From Anne Marie Miles campaign website, her take on local issues affecting the 5th Ward:
1. (a) What are your three highest priorities for your ward?
i) Economic Development, with specific attention to “green” development, i.e. solar or urban farming.
ii) Increased educational opportunities, and
iii) Public safety.
1. (b)What do you regard as the most critical issues facing the ward? If elected, how would you go about addressing them?
i) I will create a Ward wide Advisory Council to focus on plans for Economic development, with specific attention being given to opportunities in “green” industries. For example there are many grants available for urban farming initiatives which create local sustainable jobs.
ii) The money -- over 100K -- which has been spent from ward funds on providing free parking spaces will be used to leverage monies and services available from programs with proven track records that provide needed services to students in school.
iii) The Fifth Ward is served by two police districts. The Alderman’s office can facilitate an exchange of information regarding criminal activity when appropriate. Further, innovativemethods of crime prevention must be explored, including the expanded use of emergency boxes.
2. Is there a need for a reconfiguration of the transportation system for the ward? Do you have suggestions for changes to the public transportation system? Do you have suggestions for changes that will make the ward friendlier for pedestrian traffic, or for automobile use?
The current configuration of the transportation system will be reviewed in light of recommendations regarding economic development in the ward. An issue of changing the location of a bus stop to enhance safety for children has been raised and will be
As I have walked the Fifth Ward, the issue of parking has been raised repeatedly. The parking situation caused by commuters who drive in to Fifth Ward to avail themselves of free parking while commuting to downtown jobs must be evaluated as should summer parking issues. The Ward Wide Advisory Council will address the parking issue. Some type of residential parking permits may be considered.
3. Are there significantly underdeveloped areas (or empty spaces) in your ward? Do you have suggestions for the uses of such spaces? Are there specific areas that can be developed to encourage retail, provide green space, or increase the availability of affordable housing?
There are a number of vacant lots on Stony Island and South Chicago. These lots should this may include urban farm initiatives. These lots may also be used to provide affordable housing as may infill lots in the interior of the ward.
4. What is the proper procedure for the management of TIFs? Should the ward have more or fewer TIFS? What is your view of the value of the TIFs that are now in place in the ward?
The entire TIF program must be re-evaluated in terms of economic feasibility in this economic climate. That being said, while the TIF program continues the Fifth Ward is entitled to its share of the economic benefit. I will work to create other TIF districts to
benefit the Ward.
While the current TIF program is in effect, I would support the Proposed Sweet Home Chicago ordinance designed to aid in stopping foreclosures.
5. What problems do you see in the present level of public services (e.g. garbage and litter pickup, street maintenance, park maintenance, police presence) in the ward? What can the alderman do to address those problems?
The delivery of constituent services has been a major concern of Fifth Ward residents. There are numerous complaints about garbage collection, potholes, park maintenance. Yet this must be viewed in the context of Chicago’s budgetary crisis. In order to reduce costs and provide equal or better services, I believe that the City must go to a regional system of garbage pickup. This move alone would save 30 Million dollars.
On a local level, rather than use Ward Funds to pay for free parking some portion might be used to augment street maintenance and park maintenance services.
6. Do you see any significant problems with real estate zoning in the ward? Do you believe that upcoming issues can be effectively resolved through individual variances, or is there a need for zoning review or for zoning revisions in any specific areas of the ward?
The Fifth Ward Advisory Council which I will create will address the issue of zoning review if it becomes apparent it is needed as the Council focuses on economic development and affordable housing issues. If urban farm initiatives are being considered then zoning issues would be addressed in that context.
7. What is the alderman’s role in addressing the popularly perceived inadequacies in the public schools? Do you have proposals for additional youth-oriented programs in your ward?
I would make the majority of the monies from the Ward budget which were spent on free parking spaces available for additional youth-orientated programs. As a member of the Safe Youth Chicago steering committee of the Union League Club, I have realized that one important consideration is not to re-invent the wheel, but to use funds to support programs with a proven track record. Examples of programs that I would consider providing funding for include Youth Guidance, After Schools Matter, Boys and Girls Clubs.
It is the educators, including school administrators, who are in the best position to advise me on what programs they need and what services would provide the most benefit for their students.