As I knock on doors or stand at grocery stores, I hear it time and time again – Second Ward residents feel neglected and forgotten. For two years now, you have dealt with an Alderman whose newsletters talked about the south side and his old ward, not your neighborhood. You watched as your Alderman spent Second Ward “menu money” on neighborhoods not located in the Second Ward. These things are galling, and you are rightfully frustrated. I have heard you loud and clear, and I get it. You can count on me to offer you the exemplary ward service you pay for and deserve. Here’s how my team and I will work for you.
I will be a full-time Alderman, my staff and I will work for you. As a taxpayer, you have a right to effective city services delivered in a timely fashion. With me as your Alderman, that’s exactly what you will get. Here are a few of the ways I will make that happen:
- Accessibility to Constituents. Face-to-face conversations are the best way to hear what residents need. I will create opportunities for you to meet with me and my staff, and I will also come to you.
- In addition to Saturday and evening office hours in in my ward office, I will have regular “pop-up office hours” at libraries, schools and other public places like street festivals, as well as “Council on Your Corner” events at grocery stores and parks near you.
- Events like “Food Truck Fridays” during good weather. I’ll invite food trucks to our local parks and public spaces where you can grab a bite and chat with me and my staff while mingling with neighbors.
- Regular Ward Walks. You will be invited to join me and my staff to walk your neighborhood.
- Efficient and Effective Response to Constituent Concerns and Requests. When you contact my office with questions or a request about city services, we will respond to you within 48 hours. The response times of my office and city departments to your service request will be publicly available for your review to keep me and my team accountable. And, when we act on your request, we will coordinate across city departments to avoid wasting tax dollars – it does little good for one department to repair potholes and repave one week if another department is scheduled to dig up the street following week for work on a sewer line.
- I will keep you informed. In Second Ward neighborhoods, important conversations are happening in social media. This is especially true for the grassroots forums of neighborhoods on the west side of the ward. For example, the Facebook forums created by a former opponent, Steve Niketopoulos, have done everything from stopping crimes in progress to reuniting hundreds of neighborhood dogs with their humans. Not only will my staff and I monitor you’re saying in social media, but as your Alderman, I will use a combination of new and traditional media to keep residents informed about important events, from upcoming City Council hearings to weather-related school closings, road closures and happenings in your neighborhood:
- Weekly email newsletters. I am already doing this as a part of my campaign. You can see past issues and sign up for that newsletter here.
- News updates via Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
- Traditional “snail mail” newsletters biannually
- Opt-in automated texts about parking bans and restrictions, to help residents avoid getting parking tickets
- Connecting the Second Ward. The new Second Ward is a sprawling community that includes parts of 11 different neighborhoods, from Streeterville on the lakefront to Ukrainian Village in West Town. As Alderman, I will make my office the hub of an active, engaged Second Ward that brings people together to collaborate across neighborhood boundaries.
- The “Sister Neighborhoods” program, unique to the Second Ward, will connect residents from different neighborhoods to share their ideas for keeping neighborhoods safe, supporting small business, making recommendations for improving the ward with menu money, discussing good development and zoning, and building strong and vibrant neighborhoods organizations.
- A Second Ward Volunteer Corps. Chicago has a proud history of neighbors helping neighbors. Already, Chicagoans take part in the Snow Corps, a program that connects volunteers with seniors, people with disabilities and other residents who need help in shoveling the snow. As your Alderman, I will build a Second Ward Volunteer Corps. This program will do everything from matching tutors with students who need some extra help in schools serving the ward, to coordinating neighborhood cleanup days, to building “positive loitering” action days to deter crime in neighborhoods.
These are just a few of my ideas for improving ward services and using my office to connect all of the neighborhoods in the Second Ward. Working together, I know we can accomplish big things for our neighborhoods and for Chicago. I hope you will join me.