May­oral can­di­dates dis­cuss econ­omy, polic­ing at UIC fo­rum

Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday) - - TOP NEWS - BY RACHEL HINTON, STAFF RE­PORTER rhin­[email protected]­times.com | @rrhin­ton

With 45 days to go be­fore they face off in the elec­tion, Chicago may­oral can­di­dates on Sat­ur­day of­fered their pro­posed so­lu­tions to grow the city’s econ­omy and re­build trust be­tween res­i­dents and the po­lice.

Nine of the 13 can­di­dates who re­main on the bal­lot showed up for the 90-minute One Chicago for All fo­rum at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois at Chicago’s Isadore and Sadie Dorin Fo­rum, which was packed with com­mu­nity groups from around the city.

The can­di­dates re­mained cor­dial for the most part, as Cook County Board Pres­i­dent Toni Preck­win­kle ap­peared on­stage with other can­di­dates for the first time since she was in­di­rectly men­tioned in the fed­eral com­plaint against in­dicted Ald. Ed Burke (14th).

Only Univer­sity of Chicago grad John Ko­zlar took a shot at Preck­win­kle over her Burke ties, say­ing “in­stead of giv­ing your friends a $100,000-a-year job, like Toni Preck­win­kle, let’s start in­vest­ing in our com­mu­nity mem­bers.”

Can­di­dates an­swered two ques­tions on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, one on im­mi­gra­tion and an­other on po­lice re­form.

“We have to be­lieve that all of you in this room know what’s in the best in­ter­est for your com­mu­ni­ties,” Austin Cham­ber of Com­merce di­rec­tor Amara Enyia said. “That means that the com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions on the front lines of do­ing the work, must be at the de­ci­sion-mak­ing ta­ble.”

Ex-Chicago Po­lice Supt. Garry McCarthy echoed those ideas, say­ing “the is­sues of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and hous­ing are all in­ter­twined.” He sug­gested spread­ing Tax In­cre­ment Fi­nanc­ing dis­trict dol­lars to neigh­bor­hoods rather than down­town de­vel­op­ments.

For­mer CPS CEO Paul Val­las said he’d take a third of all TIF funds and in­vest it in an eq­uity fund for the West and South Sides. For­mer Ald. Bob Fioretti said the city needed to re-open its men­tal health clin­ics.

Preck­win­kle said she’d cre­ate an of­fice of crim­i­nal jus­tice, bring­ing the com­mu­nity and the po­lice to­gether.

On sup­port­ing im­mi­grants, Preck­win­kle said she’d cre­ate a wel­com­ing city or­di­nance be­cause “we can’t have our po­lice work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with im­mi­gra­tion and cus­toms en­force­ment.”

Illi­nois Comp­trol­ler Su­sana Men­doza said “right now City Hall has to step up for the im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion more than ever be­fore.” For­mer CPS Pres­i­dent Gery Chico called for an end to any city part­ner­ship with the Gary Air­port, which fed­eral au­thor­i­ties use to de­port un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants.

RACHEL HINTON/SUN-TIMES

Paul Val­las, Toni Preck­win­kle, Wil­lie Wil­son, Gery Chico, John Ko­zlar and Bob Fioretti an­swer ques­tions on Sat­ur­day at a may­oral fo­rum at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois at Chicago.

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