24th Ward candidate for alderman: Toriano A. Sanzone
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
The Sun-Times Editorial Board sent the 24th Ward aldermanic candidates a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the city and their ward. Toriano A. Sanzone submitted the following responses (the Sun-Times does not edit candidate responses):
Who is Toriano Sanzone?
He’s running for: 24th Ward alderman
His political/civic background: Business owner in the city of Chicago
His occupation: CEO & Founder of Wolfkeeper University
His education: Bachelors degree in Mass Communication & Marketing from Gustavus Adolphus College
Campaign website: wemust.us
Twitter handle: @sanzone_toriano
Facebook page: facebook.com/ts.wemust/
What are the top three priorities for your ward?
Toriano Sanzone: 1. Improving Educational Opportunities and Schools 2. Bringing Grocery Stores to the 24th Ward 3. Revitalizing Business in the 24th Ward
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.
Toriano Sanzone: I have opened 2 stores in neighboring wards that are designed to combine dog training with improving & saving the lives of U.S. veterans.
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.
Toriano Sanzone: Pension benefits should not be reduced, rather we need to raise additional money to cover of the cost of current and future pension benefits.
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.
Toriano Sanzone: I support legalized and taxed recreational marijuana and a Chicago casino as viable sources of new revenue for the city of Chicago.
What other sources of new revenue do you favor or oppose?
Toriano Sanzone: I also support mandatory dog training as a viable source of revenue. This would add jobs to the community, create a safer environment for dogs, dog owners and residents as well as bring in new revenue for the city.
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?
Toriano Sanzone: The TIF program must be revised so that there is more accessibility for the neediest communities as well as more public visibility to add community voice to the decision making process.
What will you do to rein in aldermanic prerogative?
Toriano Sanzone: I will work with leaders in the business and corporate world to bring industry to North Lawndale. When a major corporation or business leader moves into our ward, they must give back to the community directly. My experience as a business owner and also in the marketing and communication industry will allow me to negotiate supporting the community rather than focusing on individual financial gain.
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?
Toriano Sanzone: I believe that any improvements in training and practices of the Chicago Police Department should be welcomed. As long as additional monitoring results in improved outcomes for Chicago citizens and creates a truly safer community for all, I support it.
What should Chicago do to reduce the number of illegal guns?
Toriano Sanzone: We must improve the education system and provide engaging recreational activities for our youth so that they are not pulled in by street activity and/or gangs. When the neighborhoods are safer and youth are engaged positively, fewer people will feel the need to carry guns illegally. We must create safer streets and build up our communities. Education starts before birth. Developing organizations and programs that reach our young mothers and support children from birth to college is necessary.
What is the appropriate role of charter schools within the Chicago Public Schools system?
Toriano Sanzone: Charter schools serve as additional schools of choice for families. They are designed to be innovative and high-performing. School choice is important for families as schools are not one-size-fits-all.
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?
Toriano Sanzone: Elected systems are always great to engage the community and add a variety of voices. A hybrid system would allow both community voice and strong mayoral input.
Is there enough affordable housing in your ward? Please explain.
Toriano Sanzone: There is currently a lot of affordable housing in my ward, but this will change quickly as we see gentrification on the horizon. I want to ensure that our residents are not pushed out due to rising housing costs and rising taxes. This will be a focus area for years to come in North Lawndale and I will ensure we continue to allow for affordable housing to be prioritized.
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?
Toriano Sanzone: Chicago should continue to be an official “welcoming city”.
Should the inspector general have the power to audit and review City Council programs, operations and committees? Why or why not?
Toriano Sanzone: An Inspector General should have the power to audit and review City Council programs, operations & committees. Checks and balances is always a good thing and the City Council should always work on programs, operations and committees that are benefitting the people of Chicago.
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.
Toriano Sanzone: No.
Is there a past or current alderman whom you model yourself after, or would model yourself after, or take inspiration from? Please explain.
Toriano Sanzone: There are many elected officials whom I take inspiration from. It would be difficult to credit one person, but I know a great leader when I see one. A great leader inspires others to lead and advocate for themselves. I plan to do just that as I lead and advocate for my constituents.
Also running for 24th Ward alderman: