The Issues

Candidate Q&A’s

Development

The communities of the tenth ward are home to families who have remained in the area for generations. Despite the economic downturn experienced since the collapse of the U.S. steel industry, these communities have withstood the test of time. Nonetheless, an increasing number of middle class families are leaving for the suburbs and northwest Indiana. If tenth ward communities are to survive, it is imperative that we maintain a strong middle class and in order to do this, it is just as imperative that the City invests in and revitalizes the commercial districts in the tenth ward. If we are to survive as a community, it is crucial that people want to live and work in the tenth ward. Susan Sadlowski-Garza has been unable to bring the type of development necessary to maintain our middle class.

Susan Sadlowski-Garza lacks vision for the tenth ward. In South Chicago, her plans for modular housing on the former South Works site have failed. On the East Side, she supported $2.1 million in tax incentives to support converting the former Jewel location into a self storage facility. In Hegewisch, she has failed to utilize the tools available to the City, which could strongly encourage property owners to be good landlords, maintain their properties and properly screen tenants.

Bobby Loncar understands that development in the tenth ward requires foresight, careful planning and proper use of the tools available to us.

City Services

The quality of city services to tenth ward residents has deteriorated during Susan Sadlowski-Garza’s time in office. Bobby Loncar has a proven track record of being able to develop good working relationships with others, even those with whom he has fundamental differences in opinion. As Alderman, Bobby Loncar will work with his colleagues in City Council and the city departments to ensure that tenth ward residents get the services they deserve.

Education

Every tenth ward resident deserves a quality education. Bobby Loncar is committed to working with the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools as well as his colleagues in the City Council and the Mayor’s office to find viable solutions to the problems facing our schools. The only viable solution is the one that makes working families who send their children to Chicago’s public schools winners. In order for that to happen, CTU, CPS and City Hall need to work together – not against one another. Bobby Loncar does support the use of surplus TIF funds to assist in curing CPS’ budget deficit, provided that much needed improvements within the tenth ward’s own TIF districts are not derailed. He also supports an elected school board.

Crime

Just like anywhere else in the City of Chicago, crime is a pressing issue in the tenth ward. Every shooting is a tragedy to those involved. Every shooting sends more middle class families away from the tenth ward and straight to the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Every shooting leaves tenth ward residents wondering whether things in the community are getting better or worse.

There is no catch-all solution for crime in the tenth ward. However, we can start by recognizing that those who have the audacity to fire shots at other people or into cars and houses are, quite simply, the bad guys. The men and women who serve the Chicago Police Department and risk their lives daily trying to catch the bad guys are the good guys. The good guys can’t catch the bad guys if they don’t have the support of the community.

Bobby Loncar supports those men and women who risk their lives every day serving the residents of Chicago and the communities of the tenth ward. Susan Sadlowski-Garza does not support police. Bobby knows that these men and women are not pigs and that the Chicago Police Department is not the biggest gang in Chicago. They are the good guys and they need the support of the communities they serve if we want to get the bad guys.

Supporting our police officers is only the first step toward reducing crime. Bobby knows that poverty breeds crime. Long-term solutions require programs that keep kids involved in the community, such as after-school programs and volunteer opportunities. These solutions require keeping the parents of these kids employed and earning middle-class, live-able wages. Ultimately, these kids need to receive a solid education and go on to college – not jail.

Environment

With the tenth ward’s history as an industrial powerhouse, environmental issues are among those most pressing in the ward. While the communities of the tenth ward were engaged in the battle over the storage of petcoke in their back yard, a new threat was detected – manganese. Manganese is a heavy metal and a component in the steel making process. Air monitors that were intended to measure levels of petcoke dust in the air had detected high levels of manganese in certain areas of the tenth ward. Further investigation found that many properties near the Calumet River are contaminated with manganese. Children living near facilities that handle manganese were found to have higher traces of the metal in their nails than children throughout the rest of Chicago.

Studies have found a link between higher concentration of manganese in hair samples and declines in IQ, mental processing speed and working memory. Exposure to elevated levels of manganese has also been linked to Parkinson’s-like symptoms in adults.

Susan Sadlowski-Garza has been ineffective in tackling the manganese crisis facing the tenth ward. Like the regulations governing the storage of petcoke in the City of Chicago, the regulations proposed by the Department of Health require that manganese stored in the City be enclosed. However, unlike the petcoke regulations, the manganese regulations contain a broad exception to this enclosure requirement. Facilities that handle manganese are not required to enclose the product if they agree to install air monitors around their facilities. Bobby Loncar believes that this broad exception renders the enclosure requirement useless and unenforceable. As tenth ward alderman, Bobby will work with the City Council and the Department of Health to ensure that the air monitoring exception is stricken from the proposed regulations concerning manganese and that any facility handling the substance is required to enclose the product without exception.

Bobby Loncar believes that we can strike a balance between nature and industry. The jobs provided by industry are an important factor in maintaining a middle class. At the same time, the availability of green spaces used for recreation in the tenth ward is vital keeping the area a desirable place to live. In order to maintain a strong middle class that wants to live in the tenth ward, we need a little of both.

Equitable Distribution of Resources

As President of the Southeast Chicago Dog Park Committee, Bobby Loncar learned that a considerable amount of funding for many of the Dog Friendly Areas throughout the Chicago Park District comes from Open Space Impact Fees. Under this program, the City allocates fees that are applied to new residential developments to pay for land acquisition and park improvements in the vicinity of the development. Unfortunately, because there is no such development in the tenth ward, little if any OSIF funding is available for such improvements in our communities. Bobby believes that such tools should be available to all communities in Chicago, including the communities of the tenth ward.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is yet another tool available to the communities of the tenth ward that has gone under-utilized during Susan Sadlowski-Garza’s tenure in office. TIF funding has been pivotal in getting countless projects in Chicago up and running. Here in the tenth ward, which is served by as many as nine TIF districts, development has been scarce. At least eight Dog Friendly Areas throughout the Chicago Park District have been funded, at least in part, through TIF funding. Susan Sadlowski-Garza has been unable to utilize TIF funding for similar projects in the tenth ward. It’s time for change.