The Sun-Times Editorial Board sent the candidates running for 48th Ward alderman a list of questions to find out their views on a range of issues facing the city and their ward. David Earl Williams III submitted the following responses (the Sun-Times does not edit candidate responses):
Who is David Earl Williams III?
He’s running for: 48th Ward alderman His political/civic background: United States Navy (2002-2006) U.S.S Cowpens CG-63, Logistics Specialist. 8 x decorated – Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corp Overseas Service Ribbon (3), Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3) U.S. House, Illinois District 9 Republican Primary, 2014 Libertarian primary election- Lt. Governor Candidate, 2018 His occupation: Medical Logistics Specialist His education: Lethbridge College, General Studies Campaign website: dewforpolitics.com Twitter:@dewforpolitics Facebook: facebook.com/dewforpolitics
What are the top three priorities for your ward?
David Earl Williams III: High property taxes has become an inconvenience for the constituents of the 48th ward. We need to keep the property tax rate where it is, look for other sources of revenue such as the full legalization of Marijuana and the Lasalle St. tax (0.1% tax on all trading (buying and selling of stocks, bonds, currencies and derivatives – which is estimated to bring in $10-12 Billion annually). If we want to keep people from leaving not just the 48th ward or Chicago, we have to be considerate of the Working Poor and Middle class diverse families who helped build our neighborhoods.
Preserving Edgewater historical landmarks such as the 1912 house and the 64 unit apartment building on the 6300 N. Winthrop block which is in the process of being torn down by Loyola university to build a sophomore dormitory. Besides the potential environmental hazards this may cause, this will also displace the low income residences who have nowhere else to go. It isn’t fair for one part of the ward (East Andersonville) to have a voice when it comes to downzoning to save 2 flats apartment buildings, but ignore the residents of Edgewater by not allowing them to voice and vote their concerns on these local matters.
Lack of affordable housing and rent control. Due to gentrification, many low income families who have been loyal residents of the ward are being pushed out. Let’s bring in more affordable housing options, but at the same time we need to cap how high rent can be raised annually on those who struggle fiscally.
Recent civic work
Please tell us what you have done in the last two years to serve the city, your neighborhood or a civic organization. Please be specific.
David Earl Williams III: Convoy for Hope
National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)
American Legion of Morton Grove Post 134
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and doing the current Alderman job in the 48th ward of providing the basic sanitation and other services. See video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNftdhwshho
Chicago is on the hook for $42 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, which works out to $35,000 for every household. Those pensions, in the language of the Illinois Constitution, “shall not be diminished or impaired.” Should the state Constitution be amended to allow a reduction in pension benefits for current city employees or retirees? How about reducing pension benefits for new employees? Please explain.
David Earl Williams III:No. All contracts should be honored. I believe it’s the politicians who should take a pay cut before any city worker or program. This is a privileged and honor to run for office, to fulfill a civic duty by representing the People! For me personally, I am not here trying to get rich off of over taxed Chicagoan’s.
Of the following often proposed sources of new revenue for Chicago, which of the following do you favor, and why? A Chicago casino, legalized and taxed recreational marijuana, a LaSalle Street tax, a commuter tax, a property tax increase, a municipal sales tax increase, a real estate transfer tax increase, video gambling.
David Earl Williams III:I favor the LaSalle St. Tax which is a tax at a 0.1% rate on all trading (buying and selling), Chicago casino and legalized and taxed recreational marijuana. This will shift the burden from home owners greatly.
What other sources of new revenue do you favor or oppose?
David Earl Williams III:I oppose raising property taxes, that should be kept where it is currently. I also oppose the commuter tax as that will cause the city to lose jobs to the surrounding suburbs and the playstation tax is a joke.
Tax-increment financing districts are a primary economic development tool for Chicago. In a TIF district, taxes from the growth of property values are set aside for 23 years to be used to support public projects and private development. What changes do you favor, if any, in Chicago’s TIF program?
David Earl Williams III:Ideally, I want to abolish it. If not, and this is left up to who is the mayor- all TIF funds should be evenly distributed to the 50 wards. From my estimates, each ward would received $20-26 million.
What will you do to rein in aldermanic prerogative?
David Earl Williams III:To rein in Aldermanic prerogative can simply be done by going to the constituents and chamber of commerce’s in the wards for their input on local issues and pending projects.
The City of Chicago has entered into a federally monitored consent decree to overhaul the training and practices of the Chicago Police Department. Civil libertarians say it is long overdue, but others say it is unnecessary and could make it tougher for the police to do their job. What’s your view?
David Earl Williams III:I agree and I am an advocate for CPAC (Civilian Police Accountability Counsel). For far too long have we allowed police misconduct to go unchecked. City Hall has failed us on that, and the elected board of individuals from the community to set police department policies and fire the superintendent for incompetence and corruption is the right path to go. One could argue saying that the mayor has the right to appoint who they see fit. However, it is also the Mayors job to handle worker compensation – not 50 year incumbent of the 14th ward Ed Burke who is currently under F.B.I investigation for tax break collusion with Donald Trump and the Russian election interference.
What should Chicago do to reduce the number of illegal guns?
David Earl Williams III:Metal detectors, security, active shooter alarms and actual counseling/mentoring services in our schools, stop closing public schools in impoverished areas, ending the war on drugs, proper funding to treat mental illness and get illegal guns off the streets.
What is the appropriate role of charter schools within the Chicago Public Schools system?
David Earl Williams III:Hopefully provide a better educational experience. Statically though, Chicago Charter schools tend to have a high expulsion rate, lower academic success and hyper-segregation.
Should the Chicago Board of Education be solely appointed by the mayor, as is now the case? Or should Chicago switch to an elected school board or some hybrid?
David Earl Williams III:The community should elect their representatives to the Chicago Board of Education.
Is there enough affordable housing in your ward? Please explain.
David Earl Williams III:No. We need more of it and rent control for those who make less than $43,000- 50,000 annually.
Chicago, by ordinance, is an official “welcoming city.” This means the Chicago police are generally prohibited from detaining undocumented immigrants on behalf of federal immigration authorities. What’s your position on this policy? What more — or less — should be done with respect to undocumented immigrants who live in Chicago?
David Earl Williams III:Chicago is a sanctuary city and this should be upheld- unless the undocumented individual has committed an offense such as murder or rape.
Should the inspector general have the power to audit and review City Council programs, operations and committees? Why or why not?
David Earl Williams III:Yes. Transparency is important if we’re going to root out the corruption
Would you employ, or have you employed, staff in your office who have outside jobs or contracts with entities that do business with the city? If so, please explain.
David Earl Williams III:No and I wouldn’t do that.
Is there a past or current alderman whom you model yourself after, or would model yourself after, or take inspiration from? Please explain.
David Earl Williams III:Oddly enough, my opponents Mother, Kathy Osterman. She was a classy lady who helped the disabled, championed for LGBTQ rights, rehabilitated the Broadway Armory, restored two vintage mansions in Berger Park, and was well liked. She wasn’t a machine politician, unlike her son.
Also running for 48th Ward alderman: