Updated: January 20, 2011 4:28PM
Birth date: 03-22-1972
Political affiliation: Democrat
Neighborhood: East Side
Occupation/Firm name: Compliance Officer, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Marital status: Married
Campaign HQ address: 10950 S. Avenue C (Opening Campaign Officer in January)
Campaign website: www.martinez10.com
What is your campaign budget?
What are your top priorities for the City of Chicago?
Crime Reduction, safe streets, peace and order.
Fiscal stewardship, responsibility and accountability.
Improved educational choice and opportunities.
Increased economic development and job creation.
Improved city infrastructure.
Creating a culture of service.
What are your top priorities for your ward?
Crime reduction, safe streets, peace and order.
Improved educational choice and opportunities for our children.
Economic development and sustainable job creation through the redevelopment of over 2,000 acres in the 10th ward.
Improved delivery of city services.
Uniting the 10th Ward.
The city is in serious financial trouble and can't afford the level of service it currently provides. For 2011, Mayor Daley, with City Council backing, balanced the budget without raising taxes or fees, relying instead on some cost-saving measures and one-time fixes, including using proceeds from leasing the city's parking meters. Do you support this approach? What should be done differently going forward?
Please be specific about your plans to reshape government: what services and departments would you scale back or cut? Can you identify new revenue sources? How can the City reduce personnel costs? What kind of concessions should the City seek from the unions?
I do not support one time fixes, selling of city assets, or raising taxes in the current economic climate. Therefore, we have to operate our government more efficiently and operate with austerity, fiscal responsibility and accountability. We also have to make Chicago more business friendly in order to attract more business, economic development and investment int our city.
I would call for the permanent elimination of the corporate head tax on employees who live in the city of Chicago. We need to utilize tax incentives/benefits and TIF District funding with wisdom and discernment. We should also look at developing a "Two-Tier" system for doing business one for large corporations and one for small businesses. We cannot treat all businesses alike as it relates to city rules and regulations. We cannot base our revenue on a "Big Box" economy solely. We have to encourage and assist in the development and creation of small businesses. Chicago has become unfriendly to small business and the barrier to entry is very high as it relates to dealing with the City of Chicago bureacracy for small businesses.
As it relates to city government, I would call for desk-audits of all upper level management positions in all city departments. While rank and file city employees are sacrificing through furlough days this has directly impacted the delivery of city services, yet city departments remain "top heavy". In addition, I would look at the elimination of duplicate bureaus in every city department. For example, almost every city department has a Bureau of Finance, instead of one for every department we have one department that handles this for every city department. There would be a substantial cost savings if this is implemented.
The city's four employee pension funds have been called a "ticking time bomb," with Mayor Daley's pension commission predicting that the four funds will run out of money in 20 years. "There is no low- or no-cost solution to this problem," the commission wrote in a report earlier this year. "Deferring action is not a viable option." What is your plan for bringing the pension funds to solvency?
Deferred action is what perpetuated this problem. There are no quick fixes or simple solutions. This is going to require sacrifices from everyone in order for the city to honor their commitment. The City can no longer defer making payments to the funds and if we are unable to make our commitments then we may have to consider a bond issuance in order to raise the revenue in order to make the contributions. Pension funds are going to have to be much more accountable to their constituents in making fiscally prudent investments as opposed to politically expedient investments as well as not overestimating the value of their portfolios. We will probably have to increase the retirement age as well as employee contribution levels and for new employees we may have to consider a second tier system.
Does Chicago need 50 aldermen? If not, what's a better number? What City Council committees could be combined? What other ways can the City Council save money?
Each ward has about 50,000-60,000 residents in the 10th Ward we have about 26,000 registered voters and we have one of the largest geographic wards in the city spanning 7 neighborhoods. I do not believe shrinking the council and expanding the service areas would be a benefit to the residents of the ward, especially in our ward which is already under serviced and under represented. We can look at combining some of the City Council Committee's, but I also believe that we can save greater dollars by eliminating overlapping bureaus within Cith departments as well as utilizing desk audits for the upper administration of city departments.
Chicago was designed as a weak mayor, strong council form of government yet Mayor Daley wields considerable power over the City Council. What measures would you recommend to strengthen the council? On which issues should the mayor lead? On which should the council lead?
I believe that the current system is designed for the Council as the legislative body to lead. Unfortunately, they have deferred or even neglected their responsibility to lead by deferring to the current mayor. It is important for the Mayor to have a plan and a vision to lead the city. The Council's role is to legislate, hold the mayor accountable and protect the interests of the residents and taxpayers of the City of Chicago. What has happened is that the Mayor's office has produced the legislation and then given it to the council to vote on. This is a major duty and responsibility that the Council has deferred. This deference has resulted in fiscally irresponsible deals for the taxpayers such as the selling of city assets. The council can work with the mayor, but there has to be accountability and checks and balances, just as the Council members are to be held accountable by the voters. Some additional ideas would be for the Council to vote/approve on all City contracts $500,000.00 and above, eliminate all no-bid contracts, do a better job of defining "lowest responsible bidder", creating a moratorium on TIF districts and Charter Schools and defining an accountability matrix for TIF's/Charter Schools.
The city's tax-increment financing program has been criticized on several fronts, including the proliferation of districts, how money is diverted from schools and other basic city services, how TIF funding decisions are made and for an overall lack of transparency. How would you improve the TIF program? Does the TIF law need to be changed in any way?
First, a moratorium on any further TIF Districts. Second, full accountability from each TIF district both to the community and to the full council including but not limited to who sits on the TIF District panels (full disclosure) and how & what the dollars have been utilized for. Next, any dollars diverted away from the Chicago Public School sytem that are in those TIF accounts should be earmarked for school capital improvements needs for the schools in that area. The law governing TIF districts needs to be amended/revised to define "blighted" areas and how TIF districts are designated.
Mayor Daley has focused on privatizing city assets. Are there any other assets the City Council should consider privatizing? If so, would you make any changes to the way privatization deals are negotiated and passed through the City Council?
I oppose the privatizing of city assets. In addition, I believe that the Council needs to take a second look at both the Skyway and Parking Meter deals. Though we may not be able to reverse these deals, we need to take a closer look at the details of these agreements and how they impact the taxpayers both short term and long term. If, an asset is to be considered by the Council, there has to be an extensive review of the costs and benefits of such a proposal and weigh both the short term and long term impact on the taxpayers of the city of chicago.
The Chicago Police Department is understaffed, with no lasting budget solution in sight. Given the current staffing levels, what changes would you recommend to use resources more efficiently? Do you support realigning beats in a way that moves police from lower crime areas to higher crime neighborhoods? What should happen to the diminished CAPS program?
First, we have to make the financial commitment that is in the city budget. If we budget to apporopriate funding to hire an additional 950 police officers, then we have to honor that commitment. Why are putting things in the budget if we are not committed to sticking to it. Where else is this happening in the budget? We need to be very strategic in how we utilize the resources that we do have. This includes beat realignment. I do not believe we can commit to pulling police officers from other areas until we bring the current force to "full strength". As a former CAPS Beat facilitator, I know first hand how a good CAPS programs helps and benefit the community. You cannot have this when CAPS officers are pulled out of the meetings and put on the street. Who is going to attend the CAPS meetings when there are no police and specifically beat officers in attendance. Who are you going to report information to. This has led and will continue to lead to reduced attendance and a feeling of hopelessnes. CAPS funding has to be restored and the partnership between the police department and community residents has to be restored as well. I will be introducing in the 10th Ward "Faith-based" community patrols through the local churches to be an extra set of "eyes & ears" to work with and assist our police officers.
The next mayor will choose a new CEO for the Chicago Public Schools. Do you think the CEO needs to have education experience? Should the new mayor continue the Renaissance 2010 program of shutting down failing schools and creating new ones? Should the new mayor continue Ron Huberman's "culture of calm" effort, which aims to improve the culture of the toughest schools and provides mentors and extra support for kids at greatest risk of being shot? What should CPS do to improve neighborhood schools that are struggling to educate the large numbers of students left behind, the students that don't make it into test-based, charters or other specialized schools?
The next leader of the Chicago Public Schools should have both extensive education and management experience. There have been mixed results related to Renaissance 2010. The solution is not about simply shutting down a structure. This mindset is very similar to the CHA transformation. You are not dealing with the core issues when you simply close down a school you are only dispersing the problems. Our children are our future so we have to deal with these core issues that impact all of our schools. For example, in the 10th ward, we have several schools that are on academic probation and several others that are overcrowded. We have seen steady declines in funding for programs such as music, physical education and ESL and Special needs. I will support an educational model that promotes raising the level of expectations for Administrators, Teachers, students and parents. We need to engage our entire communities in order to help support our schools and this includes our churches and faith-based community. We also have to ensure that our teachers are highly trained, our schools and environments are safe and healthy and educate our parents that they share equally in this partnership to ensure that their children receive the very best education and opportunities to lear, grow and succeed. In addition, we have to do a better job of fiscal stewardship with the resources that we do have and that includes serving the children with special needs, learning disabilities and other needs such as ESL. I work with teens in my church and some of them do not know how to read. This is an obvious indictment on the system as it currently exists. I support the "Effective Schools" Model.
Do you support one or more casinos for Chicago? If so, where would you like to see casinos located?
I do not support casinos, casino gambling or lifting the ban on video poker in the city of Chicago. I oppose base upon my Christian/Biblical beliefs and I also oppose this on a practical level as well. I do not believe that it would be fiscally prudent to build our revenue base on gambling or what I would call a "poor persons tax". The social costs have consistently outweighed revenues across the board in cities where there is casino gambling. In addition, if you look at all of the cities that currently have casinos (Elgin, Aurora, Waukegan, Joliet, NW Indiana, Atlantic City, NJ and Las Vegas, NV) none of them are any better off financially right now because of casinos in fact, I would argue just the opposite. The reason that revenues are down in casinos has less to do with the smoking ban and more to do with poor people not being able to gamble. The only winners in casinos are the casino operators/owners.
Aldermen have considerable influence over TIF, zoning and other decisions, both large and small, related to development and services in their ward. Do aldermen have too much influence?
No, I do not believe the issue is too much influence, but the issus is the abuse of influence and lack of accountability.
If elected alderman, do you plan to maintain an outside job? Would you pledge not to hold any job that represents a conflict of interest, including those that involve spending public dollars?
No, I do not plan on maintaining an outside job. Being Alderman of the 10th Ward will be more than a "full-time" job for me with all of our needs. I will pledge to not hold any job that represents a conflict of interest, including those that involve spending public dollars.
Would you accept campaign contributions or gifts from your employees? Would you pledge not to hire relatives on your staff?
I will not accept gifts and contributions from my employees. I pledge to not hire relatives on my staff.
Does the City need to change the way it hands out contracts? Should aldermen reclaim oversight of City contracts? If so, contracts above what dollar amount?
Yes, the city needs to reexamine this entire process. First, eliminate all no-bid contracts. Second, the City Council should review/vote all city contracts $500,000.00 and above. Third, the City has to conduct compliance on all of its major contracts, especially construction contracts. There have been abuses on these contracts because the city has no true Compliance/monitoring efforts.
Do you support an inspector general just for the City Council? Would you support giving the city's existing inspector general power to investigate aldermen and their staffs, including subpoena power?
The question is how do you create such an entity that would be truly independent? How do you have independence when the budget has be authorized by the City Council? I would argue that there already is an "Inspector General" and that is the United States Attorneys office, they seem to have a good track record of identifying corruption in Chicago.
Should there be new limits on who can lobby City Hall officials, including aldermen? Should former City Hall employees be prohibited from doing business with the city after their departure? If so, for how long?
Yes there should be limits on who can lobby City Hall officials, including Alderman. Former City Hall employees should be prohibited from doing business with the city after their departure for at least two (2) years.
What's the best book ever written about Chicago? Why?
South Chicago U.S.A. by James Klekowski. It is photographic essay of the Southeast side and our history both the good and the bad. Great book especially for people who are not familiar with this part of the city of Chicago.
Please list your educational background
JN Thorp Elementary (10th Ward)
Morgan Park High School
Loyola University of Chicago: Double major- Political Science/Criminal Justice
Please list civic, professional, fraternal or other organizations to which you belong
Association of Contract Compliance Admiinstrators (ACCA)
Past President SE Lions Club
Past CAPS Beat Facilitator Beat 424 & member of 4th District Advisorty Council
Member of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Coordinator, Cook County, National Day of Prayer
Co-Chair, Harvest Evangelism's "Pray for Chicago" Initiative
Co-Founder, Latino Breakfast Club
Member of the East Side United Methodist Church and mentor at G2G (Generation 2 Generation)Teen/Youth Church.
Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?
Candidate for Alderman of the 10th Ward in 1999, finished 3rd out of a field of 8 candidates.
Was appointed to the Community Development Advisory Council in 1999.
Elected as Community Representative, George Washington High School Local School Council, 1999
Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government
My father is an employee for the City of Chicago's Water Management Dept.
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed
Me - $6,000.00
Anthony De Fries- $500
Mark Boroughf - $2,500
Sal Alvarez - $1,000
Please paste a brief biography here
My name is Richard L. Martinez, Jr., and I am a third generation American of Mexican & Polish descent, born in Buffalo, New York, and was raised in South Chicago and live on the Eastside with my beautiful wife Sandi, my mother Carolyn and my 5 beautiful children Maya, Sofia, Nina, Luke & Paul. My paternal grandparents were Ricardo A. Martinez (retired U.S. Steel Southworks, 33 years) and Leva (Rodriguez) a retired Illinois Central Hospital nurse. My maternal grandfather is Alfonse Juarez, Sr. (WW II Veteran and retired entrepreneur) and grandmother was Dorothy (Rosol).
My wife Sandi (former school teacher at J.N. Thorp & Marsh Elementary School) and I have been married over 13 years. I attended J.N. Thorp School, Morgan Park High School and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a double major in Political Science & Criminal Justice. I also served as an elected Community Representative to the Local School Council of George Washington High School. Sandi is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a degree in Education. Our family values education and believe in educational choice so much that we home-school our 5 children.
Sandi and I and our family serve and lead in our church, G2G (Generation 2 Generation) located at the "Zone" 11731 S. Avenue O, where I mentor Teens & Young men through Bible Study and physical training. My family and I are Christians who care deeply about our faith and the Word of God (Bible). I was recently appointed a Cook County Coordinator for the National Day of Prayer.
I have served and led admirably in government for over the last 15 years. I got my start in City Hall as an Aldermanic Aide to former 10th Ward Alderman John J. Buchanan where I was introduced to & learned about constituent services, drafting and crafting legislation, studying budgets, meeting with City department heads in addition to serving the families of the 10th Ward. I also served on the Legislative Staff of State Representative Todd Stroger and worked in Cook County Government in the Office of Contract Compliance as Contract Compliance Officer. For the last 11 years I have served and led at Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, in my position as a Compliance Officer in the District's Affirmative Action Section where I monitor approximately $150 million dollars in Capital Construction Projects for Compliance, including the last leg of the Deep Tunnel System. I am certified as a "Certified Compliance Administrator" by the Association of Contract Compliance Administrators (ACCA).