Candidate Full Name: Milly Santiago
Office: 31st 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?
Having walked in every neighborhood in the 31st ward, and knocked on hundreds of doors, the most pressing issues I have heard that resonate throughout the ward is public safety and perceived political corruption stemming from the Alderman's office.
Residents feel that the Alderman is not full time and is not engaged in creating partnerships that would reduce crime. Many residents have teenagers and they are beginning to question if their neighborhood is the right environment to raise them.
Residents and small business are definitely not happy with the services they receive.
Perceived political corruption and lack of transparency is also a major issue.
Small businesses have reported being mandated to donate money to political campaigns while those who refuse are intimidated or forced to close down their shops is not part of the American Dream. I am fighting against a political machine that has denied residents to be part of the decision making process.
Ray Suarez has been alderman since 1991. His closest ally, Joe Berrios, has made the
31st Ward organization ground zero for his political machine operation. That organization witnessed its biggest defeat this year when Will Guzzardi soundly defeated Berrios' daughter, Toni Berrios, for Illinois State Representative. The district includes most of the 31st Ward. This clearly shows that residents are ready for a change. Also, we have documented small businesses that say they are required to buy a table at a Suarez fundraiser in order to get things done. Many feel that you have to reciprocate something in order to get help. This is unacceptable, I will finally open the decision making process to all in the Ward.
2. What are your plans for helping fight crime in your ward?
First and foremost I will be a FULL-TIME AIderman. Our Alderman needs to be constantly vigilant of what is going on in the neighborhoods in order to be effective and engage residents to stand up and participate.
Working closely with community leaders and our police, in an effort to strengthen that relationship, will be a priority. We must make sure our residents feel comfortable in coming forward to report crimes in our neighborhoods. The criminals take advantage of the distrust between the community and its police officers.
It is my belief that neighborhood organizations like block clubs are key to help build a stronger bond between the police and the community. I am a strong supporter of block clubs who work closely with the police to inform the residents of what to look for in criminal activity and empower our citizens in taking a stand against crime. If elected, I will work to provide the necessary resources to organizations like the Block Clubs and community based organizations who are fighting along side our brave police officers.
Providing jobs and training to our youth can not be ignored in a strategy to decrease crime in our neighborhoods. My office will zero in on efforts that will bring jobs and resources, especially to the young adult population.
3. What, if any, city assets would you consider privatizing to raise money?
None. We can't not continue to sell our city, privatizing is only a bandaid solution to a much bigger problem. We have also failed to truly look into how are assets can be managed to its fullest potential so that revenue can be leveraged instead of losing our assets permanently.
4. Do you support or oppose the vote to increase the minimum wage in several steps to $13 an hour by 2019?
I do support the minimum wage increase. However, the cost of living here in the city will neutralize any gains made by the wage increase. We must do more. We must work together on creating real solutions to helping middle and lower income working families.
5. Are you in favor of Chicago's Red Light Camera program?
NO! These cameras are essentially a new way of taxing the residents of Chicago while using the false pretense of public safety as a reason to continue this unfair program.
Media outlets have been streaming with reports that the camera program have not proven whether they actually improve public safety. The amount of mistakes created by this system is more of a burden on the people and our courts. The current Alderman supports this program and argues that it is a safety issue, I strongly disagree. Most importantly, this way have collecting revenue from our residents IS NOT FAIR.