The five candidates for 25th Ward alderman agreed on one thing.
“I think we all would agree it’s economic development that will get us out of this,” Roberto “Beto” Montaño said.
But each had very different ideas about how to achieve the kind of economic development they agreed would lift people out of poverty and address the underlying social issues that lead to violence in the city.
Jorge Mujica called for a $15 minimum wage, accusing Ald. Danny Solis of neglecting Pilsen. Meantime, Byron Sigcho called the incumbent’s approach to businesses in the ward “pay to play” and worried about the impact of businesses backing him, including a company that wants to put a metal shredder in the ward. They worried about gentrification, something Montaño called a “powerful” issue in the neighborhood.
Solis maintained in his 19 years as alderman he has invested 10 times as much in Pilsen as Chinatown, another neighborhood in the ward, and said he wanted to create neighborhoods where people can live and work. That’s what’s happening in Pilsen, he said. Young people are coming back to the neighborhood, historically a strong immigrant community.
And, he said, “It is the top community for Mexican-Americans to come and congregate.”
Those were just a few of the issues on the table when candidates met Monday, Jan. 19, with the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board ahead of municipal elections on Feb. 24.
You can hear from all who filled out a candidate questionnaire in their own words below.
Follow the discussion below: