at stake on Tuesday, Feb. 22, when Chicago voters will elect their first new mayor in 22 years from a slate of candidates that, for the first time in 60 years, does not include an incumbent. Through our Keepers and Seekers briefing book, participation in coalition efforts to advance the Green Growth and Sustainable Transportation platforms, and sponsorship of the WLS-Channel 7 debate (to which we submitted these five questions for candidates), MPC has provided all of Chicago’s aldermanic and mayoral candidates with information on policies and practices that will keep Chicago and the entire metropolitan region sustainable, competitive and equitable.

Now it’s time to vote. Before you go to the polls, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to read this summary of what Gery Chico, Miguel del Valle, Rahm Emanuel, Carol Moseley Braun, William "Dock" Walls III, and Patricia Van Pelt Watkins have said they plan to do to improve Chicago’s transportation network, housing and neighborhood development, water and the environment, and economic competitiveness.


Transportation 

Gery Chico

  • Increase funding for Chicago Transit Authority (CTA.)
  • Require modernization of pollution controls for CTA buses.
  • Promote Midwest high-speed rail development.
  • Support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, congestion reduction, car sharing and electric vehicles.

Miguel del Valle

  • Support public transportation, which is “critical to our economy and quality of life,” according to Del Valle.
  • Refocus state and federal funds to public transit for projects such as the CTA Red Line expansion.
  • Increase funding for CTA.
  • Require modernization of pollution controls for CTA buses.
  • Promote Midwest high-speed rail development.
  • Support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, congestion reduction, car sharing and electric vehicles.

Rahm Emanuel

  • Reform state and federal dollars for public transit improvements and maximize those benefits by pairing transit improvements with a high-speed rail hub.
  • Integrate car sharing, electric vehicles, bicycling, and pedestrian improvements in transportation planning.
  • Increase funding for CTA.
  • Support the pursuit of bus rapid transit (BRT).
  • Support CTA Red Line expansion.
  • Require modernization of pollution controls for CTA buses.
  • Promote Midwest high-speed rail development.

Carol Moseley Braun

  • Double transit ridership in 10 years, by increasing the speed and frequency of bus and rail service, expanding the CTA Red Line, and bringing back express bus routes.
  • Fund these improvements by securing additional state and federal money, cutting CTA middle management and seeking partnerships with employers to fund bus services.
  • Require modernization of pollution controls for CTA buses.
  • Promote Midwest high-speed rail development.
  • Support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, congestion reduction, car sharing and electric vehicles.

William “Dock” Walls III

  • Increase funding for CTA.
  • Require modernization of pollution controls for CTA buses.
  • Promote Midwest high-speed rail development.
  • Support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, congestion reduction, car sharing and electric vehicles.

Patricia Van Pelt Watkins

  • Increase funding for CTA.
  • Require modernization of pollution controls for CTA buses.
  • Promote Midwest high-speed rail development.
  • Support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, congestion reduction, car sharing and electric vehicles.
  • Establish “Intermodal Transportation Operations Director” in Mayor’s Office.
  • Support implementation of the Chicago Region Environmental & Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE).
  • Advance bus rapid transit.
  • Support CTA expansion with a focus on the Red, Yellow and Orange Lines.
  • Promote pre-tax employer benefits for transit.

Housing and Community Development 

Gery Chico

  • Advance his Homelessness Plan, which prioritizes ending homelessness through enhancing Chicago Public Schools (CPS) student social work, facilitating training workshops and increasing efficiency and accountability of existing programs and agencies.
  • Develop a Neighborhood Business Revitalization Initiative that would fund neighborhood chambers of commerce, and increase allocation of new market tax credits and access to micro-finance and startup loans.
  • Work with neighborhood aldermen and chambers of commerce to revitalize commercial corridors to support small businesses.

Miguel Del Valle

  • Address the foreclosure crisis by working with banks to facilitate prevention of foreclosures and ensure that bank-owned foreclosures are properly maintained. Encourage foreclosures to be rehabbed into affordable housing by leveraging TIF dollars.
  • Work with the Cook County Assessor to ensure declining property values are accurately assessed.
  • Promote the development of small contracts, joint ventures, and minority/majority contracts initiatives for minority and women-owned business enterprises.

Rahm Emanuel

  • Target community block grants and Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to stimulate the hardest hit neighborhoods.
  • Eliminate food deserts, by reforming city permitting to encourage corporate stores to expand fresh food selections into underserved neighborhoods.
  • Expand permitting for mobile food vendors.
  • Eliminate prohibitions on urban agriculture and on-site food sales.

Carol Moseley Braun

  • Create neighborhood-specific economic development plans with chambers of commerce, elected officials, community leaders, residents and businesses. These plans would guide specific programmatic and infrastructure investments.

William “Dock” Walls III

  • Develop and maintain city infrastructure.
  • Program the Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training to train and re-train adults.
  • Maximize public-private partnerships to eradicate homelessness and poverty.
  • Provide adequate housing for low-income individuals and families.

Patricia Van Pelt Watkins

  • Invest in a major capital improvement plan for city infrastructure.
  • Leverage the community college system to build a strong workforce.

Water

Gery Chico

  • Support the Chicago Climate Action Plan.
  • Improve energy efficiency in all city buildings by enhancing energy efficiency building codes (LEED, Energy Star) and developing energy districts that would allow for energy sharing between buildings and supporting clean energy industries.
  • Commit the City to purchase more renewable energy.
  • Expand recycling citywide by switching from a ward pickup system to a more efficient regional pickup system.
  • Promote the “Waste to Profit Program” to encourage efficient use of business waste for other business development.
  • Make the MeterSave program mandatory.
  • Improve stormwater management.
  • Disinfect sewage effluent pumped into the Chicago River.
  • Accelerate the study to keep invasive species out of Lake Michigan.
  • Add more parks in neighborhoods that need them.
  • Preserve the Lake Calumet region.
  • Complete the Lakefront Park System.
  • Support locally grown food.

Miguel Del Valle

  • Support energy efficiency retrofits for half the buildings in the city by 2020.
  • Support green collar industries, such as wind power, solar power, and urban farming.
  • Support replacing the Fisk and Crawford coal power plants.
  • Restrict diesel idling times, starting with city vehicles.
  • Reduce and clean the water discharged into the Chicago River.
  • Lessen reliance on automobiles through bicycle and pedestrian initiatives.
  • Support the Chicago Climate Action Plan.
  • Commit the City to purchase more renewable energy.
  • Make recycling available to all homes and businesses.
  • Make the MeterSave program mandatory.
  • Improve stormwater management.
  • Disinfect sewage effluent pumped into the Chicago River.
  • Accelerate the study to keep invasive species out of Lake Michigan.
  • Add more parks in neighborhoods that need them.
  • Preserve the Lake Calumet region.
  • Complete the Lakefront Park System.
  • Support locally grown food.

Rahm Emanuel

  • Support energy efficiency programs such as the creation of Energy Efficiency Target Zones, which would identify high impact areas for energy efficiency investments in the city.
  • Create a $10 million fund to support energy-efficient initiatives that would leverage $100 million in other private and public funds.
  • Support the Chicago Climate Action Plan.
  • Improve energy efficiency in all city buildings.
  • Commit the City to purchase more renewable energy.
  • Make recycling available to all homes and businesses.
  • Make the MeterSave program mandatory.
  • Improve stormwater management.
  • Disinfect sewage effluent pumped into the Chicago River.
  • Accelerate the study to keep invasive species out of Lake Michigan.
  • Add more parks in neighborhoods that need them.
  • Preserve the Lake Calumet region.
  • Complete the Lakefront Park System.
  • Support locally grown food.

Carol Moseley Braun

  • Double CTA ridership in 10 years.
  • Double bicycle ridership.
  • Pass the Chicago Clean Air ordinance to clean up the Fisk and Crawford coal power plants.
  • Support the Chicago Climate Action Plan.
  • Improve energy efficiency in all city buildings.
  • Commit the City to purchase more renewable energy.
  • Make recycling available to all homes and businesses.
  • Make the MeterSave program mandatory.
  • Improve stormwater management.
  • Disinfect sewage effluent pumped into the Chicago River.
  • Accelerate the study to keep invasive species out of Lake Michigan.
  • Add more parks in neighborhoods that need them.
  • Preserve the Lake Calumet region.
  • Complete the Lakefront Park System.
  • Support locally grown food.

William “Dock” Walls III

  • Support the Chicago Climate Action Plan.
  • Improve energy efficiency in all city buildings.
  • Commit the City to purchase more renewable energy.
  • Make recycling available to all homes and businesses.
  • Make the MeterSave program mandatory.
  • Improve stormwater management.
  • Disinfect sewage effluent pumped into the Chicago River.
  • Accelerate the study to keep invasive species out of Lake Michigan.
  • Add more parks in neighborhoods that need them.
  • Preserve the Lake Calumet region.
  • Complete the Lakefront Park System.
  • Support locally grown food.

Patricia Van Pelt Watkins

  • Support the Chicago Climate Action Plan.
  • Improve energy efficiency in all city buildings.
  • Commit the City to purchase more renewable energy.
  • Make recycling available to all homes and businesses.
  • Make the MeterSave program mandatory.
  • Improve stormwater management.
  • Disinfect sewage effluent pumped into the Chicago River.
  • Add more parks in neighborhoods that need them.
  • Support locally grown food.


Economic Competitiveness 

Gery Chico

  • Attract business by streamlining city bureaucracy and eliminating the corporate “head tax.”
  • Cultivate Chicago as a center for businesses in the clean energy, information technology, health services, trading and risk management sectors.
  • Attract international business through incentives, marketing and partnerships, including by implementing high-speed internet in industrial corridors and promoting vacant factories and sites by making them “shovel ready” for new businesses.
  • Support small businesses by working with neighborhood aldermen and local chambers of commerce to revitalize commercial corridors.
  • Increase micro finance and small business loans for small businesses.
  • Create the Chicago City Colleges Entrepeneurial Center.
  • Provide extra support to minority and women-owned business enterprises.
  • Consider eliminating the residency requirement for Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Police Department employees.

Miguel Del Valle

  • Cut red tape for business permitting.
  • Promote green, high-tech, healthcare and niche manufacturing industries.
  • Support growth in green collar industries, energy efficiency, water management and recycling, as key investments for industry.
  • Improve transportation infrastructure and reduce congestion.
  • Develop a small contracts program, mentor/protégé pairing initiative, and joint venture majority/minority opportunity program to help smaller minority and women-owned business enterprises.

Rahm Emanuel

  • Reduce the city's sales tax percentage.
  • Expand the sales tax to include certain services.
  • Reduce natural gas tax and phase out the business “head tax.”
  • Redevelop vacant lots,
  • Invest in urban agriculture investment.
  • Provide energy efficiency incentives for businesses.
  • Support Chicago as a global technology and education leader.
  • Improve industrial lending.
  • Modernize the city as a freight hub.
  • Enhance the Small Business Improvement Fund (SPIF) by $15 million annually.
  • Consider eliminating the residency requirement for Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Police Department employees.

Carol Moseley Braun

  • Increase access to venture capital for technology-based businesses by creating a private/public partnership fund to invest in high-growth sectors.
  • Enhance transportation infrastructure by expanding CTA, Metra, high-speed rail and the O’Hare Airport.
  • Streamline city bureaucracy to support all businesses.
  • Create neighborhood-specific economic development plans in partnership with local community organizations to encourage business growth.

William “Dock” Walls III

  • Promote Chicago as a center for nanotechnology development and nanofabrication.
  • Maximize public-private partnerships.
  • Eliminate the corporate “head tax.”
  • Create a campaign to market Chicago for business.
  • Encourage owners of vacant property to lease at regionally competitive rates.

Patricia Van Pelt Watkins

  • Advance CREATE to promote the city's intermodal transportation system and leverage business investment.
  • Revive short-line railroads, waterway transit companies, and private livery firms.
  • Incentivize small and medium-sized businesses and invest in start-ups.
  • Nurture high-growth sectors, including health care, hospitality and retail.
  • Streamline municipal regulations and review tax policy for large corporations.

MPC Research Assistant Dan McDonell contributed to this article.

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Comments

  1. 1. Jason Melo Hall from Wicker Park on April 11, 2011

    Thanks for the concise info!

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