Chicago Tribune OpEd - January 8, 2023
A REPUBLICAN VIEW OF THE MAYOR’S RACE
Chicago will soon conduct mayoral and aldermanic elections while mired in crisis. The Chicago Republican Party did not have the extensive financial resources required to fund a Republican candidate for Mayor, but the base Republican vote in Chicago hovers around 16-17%, enough to affect the outcome on February 28, when only the top two candidates will advance to the April runoff.
Republicans held hope that the departure of Michael Madigan and other longtime office holders would unleash the same industrious spirit that built Chicago into an economic dynamo, to revitalize this giant capital of the American Heartland. However, no mayoral candidate will address a simple, yet fundamental goal: greater prosperity for the Chicago citizens.
Chicago government must adopt radical change to promote “prosperity”, a term that encompasses not just economic gain but also a thriving quality of life that is increasingly absent from this terrorized and ever-poorer city. “Make no small plans,” begins the famous quote from Chicago urban planner Daniel Burnham. With the mayoral candidates, however, those brave words appear to have been reduced to “Hide behind general statements, talk about ‘equity’ and don’t offend the Chicago Teachers Union leadership.” A candidate courageous enough to advocate for increased prosperity for Chicagoans should consider the following:
1. Endorse a Pension Debt Solution. Experts have proposed various plans, and all include a good amount of economic pain. Nevertheless, continued delay means worse pain. Empty phrases such as “we will look at every option” will not suffice when the best workable options are already known. Be honest with the people: until the can kicking ends by adoption of a realistic pension solution providing light at the tunnel, Chicagoans will never find long-term prosperity.
2. End the Chokehold on Small Business. Chicago will never prosper under the burden of taxes, fees, corruption and regulations currently imposed upon small businesses by a plainly hostile government. A total reformation of City Hall’s approach and attitude towards business is required to restore a commercial tax base that will lessen the crushing taxes on individual citizens. Minority neighborhoods will begin to enjoy prosperity when job-creating small businesses are freed up to succeed. Chicago youths can reject crime when their neighborhoods enjoy prosperity, not poverty. Capitalist economic expansion of Chicago business, not government payments, is the only path to lasting prosperity.
3. Junk the New Police Oversight Plan. The recently installed “GAPA” Plan just continues the current “political policing” that guarantees a weak, undermanned and discouraged Chicago Police Department that will be unable to halt the current pattern of increased robbery, carjacking, looting and murder. The Chicago Republican Party has offered a reform proposal to install a structure for effective and accountable “professional policing,” drawn from successful police structures in other cities. It includes a five member Police Commission with broad powers, replacement of the ineffective COPA office, and an elected Corporation Counsel, while revamping CPD administration with more support for the officers. The people want more, but better run policing.
4. Fight in Springfield for School Reform. Chicago Public Schools needs a major expansion of school choice and fundamental reform to cure our failing, deficit-ridden educational system. Minority children in particular are ever less equipped to build prosperity in their lives or communities while the talent of Chicago’s labor pool declines. Much of Chicago’s education system is mandated from Springfield, so a new mayor must be ready to demand expansion of better-regulated charter schools and other alternatives, while forcing emphasis on basic education, vocational skills an end to the operating deficits within CPS.
5. Listen to Parents on Education. Our educational programs regularly include sexual topics for children, while some teachers actively indoctrinate students on just one view of American politics and culture, frequently without parental knowledge or approval. When asked, parents will vocally state that their children need a basic education and vocational training to gain good jobs, happiness and success later in life, not instruction on social politics. The children are worth facing down the cultural radicals in the core leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union.
6. Establish a Municipal Charter. Under “home rule,” Chicago rather than Springfield decides on our form of our government, but Chicago has no Charter that defines in simple terms the organization, powers, and procedures of that government. There is instead a rabbit warren of state statutes, county ordinances and a multi-volume Municipal Code that only politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers can begin to comprehend. A Charter will allow all Chicagoans to understand fully their governmental structure, while providing the power to alter the Charter as they see fit in pursuit of prosperity.
Stephen F. Boulton is the Chair of the Chicago Republican Party. He is an attorney in private practice with Anthony J. Peraica & Associates, Ltd.