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Economic Justice

ECONOMIC JUSTICE PLATFORM

My economic justice platform is simple – as the next mayor of Chicago, I plan to fight back against a history of punitive policies that increase the everyday economic stressors of Chicago’s most vulnerable and widen the wealth gap that only benefit those who’ve always had access to the corridors of power.

I believe that the answer to Chicago’s problem is not just a change in leadership, but a reimagining of the system’s design.

We deserve and have the chance to build a Chicago that is equity and growth forward, a Chicago that actively rejects the idea that citizens should be punished for being poor, a Chicago that protects its people and provides a workforce that allows us all to thrive.

Progressive, Productive, not Punitive

Chicago is leading the nation in bankruptcies – not because Chicago’s wealthy face higher rates of hardship, but because compliance violations incur the largest source of ticket debt in the city, and that fact is a stain on Chicago’s progress. When people lose their licenses and cars, they lose their jobs, and when people lose their jobs, they lose their livelihoods.

From overwhelming tax costs that eat away at what Chicagoans are able to put on the table at dinnertime, to targeted racist and classist ticketing that place even higher barriers on an individual’s ability to live their daily lives, the draconian nature of Chicago’s fines, fees and forfeiture systems perpetuate disparities in revenue growth and holds us back from thinking of new, innovative ways to keep Chicago’s economy thriving. We need progressive and productive policies that protect our communities instead of punishing them.

Chicago’s legacy of high policing in low income black and brown communities takes a significant toll on the pockets our communities when its predatory practices exploit public safety systems, hurting black and latinx communities the most.

The majority of Chicago’s bike tickets go to cyclists in Black communities like Austin and Lawndale, and when it snows, CPD tickets minority communities for shoveling violations more than all other communities. Almost a quarter of those living on less than $15K a year report having outstanding ticket debt and are 40 percent more likely to be issued vehicle-related tickets and fines, even though white communities own more vehicles[1]. On top of student loans, medical bills and other debt, ticket-driven debt perpetuates a cycle of financial insecurity for families that are already significantly disenfranchised, pushing them into unemployment, bankruptcies and incarceration.

As mayor, I’ll:

  • Ban the boot so that Chicagoans will never lose mobility as a penalty for owing debt
  • Replace the existing Chicago vehicle immobilization payment plan with a progressive repayment plan, lowering the barrier for lower-income constituents to pay off their debt
  • Allow Chicagoans to repay their debt in public service in lieu of payment
  • Offer a moratorium so that you’ll never receive tickets during key holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Years – because it’s the little things that hold significant impact on everyday quality of life of all Chicagoans
  • Initiate an equity audit across the city’s departments to confront the city’s history of disparity
  • In alignment with our forthcoming economic growth platform, we’ll set forth alternative revenue streams that will allow us to eliminate the city’s reliance on ticketing schemes

Economic Opportunity and Workforce Equity

Almost 90% of Chicago’s young black and brown residents are out of work because much of the city’s jobs are located in Chicago’s Loop or the wealthy suburbs of the north and west, making it difficult for people who live in transportation deserts in the South to get to work[2]. Chicagoans deserve an inclusive workforce that will provide equal and sustainable job opportunities without time and cost being prohibitive factors. Chicagoans deserve an economy that is inclusive where all residents have access to individual and/or family sustaining jobs. No citizen should be forced to choose between their families or their jobs, and none of us should go homeless because of an illness. As mayor, I’ll:

  • Build an inclusive growth and equity forward economic development plan that prioritizes community need over profit
  • Improve Chicago’s transit system and infrastructure to eliminate transit deserts, ensuring that all Chicagoans face the lowest barriers in getting to and from work every day

A Culture of Transparency

As the next Mayor of Chicago, you — the citizens of Chicago – will become my boss. You deserve a Mayor who understands that your input is invaluable at the tables of power. Without an insistence on full transparency and a cultural open-door policy, we only perpetuate the harmful practices that have led to generations of distrust in Chicago’s leadership and delegitimized our institutions. To solve for inequity, we must tackle them head on by shifting old paradigms of power to fight for policies that emanate from and work for the people of Chicago. As mayor, I’ll:

  • Keep the city informed about how wealth inequity impacts the lived experiences of every day Chicagoans, and what we plan to do about it
  • Perform an equity audit of all city agencies and departments to assess these inequities, and create public-facing performance benchmarks to ensure accountability and progress
  • Host citywide town halls, forums and discussions that allow feedback opportunities for the public

Technology as a preventative measure against city allocation of duplicate tickets

Far too often, technology is used to help the city collect money, but not to make life easier for our residents. We must work swiftly to develop an app that would allow parking enforcement to identify vehicles that have already received a ticket within a 48 hour period (Individuals are receiving multiple tickets, in many instances, for the same infraction. In the interests of fairness, we must have a way of identifying vehicles that have not received a ticket so that we are not violating our city ordinance and risking duplicate tickets. A technology app can ensure that parking enforcement and law enforcement have access to the same information about which tickets have been issued.

City debt should not bar from city employment

End municipal hiring policies that prevent the hiring of individuals who owe money to the city. If people are unable to be hired, they cannot work and generate the income to repay city debts.

[1] https://www.woodstockinst.org/research/reports/debt-spiral-how-chicagos-vehicle-ticketing-practices-unfairly-burden-low-income-and-minority-communities/

[2] https://greatcities.uic.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/HighCostsforYouth-v1.5-min.pdf

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