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9th Ward candidate for alderman: Anthony A. Beale

anthony beale alderman 2019 mayoral election candidate rich hein

9th Ward aldermanic candidate and incumbent Anthony A. Beale at the Sun-Times Jan. 8. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

The Sun-Times Editorial Board sent the candidates running for 9th Ward alderman a list of questions to find out their views on a range of issues facing the city and their ward. Anthony A. Beale submitted the following responses (the Sun-Times does not edit candidate responses):

Who is Anthony A. Beale?

He’s running for: 9th Ward alderman

His political/civic background: Five-term Alderman, seeking re-election

His occupation: 9th Ward Alderman, Democrat

His education: Blackburn College

Campaign website: ward09.com

Twitter handle: @Alderman_Beale

Facebook page: Facebook.com/AldBeale

Top priorities

What are the top three priorities for your ward?

Anthony A. Beale:

  1. Reduce Violence/Public Safety
  2. Education
  3. Economic Development

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 A. Beale: I have continued to engage and collaborate with our community partners, including city, state and federal agencies, national and local businesses to help drive new economic opportunities that are revitalizing the ward and improving the quality of life of our residents. This includes attracting and developing the following new amenities, businesses and services:

  • Opened the new Whole Foods Midwest Distribution Center in Jan. 2018 that relocated from Indiana. It serves 70 locations including part of Canada and created 100 jobs
  • Broke ground for the 140,000 square foot Gotham Greens greenhouse and administration building in March 2018, creating 60 new green collar jobs. When it opens in Spring 2019, it will be Gotham’s second Pullman location
  • Opened the new 111th Street Gateway Retail Center in Oct. 2017. Today it features the area’s first drive-thru restaurant and a much-needed, locally-owned dry cleaner. Plus, it will host a new Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois neighborhood health and wellness center and the 111 Street Food Hall, with three locally-owned restaurants, and an innovative pop-up option, opening in early 2019 and creating scores of new jobs
  • Started construction this past summer on Artspace Lofts, an innovative work/live space for 38 new residents. It will be Pullman’s first-new multi-family residential building in decades when it’s completed in 2019
  • Restoration and transformation work of the Clock Tower into the new Visitor Center for the Pullman National Historic Monument site got underway in 2018
  • Opened the new Pullman Community Center in Nov. 2018. The 140,000 square foot year-round, after-school/vacation indoor athletic and education center provides a safe, nurturing learning environment for people of all ages. It will accommodate 1,200 visitors and participants a week and host ongoing tournaments with teams coming to Pullman from throughout the Midwest region
  • Working to extend the CTA’s Red Line to 130th Street to increase accessibility to and from the ward to the Loop for residents and visitors
  • Celebrated opening of new 95th Street Red Line stations in 2017-2018
  • Advocated for police reform
  • Leveling the playing field among ride sharing companies to ensure public safety and fairness
  • Advocated for fair and just tax assessments
  • Supported and implemented the paid sick leave ordinance; supporting an extended maternity leave
  • Supporting a $15 an hour minimum wage
  • Support for CPS has made Poe Elementary and Gwendolyn Brooks schools among the best performers in the city and state; Brooks welcomed new athletic facilities in 2017; POE garnered the first-ever National Blue-Ribbon award for a CPS elementary school on the city’s South Side in 2018.
  • These and additional public and private investments in the ward are responsible in part for the ward experiencing a 32 percent decline in violent crime from in 2011 to 2017, (during my tenure as Alderman), according to a recent study by the Metropolitan Planning Council. It makes Pullman one of the few success stories on the South Side. In fact, some pundits have even described what’s taking place in Pullman as a “renaissance,” but I know there is there is more to do, and I will continue working harder than ever to keep moving the 9th ward forward in a fair and equitable manner.

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. 

Anthony A. Beale: We need to honor our commitment to the city’s working people and make our pension payments. However, this can’t be fully one sided, we need to balance our commitments to both the City’s employees and retirees with our commitments to taxpayers. I took the hard votes to shore up our pension funds. I believe we should explore adding another tier for new hew hires that provide workers with an option for 401K retirement plans. I want very much to work with organized labor to ensure their input is heard in any and all discussions about pension reform

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. 

Anthony A. Beale: We should carefully and fully-explore the options below prior to raising property or sales taxes:

  • A Casino in Chicago
  • Video gambling
  • Legalized and taxed marijuana
  • Real estate transfer tax

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

Anthony A. Beale: No response

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? 

Anthony A. Beale: TIF funding has played an important role updating our infrastructure and spurring new economic development opportunities. We need to amend the TIF ordinance to modernize it and address today’s concerns that weren’t prevalent when the ordinance was first passed. We need to hold those who receive TIF dollars accountable for the promises made. If a company commits to creating a certain number of new jobs in return for incentives, we need to make 100% certain those jobs were actually created.

Aldermanic power

What will you do to rein in aldermanic prerogative? 

Anthony A. Beale: Aldermen are elected to advocate for their communities. They should implement all the tools at their disposal to affect positive economic and social change in their communities. It is an alderman’s responsibility to be transparent and to communicate effectively, collecting input and engaging with our constituents about decisions that impact the ward as well as the city. The council as a whole needs input on ward specific projects on a case by case basis because they often have citywide repercussions impacting everyone. Conversely, certain ward projects may require more input from constituents to discuss possible citywide impact. We need to consider each of these on a case-by-case basis.

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? 

Anthony A. Beale: I support the consent decree. It was negotiated with the Attorney General, CPD, and the City of Chicago, all at the table. The increased accountability reflects the values of our City while also providing police with additional training and more resources. Reform and public safety go hand-in-hand. It will help ensure Chicago police officers have the training, resources and support they need to do their difficult jobs and help rebuild trust, in the communities they serve which is also a critical piece needed to reduce the violence.

Guns

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

Anthony A. Beale: It’s been said that “a job stops a bullet.” We need additional investment in our disinvested and under-resourced Chicago neighborhoods to create new economic development opportunities such as jobs, employee development programs including those that match skills with the qualifications and needs of available jobs, mentoring programs and community partnerships like the one created in the 9th Ward with CRED, who engaged with gang members and enlisted their help with the building, design and maintenance of a new park in Pullman.

I support exploring a lawsuit against the state of Indiana that would hold their gun dealers responsible for failing to adhere to the basic standards of accountability. We need to work closer with Springfield to explore every option for reducing gun violence and the flow of illegal guns into our communities.

In addition, to reduce the number of illegal guns and gun violence, I support and will continue to advocate for the following:

  • Redistribution of Man-Power: Identify the five at risk areas and wards in the city to create a massive presence.
  • Greater Intervention: Of groups, individuals and organizations like Cure Violence to help de-escalate the conflicts and break-up the gangs.
  • Random-Roadside Gun Checks: Similar to what is conducted for cell phones, texting and driving, and preventing DUIs.
  • Re-institute Community Policing and Block Clubs: To build trust between the community and the law enforcement agencies – And to encourage people to be vigilant and to take care of one another.
  • Comprehensive Community Investment: In mental health services, affordable housing and community centers by the public and private sectors. Pullman is a good example where since 2011 there has been more than $350 million of investment, the creation of over 1,500 new jobs — the population is up, incomes are up, and violent crime is declining. From 2011 to 2017, according to a new study by the Metropolitan Planning Council, Pullman has experienced a 32 percent decline in violent crime.

Schools

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

Anthony A. Beale: 

  • Charters can play a key role in education, but each proposal needs to be carefully examined and weigh the community’s need, the academic performance of other schools within the charter network, and the quality of life of its students.
  • Charter schools should be held to the same standards of performance as other CPS school.

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 A. Beale: I support the current school board and Dr. Jackson, but I am open to discussing what a hybrid approach — some-elected, some-appointed — would look like.

Affordable housing

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

  • We need to continue to grow our affordable housing stock through the expansion of the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund and the expansion of the Preservation of Existing Affordable Rental (PEAR) program, both of which purchase and preserve affordable housing stock in Chicago.
  • Scores of new affordable housing units have been developed from the renovation and improvement of Pullman’s historic buildings.
  • The new Artspace Lofts will provide six-units of new housing for CHA residents

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? 

Anthony A. Beale: I support Chicago’s status as a “welcoming city.” I believe we need to continue to offer resources for those who locate to Chicago. This includes access to job opportunities, affordable housing, and legal assistance. We must also do more for those facing barriers to employment such as the previously incarcerated, veterans, the disabled, and others.

Ethics

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

Anthony A. Beale: The Inspector General has proven to be a powerful resource for the City Council and should have the power to investigate whenever it is appropriate, but these cases should be considered on an individual basis.

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 A. Beale: I have 11 full-time staffers in the Aldermanic office, none of them have outside jobs or contracts with entities that do business with the city of Chicago. There are two paid-people on my campaign team supported by 50 or so volunteers.

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.

Anthony A. Beale: I am inspired by what I have learned about Leon Despres. Like the late Alderman Despres, I’m striving to be a strong voice, especially for those often not heard, and to be a major participant in the debate of every major issue facing the city, so I can contribute greatly to building a fairer, more just Chicago. I admire the courage and independence he took on the issues, even when he was on the losing side, and when he opposed the Mayor because he stood up for his convictions and did what he believed was right.


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