41st Ward candidate for alderman: Anthony V. Napolitano
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The Sun-Times Editorial Board sent the 41st Ward aldermanic candidates a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the city and their ward. Anthony V. Napolitano submitted the following responses (the Sun-Times does not edit candidate responses):
Who is Anthony Napolitano?
He’s running for: 41st Ward alderman
His political/civic background:
- Chicago Police Officer 2000-2005
- Chicago FireFighter 2005-2015
- Chicago Alderman 41st Ward 2015 to present
His occupation: Alderman 41st Ward
His education: Notre Dame College Prep Niles 1993, Calumet College St. Joseph’s University Bachelors Degree Criminal Justice, Summa Cum Laude
Campaign website: Napolitanofor41.com
What are the top three priorities for your ward?
Anthony V. Napolitano: Public Safety, Schools, City Services
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.
Anthony V. Napolitano: As alderman I advocated tirelessly for more police officers in the 41 Ward. Our efforts have resulted in an additional 70 permanently assigned police offices to the 16 district. We brought two desperately needed annex additions to both Ebinger Elementary and Dirksen Elementary schools in the 41st Ward. We Co- sponsored legislation that was approved by City Council to allocate excess TIF funds to alleviate the Chicago Public Schools budget shortfall.
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.
Anthony V. Napolitano: I do not support amending the constitution to change benefits that are due to city workers.
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.
Anthony V. Napolitano: From our first election in 2015 to present date, I supported and still support a Casino. We are losing millions of dollars to neighboring cities who have already established casinos. Video gaming- Being a border ward we are losing thousands of dollars and countless businesses to our surrounding suburbs who are allowing video gaming. LaSalle Street Tax- It is estimated that the city could generate up to $2 billion annually from a Lasalle Street tax. I support this tax but it can only be implemented by state legislation.
What other sources of new revenue do you favor or oppose?
Anthony V. Napolitano: I absolutely oppose a property tax increase. The State of Illinois and City of Chicago are losing a record number of residents each year.
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?
Anthony V. Napolitano: I support a full audit of the Chicago TIF program to establish all excess funds. TIF funds need to be used in the blighted areas for which they were intended.
What will you do to rein in aldermanic prerogative?
Anthony V. Napolitano: The 41st Ward has a zoning advisory committee that has been in place for over 20 years. Any proposed zoning changes must be presented to the committee. All meetings are open to the public. This allows us to gain feedback from our residents and determine what the residents support or do not support. This allows me the opportunity to advocate for my residents.
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?
Anthony V. Napolitano: We currently have any enormous amount of oversight on our Police Department. This makes it increasingly difficult for police officers to do their job. We have created a reactive police department instead of a proactive one. This is very evident in the increase in crime we have seen over the last 8 years.
One major problem the police department has is massive understaffing.
I believe the consent decree is nothing more than a political play and is absolutely unnecessary.
What should Chicago do to reduce the number of illegal guns?
Anthony V. Napolitano: We need to support our officers and allow them to do their job. As a former police officer, I can tell you that it takes proactive policing to get guns off the street. The City of Chicago has a major drug and gang problem. This can only be dealt with by proper policing strategy.
What is the appropriate role of charter schools within the Chicago Public Schools system?
Anthony V. Napolitano: I do not support Charter Schools. They deplete resources that should be going to our neighborhood 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?
Anthony V. Napolitano: I have always supported an Elected Board and will continue to do so.
Is there enough affordable housing in your ward? Please explain.
Anthony V. Napolitano: Yes, the 41st Ward has the highest percentage of affordable housing on the Northwest side of Chicago. More than Wards 32,38,39,43,45 and 47. We have many affordable vacancies within walking distance of the Blue Line and other public transportation. We do see a need for more affordable senior housing that offer amenities that accommodate our senior residents.
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?
Anthony V. Napolitano: I do not support our sanctuary city status. We are a nation of laws and I believe we have a duty to abide by and respect our laws. Disregard for our laws is what has compounded our illegal-immigration problem. I am the son of an immigrant. I believe everyone should have the same opportunities that my family has been blessed with as long as they do so legally.
Establishing sanctuary status and providing resources for illegal-immigrants has put an enormous burden on the taxpayers of Chicago.
Should the inspector general have the power to audit and review City Council programs, operations and committees? Why or why not?
Anthony V. Napolitano: Yes. The IG has already inspected numerous departments and has discovered waste and fraud. Inspections should be done for all City departments and City Council Programs and Committees.
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.
Anthony V. Napolitano: I do not nor would I hire an employee that conducts business with the City.
Is there a past or current alderman whom you model yourself after, or would model yourself after, or take inspiration from? Please explain.
Anthony V. Napolitano: I highly respect Alderman Nicholas Sposato. Nick is a fellow firefighter and a mentor to me. Nick is the hardest working alderman in the council and advocates tirelessly for his residents and the City of Chicago. He does not have an Off button.
Also running for 41st Ward alderman: