Candidate Full Name: Miguel del Valle
Office: Chicago Mayor
Email Address: Pluscount@sbcglobal.net
Web Site: http://DelValleForMayor.com
Campaign Name: Del Valle for Mayor
Campaign Office Mailing Address: 1325 W Grand, Chicago IL, 60642
Phone: (312) 733-8083
Survey Questions (Character limit of 2,000 per response)
1. It's the next Mayor of Chicago that will deal with the full consequences of the financial decisions being made today. What strategies will you use to make headway with the budget difficulties?
We cannot cut our way out of the budget deficit. We have to identify both new revenue and additional cost savings to address the crisis. We must embrace fiscal responsibility and transparency as we set a new course for the long-term financial recovery of Chicago.
As Mayor, I will improve Chicago's fiscal health while maintaining essential services by:
2. Will you raise property taxes?
I do not support a property tax hike, and I am opposed to taxes that unduly burden low-income and middle class families. I will not put more financial burdens on low income and middle class families.
3. How do you feel about privatizing city assets?
I am not opposed to limited privatization, but the recent privatization of parking meters reminds us that such decisions need to be entered into with great care and consideration. Both the residents and the City need to get a good deal.
There are some services that should be considered for privatization, including recycling, as there are useful models, such as the Resource Center's commercial and residential recycling programs, that provide significant benefit to residents and the environment without drawback to Chicagoans. Additionally, I would consider the privatization of Midway Airport if part of the proceeds were used to support the City pension funds.
As long as we can ensure that we are bringing the best and most cost efficient services, I would be willing to examine the possibility of privatization. Privatization as a strategy would have to yield both short and long term benefits for the people of the City. But we would also have to be sure that privatization is not being used as a way to shift patronage jobs to contractors, with no way to discover if the private company is being given a list of people to hire for the contract. For these and many other reasons suggested herein, any privatization proposal should be considered through an extensive process that would include careful deliberation by the City Council.
4. How will you improve the Chicago School System?
All schools must be treated equally and fairly. As a parent -- and I and my children attended the Chicago Public Schools -- I understand the need for academic options. But we need to invest public resources in a way that ensures that every neighborhood school is a quality school, as lots of families do not have access to charter and selective-enrollment schools. I do not want us to create two parallel school systems where children without access to selective enrollment schools lose out indefinitely. Tremendous leadership and creativity must be brought to bear on making every school a quality school. This will also entail an effective evaluation system and quality professional development for teachers and principals.
We must build upon existing "Community Schools" models to create additional Community Learning Centers within the lowest performing schools. We will create partnerships among the private sector and nonprofit organizations and these schools to create extended day learning opportunities that may include the arts, sports, technology, tutoring, and specialized programs for students. Crucial to this model is a parent component in which parents can also take classes such as GED or ESL in addition to being involved in programming for the benefit of the children. In addition, I will continue my support of Local School Councils. As a state senator, I co-sponsored the 1988 school reform law that created Local School Councils.
Schools will continue be held accountable at the local level for student performance. The accountability must go beyond test scores. We will monitor school improvement plans, parental involvement, attendance rates, mobility rates, teacher turnover, and graduation rates.
To ensure strong and appropriate leadership to improve the success of the public schools I believe we should appoint an educator as superintendent. In addition to a background in education, this person must bring with her/him strong executive and managerial skills.
5. How do you feel about Superintendent Weis's plan to relocate Police officer to high crime areas? Would it be your intent to renew Weis's contract?
I am committed to finding the dollars to increase police presence on the streets. I plan to increase the number of police working to prevent and solve crimes by reallocating funds towards filling the current vacancies on the police force, and shifting city resources away from desk work and lower priorities. We need to look at deployment, but we should not reduce police in any neighborhood; rather, we must find a way to provide additional officers in areas that need them.
I believe that the CAPS program needs to be reinvented. Currently the CAPS program is a police-driven initiative and should be more driven by community efforts. I want more police to be visible on the beat on a regular basis while forging new strategic partnerships with neighbors and community-based organizations to promote crime prevention strategies. As Mayor, I will insist that the CAPS program be a tool to identify real problems and real solutions.
I also support more funding to alternative crime prevention programs such as CeaseFire, an evidence-based epidemiological method to reduce violence. Evaluations prove its effectiveness, yet the current level of funding is inadequate for violence prevention. The engagement of neighbors and community-based organizations in block club organizing as well as healthy out-of-school time activities, job development programs, and actual jobs for youth are also key components to combating crime.
I am open to replacing Superintendent Weis. We need a superintendent who has the reputation, credibility, and skills to gain and maintain the respect of the officers while also holding them accountable. Police work is incredibly complex and challenging, even more than most people realize, and our officers work in a fluid environment that can range from quiet to explosive in seconds. The twin goals of morale and accountability have to be met to the greatest degree possible every day, and this requires an extraordinary set of skills for a superintendent.
6. As a way to increase revenue, without raising property taxes, would you support casino gambling in Chicago?
I would prefer to generate revenue for the city through other means rather than a casino. If I were to consider casino gambling, there would have to be very strict parameters established to gain my support for it in the city. As a global city, I believe that we potentially could offer casino gambling as a very small feature among many options for our visitors, and limit it to high traffic tourist areas--particularly McCormick Place. There are already discussions about a new hotel there to accommodate convention-goers; I envision such a hotel being an appropriate place to consider casino gambling, as it would be much more oriented toward serving tourists rather than Chicagoans. I would only support it in a very restricted way and in consultation with our residents.
I am in strong opposition to video gambling because of the social costs associated with having such temptation within easy reach in every bar in Chicago. I don't want to enable so many Chicagoans to so easily gamble away their paychecks. Additionally, I believe that the video gambling legislation that was passed at the state level is a bad deal for taxpayers; it won't generate enough revenue. Nonetheless, I have called for an advisory referendum on video gambling because I think Chicago residents should debate the issue. I believe the voters would turn it down and the City Council would follow the voters' lead.
7. How do you feel about the use of taxpayers' money for the proposed renovations of Wrigley Field?
While I support taxpayer investment in economic development in Chicago neighborhoods, I believe we have to be very careful about where we invest this money. We cannot subsidize private development that could and should be privately funded. This issue requires further exploration before I reject the possibility, but I suspect this is a case where private interests can and should fund the project. However, I do support City-supported infrastructure improvements where it is necessary to allow for private economic development.