Alderman, 9th Ward: Anthony Beale
Jan 11, 2011
Updated: January 20, 2011 4:28PM
Birth date: 10-22-1967
Political affiliation: Democrat
Neighborhood: Rosemoor, a Roseland community
Occupation/Firm name: Alderman of the 9th Ward
Marital status: Married
Campaign HQ address: 4 E 112th Place - Lower Level, Chicago 60628
Campaign website: www.ward09.com
What is your campaign budget?
What are your top priorities for the City of Chicago?
Public safety and jobs growth.
What are your top priorities for your ward?
Public safety, job growth and education.
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?
We have over the years balanced the budget by raising fees and using the revenue from the Skyway and parking meter sale. We have also cut back on the number of jobs asking employees to do more with less. Until the economy turns around and we start growing this country again, we are going to have to continue to ask the city work force to do more with less. We need a new source of revenue as well as to continue cost saving measures.
We need to combine a couple of aldermanic committees. We can also cut back in the 311 department by asking residents to call the alderman's office during work hours and after hours call 311. We will be able to cut staff in that department in half. We really need to look at casino gambling, although I am not totally sold on that idea. Casino revenue I think should go towards education and public safety. I think the unions have to play a large role in reshaping the city's budget. The city and unions have made a large step towards helping with the budget however all union didn't take part in the furlough days.
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?
I think we need a total pension over haul. The country is hurting for revenue and we need to be serious about new funding sources and pension reform.
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?
We might be able to cut the number of alderman down. However the workload in the 9th ward requires me to work 60 to 80 hours a week. We could cut cost by combining about four to six committees.
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?
The main reason this mayor became so powerful was because of the number of appointments he made. This could be solved with term limits for the mayor's office. This will ensure that the next mayor will not wield this kind of power. The mayor should only lead on issues that relate to the entire city. Aldermen should take the lead on the day-to- day operation of their respective wards.
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 believe the TIF program needs to be reformed. We can look at the double tax the city is paying Springfield on education. The state's income tax needs to also be reformed.
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 do not support any aspect of privatization or the selling of any City of Chicago assets.
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?
I think we can hire more police civilians to do most of the administration functions within the police department and put most of those officers on the street. I support reallocation plans that target "hot spot" areas.
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?
There should be a selection committee formed to conduct a national search for the most qualified individual to serve as Chicago Public Schools superintendent and make recommendations to the mayor on the top three candidates. At the moment we need a moratorium until charters show a substantial improvement over public schools. That has not been definitively established. We need to have smaller class sizes and focus on turning neighborhood schools into the quality choices they once were.
I am intimately familiar with how violence destroys the lives and educational opportunities of our students, most recently working with Safe Passage when Derrion Albert was brutally killed. I know the absurd amount of money being diverted to security, when there are so many academic needs.
Do you support one or more casinos for Chicago? If so, where would you like to see casinos located?
I would like to see the city with two casinos -- one down town and the other on the far South Side -- that will compete with the casino in Indiana.
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 think we need checks and balances regarding all these issues. These are the issues aldermen should play a role in to shape the ward as residents see fit.
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?
Since my election in 1999, I have been a full-time alderman. I will continue to be vigilant about any activity personally or on the part of my office that could have even the perception of a conflict.
Would you accept campaign contributions or gifts from your employees? Would you pledge not to hire relatives on your staff?
I will continue to exhibit only the highest standards of integrity regarding what is appropriate for me and my office, particularly regarding relevant legal and ethical guidelines.
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 should be more transparency and oversight, particularly related to achieving minority and women goals. Depending on the area, a contract as low as $50,000 might be worth reviewing, but I would generally say $100,000 and above.
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?
I would support an inspector general to investigate all of city government, not just one arm of it.
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?
We have rules governing former employees as well as lobbyists. The key is to enforce these rules consistently.
What's the best book ever written about Chicago? Why?
Please list your educational background
Refer to bio note at the end.
Please list civic, professional, fraternal or other organizations to which you belong
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Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?
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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
All have contributed the same as permitted by law for their respective contributor category.
Please paste a brief biography here
In 1999, Anthony Beale became the youngest member of the Chicago City Council when he took office as alderman of the 9th Ward. He was re-elected in 2003 and 2007. He has served as Democratic ward committeeman since 2000. He is chairman of the Council's Committee on Police and Fire, and is also a member of Budget and Government Operations; Committees, Rules and Ethics; Education; Energy, Environment Protection and Public Utilities; Finance; and Transportation and Public Way.
Beale attended Blackburn College in southern Illinois for a year, studying computer science, before continuing his training as a technician with Allstate Insurance. He worked at Allstate as an IT technician and supported the company's network and online services nationwide prior to his election as alderman.
Beale is an long-time member of Rosemoor Community Association, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS), and Salem Baptist Church. He volunteers his time as a coach of Roseland Little League and Gwendolyn Brooks High School baseball.