Candidate Full Name: Jerry Paszek
Office: 38th Ward Alderman
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site: www.chicago38.com
Campaign Name: Citizens for Jerry Paszek
Campaign Office Mailing Address: 5423 W.Berenice, Chicago, IL 60641
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, city services and protecting the pensions earned by retirees and those currently working towards a pension will be my main priorities if elected as Alderman of the 38th ward.
Public Safety: The 38th ward is within the borders of the Chicago Police 16th District. This district also polices the 41st ward and portions of four other wards; 30, 36, 39 and 45. A comprehensive review needs to be conducted reevaluating the overall size of the district and the size of the beats within the district. Officers responding to emergency calls for service must traverse long distances at expedited speeds putting their safety and the public's safety at risk. Having to travel long distances to calls for service results in longer response times. Geographically smaller beats would alleviate these problems. Staffing levels must also be addressed. Staffing levels must not only keep up with attrition but also increased to ensure adequate police coverage. Proper staffing allows officers the opportunity to be proactive in their policing approach by having units available to patrol the streets identifying and investigating suspicious activity.
City Services: A well maintained community aids in keeping an area safe and attracts new business. Working street lights and trimmed trees allow residents to keep watch over their streets and be vigilant of suspicious activity. In order for our fire and police departments to respond to calls for service, our streets must be free of obstructions such as potholes, snow or flood waters. The residents of the 38th ward pay some of the highest property taxes in the city and deserve prompt responses to requests for city services and from its first responders.
Protecting Pensions: Many of our 38th Ward residents are public sector employees similar to me. Our public servants work tirelessly, with little recognition, to, among other things, maintain law and order, educate our children, care for our sick and elderly and keep our city functioning. We had our contributions to the pension plan automatically deducted from our paychecks and were never afforded a "pension holiday" to skip these payments. Possible cuts in pension benefits along with increased contributions for health care and rising property taxes will end up destroying our neighborhoods as these stalwarts of the community flee the City looking for a more affordable place to live. Retirees and current employees dedicated their careers to public service and planned their lives and retirements based on the guarantees they were given by their employer, the City of Chicago.
2. What are your plans for helping fight crime in your ward?
Proper staffing levels along with manageable district and beat boundaries would ensure adequate police coverage across the city. As Alderman, I would advocate for the Department to conduct a comprehensive review of the size of its districts and the beats of which they are comprised. The City needs to allocate resources to the Police Department budget to allow it to conduct testing on a regular basis in order to have a constant pool of qualified candidates to choose from instead of having to work through a list several times before exhausting that list. The Department needs to be proactive in its approach to fill vacancies due to attrition, not reactive to being short staffed hundreds of officers before a new test is given. Other major U.S. cities, such as Los Angeles and New York, recruit and test on a regular basis to fill vacancies and
Chicago should follow their example. Staffing levels must not only keep up with attrition but also be increased to ensure adequate police coverage. Proper staffing allows officers the opportunity to be proactive in their policing approach by having units available to patrol the streets identifying and investigating suspicious activity.
The City must keep up staffing levels not only for patrol officers but also in the supervisory ranks. The Chicago Police Department must ensure proper allocation of resources necessary to conduct promotional exams on a regular basis. The Department should not balance its budget and also claim to be at full staffed by eliminating positions that are essential to its effective operation. These supervisory positions should be filled by qualified members of the force to ensure the proper functioning of the department. As a 23 year veteran and a Sergeant of 14 years with the Cook County Forest Preserve Police, I know that proper supervision is an important component in minimizing the number of lawsuits filed against the Department. When a department is efficiently supervised and trained, there are fewer lawsuits, resulting in better use of funds in which the Department can utilize to hire additional officers and continue career growth through promotions.
The 38th ward is within the borders of the Chicago Police 16th District. This district also polices the 41st ward and portions of four other wards; 30, 36, 39 and 45. A comprehensive review will need to be conducted in order to reevaluate the overall size of the district and the size of the beats within the district. Officers responding to emergency calls for service must traverse long distances at expedited speeds putting their safety, and the public's safety, at risk. Officers traveling long distances to reach calls for service results in longer response times. Geographically smaller beats would alleviate these problems.
I would support legislation that increased the penalties for anyone caught with an illegal firearm and anyone who illegally transferred such firearms. One of the most common ways criminals acquire guns is through straw purchase sales. A straw purchase occurs when someone who may not legally acquire a firearm, or who wants to do so anonymously, has a family member, friend or someone they paid buy it on their behalf. Other sources of illegal gun transactions are sales made by legally licensed but corrupt gun dealers or theft from dealers or owners. In all these circumstances, proper registration of guns will lead back to the guns origins. Anyone failing to properly transfer firearms must be held accountable for this crime and as an accessory to crimes committed by those using these illegal guns.
3. What, if any, city assets would you consider privatizing to raise money?
I oppose the privatization of city services and assets. I would support the Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance, which establishes a process to provide for public input and City Council review of any proposed City privatization plans.
4. Do you support or oppose the vote to increase the minimum wage in several steps to $13 an hour by 2019?
I support the City Council vote to increase the minimum wage to $13 an hour. The cost of living in the City has continued to rise while the minimum wage remained stagnant. Studies show this increase will strengthen the economy while improving the lives of families. A worker previously working two jobs to make ends meet may be able to work one job or fewer hours at a second job with the increased wage, creating a more balanced situation and having more time to spend with family. The viewpoint that minimum wage jobs are meant to be only entry level jobs is no longer valid when so many college graduates are unsuccessful in securing employment in their field of training and forced to accept these "entry level" positions.
5. Are you in favor of Chicago's Red Light Camera program?
Chicago's traffic light program is despised by many for a number of reasons including the admission of bribery and kickback schemes surrounding the program. The shortness of its yellow lights generated 77,000 tickets and $8 million for the city in six months and overall the program generates approximately $60 million annually. This program needs a comprehensive review and monitoring to ensure that its original intent, to promote safe driving and reduce intersection related accidents, is adhered to. The City must make sure its vendors are not manipulating the system to increase revenue. Eliminating these programs will result in having to station police officers at high traffic areas that once had these cameras. With proper oversight this program can provide the benefit of changing driving behaviors in a positive way and help to enforce traffic laws without having to utilize police resources. The fines levied by these programs are avoidable by driving responsibly. No one wants to receive a ticket and pay a fine but the simple solution to avoid this is-stop at red lights.