Services

For most people, the most important job in our neighborhood is sidewalk repairs, streetlights that work, garbage pickup, pot-hole repairs, and street cleaning.

Development

I have several key principles for community development:

                      1. Development should begin with community input, and end with community input, since we're the ones who will have to live with the results.
                      2. Development should be sustainable. It should build to succeed long-term, including affordable housing, quality businesses, adequate access, and high standards (including green). Don't just recruit national chains because they're cheap and easy; focus on building local businesses.
                      3. Developers should not leave vacant blocks. Ever. They destroy the fabric of a neighborhood.
                      4. Don't drive out the people who currently live there. Make room for everyone.

Health Care

Affordable health care is a struggle for most of us. Problems with UChicago Medicine and United HealthCare doesn't help. Neither does the struggles of Provident Hospital, Stroger Hospital, and other medical resources. But thanks to UChicago for finally agreeing to develop a trauma center (and special thanks to the many protestors who demanded this for over a decade).

Crime and Safety

Is CAPS a worthwhile expenditure of funds? The city of Chicago is short some 1,500 officers—why aren't we hiring more police? Has the University of Chicago Police over-extended its reach?

Jobs

Where do we go? Job fairs? City services? Neighborhood placement centers? We not only need job creation, but jobs that pay a living wage.

Affordable and Accessible Housing

Political leaders in Hyde Park have led the city in promoting affordable housing. I would like to add two components to that goal:

  • Don't lose lower and middle class families in favor of high-end condos and townhomes. Diversity should means economic and well as racial and cultural. Build housing for everyone.
  • Add "accessible" to "affordable." With the aging of the baby boom generation, there is no reason developers should not be building with "universal access" guideliness. People who are blind or in a wheelchair need a place to live too.

Schools and Libraries

Why are we eliminating school teachers instead of reducing the costs of street cleaning? Which is more important to our long-term future? Why have we cut back on the hours at libraries? Working parents need libraries after school hours as much as their kids need a safe place to go. And free computer access is essential for people who are unemployed to do job searches.

Transportation

In the Hyde Park-Kenwood area, the need for years has been parking. "No Hyde, No Park." There is now several new parking lots, but most of them are expensive and inconvenient. Why aren't there incentives for using them, especially for business patrons along 53rd Street? Along the Lakefront, throughout the South Side, the need is access. Why are there so few Metra trains during the day? Go, Coalition for Modernizing the Metra Electric.

As the Mayor pushes biking, the need for a bicycle safety education program has become essential throughout the city. Don't ride your bikes on the sidewalk, don't run stop signs, watch out for pedestrians.

The Environment—"Greening" the South Side

There is a movement toward "green" construction in Chicago. Other wards have green houses, with various groups helping in the design and financing. Transportation also enters the picture, including bus, car, bicycle, and pedestrian routes. Existing buildings can be retrofitted for energy efficiency. Neighborhood gardens and open areas are important. What is most important is the overall planning, not a piece-by-piece approach. LEEDS is nice, but true sustainability is better.