The Reimagine Chicago platform

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By Michael Romain

Editor

Safety

No new investments in policing, including the proposed new Cop Academy. These funds should instead be spent on mental health services and school-based violence prevention programs.

Community control of the police. Establish an accountability system made up of an elected council that has the power to hold police accountable, hire the superintendent, and that is wholly independent of City Hall and the Chicago Police Department.

Erase the gang database and cease the practice of profiling people as gang members, stop the police surveillance of black and brown communities, allow people who are in the gang database to challenge their designations, and stop the sharing the information with third parties, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Strengthen Chicago's Welcoming City Ordinance by eliminating the loopholes which permit the Chicago Police Department to cooperate with ICE in the terrorizing and deportation of Chicago residents.

Fund restorative justice efforts in neighborhoods and schools, preserve community-based violence interruption and prevention programs. Increase the funding for school-based restorative justice programs.

Create diversion programs, eliminate incentives for police officers to arrest, ticket, and escalate encounters with community members. Create a prearrest diversion program that will allow officers to address incidents without arrest.

Create a Behavioral Health Unit, establish civilian crisis-intervention teams to support people with behavioral health issues or who are in crisis.

Make expungement accessible so that people with arrests/convictions on their records should receive funds and support to clear their records.

Provide re-entry support services to returning citizens upon their release - including housing, job training, expungement services, and mental health support.

Reinvest money generated from the legalization of marijuana in the communities that were most impacted by the War on Drugs. Provide job training to Chicago residents with previous marijuana convictions in the full range of cannabis industry positions, including retail, cultivation, infusion, and distribution.

 

Community Investment

Fully fund public, neighborhood schools, including: 

Up to date, culturally-informed curriculum 

Trauma-informed Services.

A librarian and nurse for every school

After-School Programs

Counselors/ Social Workers/Nurses

Special Education & Bilingual Education expansion

Ethnic Studies

Restorative Justice

Parent Programs and Classes

 

Free, universal public childcare and early education for all families, regardless of income or immigration status.

Tuition-Free education at Chicago's City Colleges for ALL Chicago residents.

Invest in Black and Brown teachers, clinicians and support staff and long term retention of veteran teachers.

Eliminate student-based budgeting and replace with an evidence-based funding model.

Stop public school closings and charter school expansion.

Create a Sustainable Community School District, build transformational schools where students, parents and their communities play a key role in public education, alongside educators, through long-term partnerships between schools and community organizations.

Stop the privatization of our schools and any other schemes that put the interests of private corporations over the needs of our children.

Establish an Elected Representative School Board for CPS and Chicago City Colleges.

Expand the Parent Mentor Program, until all neighborhood schools open their doors for parents to close equity gaps in the classroom.

Provide full language access in all CPS schools, providing interpretation and translation services and multi-lingual materials for students and family members.

Reopen the public mental health clinics closed in 2011 and invest $25 million more in mental health services.

End racial redlining in health facilities - build hospitals and community health centers on the south and west sides, and work toward a universal system of care the covers all people regardless of their ability to pay.

Expand affordable housing, healthcare and supportive services for seniors and people with disabilities that allow them to live in the community, with dignity and respect.

Expand CTA bus and train service in the city's transit deserts, including extending the Red Line to 130th street on the far South Side and converting the Metra Electric

Line to create the "Gold Line" in the Southeast.

Provide free transportation for youth and seniors on all CTA services.

Establish discounted CTA, Metra and Pace transit fare for low-income residents.

 

Healthy Communities

Pass rent control in Chicago and require landlords to provide a "just cause" for evictions.

Make our public housing system work. Preserve all public housing units in any future CHA redevelopment and produce family-sized housing in all CHA rebuilding efforts.

Place at least 20% of all new public housing units in high-wealth and high-opportunity neighborhoods.

Require developers to build affordable housing in all developments that receive city assistance or approval (upzoning). Cap affordable housing rents at $250-970 for a 3-bedroom apartment. Require that family-sized affordable units are built.

Spend $150 million/year to prevent homelessness and help doubled-up families by raising the tax on luxury and commercial real estate deals.

Invest in affordable housing in communities experiencing acute gentrification caused by new green space amenities, including the 606 and El Paseo. Require developers to pay an equitable demolition fee when they tear down affordable units within blocks of these trails and replace them with luxury units.

Invest $25 million/year for 20 years to fund the preservation of Single Room Occupancy Hotels as affordable housing.

Enter into and enforce community benefit agreements (CBAs) for all large-scale developments that require city resources (land, money, tax breaks) or actions (zoning changes).

Lead-free water for all. Create and implement a plan to aggressively replace or repair the infrastructure that is adding lead to the drinking water in our homes and our schools.

Require the Department of Planning and Development to include community representatives in the decision-making process about all new developments to ensure that developers employ sustainable practices, upgrade and maximize green open space, preserve and restore the natural environment and support healthy communities by keeping our air, water, and land clean.

Require developers receiving zoning changes, city funds, city land, or permits to offer transparency regarding environmental impacts.

Stop the practice of locating polluting industries and waste disposal sites in Chicago's communities of color and low-income communities.

 

Revenue

Pass the TIF Surplus Ordinance which requires that all dollars that remain uncommitted in TIF funds will be returned to our schools, parks, and libraries, in years when CPS is financially distressed.

Redistribute $1 billion from downtown (and nearby) TIF funds to the South and West sides.

Allow TIF funds to be used for supportive services in our schools - like counselors, social workers, nurses, and librarians.

Fix the broken property tax system and raise revenue from previously under-taxed downtown commercial and luxury real estate.

Establish a public bank that is owned by taxpayers and can deliver a range of services (including pension management) and provide capital for local economic development and affordable housing.

Divert funds from the City of Chicago's $4 million/day policing budget. Invest in efforts that increase the levels of safety in our communities, like mental health services, youth jobs and recreation, fully-funded schools with counselors.

Divert Funds from high stakes school testing, police in schools and charter school expansion to pay for the transformation of CPS to Sustainable Community Schools District.

Establish an Employer's Expense Tax which requires companies with more than 50 employees to pay a monthly tax, to be invested in Chicago Public Schools.

Increase the Real Estate Transfer Tax on property sales over $1 million, and earmark these funds to fund Homelessness prevention and the creation of affordable housing.

End tax breaks and subsidies for wealthy corporations like Amazon, and private development projects like Lincoln Yards.

Enact a Financial Transaction Tax on all high-speed trades made through Chicago's Exchanges the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade.

Establish a Millionaire's Tax within the City of Chicago, creating an income tax for Chicago residents with incomes over $1 million/year.

 

Chicago's Economy

Create at least 40,000 youth jobs (summer and year-round). 

Require all development projects using city resources to create living-wage jobs and hire residents of the local community or from Chicago's highest poverty neighborhoods.

Create Green jobs for Black and Brown communities by building sustainable infrastructure, including the immediate remediation of lead contamination in Chicago's water supply, with investment across the south and west sides.

Prioritize jobs creation and placement for returning citizens and those who live in the highest-poverty neighborhoods in our city.

Use the city's power to raise wages by increasing the minimum wage to $15/hr, for all workers (including tipped workers), immediately, and index to keep up with inflation. Create city wage boards to increase wages by industry.

Defend workers' rights to organize and join a union.

CONTACT: michael@austinweeklynews.com   

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