Candidate Full Name: Norman Bolden
Office: 4th 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?
I will work to immediately address the lack of transparency and accountability that currently exists in the Fourth Ward, which has led to wholesale erosion of the public trust through the pillaging of public assets. Under the current alderman, we have seen the closing of the 21st District Police Station, and the only open enrollment high school and middle school serving Bronzeville and North Kenwood. Development in other areas of the ward, such as Vue 53, has been pushed forward despite the objections of neighborhood residents. While other areas of the Ward have been completely ignored.
The community's fight to keep Dyett High School open as the last open enrollment high school for Bronzeville residents, and the adoption of the academic plan devised by the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett is an effort I would wholeheartedly support as I seek to restore public trust in the democratic process and local government. After a deep investment in the students there over several years, parents, community leaders, and educators worked to develop an academic plan that has been maligned by the current alderman and ignored by the Chicago Public Schools' administration. A fully-developed academic plan with rigor, a focus on curriculum and instruction, wraparound school supports, and built-in collaboration between the school and community is what our community needs in a neighborhood school.
2. What are your plans for helping fight crime in your ward?
The Fourth Ward, largely as a result of bad public policy, has seen increases in violent crimes over the past several years. Our senior citizens and youth, in particular, are suffering as a result. As Alderman, I would encourage the police district commander, police superintendent, and Mayor to take a different approach to their policing strategy that strengthens its community policing efforts, retrain officers to reaffirm the humanity within communities - not generations of abuse and neglect, and restores public trust. However, there has to be a comprehensive approach to public safety that incorporates: employment opportunities, affordable housing, quality education, youth investment, and consultation with the public on policy matters. We cannot arrest our way to safe neighborhoods. The criminal justice system is full of young people who were not given adequate supports to succeed. We all have a responsibility to end the school-to-prison pipeline that is devouring a generation of youth of color.
3. What, if any, city assets would you consider privatizing to raise money?
I do not support the privatization of public assets. Public assets are meant to be just that - institutions, services, and opportunities by which the public can receive the benefit of investment in the provision of their needs in a manner that allows their engagement. Private corporations are not accountable to the public, but public institutions are. Taxpayers should have the opportunity to face the people who work on their behalf. Through privatization schemes, that opportunity is removed. There are other options that may not be as popular, but could raise billions of dollars in new revenue without diminishing public assets. One example is the so-called "LaSalle Street Tax" whereby a tax on the transactions that take place on the commodities and exchange markets in Chicago on LaSalle Street. It has been estimated that this could raise $12B in new revenue.
4. Do you support or oppose the vote to increase the minimum wage in several steps to $13 an hour by 2019?
I believe the minimum wage increase to $13 an hour 2019 is too little too late. While I agree increasing the minimum wage is well overdue, the political maneuvering to undermine the efforts to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour in 3 years is a clear example of how the current Fourth Ward alderman and the Emanuel administration works to promote the business elite in this City at the expense of low-income and working families. By the time, we get to 2019, $13 an hour will not be enough to support a family. Families need relief now.
5. Are you in favor of Chicago's Red Light Camera program?
I do not support Chicago's Red Light Camera program because the preliminary attempts to evaluate the program suggest that it has no impact on public safety, but has been a significant revenue-generator for the City of Chicago. I do not believe that attempts to target specific communities to underwrite City costs is fair. I don't believe it's an accident there are no red light cameras in the City Center. I am in favor of finding new means of revenue-generation, as well as innovative ways to make our city safer. However, I don't believe that photo-enforced ticketing is the best means to achieve either.