Mayoral candidates to face tough issues

September 8, 2010 (CHICAGO) Several individuals are interested in taking on the job, but candidates must provide answers for those tough questions. And whoever succeeds Mayor Daley will have his or her plate full.

"The first thing they have to deal with this year is a $650 million budget deficit, which the mayor with undoubtedly close, but it will open up again next year. S,o whenever they come into office, they are going to come in with a couple hundred million dollars' debt," said Dick Simpson, UIC political scientist.

Simpson also says the economy will weigh heavily on the next mayor.

"There are going to be cost savings in city government in order to have the ability run the city well and be in a position to move ahead when times change," he said.

In advance of his shocking announcement to end his reign as mayor, Daley began Tuesday at school. The mayor has been passionate about improving the quality of education, but has been criticized for some of his changes to education.

Catalyst Chicago reports on education in the city and has reported weaknesses in the renaissance 2010 project. Catalyst's editor-in-chief hopes a new mayor will continue to focus on improving education and hire educators to lead the change.

"What is going to be the strategy other than just closing schools or turning schools around, especially in an era when money is so tight?" said Catalyst's Lorraine Forte.

Violence has often stolen the headlines during Mayor Daley's tenure. Experts says the mayor is not to blame, but the new mayor will have invest in policing technology, community building and finding ways to prevent violence.

"We need to come up with plans that are preventative in nature, that have a long-term view of how we help people stay out of trouble, get jobs and become productive members of society," UIC criminologist Dennis Rosenbaum said.

There are many more issues that will arise for the mayoral candidates, but the economy will influence many aspects of city life for a while to come.

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