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17th Ward candidate for alderman: David Moore

17th Ward aldermanic candidate and incumbent David Moore 2019 election Rich Hein

17th Ward aldermanic candidate and incumbent David H. Moore meets with the Sun-Times Editorial Board Jan. 24. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

The Sun-Times Editorial Board sent the 17th Ward aldermanic candidates a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the city and their ward. David Moore submitted the following responses (the Sun-Times does not edit candidate responses):

Who is David Moore?

He’s running for: 17th Ward alderman

His political/civic background: My first elected office was as 17th Ward alderman in the 2015 election, followed by election as Democratic committeeman in 2016.

His occupation: My first elected office was as 17th Ward alderman in the 2015 election, followed by election as Democratic committeeman in 2016.

His education: Upon completing Simeon Vocational High School, I graduated Western Illinois University with a dual major in accounting and operations management. I earned an MA with emphasis in government studies at Loyola University-Chicago.

Campaign website: citizensformoore.com

Top priorities

What are the top three priorities for your ward?

David Moore: Continuing the hallmarks of my first term as alderman — transparency, two-way communication and strategic planning with the community to determine priorities and goals for improving the ward’s health at every level. In my second term, I want to focus more on small business development, increasing engagement of young people in the community, and employment opportunities for youth and displaced workers.

More broadly, I see taking a bigger picture approach to issues that affect adjoining wards and other areas of the city. I will continue my advocacy for the South Suburban Airport, which is 90% ready to go, despite being blocked at every turn by Chicago’s last two mayors and thanks to the two Democratic and two Republican governors who preceded the outgoing governor. With the support of a new governor and mayor, we may finally see the real work begin on the single biggest economic engine for our city, state and region.

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 Moore: I am a member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators and Rainbow PUSH Coalition, as well as serve on the board of the Kodero Hunter “MVP” Foundation and as a deacon of my long-time religious home, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church.


SUN-TIMES 2019 CHICAGO VOTING GUIDE


Pensions

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 Moore: The city of Chicago has already seen that it cannot meet its obligations by borrowing from one program to pay for another, nickel and diming its residents with fees, raising taxes or cutting service. We must look to bigger, longer-term revenue sources. Our best opportunity lies in supporting construction of the South Suburban Airport. We have lost hundreds of jobs to Indianapolis and Cincinnati, because there wasn’t room at O’Hare and Midway for companies to expand. The inaugural phase of the SSA will create 15,000 direct and indirect jobs at every skill level. Many of these jobs will have a direct economic impact on South Side communities. When people work, they spend money, which generates more revenue for the city.

Revenue

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 Moore: Chicago casino, if a large portion of tax revenue is targeted for neighborhood redevelopment on south and west sides.

Legalized recreational marijuana, with taxes targeted for reinvestment in neglected communities.

Property tax and real estate transfer tax increases, if targeted for pension debt, as we need at least another $300 million for that. I would also add a city income tax for that purpose

LaSalle Street tax, with funds targeted for education

What other sources of new revenue do you favor or oppose? 

David Moore: During my last campaign, I proposed adding a $2 surcharge to the hotel stay of the more than 55 million tourists who traveled to Chicago last year. We should also consider reinstating the head tax. A reasonable fee on companies with more than 100 employees isn’t going to dissuade employers from doing business in Chicago. However, remedies such as this are like trying to plug a sink hole with a sink stopper.

A recent report from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning documented the nearly unsurmountable barriers resulting from the decades of neglect of predominately Black communities. It emphasized that, “The multi-faceted and persistent nature of such disinvestment often outstrips the ability of any one community to respond effectively.” The report urges a more regional approach.

The city has long refused to support one of its best opportunities to implement the report’s recommendations – the South Suburban Airport. The necessary property has been purchased and Federal requirements to date have been met. Completing, maintaining and expanding it will mean hundreds of construction jobs well into the future, as well as countless service, administrative, professional and small-business opportunities. Imagine starting now to plan involving residents in these benefits. Partnerships between the airport, labor organizations, education institutions and community organizations could create a long-term path of the necessary training for young, disadvantaged and displaced workers in particular to step into a variety of jobs as they become available. The SSA is 90 percent complete. Yet, petty parochial politics and a lack of vision for the South side continue to keep the SSA in limbo. All the while, we’re watching entire mini cities be developed on the North side.

TIFs

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 Moore: First and foremost, the program should be limited to the blighted areas it was originally intended to help. TIF information should be included in some form on property tax bills, and the Illinois General Assembly should reform its TIF legislation to protect local governments from the effects of inflation.

Aldermanic power

What will you do to rein in aldermanic prerogative?

David Moore: To me, the issue isn’t prerogative, but what aldermen choose to do with it. The old model was that aldermen got to run their wards like little fiefdoms and let The Boss do what he wanted for “the city.” Under the last two administrations, aldermen have ceded much of their power to the mayor for downtown development, at the devastating expense of their wards on the South and West Sides. I represent one of the neglected wards. If I don’t have the power to fight for what those who elected me tell me they want, who will?

Police reform

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 Moore: The consent decree is absolutely necessary, as is a civilian accountability board. Decades of misconduct and millions of dollars in settlement payouts prove neither the mayor nor the police have the will or ability to carry out necessary reforms.

The police contract itself protects the bad practices that got us to this point. Communities of color call police “an occupying force” that views almost every member as a potential “enemy” who can be executed for almost any reason without benefit of a trial. The overwhelming number of good cops likewise carry the stigma of and feel forced to protect the bad ones, so are hampered in doing their job the right way even if they want to.

Guns

What should Chicago do to reduce the number of illegal guns?

David Moore: It’s hard to do anything more than we have, given that we are surrounded by states and municipalities that provide the guns. Our own state legislature weakened the constraints Chicago put in place. It’s also hard for things to change when the police act as lawlessly as the gangs, and average citizens feel their best course is to arm themselves.

Schools

What is the appropriate role of charter schools within the Chicago Public Schools system?

David Moore: I lobbied the Illinois legislature for the HB 3283 moratorium on school closings, consolidations, and phase-outs in the 2013-2014 school year, as well as organized community meetings in my ward and testified at public hearings on that issue. They should never had received the degree of public funding that they have. Now that we’re stuck with them, we still have to ensure they have the oversight, accountability and proper practices that should apply to any business.

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 Moore: I worked to get the elected school board issue on the ballot in my ward.

Affordable housing

Is there enough affordable housing in your ward? Please explain. 

David Moore: We have a lot but could always use more, as long as there are vacant lots and people seeking affordable housing from anywhere in the city.

Immigration

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 Moore: I support our welcoming policy, as well as issuing some sort of identification that affords them basic rights and services as residents.

Ethics

Should the inspector general have the power to audit and review City Council programs, operations and committees? Why or why not? 

David Moore: As long as it’s to investigate a complaint. They should not be authorized to go on a fishing expedition looking for wrongdoing.

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 Moore: No.

Role model

Is there a past or current alderman whom you model yourself after, or would model yourself after, or take inspiration from? Please explain. 

David Moore: Alderman Pat Dowell because of her commitment to getting contracts for African American businesses. I also admire her ability to negotiate successfully with the administration and different entities.