Chicago mayor's race: What the candidates promise
Less than a week from Election Day, top candidates in the Chicago mayor's race talk spending freezes and consider bringing a casino to the city.
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All four mayoral candidates are denouncing a deal that Daley struck with Morgan Stanley in 2008 to privatize Chicago's 36,000 parking meters. The city sold them for $1.15 billion, but three years later, much of that money is gone – and now it's locked into a contact that won't expire for 72 years.Skip to next paragraph
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A report issued by Chicago's Office of the Inspector General said the city could have gotten almost $1 billion more for the meters.
Following are some of the ideas that each candidate has presented for addressing Chicago's finances.
Rahm Emanuel, ex-Obama chief of staff
As part of what he calls his "reinvention" of city hall, Mr. Emanuel proposes cutting spending by $75 million in 2011. In hopes of saving more money, he also wants to modernize services such as garbage collection.
He says his administration would operate following a "charter" model in which agency commissioners are rewarded for saving money. "I don't want them to govern by just following the rule book. I want them to rethink and rewrite the rule book," he said in early February at a campaign stop.
Former US Sen. Carol Moseley Braun
Ms. Braun has called the parking-meter deal "a scam, plain and simple," and says she would seek to revoke the contract if possible. Her campaign has largely focused on neighborhood issues, including the regulatory processes that small businesses must go through to open their doors. She wants to create the Department of Small Business Growth, which would be a one-stop shop for all permits, licenses, and fees.
But her first plan of action, she says, would be the development of a $2 billion fund to invest in and nurture high-growth technology companies in Chicago and the broader Midwest.
Gery Chico, former Daley chief of staff
As far as restructuring, Mr. Chico has proposed merging the city treasurer's and city clerk's offices into other departments. He also wants to reduce staffing at the headquarters of the Chicago Public Schools by a third.
To boost revenue, he has called for increasing how much the city charges suburbs for their water supply.
Chico also wants to address Chicago's 15 percent drop in the police force since 2008 – the result of previous belt-tightening. With proper restructuring of the police department, funds will be available to hire 2,000 more officers within four years, he says. (Emanuel has made a similar proposal involving 1,000 police officers.)
Miguel del Valle, Chicago city clerk
Mr. del Valle also wants to void the parking-meter deal and, in a phone interview earlier this month, said he "would advocate going slowly in terms of considering any proposal of privatization." He urges public hearings on any future privatization proposals.
"I don't want a strong mayor, weak council," he added. "I need a strong council along with the mayor assuming responsibility for the tough decisions."
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