Candidate Full Name: Samantha Webb
Office: 10th Ward Alderman
Survey Questions (Character limit of 2,000 per response)
1. What is the most important issue that you will address in your ward?
Public safety is my number one priority if elected to the Chicago City Council. As a Police Officer I have dedicated my life to the protection of persons and property and as a resident of the tenth ward I have seen a steady decline in the overall public safety within my ward. I will dedicate my time and effort as an alderman to ensuring that the Chicago Police Department is fully staffed and the resources are properly allocated.
2. What are your plans for helping fight crime in your ward?
The first task the city needs to undertake in order to improve public safety is to hire more officers. The police department has not added enough officers to keep up with retirements for years and this depletion through attrition is being felt throughout the entire city. While Chicago is boasting decreases in homicides there has actually been an increase in shootings. This uptick in violence requires additional boots on the ground and that can only be accomplished through an aggressive course of new hiring. Chicago currently has one of the best trained and capable police departments in the country. The dedicated professionals who don a star and protect the citizens of this city every day are constantly faced with the old adage that they must do more with less and in that endeavor they consistently outperform most other law enforcement organizations. Our citizens need more resources to assist officers in combating crime in their communities. I believe that an aggressive campaign to educate the populace as to what they can to do in order to assist the police department is required. I want to revamp the CAPS program to help facilitate better working relationships between the community and the Department. I am a police officer and I have dedicated my life to serving and protecting this city and its residents.
3. What, if any, city assets would you consider privatizing to raise money?
I do not support the privatization of any city assets. I do not believe that privatizing assets creates any financial benefit for the long term health of the city's finances. I feel the privatization of city services only hinders the successful outcome of the project on the first attempt; for instance, the privatization of parking meters and the Chicago Skyway. These outside private agencies are not well enough equipped to handle the amount of business that this great City provides and the commuters are being charged exorbitant amounts to utilize these services. When these agencies flub the task at hand, the City has to come in and REDO the work or try to renegotiate the contract specifications causing the taxpayers even more.
4. Do you support or oppose the vote to increase the minimum wage in several steps to $13 an hour by 2019?
As much as I can appreciate being paid fair wages, I believe it is unfair to force employers to pay workers more than the market will allow for a given job. Our Ward is unique in that we are 5 minutes away from the Indiana border, where taxes are lower and most items are a more inexpensive. It is very difficult to do business in our Ward competing with these factors. Residents can travel a few minutes east and spend much less money. Adding to these factors, the minimum wage increase for our City businesses would only push more of them out. I believe it would either force businesses to move elsewhere for affordability OR force them to cut their workforce to make up for the higher cost of paying their employees, resulting in even fewer jobs for our residents. If the minimum wage increase was nationwide, of course, I would vote yes.
5. Are you in favor of Chicago's Red Light Camera program?
I am not in favor of Chicago's Red Light Camera program. I believe that these cameras are only used to generate revenue for the city. I feel this program is a Band-Aid for the lack of police manpower that the city now faces. A red light camera photo is not a justification to replace the role of a hard working police officer on the beat. Surveys have shown that the only real change in driving behavior occurs where the red light and speeding ticket cameras are located and these changes in behavior are only temporary. Real increases in traffic safety can only be achieved through having active police patrol. Routine traffic stops and traffic missions are also great tools to help Officers discover greater crimes. Red light and speed cameras cannot accomplish these same goals.