Cities are increasingly a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that pollute the atmosphere and degrade the environment. We have a responsibility as city-dwellers to do our part to reduce our emissions and conserve life-sustaining green space. As Alderman, I will direct funds on the ward and city level to reduce our carbon emissions, protect our access to natural resources, and prepare us for the impending effects of climate change.
1. Ensure our ward doesn't lose trees
- Research shows that tree density lowers air temperatures across city neighborhoods. I will require new infrastructure projects to agree to plant as many trees as they remove.
- Push to establish the Urban Forestry Advisory Board which will coordinate between departments to protect our tree canopy.
2. Improve biking and pedestrian infrastructure
New bike rungs at Kathy Osterman Beach.
Improve bike lanes on major thoroughfares (Clark, Broadway, Bryn Mawr).
Hold meetings to identify streets that could be converted to bike only and bike/car shared lanes.
Conduct a review of crossing walks at busy intersections and near schools.
3. Support city-wide recycling
Chicago is currently one of the worst cities in the nation for percentage of waste recycled with rates of recycling declining over the past decade. By forming teams of recycling inspectors to deal with contaminated bins and creating a communication system that allows residents a second chance to sort their recycling, we can reverse this trend.
Modernize our waste-management system by integrating city-wide composting
Increase the number of garbage cans on Sheridan to deal with high volume weekends.
4. Invest in climate change resilience
Reconstitute the Department of the Environment so we have the capacity to execute a city-wide plan.
Continue to work with ComEd to encourage renewable energy usage.
Invest in flooding mitigation such as green roofs and rain gardens.
Small businesses matter. Growing up as the son of a business owner, I saw first-hand the hard work and determination that running a successful business demands. All too often, politicians cater to the interests of large corporations, passing tax breaks and bending rules so that they can consolidate their control on the city’s business environment. As Alderman, I vow to put small, family businesses first.
1. Streamlining licensing for small business owners
A common refrain of small business owners in Chicago is that the city’s licensing and permitting standards create onerous barriers to entry. As alderman, I will support efforts to increase staffing at inspection agencies to reduce the length of wait times.
2. Fine Commercial Landlords who intentionally keep storefronts vacant
- Large real estate investment companies sometimes benefit from keeping their properties vacant as part of a tax avoidance strategy. Establishing fines for large commercial real estate companies that are not actively searching for new tenants can disincentive the practice.
3. Prioritize assistance for local, small business
- COVID-19 and the CTA modernization have made it difficult for local businesses to thrive. I will work with the Chambers of Commerce to fill vacant stores with small businesses and fight for more assistance from the city to reduce the cost of starting businesses.
As a proud bisexual man, I recognize the 48th ward’s role in the social life of LGBTQ+ populations across the city. As Alderman, I plan to pass legislation and support developments that contribute to our ward’s queer-friendly character. Neither gender nor sexual orientation should be a hurdle to personal and professional success.
1. Require prospective and current contractors to guarantee pay equity and anti-harassment compliance
2. Pass ordinance that guarantees paid family leave for biological, adoptive, and foster parents regardless of sex
3. Encourage LGBTQ+ business ownership to maintain our ward’s desirability as a destination and home for LGBTQ+ Chicagoans
4. Continue the City’s efforts to expand reproductive services and make Chicago a refuge for Midwesterners seeking reproductive care
Rapid increases in rents and ballooning property taxes lead to housing insecurity and the displacement of longtime members of our community. As alderman, I will work at the ward and city levels to provide assistance to our unhoused neighbors and ensure that the 48th ward remains a welcoming, affordable home for working and middle class Chicagoans.
1. Continue proactive community planning
- Ald. Harry Osterman has been a proponent of community involvement in development decisions. I will also seek extensive neighborhood input when making decisions about new developments
2. Promote balanced development and protect affordable housing standards
- Requiring that all large developments include 25% affordable housing on-site.
- Promote adaptive reuse of ward’s historical buildings (repurposing and rehabbing) over the construction of unsightly luxury condominiums
- Pursue the construction of 100% affordable housing developments and rehabs
3. Make real estate transfer tax progressive so that sales of multimillion dollar properties can fund programs for our unhoused neighbors
- For too long, the City has relied on regressive and burdensome property taxes to fund services. As alderman, I will support pursuing revenue sources that better reflect how our economy has grown.
- By making large real estate companies pay their fair share of taxes, we can increase the number of city dollars that we have available to fund public assistance for at-risk neighbors.
Everyone deserves to live in a community that is safe, clean, and welcoming. I take seriously the rising crime rates in the ward. Data clearly shows that addressing violence and crime requires investment in communities. Our leaders have a responsibility to ensure that our city’s spending reflects our priorities and the most up-to-date research on violence prevention. As Alderman, I will invest in anti-violence programming, strengthen police accountability, and protect the right of our undocumented neighbors to live free from undue government harassment.
1. Invest in “positive activity” and anti-violence programs
- Increase the number of community block clubs
- Develop new nightly programming for teens during summer months
- Provide city funds for effective violence interruption organizations like Cure Violence (formerly, Ceasefire).
2. Institute stronger oversight and demand accountability for police abuse
- As an advocate of police reform, I believe that we need to strengthen the community’s relationship to the police, while also demanding increased accountability and transparency.
- The best way to address the root causes of violence is to work together as a community. Improving relationships with the police, including advocating for community-based officers, is one way that we can discourage police violence and ensure safety for every resident.
3. Invest in alternatives to policing
- For the past four decades, American cities have relied too heavily on police officers to do the work of strengthening our communities. As an Alderman, I will push the city to develop alternatives to policing, like the CARE initiative. The city ought to provide a robust assortment of emergency assistance programs instead of relying on police officers to solve every problem.
4. Strengthen Chicago’s position as a “welcoming city” for refugees and immigrants
- I support ongoing efforts to make Chicago a city where immigrants, regardless of status, can safely work, raise a family, and live.
5. Bolster the Department of Public Health
- The recent COVID-19 and Monkeypox outbreaks have exposed vulnerabilities in Chicago’s public healthcare infrastructure. I support investing in city-wide preparedness for future outbreaks, including money for updating communication systems and vaccine distribution.
Chicago has a history of ignoring the interests of residents and catering to the interests of corporate donors and machine politicians. I plan to make decisions with the input and participation of community members. Democracy isn’t just about making-good decisions; it’s about making decisions in a way that allows as many people to participate as possible. As Alderman, I plan to increase community-engagement in ward-level decisions by piloting participatory budgeting, creating new advisory councils, and investing in greater neighborhood outreach.
1. Introduce Participatory Budgeting to the 48th ward
2. Expand educational efforts about city council decision
- I will invest resources in expanding the reach of 48th ward communications so that every resident can stay informed and get involved in community decision making
- The strong Block Club culture of the 48th ward is a resource that needs to be tapped by our local officials. I promise to leverage the Block Club network to help plan events and make-decisions
3. Aldermanic Youth Council
- Politicians often focus on the ideas and aspirations of voting-age residents. My experience as a teacher has taught me that young people are a vital part of our community’s future. As Alderman, I will convene a Youth Council to encourage participation from our neighbors who are ages 13-18. Over the course of the year, members of the council will work alongside staff to implement a ward-level project.