Tag Archives: rahm emanuel

BGA Poll Results: Vote “Aye” On Cutting Chicago’s City Council

Get out the chain saw and start slicing away.

That’s the overriding sentiment of more than 100 BGA followers who participated in an ongoing online poll about streamlining the size of the Chicago City Council—one of the hottest civic discussions underway right now.

The BGA online poll asks two questions:

1) Do you think the number of Chicago aldermen should be cut in half?

2) If not, do you think the number of Chicago aldermen should be reduced?

  • In answering the first question, an estimated 62 percent respondents said “yes” to halving the number of City Council seats to 25 from 50, while about 29 percent said “no” and nearly nine percent said “maybe.”
  • And those who did not agree with eliminating the 25 aldermanic seats agreed the time is ripe to reduce the size of Chicago’s City Council. Nearly 62 percent of those taking the online poll said “yes,” while 29 percent said “no” and nine percent replied “maybe.” (Results are as of March 31.)

Beyond the raw numbers, BGA followers have a lot to say about this issue, which has been recently raised by Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and other civic leaders. Indeed, the issue is being debated and discussed on BGA President Andy Shaw’s Facebook page, which features at least 45 comments on the topic. The vast majority of those Facebook respondents are advocating for fewer Chicago aldermen but others offer a different point-of-view.

And if you haven’t taken the poll yet, please do.

Earlier this year, the BGA helped initiate the discussion on reducing the size of the Chicago City Council and is pleased that so many people are participating in this important and timely civic debate.

One thing appears certain: We haven’t heard the last of this issue.

This blog entry was reported and written by Robert Reed, the BGA’s director of programming. Contact us with tips, suggestions and complaints at (312) 821-9030, or email our investigative team at rherguth@bettergov.org.

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Filed under Chicago City Council, Streamlining Government

Statewide update—March 4, 2011

FOID application

SouthtownStarShould gun owners’ names be released to public?, “The attorney general’s office, trying to enforce the state’s Freedom of Information law, told state police this week to release to an Associated Press reporter the list of names of firearm owner’s identification cards.”

  • (AP) Peoria Journal StarIllinois long-term pension debt jumps sharply, “The long-term gap between what Illinois owes future retirees and the money available to pay them jumped 21 percent under a new measuring system…”
  • Chicago TribuneIllinois moves to close Alden Village North nursing home, “The action follows a Tribune investigative series in October that revealed a 10-year pattern of neglect and death at the North Side facility, which cares for about 90 children and adults with severe developmental disabilities.”

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Vox Populi: Regular Folks Respond To BGA Chicago Mayoral Questionnaire

No more parking meter deals without representation! Or at least a financial audit!

That’s a rallying cry the next mayor of Chicago should heed before attempting to spin off any major public assets, such as Midway Airport or the city’s water system, to private investors, according to members of the general public who responded to the 2011 BGA Chicago Mayoral Questionnaire.

In addition, responses to the questionnaire indicate the public craves a tighter, leaner and more accountable city government. But a slim majority doesn’t want to reduce costs by chopping away at the medical and retirement benefits of current city workers.

A total of 32 people responded to the BGA questionnaire. Their reactions come after all six mayoral hopefuls participated in the questionnaire and their answers were posted Jan. 26 on the BGA website. At that time, the BGA invited the general public to take the questionnaire and have their responses posted online.

Admittedly, this is not a scientific poll but rather a means of gauging the candidates’ views and comparing them to a sampling of a broader public response. Here are some highlights:

Selling city assets

A solid 100 percent of the general audience said public hearings and greater financial accountability should be required before any public assets are spun off to private buyers. That answer coincides with all the mayoral hopefuls, who agreed that such basic measures are necessary before the city enters any new privatization deals such as the controversial parking meter deal.

Free Forum: Feb. 9 @ 8 p.m.

The BGA will explore privatization at the Feb. 9 forum, “Privatizing Chicago: The New Chicago Way?” at Columbia College, 618 S. Michigan Ave. at 8 P.M.
>> CLICK HERE for details.

Expanding the Inspector General’s reach

Of those responding to the questionnaire, 94 percent say the Inspector General should have the right to go beyond city agencies and investigate the legislative branch of city government. All six mayoral candidates said they favor this proposal.

Reducing the size of the City Council

Of those responding to the questionnaire, 75 percent want to cut the size of the City Council. Of the six mayoral candidates, Gery Chico and William Walls III said “yes”; Miguel del Valle, Carol Moseley Braun and Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins said “no”; and Rahm Emanuel did not respond within the questionnaire’s parameters.

Reducing the salary of mayor and aldermen

Of those responding to the questionnaire, 91 percent said go for it. Of the six mayoral candidates, Emanuel, del Valle, Chico and Walls agreed to consider it; Moseley Braun and Van Pelt-Watkins said “no” to that possibility.

Merging, streamlining or eliminating departments

Of those responding to the questionnaire, 94 percent said there are places to cut. All the candidates agreed.

Cutting medical, pension benefits for city workers

Of those responding to the questionnaire, nearly 55 percent said “no.” Five of the candidates also said “no” to such cutbacks and Emanuel did not respond within the questionnaire’s parameters.

Police and public safety

Of those responding to the questionnaire, 78 percent said they favor realigning police beats to improve public safety and cut costs. Del Valle, Moseley Braun, Van Pelt-Watkins and Walls said “yes”; Emanuel and Chico said “no.”

Meanwhile, 65 percent said the next Chicago police chief should come from the ranks of the city’s police department. Four of the candidates—del Valle, Moseley Braun, Chico and Walls agreed and said “yes.” Van Pelt-Watkins said “no” and Emanuel did not respond within the questionnaire’s parameters.

Personal Finances

Finally, the candidates’ personal finances are of interest to a large majority of those responding to the questionnaire; 87 percent think a mayoral aspirant should reveal his or her tax returns before the Feb. 22 election. Five of the six candidates agreed while Walls said “no.”

This blog entry was reported and written by Robert Reed, the BGA’s director of programming. Contact us with tips, suggestions and complaints at (312) 821-9030, or email our investigative team at rherguth@bettergov.org.

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Filed under 2011 Chicago Elections, Streamlining Government, Transparency

Statewide Update—Jan. 26, 2011

  • Daily Herald—DuPage hires remap consultant, spikes confidentiality clause, “Schirott, Luetkehans and Garner, P.C. will be paid up to $125,000 to serve as a consultant to the county board committee charged with configuring the future legislative map.  However, the firm won’t need to comply with a confidentiality clause that had DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin raising concerns about lack of transparency.”
  • Southtown Star—Quinn signs Medicaid reform into law, “Gov. Pat Quinn signed major reforms to Medicaid into Illinois law Tuesday, calling it a “landmark achievement” as he was flanked by a bipartisan group of state lawmakers who said the changes aim to reduce costs, pay bills sooner and target fraud.”
  • (AP) State Journal-Register—Illinois Supreme Court will hear Rahm Emanuel appeal, “About the only thing abundantly clear after a chaotic and unprecedented day at the Chicago Board of Elections: Voters only get to vote once, even if their ballots are wrong.”
  • Trib Local (Arlington Heights)—Taxpayers organize to influence politics, “Fed up with rising tax bills, residents have organized a watchdog group to  try and influence local politics and keep taxes down.”
  • (AP) Peoria Journal Star—SEC reviewing Illinois pension predictions, “The Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing the Illinois pension systems and state officials’ statements about how much future savings the state will get from reforms enacted last spring, Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration said Tuesday.”
  • Rockford Register Star—Sheffields savings ideas: Close 8 Rockford schools, reduce staff, “Eight schools will close, gifted and several other programs will relocate to other schools, and kindergarten will shrink to a half-day program if the Rockford School Board adopts cost-cutting recommendations from Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield.”

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Statewide Update—Jan. 25, 2011

  • Southtown Star—3 area men charged in ‘Cookie Jar’ probe, “A Tinley Park man, an Oak Forest man and a Burbank man, all of whom allegedly took part in a scheme to steal road salt from IDOT, were among seven people charged Monday in an ongoing crackdown on local public corruption.”
  • Trib Local (Evanston)—CTA considers chopping two Evanston stations, “As the Chicago Transit Authority seeks community input on potential improvements to the aging Purple and Red lines, three of the agency’s six options include eliminating the South Boulevard and Foster Street stations in Evanston — losses that city officials said would be a blow to commuters.”
  • Chicago Tribune—Editorial: Judicial arrogance, “With startling arrogance and audaciously twisted reasoning, two appellate judges ignored more than 100 years of legal precedent, invented a new definition of “residency” and ordered Rahm Emanuel off the Feb. 22 mayoral ballot.”
  • Rockford Register Star—Which School(s) could be closed? “Consolidating schools could help the district slash part of its $50 million budget shortfall for fiscal 2012.”
  • Daily Herald—East Dundee trustees discuss merits of PD merger, “Citing upcoming police contracts, a loss of autonomy, potential coverage issues and other reasons, several East Dundee trustees are balking at the idea of consolidating their police force with the ones in West Dundee and Sleepy Hollow.”
  • Rockford Register Star—Vehicles, EMS among Rockford outsourcing possibilities, “According to a report from Chicago-based Baker Tilly, the consulting firm hired last fall to assist in an outsourcing study, the city could realize up to $10.5 million is savings if it moved forward on five outsourcing and four service delivery suggestions.”







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Statewide Update—Dec. 29, 2010

  • Chicago Tribune—Chicago street parking set to rise again“According to published reports,  Chicago will continue to have the highest downtown parking rates in the country, topping New York’s $3.75 an hour and Los Angeles’ $4.”
  • (AP) State Journal Register—Quinn looks at bonds to cover budget deficit“Several lawmakers said Tuesday that Gov. Pat Quinn has been discussing plans to borrow billions of dollars to help soak up the state’s pool of red ink, which could be a hard sell when legislators reconvene next month.”
  • Belleville News Democrat—Editorial: End attitude of entitlement“It’s time to stop treating workers’ comp like an entitlement and raise the requirements to limit who qualifies for it.”

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