What Would Paul Do About...
There are many, many important issues facing the City of Chicago, and Paul Vallas has plans to address them. Read below for more information about how Paul would tackle some of the critical issues facing our city.
Paul is a lifelong supporter of a woman’s right to bodily autonomy dating back to his work under former Illinois Senator and Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch. Paul believes: - Safe and comprehensive reproductive health care is a basic human right that must be protected at every level of government, intersecting with issues of gender-based violence, economic inequality, and issues impacting LGBTQ+ communities as well as people with disabilities. - And as Mayor will ensure that Chicago is a Reproductive Safe Haven - not only for Chicagoans but for women across the country seeking to exercise their rights. Safe Streets will mean Safe Passage in a Vallas Administration. - And he lauds and will vigorously enforce the Bodily Autonomy Ordinance, ensuring all city departments and agencies are prohibited from participation in any investigation or proceeding related to reproductive and gender-affirming care by another jurisdiction, namely anti-abortion states. - And he will work collaboratively with the City Council through the general budget appropriations process to assure access to comprehensive and affordable reproductive health services is aligned with need in all communities of the City.
Immigrant Rights & Support?
As the grandson of immigrants, Paul understands that one of Chicago’s strengths is its diverse immigrant communities. He is proud of Chicago’s 40-year history as a Sanctuary City and is dedicated to supporting those who come here seeking refuge and to make Chicago their home. Paul will: - Rigorously enforce the requirements and uphold the aspirations of Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance. - Ensure that all city and sister agency departments and employees, including the Chicago Police Department, continue within the bounds of the law to decline and report requests for assistance from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) - Ensure that all services, benefits and programs of the city are available and delivered equitably to all Chicagoans, including its newest members. - Ensure all employees, programs, departments, vendors and contractors of the city are rigorous in anti-discrimination policies and practices to assure the greatest opportunity for the newest members of the community. - Ensure that the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) use a weighted need-based funding formula that fully factors the heightened needs, challenges and risks in schools serving the children of first generation immigrant families. - Ensure Chicago Public Schools prioritizes expansion of after hours and weekend programming in schools that serve predominantly immigrant families so that they operate as supporting community anchor institutions. - Work with Chicago banks and financial institutions to promote financial support for immigrant business development and affordable home ownership
Public transportation is the backbone of our city and a lifeline to employment and opportunity for all Chicagoans, but most of all in our most vulnerable and historically disinvested communities. Therefore, the CTA must be safe, accessible, sanitary and reliable. CTA ridership is down 500,000 people a day - a 38% decrease since before COVID. As a result, fares only account for 18% of the CTA’s budget (compared to 46% pre-COVID); the system is facing financial ruin. - CTA is the transportation lifeline to the economic wellbeing for black and brown communities - namely women within those communities. So they need to be safe. I believe in safe streets and safe sidewalks. In a Paul Vallas administration, train tracks are streets and platforms are sidewalks. To make the CTA safe Paul will immediately: - Repurpose the $100M the city now spends on private security to develop and bolster a full CTA Police Transit Unit (PTU), staffed by 500 additional CTA CPD officers under a single command, operating with beat integrity that would have officers patrolling platforms and stations and spot-checking trains. - Conduct an IT security audit to identify malfunctioning surveillance cameras and reprogram and reintegrate them into a technical command center supporting patrol - Operationalize a phone-based app for customers to permit them to immediately report criminal and behavioral issues for immediate response and report service issues - Implement a co-response model for response to people in crisis and manifesting circumstantial behavioral issues – drug abuse, mental health issues, and homelessness to facilitate coordination and hand-off to appropriate city and non-profit service providers To make the CTA clean Paul will: - CLEAN THE STATIONS, TRAINS and BUSES IMMEDIATELY and regularly thereafter. To make the CTA reliable, accessible, and accountable, Paul will: - Institute Bus Rapid Transit lanes and lines to improve and speed bus service on major arteries and to prioritize them to connect historically disinvested transit-isolated communities to existing city and regional train and bus lines. - Implement a phone app to for real time customer reporting of service issues with data directed to a public data portal - Conduct an IT Audit of the CTA tracker system to align it with actual service - Move to mandate monthly service reports to be provided to the City Council Transportation Committee for appropriate hearing and to the public - Prioritize incentivized hire and retention to address understaffing - Expand Inspector General oversight to include fully independent and resourced investigations and audit authority.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to close community mental health centers and schools for “cost savings” had disastrous consequences for our city; the savings were minimal, and the negative impact on community health was massive. Paul funded 19 mental health clinics as the city’s budget director, and as mayor, he would: - Prioritize funding of at least one clinic in each of our communities that are both community owned, operated and integrated with city and county agencies and services. - Sustain these centers by securing reimbursements from private insurance providers, and state, and federal government programs, meaning the centers will be fiscally self-sustaining.pay for themselves. - Surround and locally integrate these centers with wrap-around community-based and led social service infrastructure to keep our communities healthy, including family counseling, crisis centers, opioid and drug addiction facilities among others.
Chicago needs a Mayor with a proven track record of balancing budgets and fiscal responsibility. Paul balanced six CPS budgets and left as his fiscal legacy a near $1 billion cash reserve and fully-funded pension system. Paul would: - Right-size and align the budget with the community’s values and needs to fix unfunded and underfunded regulatory mandates to ensure services and regulatory protections are administered equitably to all communities in the City. - Create a properly and professionally resourced and staffed independent budget office that serves the City Council and the public, as is done in New York City that is mandated to score major legislation and budget proposals, issue budget and fiscal impact statements (specifying requirements to fully fund new regulatory mandates) as well as recommend performance and milestone reporting requirements. - Enact a “truth-in-budgeting” ordinance requiring full disclosure to the IBO and city council on the underlying methodology and data for city revenue and budget projections.
Property tax relief is achievable if we view the city’s budget holistically and if we include sister agencies (CPS, CHA, PARK DISTRICT, ETC.) in a long-term financial planning process. Paul would: - Institute a cap on local property taxes for homeowners and businesses to protect against gentrification and the mass exodus of city residents. This would help struggling businesses thrive and prevent people on fixed incomes from being “priced” out of their homes and properties - Paul stands firmly against automatic property tax increases; he believes the city should always take a vote on property tax increases to ensure honesty and transparency for residents and will revoke the Lightfoot escalator. Claiming to need automatic tax increases to secure bond rating upgrades is lazy, unaccountable and misleading public finance administration. As city budget director, Paul balanced 10 multibillion dollar budgets while securing 13 bond rating upgrades without recourse to automatic property tax increases.
City Fines & Fees?
As mayor, Paul would eliminate red light cameras, speed cameras, and water fees. Paul would immediately order a review of the fine and fee structure to eliminate inequitable, regressive effects and to align it with regulatory and program objectives. Paul will end the legalized highway robbery known as the Parking Meter deal by doing two things: - Challenging the deal to either regain the meters or secure revenue sharing. - Expanding free on-street and off-street parking.
Paul looks forward to working with the elected school board. He has three objectives that need to occur during this transition: - First, radically decentralizing the system so money flows into the local schools and classrooms for instruction. In other words, putting the trust in the communities themselves to know what to do with their money for their children. - Second, open campuses to community based programs that provide enrichment and additional support to students through the dinner hour to keep our young people engaged and safe. - Third, return to “character education” in our schools; we need to make sure our high schools are partnering with the city, local businesses and local trade unions for paid work study.
The implementation of the Consent Decree is not moving fast enough. It has been treated as a constraint when it is in fact a floor not a ceiling. Paul will change that and fast track critical elements necessary to support officers with continuing training, supervision, performance evaluation, and wellness programs needed to deliver effective 21st century community policing. Paul will do five things to accelerate implementation: - First, he will end the “friends and family” promotion process that has led to people being promoted without proper credentials. - Second, he will implement a strategy to fill police vacancies and develop a CPD Reserve force of certified officers that can support the CPD in times of crisis or staffing difficulties. - Third, he will rapidly restore the supervisory rank of 1 sergeant for every 10 officers, as recommended. - Fourth, he will aggressively address the professional development mandates while at the same time building a collection of training officers from the ranks of the retirees that can provide newer police officers with mentoring and coaching. - Fifth, he will address the mental health mandates in the consent decree with a focus on implementing health and wellness reforms. Sixth, he will simplify disciplinary decision chains that will be implemented through a disciplinary matrix, assuring fairness and accountability in disciplinary determinations that accords with officer due process and public transparency.