Updated: January 20, 2011 4:28PM
Birth date: 08-07-1953
Political affiliation: Democrat
Occupation/Firm name: Alderman, 30th Ward
Marital status: Married
Campaign HQ address: 3255 N. Cicero Ave. Chicago, IL 60641
Campaign website: www.reboyras.com
What is your campaign budget?
Currently, I have four opponents who are running against me. As a result my budget for this campaign is $300,000 excluding a possible runoff. As of November 2010 I have raised approximately $140,000.
What are your top priorities for the City of Chicago?
My top priorities for Chicago are to continue to provide services for everyone in Chicago, as I've always done, continue to work with small businesses, and tackle the foreclosure issue in Chicago. Services, do more for small businesses, provide more programs to relieve the foreclosure crisis and continue to work with Police Department.
What are your top priorities for your ward?
My top priorities for the ward are city services, economic development, fair market rate housing with a affordable component, and working with the community to be sensitive to the needs of our seniors and youth. I will also continue to increase community participation with C.A.P.S. and Block Club programs to help reduce crime.
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 believe we can continue to sell assets to balance our budget. In regards to our current budget, we did what we thought was the right thing to do by using a portion of mid term investments to balance the budget. Looking ahead I am confident that we will do all that is necessary to find a long term solution. I feel all departments must scale back and tighten their budgets. Further consolidations of the departments are still necessary and there are many areas in which departments can reduce their budgets. I would like to meet with department heads to discuss the potential of cutting excess management. We should scale back on outside contractors and refocus by using existing City of Chicago employees to provide the services in Chicago to minimize outside vendors and unnecessary spending. I do believe that we need to honor existing employee contracts. Moving forward however, we have to look at how the pension plans are organized in relation new hires.
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?
We need to raise the amount pensions are funded significantly. I would like to see them fully funded so we need to prioritize and tackle the issue immediately. For now, I recommend funding pensions at a 75% level and extending it for 50 years.
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?
Some of the committees can be combined. I do not think we can work with less then 50 aldermen however. The problem with reducing the number of alderman is you then have to increase the amount of staff and budgets per area which in my opinion would cost more then having the 50. I feel with less alderman services would also be compromised because the wards would be so much larger.
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 think the Mayor should take the lead when it comes to capital funding from Springfield, and all matters involving crisis i.e. the foreclosure issue where we need assistance from the Federal level. The city council should lead on constituent and business based issues as we work the closest with the community.
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?
I cannot not speak for many projects done with TIF funds outside of the 30th Ward. What I proudly point to is the new Federico Garcia Lorca Elementary School in the 30th Ward's Avondale community. Together with 2 other aldermen in the area, I pooled TIF funds and was able to put this project in motion. There were not funds available for capital projects like this in the CPS budget. I believe any investment in education is the wisest anyone could make; especially with a new school in a neighborhood where overcrowding is a major issue. I do support more transparency and a larger role for the public in deciding on how TIF money is spent. I also believe TIF districts were created with a very specific purpose in mind, and we may need to reduce the number of TIFs where they are not needed.
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?
Yes, there may be additional assets that can be privatized but I would not vote or sponsor privatizing any other assets until an outside third party i.e. the Public Independent Review Group reviews the options first.
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?
Yes, I support realigning beats in the aforementioned way. I think we need to give the CAPS program some time in that it is a successful program when the community is involved. It is diminished because a lack of public response. I know that the CAPS program is and can be successful in that I attend all the CAPS meetings in the 30th ward and can attest to community transformation in areas with high participation.
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?
I strongly believe the only way to vastly improve the type of education our students receive is to get more input from an independent Board of Education and from teachers and Local School Councils who are most familiar with the challenges facing each individual learning institution. As a former teacher I understand the importance of having a Chicago Public Schools CEO who has an educational background. Both practically and symbolically it only makes sense that our educators are led by one of their own. The challenges facing our teachers can only truly be understood by one of their own, someone who does not see education as a business but rather a fundamental right of every child in the City of Chicago. If the current system remains in place I believe that the leaders of the system must have a background in education. Period. I support the Renaissance 2010 program. In order to rectify troubled schools, the school must be monitored and given guidance in making the appropriate changes necessary to better educate our children. In the event of a school closing displaced students should always have the first opportunity to attend the new charter school. This will strengthen the investment in the community through education. The power to reconstitute a school should be used when a educational facility has failed to meet standards for 3 consecutive years. But before the school is reconstituted I would want to ensure everything possible was done to help the school succeed. It's vital that education facilities are held accountable to ensure quality education. Violence in the Youth community needs to be combated by giving our youth more opportunities to excel not on the streets but inside and outside of the classroom in positive social programs which enforce life skills and personal accountability.
Do you support one or more casinos for Chicago? If so, where would you like to see casinos located?
I am not against a casino in Chicago at this time. I think we need to look closely at how this could benefit or not benefit our local economy. I also believe that any expansions of gambling should be held to the highest standards of transparency. I am must say the idea is intriguing and from what I have studied so far this maybe the type of revenue injection our local economy desperately needs. I believe the casino should be located at Navy Pier.
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?
Alderman are the eyes and ears of their community. Therefore, they know which areas need support. I have always been open to community input regarding TIF funded projects in the ward. I do not support using TIF funds for purposes other than economic development. However, we may need to look at the number of TIF's and whether we should eliminate those which may not make sense. Reducing the number of TIFs would serve the dual purpose of making more funds available for program funding and budget items, while at the same time making sure TIF areas are being used as originally intended by the legislature.
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?
I do not plan to maintain an outside job. I pledge to not hold a job that represents a conflict of interest including those that involve spending of public dollars.
Would you accept campaign contributions or gifts from your employees? Would you pledge not to hire relatives on your staff?
Yes, I will not accept campaign contributions or gifts from my employees. Would you pledge not to hire relatives on your staff? I will 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, there has to be more transparency with contracts. Aldermen should work with the Public Independent Review Group to analyze the efficiency of businesses looking to contract with the city.
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?
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 new limits on who can lobby City Hall officials including aldermen. Former City Hall employees should be prohibited from doing business with the city after their departure for a set number of years, i.e. 5+ years.
What's the best book ever written about Chicago? Why?
Carl Smith's The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City. For me, this book explains Chicago from a nut and bolt perspective. It is fascinating to read about how the city was organized. I was happy to have seen it chosen as the Chicago Public Library's One Book, One Chicago choice this past year.
Please list your educational background
Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Please list civic, professional, fraternal or other organizations to which you belong
Active member of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, C.A.P.S.
Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?
Alderman for the 30th Ward (May 2003-Present), 30th Ward Committeeman (November 2006-Present)
Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed
Freshmarket Place $1,000 , Baha Auto Sales $500, Central Auto Care $500, Paul Reis & Sons $500, VAS Designs $500
Please paste a brief biography here
Ariel E. Reboyras was sworn in as Alderman of the 30th Ward, City of Chicago, on May 7, 2003. A native of New York City, he and his parents relocated to Chicago at the age of twelve. While attending the University of Illinois at Chicago, he majored in Education and was Co-Captain for the UIC "Flames" baseball team. Ariel began his career as a teacher with Chicago Public Schools, at Roberto Clemente High School. At Clemente, he was an Assistant Coach for the sport of football and wrestling.
Following his tenure as a teacher, Ariel began his career with the City of Chicago. Ariel drove a truck for the City, worked as an Equipment Dispatcher, headed up a Tank Remediation Program for Fleet Management, became an Equipment Coordinator for the Water Department, and assisted with design specifications for the Fleet Management Division.
Recognizing his dedication to public service, he was promoted to Deputy Commissioner for the Department of General Services.
Ariel has volunteered his services to various parks and non-profit organizations, which includes little league baseball and youth football programs. He is also the co-founder of the Northwest Youth Basketball Association and "Maraton San-Juan," an 8K Road Race in collaboration with the Chicago Puerto Rican Parade. Ariel is a member of the Active Transportation Alliance, and is a member of the Healthy Streets Campaign Drive With Care's steering committee. He is also a member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). Currently he serves on the Pace Citizen Advisory Board.
As Alderman, he is a member of several committees; Budget & Government Operations, Buildings, Committees, Rules and Ethics, Housing and Real Estate, Transportation, Police and Fire, and Vice-Chairman of License and Consumer Protection. Reelected to serve another term as Alderman of the 30th Ward, Ariel was sworn in on May 21, 2007.
Ariel Reboyras is also the Committeeman of the 30th Ward. He was appointed on November 6, 2006, and was elected on February 5, 2008.