28th Ward candidate for alderman: Miguel Bautista
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The Sun-Times Editorial Board sent the candidates running for 28th Ward alderman a list of questions to find out their views on a range of issues facing the city and their ward. Miguel Bautista submitted the following responses (the Sun-Times does not edit candidate responses):
Who is Miguel Bautista?
He’s running for: 28th Ward alderman
His political/civic background: Progressive / DSA member
His occupation: IT System Administrator
His education: Bachelor degree in Computer Engineering
Campaign website: miguelfor28.com
What are the top three priorities for your ward?
Miguel Bautista: Educate and organize residents of the 28th ward. Implement Participatory Budget (PB), community benefit agreement (CBA), committee for infrastructure, development, and zoning (IDZ).
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.
Miguel Bautista: Volunteer for green day clean up at my community which is Tri-Taylor. Volunteer to paint Washington Irving Elementary School in Tri-Taylor. Volunteer for multiple campaigns like Ameya Pawar for Governor, Daniel Biss for Governor, Marie Newman for Congress, and Anthony Clark for Congress. Participated in many protest and march like Women’s March, May Day Immigration, Climate Change march, and others.
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.
Miguel Bautista: I disagree with diminishing or impairing our earn pensions. I have been working for UIC, part of the state of Illinois, for over 16 years. I have been paying my obligation to the pension system. We do not pay into the social security system. When I retire along with many people that works for the state, we will rely on our earn pension to live and survive. The state of Illinois made many mistakes back in the 1990s when they took “pension holidays”, it’s time that they work on find a solution to funding these obligations. We can start with legalization of recreational cannabis, and a LaSalle Street tax.
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.
Miguel Bautista: Legalized and taxed recreational cannabis and LaSalle Street tax. By legalizing and taxing recreational cannabis, we save money on jailing people for small in fractions plus it reduces crime. According to Colorado, they have brought over 5 billion in total sale since they legalized cannabis. I believe that the State of Illinios to can and will bring in more money once it is legalized here.
Most working class and poor people do not have stocks thus, I believe implementing the LaSalle Street tax. It will make sure that the rich contribute their fair share in this area. Any plan that requires millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share without hurting the working poor class, I support. Also we need to work on a progressive tax base system.
What other sources of new revenue do you favor or oppose?
Miguel Bautista: I oppose any fee like property tax increase, municipal sales tax increase or commuter tax increase. We should not penalize the working class when corporations are raking in millions without any salary increase for their employees. Workers’ wages has remain stagnant despite gains to top earners. We need to make sure the top earners and corporations contribute their fair share. And we need to stop giving away money and tax breaks to corporations like Amazon.
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?
Miguel Bautista: We need to bring TIF back to it’s original roots, which for blighted areas. When downtown has over 40 percent of TIF, then we know the system is broken.
I am in support of redoing TIF where most if not all of the money goes to true blighted areas like 28th ward, west side, and south side. Or we should return the money back to the schools and identify other source of revenues for public projects and private development.
What will you do to rein in aldermanic prerogative?
Miguel Bautista: Our campaign is people over profit. I am a firm believer in returning the power back to the people. We will do this by implementing Participatory Budget (PB), community benefit agreement (CBA), committee for infrastructure, development, and zoning (IDZ). When a major project is proposed that requires zoning change or TIF money, both CBA committee and IDZ committee will have to sign off. The main objection of CBA is to ensure that no neighbor or friends get displaced and that 30% of the units are for affordable housing onsite. The main objection for IDZ is to ensure that 30% of the jobs for the project are allocated to the residents of the 28th ward. We have some of the highest unemployment rates in the city and we will be addressing this with the committees above.
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?
Miguel Bautista: I am a supporter of Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC). I believe that we need to fix our police department and address the code of silence that exist. We also need to address police brutality. In over the last 10 years, we have paid over 700 million dollars to victims of police brutality. There is a problem and we can no longer ignore it. We need address it and I believe that CPAC is the way to go.
What should Chicago do to reduce the number of illegal guns?
Miguel Bautista: We need to work with our congressional representative to address this challenge at the federal level. No amount of laws made locally at the state or city level will work.
What is the appropriate role of charter schools within the Chicago Public Schools system?
Miguel Bautista: I am a big supporter of public schools and local school council (LSC). I believe we need to properly fund our public schools which are fully account able to the people. Charter schools are for-profit and they do not having LSC. i oppose any new expansion of charter schools.
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?
Miguel Bautista: We need to have an elected school board. Many of mayor’s appointed CEO of Chicago Board of Education has been involve in some form of corruption or resigned in disgrace. This experiment has failed. It’s time that we switch to elected school board.
Is there enough affordable housing in your ward? Please explain.
Miguel Bautista: No. Many of our friends and neighbors are being displaced. Most can not afford a 1 bedroom for $1,600. We plan to address this via our committee for infrastructure, development, and zoning (IDZ).
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?
Miguel Bautista: I am a son of immigrants. My oldest sister is an immigrant.
Should the inspector general have the power to audit and review City Council programs, operations and committees? Why or why not?
Miguel Bautista: Yes. We need to remember that all of the money that the City takes in belongs to the taxpayers. The taxpayers expect that the money is spend properly and ethically. The inspector general should have access to every function, programs, operations, committees, and anything that involves taxpayers money.
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.
Miguel Bautista: No. This is what corrupts a person or city programs. No person that is doing personal business with the city will be employee by our office. Same goes with nepotism.
Is there a past or current alderman whom you model yourself after, or would model yourself after, or take inspiration from? Please explain.
Miguel Bautista: Harold Washington and Rudy Lozano. Both care about their communities and wanted to do best by them. Both of their leaders put their communities and city first and foremost. They inspire many progressive legislation during their time here on earth. I hope that one day I can be able to accomplish half of what they did.