Platform

Overview: A living action plan

No political candidate will ever solve our problems alone. Plans developed behind closed doors at City Hall have not solved our problems; they’ve worsened them. Chicago doesn’t need a candidate who is a lone hero; we need a candidate willing to partner with a movement. The LaRaviere administration will partner with residents, neighborhood organizations and businesses, and advocacy groups in order to make them an integral part of planning, policy-making, and decisions about how to generate and invest public revenue. That’s why our platform is a living document. It was made with feedback from residents and will be continuously updated and fine-tuned by bringing Chicagoans to the table at people’s assemblies, meet-and-greets, issue-based planning sessions, and hearings, both before and after the election. We look forward to having you at the table.

Ending corruption

Political corruption is the number one issue facing our country, our state, and our city. I've been a public servant for more than 30 years, and my experience has led me to one unavoidable conclusion: We can't make City Hall work for all of us unless we rid our political system of corporate money and the politicians who accept that money. There is no shortcut around this enormous roadblock to good government. The influence of corporate money on our system undermines democracy because it weakens the power of everyday people to control their government. That is why I refuse to take money from corporate PACs, and am the only candidate with a track record of exposing government corruption. Chicago has a troubled history of private industries and individuals who use their wealth to corrupt public officials. Mammoth campaign contributions have created a political system that features legalized bribery. This is a basic threat to our democracy. As mayor I will partner with residents to strengthen our city’s democracy by reducing the impact of big money in politics, protecting the integrity of our elections, making elections fair and accessible to all voters, making government operations transparent and open to resident participation, and protecting taxpayer-owned public assets. Toward those ends I support the following:

Ending Toxic Conflicts of Interest

Prohibiting all companies that do business with the city from donating to the campaigns of the city’s elected officials. An end to the unchecked privatization of public services (e.g, parking meters, airports, school maintenance).

Campaign Finance Reform

Public financing of city elections: I support a small-donor match ordinance which will help level the playing field and allow candidates who are not wealthy—or beholden to wealthy interests—to run for office and get a fair hearing from voters.

Oversight and Transparency

Strong Inspector General oversight of the Mayor’s Office and members of the City Council. Preservation of public records, and the timely release of public documents requested through the Freedom of Information Act. A monthly release of all written communications (e.g., emails) to and from the mayor, every member of the city council, every department head, the Board of Education, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and the head of the Chicago Park District. Public participation and scrutiny of city budgeting and borrowing and an expanded role for the Council Office of Financial Accountability to inform council members and the public of the impact of proposed financial deals.

Voter Participation and Equal Representation

Effective implementation of automatic voter registration and other measures designed to protect and increase voter turnout, especially among historically disenfranchised groups, and an end to gerrymandering of electoral maps.

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An exceptional education for all

All of Chicago’s families deserve to have their children experience an exceptional public school education within their neighborhood communities that strives to develop their full human potential.

The Most Important Years: Conception to 3

In Chicago, widespread learning gaps are present on the first day of kindergarten because our city officials fail to ensure all our young people get the cognitive foundation they need during the first few years of life, despite the fact that nothing is more critical to long-term educational success. Long-standing research tells us that trauma, food insecurity, housing insecurity, inadequate health care and environmental poisons like lead negatively impact a child’s ability to learn. My administration will work to eliminate barriers to healthy early child development by focusing on improving the quality of life of their families. That means ensuring mothers have prenatal care and all children have health care, nutritious food, and safe stable housing. It means supporting and sustaining community-based institutions that build family resilience, reducing parental incarceration, and treating parental mental illness, substance abuse, and trauma-related grief from community violence which are factors that lead to adverse childhood experiences.

Pre-Kindergarten

Every three- and four-year-old child in Chicago should be able to attend a publicly funded preschool with highly qualified teachers who encourage learning through play, exploration, problem-solving, and other evidence-based strategies that give them the best chance to reach their full potential.

A Holistic Curriculum for Reaching Potential

Our students and families deserve a world-class public school system that develops the gifts of all children; a system where students go beyond the basics to learn musicianship, world languages, civic advocacy, advanced reasoning and argumentation, leadership, trade skills, photography, filmmaking, digital media, painting, sculpture, dance, drama, home economics, and advanced athletic skills.

The Best Educators in the Nation

Under a LaRaviere administration, Chicago will have the most highly skilled teaching force in the nation. As mayor, I will invest in (1) recruiting and retaining the most talented and committed educators, (2) supporting teachers and school leaders by providing meaningful professional development and building regular collaboration with peers into the school day, and (3) the implementation of holistic accountability systems.

Safe and Supportive Schools

In order to reach their full academic potential, students must be in an environment that is conducive to learning. Schools will be provided with ample resources to establish and promote a culture and climate conducive to learning for all. Our district will support restorative justice practices as an alternative to punitive justice. Students will receive language support, special education support, and ample support for social and emotional development including counseling and social work services.

A Moratorium on New Selective Enrollment Schools

The demand for selective enrollment schools is driven primarily by the district undermining, neglecting, and underfunding neighborhood schools. We will invest in our neighborhood schools, ensure educational programs that are on par with those offered at selective schools, and promote their success.

Democratic School Governance

I believe in the power of collaborative relationships between community organizations and public schools. My administration will foster, support, and promote such partnerships and contribute to the development of parent and community leadership to sustain them. This includes developing and supporting effective leadership on local school councils.

I support an elected school board, and I believe the ultimate aim is to ensure our school board is (1) representative, and (2) competent. The corrupt influence of corporate money in our election system that gave us Rahm Emanuel and his rubber stamp city council, is just as likely to produce a rubber stamp elected school board that is neither representative nor competent. We must face this reality and fight for two things alongside an elected school board:

  1. Democratic criteria: Local school councils have criteria for candidates that increase the likelihood of democratic representation. For example, an LSC candidate must be a parent of a student in the school in order to run for certain positions. Other positions require candidates to be staff members at the school. The elected school board should have similar criteria.
  2. Campaign finance reform: The fight for a representative school board should include a strong push to support campaign finance reforms such as public financing of elections. Such financing (e.g., the six-to-one donor match ordinance) could give working people a realistic chance of running for a school board seat and winning.

Holding Charter School Operators Accountable

There will be no new district charter schools under a LaRaviere administration. Charter schools that create hyper-segregation, abuse the discipline system, lack transparency and oversight, suppress student academic growth, or divert funds away from students, will be subject to public management, non-renewal, or the choice of closing the school or allowing it to be reintegrated into CPS as a neighborhood or magnet school.

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Affordable housing for all

In order for Chicagoans to realize their full potential, they need a stable place to call home. Currently, City Hall neglects and undermines the housing needs of working families because it believes it is more important for wealthy real estate developers to realize their profit potential than for everyday Chicagoans to realize their human potential. They use hundreds of millions of our tax dollars as corporate welfare for real estate moguls while the city sits on nearly a half billion dollars meant to address the housing needs of working families.

We have an affordable housing crisis in Chicago. This crisis is driven by

  1. Profit-driven real-estate development that leads to rent-hikes, mass evictions, and property tax increases
  2. Corrupt housing officials who demolish affordable housing, fail to replace those units and leave affordable units vacant
  3. The public and private failure to save existing affordable housing stock from neglect, foreclosure, and property flips
  4. A failure to subsidize rents for low-income households
  5. Segregation and Cultural Bias

These drivers expel working families from the homes and neighborhoods they’ve lived in all their lives, forcing them to leave the city in search of an affordable place to live. The solutions are to (1) build additional affordable housing, (2) preserve existing affordable units, (3) subsidize housing costs for families with extremely low incomes, and (4) dismantle segregation and the entrenched racism that undergirds it.

Build

  • Strengthen the affordable units requirement of conversions and new developments.
  • Invest affordable family housing funds to increase affordable housing in gentrifying areas.
  • Replace all public housing units that are demolished.
  • Rehabilitate vacant public housing units and make them available to families.
  • Redevelop 1 to 4 unit buildings, and 4 to 49 unit buildings as affordable rental housing
  • Build capacity among community-based organizations to work with the Cook County Land Bank Authority to redevelop vacant land.
  • When a residential development with at least 10 percent affordability is proposed in a ward with less than 10 percent affordable housing, the proposed development can no longer be rejected or delayed indefinitely by the Alderman alone.

Preserve

  • Tighten rules on no-cause evictions by developers
  • For high-end tenants, focus developers on the creation of new housing stock rather than the conversation of aging affordable housing
  • End the state ban on rent control and rent stabilization.
  • Encourage and support community benefits agreements
  • Acquire existing multifamily buildings and reserve 20 percent of the units as affordable housing.
  • Support and invest in efforts to preserve and improve Single Room Occupancy units.
  • Encourage and support tenant co-ops in private-market multi-family buildings and establish a tenants right-of-first-refusal that allows them to purchase the properties when owners sell their buildings.
  • Preserve affordability by converting affordable private units on the market to public ownership via CHA or Community Development Corporations,
  • Work with the county board and assessor to provide property tax reductions for ten years or more for owners of multifamily properties who undertake rehabilitation or new construction and who commit to make a percentage of their units available to households at or below 60 percent of Area Median Income.
  • Purchase rental properties in danger of foreclosure.

Subsidize

  • Drive down the cost of rehabbing through targeted building code relief
  • Provide low-cost financing and/or publicly subsidized energy retrofits for landlords who maintain affordable units
  • Help stabilize lower-income households through increased access to voucher-based subsidy
  • Implement workforce strategies to increase incomes, such as the $15 minimum wage.
  • Provide subsidies for low-cost new housing.

Desegregate

  • Add apartments with below-market rents in middle and upper-middle-class neighborhoods via subsidies or affordable housing inducements such as tax-exempt bonds for affordable housing development. Work with groups in these neighborhoods to create a deliberate strategy for introducing affordable housing and the healthy integration of low-income working families into the neighborhoods and their schools.  Such a strategy might--for example--prioritize housing for low-income families whose head-of-household works in or near the community but cannot afford market rates in that community. The strategy must respect the human dignity of everyone involved.
  • Increase transit options that connect residents to jobs and housing.
  • Expand Housing Choice Voucher Exception Rents to 200 percent of Fair Market Rent in select community areas that are currently inaccessible to voucher holders, as a means to promote mobility and equity.

The LaRaviere administration will work continuously with existing housing advocacy organizations and other stakeholders to create an effective and equitable plan to expand affordable housing throughout Chicago.

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Revenue: From regressive to progressive

Our revenue systems must replace regressive taxes, tickets, and fees with tax policies that compel the wealthy to pay their fair share. In other words, we must end the corrupt practice of overtaxing the poor while under-taxing the rich.

End the Corruption Tax

End the array of insider deals, interest payments to banks owned by Emanuel’s campaign donors, and other corruption and waste estimated to cost us over $500 million/year.

Change the Revenue Narrative

Taxes pay for our public highway system, airports, communications systems, the internet, public hospitals, public schools, our fire department and more. Our ancestors used taxes to ensure these services were here for us, and we must do the same for the generation to follow. Paying for these services is an investment in a public benefit; not a burden. Corruption taxes and revenue systems that allow the rich to shirk their tax responsibilities are the burdens. We must decide together what kind of city we want, and then use our tax systems to invest in creating that city.

Sue the Banks and Push for Low-Interest Federal Loans

File lawsuits against the financial institutions that engage in unethical practices that lock the city and school district into costly toxic financial deals. Push for low-interest federal loans that allow us to pay our public debts and save taxpayers billions in interest payments to banks.

Replace Red-Light Cameras and Regressive Taxes with Taxing the Rich

With the support of residents, my administration will replace consumer fees, fines, and traffic tickets with revenue streams that compel the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share in taxes. Such streams could take the form of a tax on financial transactions, opening the sales tax to include services, a progressive state income tax, equitable use of TIF funds, a tax on corporations that profit off of the people and infrastructure of the city of Chicago, and a graduated city real-estate transfer tax among others.

Minimize Property Tax Increases

During the 2015 debates with Chuy Garcia, Rahm Emanuel evaded the property tax question and proposed other options such as a casino and the expansion of the sales tax. However, after he was safely re-elected he didn’t work to get these other revenues. Instead, he instituted regressive fees, more tickets, and the largest property tax increase in Chicago history.  Every reputable economic expert knows that Chicago must raise property taxes or go bankrupt if other sources of revenue are not created. My promise to Chicago residents is that I will make every effort to create revenue streams that compel the rich to pay their fair share so that--if there must be a property tax increase--it will be far less than the mammoth increase that would come with an Emanuel third term. We must also develop public revenue-generating enterprises such as public banks because if we don’t allow our government to make money through public enterprises, we will be destined to support our government with our taxes,

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Raise the standard of living

We must create and protect living-wage jobs, and safeguard pensions and other earned compensation from corporate theft.  This administration has attacked pensions, retiree health care, public employee wages, and the unions who fight all of these key components of a healthy middle class. My administration will work with residents to raise the standard of living for all Chicagoans.

Raise the Minimum Wage to $15.00 an Hour.

Our current administration undermined the fight for a $4.50 increase in the minimum wage (from $10.50 to $15.00) by passing a substantially smaller $1.50 increase to $12.00. The mayor spins the minimal increase as a move to help working people. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was a move to help his corporate allies by sabotaging the increasingly popular effort to hike the minimum wage to $15.

Support Unions with a Balance of Respect and Accountability

Our current political climate approaches public unions with an emphasis on accountability while showing little to no respect for labor. I support a strong labor movement In Chicago. Labor unions are the central force behind establishing safe working conditions, a living wage, and the emergence of a middle class. Chicago’s municipal entities must offer good working conditions along with salaries, health care, retirement savings, and other compensation that allow us to compete effectively for talent, create living wage jobs, and sustain local economies. We must also provide the training and support that will enable public employees to meet high standards of performance. At the same time, when public servants fail to meet those standards, municipal agencies must have the resources they need to address shortcomings while honoring workers’ due process rights. While I support strong due process rights, I will not support any overly burdensome contract stipulations that are designed to make it nearly impossible to correct or remove a public employee whose job performance is unsatisfactory, whether that employee be a police officer, a teacher, or sanitation worker.

Respect and support on one side; high expectations and accountability on the other. This is the yin and yang of my approach to labor unions.

Safeguard Pensions and Reinstate Healthcare for City Retirees

Pensions and healthcare are not perks. They are a delayed payment—withheld and invested by your employer—for work already done. If an employer doesn’t have the money for them, then the employer either embezzled, stole, or misspent your earnings. Your employer is a thief. We must not allow our city’s retirees to suffer the brunt of consequences stemming from the corruption of our elected officials and the private banking and investment interests they represent.

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Safe neighborhoods and constitutional policing

Chicago has a long history of police abuse, torture, and harassment of its residents. It has had a significant toll on its residents and has cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars. At the same time, we have more than our share of violent crime. Every Chicago resident has a right to feel safe and secure in their homes, neighborhoods, and throughout the city. As mayor, I will work with police and residents to fine-tune and execute plans to stem violence while ensuring the constitutional rights of all residents are respected.

Address Root Causes

We must address root causes of crime such as environmental factors, economic development and employment, the quality of our education system, mental health support, and the housing segregation that allows both private and governmental systems to geographically target African American people for disinvestment and exploitation.

Build a New Ethos of Policing

In a city where African American people bear the brunt of inequitable property tax assessments, automobile tickets, biking tickets, DUI checkpoints, arrests, red-light camera enforcement, and unconstitutional use of force,  we must reveal and reject the unspoken objectives of our system of government and policing, which are to serve the wealthy, protect their property, and further control and bleed oppressed and exploited people. Police work must be focused on establishing practices and relationships that improve communities and prevent harm from occurring and recurring.  Crime stat percentages are a measure of police action, not citizen action. We have no idea who commits the most crimes. We know that black men are arrested and accused more of committing crimes. Arrests and tickets must no longer be used as a measure of police productivity or effectiveness. When violent crimes occur, such a shift will free up investigative resources and create the community relationships necessary to solve those crimes.

Community Control of Policing Systems

Policing is a function of government. If our government is corrupt, our policing system will be even more corrupt given the power vested in that system. A transformation in policing requires a transformation in the governmental systems that oversee the police. For these reasons, I support community control of our policing systems. I also support community-based violence interruption programs that focus on preventing retaliatory attacks.

Training and Support for Effective Unbiased Policing

Support officers with comprehensive mental health services and counseling services. Provide ongoing training in best practices such as de-escalation. Increase the ability of police to solve crimes with training in basic and advanced detective work, and by creating deep ties between police and neighborhood residents and community leaders. Build the capacity of officers to recognize their own internal biases in every encounter with residents and adjust their perspectives and behaviors accordingly.

Accountability

I support a federal court consent decree, better screening of officers, stronger supervision, changes to the police contract, hard consequences for officers who violate the civil rights of residents, and the rest of the 99 recommendations for reform put forth by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Ending bigotry and inequity

We are one human family. However, we have grown up in a society where, for hundreds of years, those in power have cultivated and capitalized on prejudices about race, faith, ethnic background, national origin, gender, and sexual orientation in order to pit working people against each other. We live in a world where the powerful have maintained their power for centuries by pitting working-class people against one another. They use race, religion, national origin, citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, and other differences to drive wedges between us. Whether they’re maligning the character of black workers to pit white workers against them; maligning the character of Muslim workers to pit Christian workers against them, or maligning LGBTQ workers to pit straight workers against them, the rich and powerful benefit when working families are divided and at odds with one another. Efforts to malign specific groups have led to discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare, recognition of relationship/marriage, and public accommodations, as well as harassment, bullying and hate crimes. I oppose all these forms of discrimination and the prejudiced beliefs behind them.

Create an Anti-Bias Culture

As your mayor, I will work with residents to create a culture in our city that contradicts those prejudices, and I will welcome and promote the contributions of all our sisters and brothers towards creating a new Chicago that meets all our needs. Public officials and civil servants must get the training and support they need to root out prejudice in their decision making. We will use the power of the mayor's office to create opportunities for residents to build bridges between Chicago’s diverse communities.

Oversight and Supervision

Conduct racial equity assessments for all major initiatives or investments across all city and school district departments and invest in jobs, transportation, and economic development accordingly.

Accountability

Institute and follow through on consequences for those who violate the civil and human rights of our residents.

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Equitable investment in neighborhoods

The unfair and unjust disparity between downtown and neighborhood investment is shameful and inexcusable. The Emanuel administration invested more public dollars in one downtown project (upgrading a Ferris Wheel) than City Hall’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund invested in the entire South, West, and Southwide sides of Chicago combined, in 2018.

Navy Pier/Ferris Wheel: $55 Million

Neighborhoods: $11 Million

Emanuel gives wealthy developers hundreds of millions in corporate welfare from Chicago taxpayers, while shortchanging communities most in need. We must ensure that human development no longer takes a backseat to real estate development. Under the current system, your tax dollars are not working for you; they’re working for millionaires and billionaires. With Troy as our mayor, we can put our tax dollars to work for all of us with extensive investments that help Chicago grow strong from within.

Revitalize and Support Neighborhood Commercial Districts

  • Lobby for large investments at the federal and state level to reverse the effects of decades of neglect and exploitation. We will work with our representatives in Springfield and Washington D.C. to push for such investments from our state and federal governments.
  • Provide substantial financial and programmatic support to neighborhood economic development organizations.
  • Support the physical restoration of distressed neighborhood districts by creating systems and incentives for filling vacant properties, improving cleanliness, funding beautification projects such as greenery, facade improvements, and sidewalk cafes.
  • Celebrate and promote the unique identity of Chicago neighborhoods.
  • Connect major economic development projects--including transportation and infrastructure--with nearby neighborhoods to spur neighborhood revitalization.
  • Develop programs and policies that help storefront businesses to withstand the pressures of rising rents.
  • Celebrate local businesses and promote a “shop local first” ethic to support Chicago retail, restaurants, and services.
  • Work to provide capital and training to home-based businesses so that they can open storefronts in their neighborhoods.
  • Rebuild neighborhood institutions that create strong social ties.
  • Incentivize evidence-based practices and training for local chambers of commerce.

Foster Creation and Growth of Small Local Businesses

  • Develop tools and incentives that shift new and existing streams of capital to support local business startup and expansion.
  • Create easy-to-access resources for small business supports, from business plans and startup capital to inventory management and tech integration.
  • Support worker-owned cooperative businesses models.
  • Encourage Chicago large employers--hospitals, universities, corporations, and all levels of government--to reduce costs and increase savings by purchasing from local businesses.
  • Encourage a culture of entrepreneurship through training and mentorship in neighborhood institutions and schools
  • Invest in underdeveloped sectors like urban agriculture and food distribution hubs.

Enhance Public Sector Services and Employment

  • School improvement to create a skilled force for labor, management, entrepreneurship, and civic leadership.
  • Increase trades training opportunities so residents can take advantage of increased job opportunities.
  • Expand employment through the enhancement and expansion of public sector services. For example, expanding curriculum, reducing class size, increasing access to head start, and the expansion of mental health services and facilities all create living wage jobs for residents whose spending will support local neighborhood economies.
  • Increase youth employed in summer jobs from 30,000 to 250,000

Establish and Expand Public and Public/Private Enterprises

  • Develop publicly owned factories, banks, cooperatives, and other commercial ventures fed by the talent of our high schools, city colleges, and community based economic development organizations.
  • Not only will we fight to legalize marijuana, we will go further to sure that production, distribution, and sales are zoned and organized in a way that ensures those who suffered the most from the criminalization of marijuana, benefit the most from its legalization. Specifically, south and west side populations who were targeted for marijuana-related arrests and incarceration must be targeted for marijuana-related jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Attract Sustainable Businesses

  • We will improve and enhance the long-term value of our city to sustainable businesses that can employ large numbers of Chicagoans by creating an ethical and predictable government, a resilient economy, a school system that produces a highly skilled and educated workforce. We will promote Chicago’s vast cultural, social, and geographical assets; and establish transparent, equitable criteria for economic development.
  • Proposals to subsidize private business development with public money will be evaluated on their long-term benefit to our neighborhoods, including net living wage jobs; impact on wealth creation in high needs areas, projected contributions to the local tax base; community engagement and buy-in, and impact on reversing racial and economic inequities.
  • All successful projects must reinvest an amount into the local community (non-profits, schools, community groups) that is of equal or higher value than the public subsidy that advanced their success.

Residents to Co-lead Improvement Efforts and Share in the Benefits of Development

  • Economic develop must be planned with neighborhoods, so they realize and respond to real needs and unseen impacts.
  • Build a city-wide structure for community engagement.
  • Direct city planning staff to take a proactive support role in neighborhood development, and empower citizens to lead community improvement efforts that inform city initiatives.

Establish and Maintain Healthy Environments

Keep our air, water, and land clean by protecting them from industries that poison and pollute.

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Support for immigrants

No resident of Chicago who poses no harm to our community should have to live under the threat of expulsion from the United States or be stereotyped and demeaned by our public officials. Some of our most toxic officials attempt to frame immigrants as threats to "our jobs" while the most significant threats to good jobs are those who automate them, send them overseas, and push for laws that weaken the unions that fought to make those jobs good-paying in the first place. We must end the scapegoating of immigrants and take steps to make Chicago--and America--live up to its promise.

  • Every person in our country—documented or not—should have the means to realize his or her God-given potential. Toward that end, I support a pathway to citizenship, policies that emphasize family unity and the protection of human rights, humane enforcement, and policies that address international conditions that cause migration in the first place.
  • I support making Chicago a true sanctuary for all of its residents--documented or not. I believe we should go further than non-cooperation with I.C.E. (including the use of the flawed gang database). We need to invest in the community institutions such as schools, community centers, housing, and medical clinics that create a true sense of sanctuary for all of us.
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