Tagforum

Environment and community – the latest Chicago mayoral forum

Guess what. Rahm Emanuel didn’t show up. We all predicted that. He’s got his own style of campaigning and corporate Los Angeles fundraising – we’ll see where that gets him when no one knows why they should vote for him. Andy Shaw, an excellent moderator, explained how he called Rahm’s campaign office and basically was brushed off: “Thanks for telling us how to run our campaign” they said.

I brought my friend’s Apple iPad to the Marriott ballroom for the Community and Environment Mayoral Forum last night so I could “liveblog” the messages from the three candidates, Carol Mosely-Braun, Miguel Del Valle, and Gery Chico. But that didn’t happen because Marriott Magnificent didn’t provide “complimentary wifi” (as the staff member called it) to the attendees. I could have brought my laptop, but then you would have delayed updates and we couldn’t have that!

So instead I sent tweets to my 500+ followers on my dumb phone with 9 keys on its keyboard. Here are the 35 short messages about the forum, mostly unedited [edits/additions in brackets], in reverse order (last to first):

  • This was the best mayoral forum [I’ve been to] so far. (final tweet)
  • Braun: this election is about the future direction of the city and we need a city Council that is a real legislative body. [I think she was alluding how the city council has been a group of pushovers under the M. Daley administration]
  • Del Valle says we can’t achieve perfection but we have to continue reaching for it [that seems realistic]. Make neighborhood schools the anchor of the community. [He explains that he doesn’t want parents to have to struggle to decide if they should send their children to the school down the block, or the school across town. All schools should be good.]
  • Chico says running for mayor is the highlight of his life. “I want my grandson to be proud of Chicago.”
  • Chico wants to make a city where families want to stay.
  • Del Valle thinks the next mayor will be a one term mayor. It will be painful as the next mayor makes a lot of tough decisions. [I think he was really serious about this. If he believes it, then I think this says something about his rationale for becoming the next mayor.]
  • Braun: someone on Wall Street decided to make $10 billion the failure of Chicago city Council approving parking meter deal [this one was really hard to put into 140 characters – the way she spoke this message was much better than how I summarized it]
  • Chico looks better [in my eyes] with every new word he utters.
  • I like what Del Valle says but the way he talks needs to be refined.
  • Too many people are leaving the community and environmental forum and We’re talking about green jobs.
  • We need to educate the public on role and function of Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. Make water meters mandatory. [Del Valle]
  • Chico wants audit on water supply to ensure we have the cleanest. Water meters should be installed at every home and business to conserve.
  • Del Valle says he will liberate the 50 aldermen and demand open deliberation [open meaning that he would invite and encourage the public to come].
  • Del Valle says fast track park development to take the place of vacant lots and abandoned homes.
  • Chico agrees with Del Valle. Must talk to Springfield and Washington (filled with Chicagoans) more often.
  • Del Valle: Mayors need to go to Springfield more often. Gun control. Pensions. Transportation formula.
  • Braun says more bike lanes and pedestrian zones so people don’t have to compete with dangerous traffic.
  • What 3 priorities do you take to Springfield? Braun: address school & transit funding formulas. income tax. state not paying for teacher pensions.
  • Del Valle says if the candidates’ proposals are so good, why didn’t we do it before?
  • Chico says get rid of Ward based recycling and switch to grid. [Note: Recycling is based on which Ward you live in, but pickup within the connected Wards is based on a grid.]
  • Chico on downtown: In the summer you run into the flip flop crowd. 20 years ago you’d have seen tumbleweeds.
  • Andy Shaw is a good moderator. Environmental forum.
  • Braun says shut down the plants. Del Valle says City Council needs to vote on Clean Power Ordinance [which includes cleaning up or shutting down]. Chico says clean up or close down. [My favorite part of the forum. I’ve lived in their polluting domain for four years, in Pilsen and Bridgeport.]
  • Fisk and Crawford plants: What steps would you take to clean them up? This is my question of the year as I’ve lived near there for 4 years.
  • Chico talking about his rep as school board president. Oversaw building new schools and rising test scores.
  • Chico also telling us how much of a Chicagoan he is. Talking about Neighborhoods Alive, living on South Michigan Avenue.
  • To be a world class city, we need world class neighborhoods. Can’t happen until we do away with food deserts. -Del Valle
  • Del Valle says all candidates tonight will have same answers. But Del Valle talking about how true a Chicagoan he is.
  • Del Valle ribs Rahm for not showing up at forums. Forums are a very good way to meet Chicagoans.
  • Braun says the earth is “all of our mother”
  • Braun talking about her environmental chops as state legislator and senator.
  • Andy Shaw warns of tough, green questions ahead. At the environmental forum.
  • Tomorrow will be 4th forum of Andy Shaw that Rahm Emanuel will miss.
  • Brendan Reilly gives “a big downtown” welcome to Braun, Del Valle, Chico. (first tweet)

I tried to give equal attention to all candidates, but there’s obvious bias in all of the tweets because of my limited space to write and also because I only tweeted what I thought would be interesting to readers (“sound bytes,” I guess).

Lastly: Both Mosely-Braun and Del Valle want to build more bike lanes and “pedestrian zones” (not sure what they meant by this) to ensure these users’ safety. Awesome! Del Valle even went so far as to say that he would like to see bike lanes on Grand Avenue at Milwaukee Avenue (an intersection he sees often and alluded to wanting to improve it). This is in addition to him bringing up how the parking meter deal sucks for Chicago because it removes the City’s ability to control its own streets.

Chicago Flame reports on the recent UIC mayoral candidate forum

Alyssa Cherwak writes in the Chicago Flame, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s student newspaper. Obviously, someone took better notes than I did. She’s got the real dirt for us, quoting the candidates for mayor throughout the article :

“What are the qualifications to be mayor of the city of Chicago?” asked Ryan Graves. “Be eighteen years old, a registered voter, a city resident, in no debt to the city, and no felony convictions. I meet all of these qualifications.”

After the forum, Danny Davis and Miguel del Valle started talking to reporters.

Don’t vote for this guy

Will the next Chicago mayor be the same kind of urban planner like Richard M. Daley was? Will they build new parks and libraries at the same time they sell off infrastructure at a fraction of its value or abuse Tax Increment Financing funds?

I attended the UIC mayoral candidate forum on Wednesday to find this out. There was some talk about creating an open and transparent government (Patricia Watkins), with budgets that a 5th grader could read and spending denoted for each Ward or Community Area (I really like these ideas).

One candidate, Fredrick White, wants to support the building of a water bottling plant that would bottle water with “CHICAGO” on the label and have it sold in local stores and restaurants in order to create jobs (I don’t like this idea at all).

Fredrick K. White is probably telling the audience to visit his website.

I liked Miguel del Valle’s responses to the question about paying for higher education and ensuring the University of Illinois is funded. He recommended better integrating the community colleges and supporting the 3+1 program, where the final year of a bachelor’s program is completed at a university.

At least two candidates want to create technology parks, one even saying he wants Chicago to become the Silicon Valley of the Midwest. Another said Chicago can become the hotbed for nanotechnology development (William Walls).

Whatever was said, it wasn’t said by Fenton Patterson. I can’t recall anything he said. When responding to questions, he swaggered to the front of the stage, pulled his jacket back, stooped his head down, mumbled something that didn’t answer any question that was asked. His demeanor looked like that of a detective on [insert name of cop TV show here] ready to grill a perpetrator.

This forum was the first step in weeding out bad candidates like Fenton Patterson.

More of my work on the Chicago elections:

UIC hosts Chicago election season’s first forum

I’m following the race for 11th ward alderman as well as for mayor of Chicago – the election is going to get wild. It’s mild right now, though.

On Wednesday, the University of Illinois at Chicago hosted a forum in Student Center East (750 S Halsted) featuring 10 candidates for mayor. Out of the 20 candidates registered with the Board of Elections, 10 didn’t come. Noticeably absent were Rahm Emanuel, Carol Mosely-Braun, and Gerry Chico.

We’ve got some weirdos running for mayor of Chicago.

I’ll be uploading some video footage I recorded but I also tweeted a few times during the forum. Here they are in reverse chronological order:

  1. Ryan Graves says Rahm Emanuel gets corporate donations for favors, “not because they like the guy.”
  2. Some attendees upset at Ryan Graves use of word illegal aliens. They muttered they prefer undocumented. Same thing or not?
  3. Ryan Graves needs a better answer on higher education. Hu gave an excellent response.
  4. Ryan Graves actually knows what TIFs are for. #UIC mayoral candidate forum.
  5. Chicago’s 77 community areas from the 1950s still going strong today at #UIC mayoral candidate forum.
  6. Frederick K White wants to make a Chicago water bottling plant. #UIC mayoral
  7. #UIC mayoral candidate forum going well. Too many single issue platforms though.

I wrote so many times about Ryan Graves because I’m excited that he’s running. He’s 27 years old and I admire his efforts so far. I think that as long as he remains sane during the campaigning, he will be a good person to consider for mayor in the coming decades.

I wish that was me with the Apple iPad, live-tweeting the event.

More on Cities and Bicycles Forum with David Byrne

I want to add more about the Cities and Bicycles Forum from Friday, June 18, 2010, with David Byrne and three Chicago-based speakers.

Randy sent me his presentation’s script and PowerPoint files (download the 4 MB PDF version). So you can either watch the video of him announcing 10 (really 9) ideas for Chicago and bikes, or you can read it.

David Byrne, Luann Hamilton, Jacky Grimshaw, and Randy Neufeld during the question and answer period.

Additionally, I want to link to Brian’s take on the event. Brian Morrissey is not a “bike insider” (I’m probably such a person), although he reverse commutes to the suburbs on his bike, races for xXx Racing-Athletico, and writes about it. Afterwards, check out John Greenfield’s article on New City for a summary of all four presentations.

Demonstrating off-street (on-sidewalk) bike parking in Chicago.

Randy Neufeld’s 10 ideas for bicycling in Chicago

UPDATE: Download the presentation as a PowerPoint or PDF.

This past weekend, David Byrne visited Chicago to speak alongside Luann Hamilton, Jacky Grimshaw, and Randy Neufeld. Randy Neufeld served as the Executive Director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, now the Active Transportation Alliance. He is now a board member of Active Trans and the director of the SRAM Cycling Fund.

At the “Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Getting Around: A Special Urban Sustainability Forum with David Byrne,” Randy gives Chicago 10 ideas to make bicycling great. What follows is my paraphrasing of the presentation.

“We need to make the streets more inviting to a broader spectrum.” 8 and 80. The criteria for urban cycling infrastructure should be whether it is suitable for 8 year olds and 80 year olds.

10 Ideas for Bicycling in Chicago from Steven Vance on Vimeo.

  1. Open Streets – “What if Bike The Drive were every weekend?”
  2. Slow Down – 30KPH (under 18 MPH) zone.
  3. Cycle Tracks – The basic bike lane has been widened, parked cars moved to the left, and a buffer has been painted.
  4. Bike Boulevards – Lightly traveleed streets without bike lanes to make it easier to take the side streets across town.
  5. Bike Parking – Chicago is the best with on-street bike racks. Need covered off-street bike parking. Bike parking starts at home. “There’s free public auto parking on the street in front of my house, why not free public bike parking on the street in front of my house?”
  6. New Public Space – Follow New York City’s example. Build a Parklet like in San Francisco.
  7. Wayfinding – Not impressed with Google Maps’ bicycling directions. Active Transportation Alliance Chicagoland Bike Map.
  8. Better Bikes – “In Chicago, one could live without a suspension fork, and fewer than 21 gears. For $370, you’re going to wish they included lights, fenders, a kickstand, and a rack to carry your beach bag. In civilized places, bikes come fully equipped.
  9. Public Bikes – “Maybe you don’t need your own bike.”
  10. Get Going! – Take action, get involved. Take something you’ve seen today and make it happen. Put fenders and a basket on your own bike, and go shopping! [I’m not sure if number 10 is an idea but really the conclusion to encourage people to further inspect ideas 1 through 9.]

Randy used, with my permission, several photos from my Flickr photostream. You can see those again now – perhaps you’ll want to use them in your presentation about bicycling and Chicago!

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