Will Burns, Candidate for 4th Ward Alderman

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Candidate Full Name: William D. Burns

Office: 4th Ward Alderman

Web Site: http://www.friendsofwillburns.com/

Campaign Name: Friends of Will Burns

Campaign Office Mailing Address: P.O. Box 804413, Chicago, IL 60680

Phone: 773-916-6605

Survey Questions (Character limit of 2,000 per response)

1. What is the most important issue that you will address in your ward?

The main policy priorities of my office and campaign are listed below with some of the actions our office has taken to further them:

Economic development opportunities

  • Included living wage and benefit provisions in City of Chicago and Hyatt Place redevelopment agreement (RDA). RDA guarantees that full time employees are paid $11.78 an hour; receive paid sick leave, and retirement benefits.
  • Co-chaired the working group to determine a higher minimum wage for all working Chicagoans. The working group recommended a 58% increase to the current Chicago minimum wage, raising it to $13/hr., with annual increases at the rate of inflation.
  • Secured funding for a $16.5 million, Level One Field House at 35th and Cottage Grove. Field house will include competition-sized pool, full-length basketball court, fitness room, multi-purpose rooms for meetings and programs, gym, and rooftop deck.
  • Secured $1.5 million artificial turf field with football and soccer markings for Mandrake Park.
  • Repaved 39th Street Bridge
  • Construction underway on the 35th Street Pedestrian Bridge. The project is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2015
  • Secured funding to resurface 35th Street from King Drive to Cottage Grove.
  • Secured funding for construction of the lakefront bridges connecting Kenwood and Oakland to beaches and the lake path.
  • Recruited a developer to purchase the uncompleted Muntu Dance Theater construction project at 47th and Greenwood. The site has been cleared and converted into a surface parking lot.
  • Worked with Ald. Pat Dowell and Chicago Department of Transportation on Roosevelt Road streetscape project. Roosevelt Road will have new bike lanes, street furniture, signage, and Pedestrian Island between Wabash and State. The project is slated for completion at the end of May 2015.
  • Worked with The Community Builders, Inc. to rehabilitate affordable housing units in Grand Boulevard and build new artist live-work housing units.
  • Improve public schools

  • Championed having Chicago Public Schools (CPS) shift Reavis and Jackie Robinson Elementary Schools into Office of Strategic Support Services (OS4). OS4 schools receive intensive support from CPS central office to execute School Improvement Grant programs
  • Spearheaded efforts to move Kenwood Academy's 7th and 8th grade academic center into empty Canter School building. The relocation of the academic center ensures that the Canter building will be used as a public school, reduces overcrowding at Kenwood, and creates more seats at Kenwood.
  • Supported TIF surpluses in 2011, 2012 and 2013 that directly benefitted neighborhood schools. In 2009, when I was a State Representative, I supported SB 174, a comprehensive solution to Illinois's school funding crisis.
  • Protect affordable housing

  • Co-sponsored the Affordable Requirement Ordinance (ARO), the City of Chicago's inclusionary housing law that strengthens the City's commitment to affordable housing. The ARO will create new incentives and requirements for developers to build affordable housing in communities of opportunity and help generate additional resources for new housing construction in Chicago neighborhoods.
  • Reduce corruption and wasteful spending in city government
  • Appointed to a four person Ethics Reform Taskforce in 2011 that rewrote the City of Chicago Ethics Ordinance. The Ethics Ordinance, which had not been updated in more than 20 years, strengthens gift ban provisions, lobbyist reporting, statement of economic interests, requires ethics training and processes to adjudicate violations.
  • 2. What are your plans for helping fight crime in your ward?

    I would support a ban on assault weapons, high capacity ammunition cartridges, gun registration, state licensure of gun dealers, and limiting gun purchases to one firearm per month. Most property crimes are committed by young people. Young people need supervised activities like mentoring, after school programs, and employment. The Crime Lab at the University of Chicago has shown, empirically, that these interventions have demonstrable impact on reducing criminality in young people.

    Second, we need involved police officers that are willing to get out of their cars and interact with the public.

    Third, we need everyday people to call 911. There are times when constituents complain about a drug house or other illicit activity, but the police have no calls for service. Calls for service highlight to police supervisors that there are problem areas for that require additional police resources.

    Fourth, the community and alderman have to go after bad property owners and businesses in the ward. Working with a community development corporation and block clubs I was able to revoke the licenses of a liquor store that featured prostitution, drug dealing, and gun crimes. Apartment building owners and property management companies must be held accountable for the behavior of their tenants. Tenants who commit crimes have to be evicted by their landlords. I have met with apartment building owners in response to community concerns about tenants and security. On a monthly basis apartment building owners, CHA, and the Chicago Police Department meet with my office to share information on problem tenants and intelligence on gang activity.

    3. What, if any, city assets would you consider privatizing to raise money?

    I am a co-sponsor of 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 co-chaired the working group to determine a higher minimum wage for all working Chicagoans. The working group recommended a 58 percent increase to the current Chicago minimum wage, raising it to $13/hr., with annual increases at the rate of inflation.

    In my Ward, we included living wage and benefit provisions in the City of Chicago and Hyatt Place redevelopment agreement (RDA). The RDA guarantees that full time employees are paid $11.78 an hour; receive paid sick leave, and retirement benefits. Lastly, I championed paid sick leave by co-sponsoring an ordinance that requires most employers to provide paid sick leave for their employees.

    5. Are you in favor of Chicago's Red Light Camera program?

    I voted against the speed cameras ordinance and voted to amend the parking meter ordinance to allow for free Sunday parking and pay by phone parking.

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