Weather Updates

Mayor: Miguel del Valle


Updated: February 7, 2011 6:58AM

Birth date: 07-24-1951

Political affiliation: Democrat

Occupation/Firm name: City Clerk of Chicago

Marital status: Married

Campaign HQ address: 1325 W. Grand Avenue

Campaign website:

What is your campaign budget?

under $1 million

What are your top priorities for the City of Chicago?

Create good JOBS and spur economic development

Trigger growth in green industries, high-tech manufacturing, the allied health industries and other promising economic sectors

Re-energize industries by building on Chicago's strengths, such as our position as a transportation hub

Support small business by expanding access to capital and cutting unnecessary bureaucratic red tape

Prioritize jobs that deliver living wages and benefits and protect workers

Tackle the issues of crime & PUBLIC SAFETY

Put more police on our streets and better deploy officers to maximize responsiveness

Improve public safety and crime prevention by strengthening relationships among police, trusted community organizations, and residents

Build a 21st century police department by expanding and thoroughly integrating the use of technology to maximize responsiveness and solve more crimes

Enhance development opportunities to ensure a well-trained police department that reflects the city's population through its competence and diversity

Improve EDUCATION opportunities and our school systems

Work to convert every low-performing neighborhood school into a high-performing school

Promote state education funding reform to equalize funding across the state and reduce reliance on property taxes to fund education

Ensure an effective evaluation system and quality professional development for teachers and principals

Strengthen City Colleges of Chicago through an emphasis on career preparation programs in areas of job growth, expansion of adult education, and continuation of developmental courses

Create a responsible city BUDGET

Maximize revenues without overburdening the regular taxpayer

Increase transparency regarding the use of TIF dollars and ensure their use to enhance neighborhood development

Cut spending on line items that do not meet basic city services and human needs

Audit city functions and expenditures to improve efficiency, weed out waste, and uncover corruption

Make government work better and be FAIRER

As a candidate for Mayor, I am not accepting campaign contributions from companies with city contracts

Provide the Inspector General with adequate resources to conduct annual audits of every City department

Reduce greatly the number of no-bid city contracts and invite more City Council oversight of contracts

Continue reforms to root out and eliminate patronage hiring

The city is in serious financial trouble and can't afford the level of service it currently provides. For 2011, Mayor Daley 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. What would you do differently as mayor?

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 would you reduce personnel costs? What kind of concessions might you seek from city unions?

We cannot cut our way out of the current budget deficit. We will have to identify new revenue and find additional cost savings to address the current crisis. And we must embrace fiscal responsibility and transparency as we set out a new course for the long-term financial recovery of our city.

Other candidates are focusing on expanding public/private partnerships to pay for city services, and I support those ideas, but it's almost impossible to plan for the long-term needs of the City based on short-term, voluntary contributions from the private sector. It also puts the City at risk of being more beholden to the private interests that provide the money through these partnerships than to the general public. I know that for many understandable reasons, faith in all levels of government to accomplish good things is low, so as Mayor I will work extremely hard to create confidence that a fair, progressive tax system is also a good form of public/private partnership.

I am fundamentally in favor of promoting government efficiency and will consider where realignments could save the city money without inappropriately diminishing services. While it will be entirely necessary to find places where the City budget can be cut, the reduction of expenditures must be done with an eye toward finding new efficiencies and developing new models of service delivery that ensure that we maintain an appropriate level of services to Chicagoans across all of our neighborhoods. In that vein, as Chicago's City Clerk (2006-present), I modernized operations and instituted cost-saving efficiencies while making services more user-friendly.

I also support having the Inspector General's office conduct more program audits of City departments to help identify waste and inefficiency. The City staffing structure should similarly be analyzed to examine the optimal number of personnel and units required to accomplish the goals and functions of City government. It may make sense to merge departments as we consider the most efficient use of scarce public resources.

Where upper and middle management is bloated, we have the responsibility to make adjustments. I have already publicly suggested that we may be able to find $50-$100 million in cuts, including in middle management. And I have been quoted in Crain's saying that the City needs to operate garbage collection on a grid system in an effort to save an estimated $25 million.

My plan for reshaping government begins with promoting government efficiency and considering where realignments could save the city money without inappropriately diminishing services. Futhermore, we will have to determine what the City will continue to operate/fund and what functions may need to be streamlined or shared with other levels of government. For example, we should explore duplication with County and State government. By coordinating certain functions, such as purchasing, with Cook County government, we may be able to achieve significant savings and avoid needless duplication. I believe that going forward we have to rethink everything and renegotiate some things in order to arrive at new and innovative ways of operating.

As Mayor I will pursue all of these budgeting options in partnership with and the full participation of our City Council. The Mayor of Chicago should be a great manager and visionary, but should also use the expertise of each of our other elected officials in the capacity they were elected to serve. I look forward to finding solutions together that work for all Chicago neighborhoods.

As taxpayers we are entitled to a great deal more federal funding than we are getting. I would make sure that we pursue and capture all the federal and state dollars we are leaving on the table. The City of Chicago ranks near the bottom of the list of states receiving their share of federal funding, ranking 44 out of all 50 states in per capita return on tax dollars for FY09. For example, the City has not worked particularly hard to pursue federal dollars for brownfield redevelopment, which could leverage the development of new enterprises that would generate new jobs. As Mayor, I would also aggressively pursue more federal transportation funds as I seek to build an economic development strategy that includes a focus upon Chicago's historic position as a key transportation hub.

Additionally, we are leaving TIF revenue on the table. For next year, we could return to the city's corporate budget $140-$200 million in TIF funds. This is a percentage of unobligated and unprogrammed dollars currently available in the designated TIF districts. When we tap these surplus dollars, we would also trigger the return of other surplus dollars to the public schools, the parks, and other taxing bodies, according to an established formula.

I have also proposed that we consider a new Speculator's Tax, similar to the stock transfer tax in New York State or the United Kingdom's 0.5 percent stamp tax on stock trades. (The UK's tax raises $4 billion or more a year without stifling the country's markets. The sixth largest economy in the world, it has the second largest equity market in the world.) I realize that doing so would require a major change in state law and would be politically extremely difficult to pass, but I put this proposal forward to make it clear that I believe that those who are more successful economically have to take more responsibility for covering the costs of government services that benefit society as a whole.

I also believe a financial transaction tax is worth looking at because we need to update our antiquated tax system to reflect the modern economy that is more based on the exchange of services rather than the sale of products. Most of that change needs to happen at the state and federal level, and as Mayor I'll be an advocate for that.

Finally, I would look at drawing down from private entities fair payment for city services. City services, such as water and police protection, are currently financed by city taxpayers. It is time that developers, utility companies, concert promoters, and others begin to help cover the costs of city services they are using.

I will pursue new taxes and fees on a very limited basis and only when these relate to individuals or businesses paying their fair share. I will not put more financial burdens on low income and middle class families. I do not support a property tax hike, and I am opposed to taxes that unduly burden low-income and middle class families.

In regards to personnel, I think it is important that we assess what personnel is actually needed to provide the level of service our residents deserve. We have to be guided by the outcomes we seek in order to determine what staffing pattern is needed. As I mentioned earlier, I have already publicly suggested that we may be able to find $50-$100 million in personnel cuts, including in middle management. Functional audits should help us identify what other core city services can be streamlined by improving our business processes and enhancing technology solutions even as we reduce personnel.

I support the right for unions to organize and will not dilute any or their rights. And I do not believe that the current benefits of current employees should be reduced. But I believe that all parties are going to have to work together to find solutions and that we are all going to have to share some of the pain of balancing our budget. This may entail a temporary salary freeze while we move aggressively to address the current financial situation. In the longer term, we might have to consider reductions in benefits and/or higher employee contributions for future city workers.

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?

On a related note, Mayor Daley railed against a bill that passed in Springfield that created a two-tier pension system for police and fire, saying a provision that requires a steep ramp up in what Chicago contributes to the pension funds will force a massive property tax increase. What do you think of this legislation? Should it be amended?

Ensuring the solvency of the City's pension plan is one of the greatest financial challenges facing the next mayor. I was a member of Mayor Daley's blue ribbon pension task force -- comprised of representatives from business, labor, and civic organizations -- which identified in its 2010 report that the health of the municipal pension systems relies in part on a modification to future benefits and additional revenue. In accordance with those findings, I support exploring potential funding streams and, as such, I am open to considering privatization of Midway Airport with the caveat that a percentage of the resulting revenue be dedicated to support the City's pension obligations.

I do not support reducing benefits for current employees. However, it will be necessary for future employees to have higher employee contributions and a later retirement age.

I do not think it is fair to alter the current pension system for current employees who are counting on the benefits and stipulations of the plan as promised. But circumstances change, and I do not believe we can make the system work for both taxpayers and future employees. Therefore, I support the two-tier pension system that requires newly-hired police officers and firefighters to wait until age 55 instead of 50 to retire with full benefits, their reduced cost of living increases, and caps in the final salary upon which pensions are based in exchange for ensuring the pensions funds would be 90 percent funded by 2041.

However, I believe the City of Chicago needs more freedom to develop our own financial plan to make that work and that any increased City contributions should not come from a property tax hike.

What is your plan for bringing more jobs to the City of Chicago? The unemployment rate is particularly high among people with limited education. What can be done to stimulate job creation for that group?

To create jobs in Chicago, we need to build on our most promising industries, like green industries, high-tech manufacturing, and the allied health industries. We also need to build on our strengths as a transportation hub and as a national leader in research, finance, and health care innovation. I would create jobs by doing more to access federal funds and by using other public financing to incubate promising new initiatives in these fields and support employers that offer living wages. As Mayor of Chicago, I will expand job and economic development opportunities by:

Harnessing the opportunities of industry clusters to expand the economy and grow good jobs. With 80% of new jobs expected to come from existing industries and businesses, we must build on our most promising economic sectors, like green industries, high-tech manufacturing, and the allied health industries, which all offer jobs at living wages.

Incubating new initiatives in research, finance, and health care, where we are a national leader, by identifying and coordinating private sector investments and existing federal and local dollars. We must invest in new projects and energize technology transfer from research institutions to market. In the green industries we should promote home energy efficiency, water management, and recycling, and further apply this strategy to high-tech, niche manufacturing, along with succession planning and employee-led owner opportunities.

Supporting medical job growth while improving health care services by leveraging workforce funding and local medical expertise to tackle the nursing shortage, increase the number of family practitioners, and develop long-term care solutions.

Re-energizing industries by building on Chicago's strengths, such as our position as a transportation hub. We deliver goods via rail, truck, and plane to all parts of the country and the world. To preserve this advantage, we must continue to improve the speed by which goods move through the region, reduce congestion, and enhance or build new facilities for faster distribution.

Supporting small business by expanding access to capital, through reconfiguring existing programs that provide capital and streamlining the City's business services. We must continue to promote small dollar loan programs and microenterprise initiatives, and work with banks so they offer lower-limit products.

Finding ways to bridge the wealth gap of MBE and WBE companies, where a few large ones are able to secure city contracts and the remainder are undercapitalized to do business with the City. Developing a small contracts program, mentor/protege pairing initiative, and joint venture majority/minority opportunity program will open doors to smaller M/WBEs.

Cutting unnecessary bureaucratic red tape and regulations. Our licensing and permitting processes delay economic activity for months. We must streamline these functions, bring them into the 21st Century, and put them online.

Prioritizing jobs that deliver living wages and benefits and protects workers by establishing a reasonable wage floor, at a minimum for companies that receive City subsidies.

Using existing city resources, such as TIF funding, Special Service Areas, and the City's business services to support employers and businesses that are committed to jobs that pay a living wage and that pay workers on a regular basis.

Fighting wage theft by unscrupulous employers, who especially take advantage of immigrants working in key service sectors.

We must also support initiatives for young and displaced workers, which is why I have announced education proposals to make higher education more accessible, with special emphasis on access to the City Colleges of Chicago, where many young people get their start at college and many adults return to equip themselves for new jobs in the new economy. Access to higher education means access to jobs.

I further support funding for transitional jobs programs, which are proven to help people with little or no work experience into the workplace and into unsubsidized work, and more summer jobs for youth.

The next mayor will choose a new CEO for the Chicago Public Schools. Do you think the CEO needs to have education experience? What areas do you want the new CEO to focus on? Would you expect the CEO to execute your vision or should the CEO define his or her own vision in consultation with the Schools' chief education officer?

Would you continue the Renaissance 2010 program of shutting down failing schools and creating new ones? Would you 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? How would you 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?

My philosophy on ensuring strong and appropriate leadership to improve the success of the public schools includes appointing an educator as superintendent. In addition to a background in education, this person must bring with her/him strong executive and managerial skills.

The new superintendent must be a practitioner of educational best practices and capable of fostering innovative problem-solving throughout the educational system. The ability to handle fiscal matters is a high priority in these difficult economic times when resources are scarce. The ideal candidate must have a solid track record of producing results in collaboration with school administrators, teachers, parents, and community members.

Finding someone who can successfully handle the job of Chicago Public Schools superintendent is a tall order, but one that must be achieved. Working together with parents, students, teachers, principals, and our entire community, we will make the Chicago Public Schools system the best in the country.

The new superintendent must focus on and be held accountable for establishing and meeting high educational standards and for transforming low performing neighborhood schools into high performing schools. I do not want us to create two parallel school systems in which children who do not have access to selective enrollment schools lose out indefinitely. Therefore, tremendous leadership, energy, and creativity must be brought to bear on making every school a quality school. This will also entail ensuring an effective evaluation system and quality professional development for teachers and principals to ensure that all schools have excellent leadership and students have excellent learning environments in every classroom.

I do not believe that the CEO has to either execute my vision or define his or her own vision. I do not believe this is an either/or situation. My administration will be characterized by a lot of collaborative decision-making, but I will not be a micro-manager. My choice for CEO would have his or her own vision for the CPS. But that vision would be informed by mine and must be further shaped in collaboration not only with the Schools' Chief Education Officer, but also with school administrators, teachers, parents, and community members.

I know it will only be possible to foster positive results if students, parents, teachers, principals, teachers, unions, and the school board work together as partners. We all need to do more, and not everyone will always agree or like what needs to be done. But, as Mayor I will make sure all voices are heard and will keep a focus on what is best for students and their families.

As a parent, I understand the need for academic options for one's children. Renaissance 2010 schools represent an option. This strategy was established to create 100 high-performing schools in certain communities that especially needed them. These schools have autonomy to innovate their curricula and involve the entire school community. They have used various governance models like the charter schools and others run by private organizations. Success of the Renaissance 2010 schools will be determined by the results of student performance and accountability that goes beyond test scores. Thus far some have not performed particularly well, and success across these and any and all charter schools is difficult to measure. As we continue to invest in such models, it is important that they prove to produce successful student performance and collaborative parental involvement.

We need to invest public resources in a way that ensures that every neighborhood school is a quality school, as lots of families do not have access to charter schools and selective-enrollment schools.

I believe that neighborhood schools should only be closed as a last result, and the decision to do so must be made in collaboration with the entire school community.

I believe in providing a safe learning environment for all of our students. The "culture of calm" effort seems to be making progress in reducing violence among students, however before more funds are allocated for this project there needs to be more research done on its effectiveness.

For students who do act out in violent ways or otherwise get into trouble in their early years, it is imperative to promote and help bring to scale programs that intervene and bring corrective action to get youth back on a productive path rather than simply emphasizing punitive measures that lead down a path to nowhere. I endorse programs like the Community Renewal Society High HOPES campaign, which focuses training and action of CPS officials around restorative justice practices.

I also support community-based violence prevention efforts such as CeaseFire, an evidence-based epidemiological method to reduce violence. The engagement of neighbors and community-based organizations in block club organizing as well as the provision of healthy out-of-school time activities, job development programs, and actual jobs for youth are also key components to combating youth violence.

Neighborhood schools are the anchors in every community throughout Chicago. It is crucial that we now address the neighborhood schools with the same fervor for accountability, student performance, parent involvement, and equalized funding as we have for the specialized schools. We must review and monitor schools that continue to perform at unacceptable levels. All schools must be treated equally and fairly. We will maintain schools that have successful programs.

We must also review reconstitution plans very carefully to include the schools' learning communities. Everyone must be heard during the process of evaluation. The teachers, the parents, the students, and the community at large must work collaboratively before any decisions are made to close a school. It is crucial that neighborhood issues are also taken into consideration. The board needs to adopt procedures that are clear and fair for determining reconstitution.

As I recently announced, we must also build upon the existing "Community Schools" model to create additional Community Learning Centers within the lowest performing schools. We will create partnerships among the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and these schools to create extended day learning opportunities that may include the arts, sports, technology, tutoring, and specialized programs for students. Crucial to this model is a parent component in which parents can also take classes such as GED or ESL in addition to being involved in programming for the benefit of the children. A good example of such Community Learning Centers is the one at Monroe Elementary School in the Logan Square neighborhood. Monroe partners with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) to provide programs for families after school and in the evening, including adult education classes for parents, homework help for students, as well as sports, music, and art programs for children.

According to a study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Chicago Public School students participating in Community Learning Centers improve academically. Of those students, 70% improved their completion of homework, 72% improved their participation in class, 66% improved their classroom behavior, and 73% improved their overall academic performance. In addition, eighth graders proved better prepared for high school.

I propose a partnership with the private sector to fund the creation of more Community Learning Centers like this one, increasing their number by 50% during my first term as Mayor. Just as we have a responsibility to be engaged in our children's learning, Chicago's business community must continue to support community learning as well. This is a natural partnership. I believe in these partnerships because they work.

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 am committed to finding the dollars to increase police presence on the streets. I plan to increase the number of police working to prevent and solve crimes by reallocating funds towards filling the current vacancies on the police force, and shifting city resources away from desk work and lower priorities.

We need to look at deployment, but we should not reduce police in any neighborhood -- rather, we must find a way to provide additional officers in areas that need them.

I also do support more funding to alternative crime prevention programs such as CeaseFire. CeaseFire is an evidence-based epidemiological method to reduce violence. Evaluations of the program prove its effectiveness where the program is implemented. Yet the current level of funding is inadequate for violence prevention. The engagement of neighbors and community-based organizations in block club organizing as well as the provision of healthy out-of-school time activities, job development programs, and actual jobs for youth are also key components to combating crime.

I believe that the CAPS program needs to be reinvented. Currently the CAPS program is a police-driven initiative and should be more driven by community efforts. I want more police to be visible on the beat on a regular basis while forging new strategic partnerships with neighbors and community-based organizations to promote crime prevention strategies. As Mayor, I will insist that the CAPS program be a tool to identify real problems and real solutions.

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?

We've gotten away from why TIFs were created. I want to see TIF districts used for their original intention -- to spur development in blighted communities that would not happen "but for" the special designation and its attendant investment. Chicago must stop diverting these funds from the general budget -- and its oversight -- into what is essentially a slush fund that has no public oversight. TIF funds have been used to invest significantly in communities like the South and West Loop that are prosperous enough without public subsidies. And they have been used to subsidize wealthy private corporations that likely would have located and expanded here anyway, like the $14 million that went to CNA, $24 million to MillerCoors, and $31 million to UAL. Should we return the use of TIF districts to their real purpose, much less money would be diverted from the city budget and its oversight.

I would like to see a change to our TIF program -- something along the lines of what Alderman Allen proposed a year ago. It would replace multiple individual TIF districts, each of which currently has its own budget and no public oversight, with a large economic development fund that is funded with property tax dollars and itemized in the regular city budget. This level of transparency would put TIF funds back under public scrutiny.

We also need to enforce recapture provisions in all our subsidy agreements to require a company to return all or part of the value of a subsidy if the company doesn't meet the goals they agreed to ("clawbacks").

Mayor Daley has focused on privatizing city assets. Are there any other assets you could consider privatizing? If so, would you make any changes to the way privatization deals are negotiated and passed through the city council?

I am not opposed to limited privatization, but the recent privatization of parking meters reminds us that such decisions need to be entered into with great care and consideration. Both the residents and the City need to get a good deal. For example, in the case of city festivals, I would be concerned that privatized festivals may offer some financial benefits to the City but would cost so much to attend that many Chicagoans would be shut out. For example, I would be opposed to a privatization plan that brought with it admission fees for the Taste of Chicago.

But there are some services that should be considered for privatization, including recycling, as there are useful models, such as the Resource Center's commercial and residential recycling programs, that provide significant benefit to residents and the environment without drawback to Chicagoans. Additionally, I would consider the privatization of Midway Airport if part of the proceeds were used to support the City pension funds.

As long as we can ensure that we are bringing the best and most cost efficient services, I would be willing to examine the possibility of privatization. Privatization as a strategy would have to yield both short and long term benefits for the people of Chicago. But we would also have to be sure that privatization is not being used as a way to shift patronage jobs to contractors, with no way to discover if the private company is being given a list of people to hire for the contract. We must also guard against privatization being used to save money by exchanging jobs currently paying livable wages for the same jobs with private contractors that create cost-savings on the backs of workers, by paying lower wages, using part-time workers, and not offering benefits. For these and many other reasons suggested herein, any privatization proposal should be considered through an extensive process that would include careful deliberation by the City Council.

Do you support one or more casinos for Chicago? If so, where do you want the casinos located?

I am in strong opposition to video gambling because of the social costs associated with gambling within easy reach in every bar in Chicago. I don't want to enable Chicagoans to so easily gamble away their paychecks without even having to leave their neighborhood bar. Additionally, I believe that the video gambling legislation that was passed at the state level is a bad deal for taxpayers; it won't generate enough revenue. Nonetheless, I have called for an advisory referendum on video gambling because I think Chicago residents should debate the issue. I believe the voters would turn it down and the City Council would follow the voters' lead.

I would prefer to generate revenue for the City through other means rather than a casino or other gambling. If I were to consider casino gambling, there would have to be very strict parameters established to gain my support for it in the city. As a global city, I believe that we potentially could offer casino gambling as a very small feature among many options for our visitors, and limit it to high traffic tourist areas-particularly McCormick Place. There are already discussions about a new hotel there to accommodate convention-goers; I envision such a hotel being an appropriate place to consider casino gambling, as it would be oriented toward serving tourists rather than Chicagoans. I would only support it in a very restricted way and in consultation with our residents.

The Chicago Housing Authority's massive plan to transform public housing has stalled. How would you jumpstart that effort?

I believe that the Chicago Housing Authority's Plan for Transformation needs to be completed. I believe strongly in mixed-income communities. I want public housing residents and all Chicagoans to have a healthier quality of life than the previous housing "projects" offered. As the Plan for Transformation continues to move forward, I want to see it maximize the communities' full potential and health as diverse, mixed-income communities that promote the dignity and well-being of all residents and serve as models to the rest of the nation of successful, sustainable neighborhoods.

Additionally, I want to point out how important it is to have ongoing workforce development supports for public housing residents through the Partnership for New Communities. This collaboration of philanthropic foundations, corporations, and workforce development providers is key to helping the most vulnerable residents of the Transformation communities move toward economic independence. I applaud the Partnership for New Communities' attraction of federal dollars to fund job training, as well as the strategic redirection of dollars from the 2016 Fund to support these efforts.

However, we should not assume that the housing mix, funding models, or business attraction plans employed by the original Plan for Transformation communities should automatically be applied to those developments that have not yet undergone redevelopment, such as Lathrop Homes. Lathrop Homes and its surrounding community present a very different context than most of the CHA's other developments. And the public funding and bank financing realities that existed during much of the Plan's first 10 years are not currently relevant. Lathrop Homes presents a real opportunity to connect with the new interest from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to better integrate housing development, good transportation planning, environmental issues, and the desire to create models that can inform future housing and community development around the country.

It is also important to note that because HUD dollars were inadequate to complete the HOPE VI Plan for Transformation communities, the City utilized significant corporate dollars and affordable housing financing mechanisms to fill budget gaps. The City likely will not be in the position any time in the near future to subsidize public housing development as it did over the life of the Plan's first 10 years. It will require great creativity to complete these developments.

Additionally, subsidizing the CHA limited the City Department of Housing and Community Development's ability to fund needed affordable housing in other neighborhoods. As such, I am supportive of efforts to bring more dollars into the system for strategically-placed affordable housing to neighborhoods, in collaboration with communities and their aldermen.

Therefore, on November 4, I announced my support of the Sweet Home Chicago campaign and called upon City Council to pass this important ordinance that has the potential of creating almost 3,000 jobs and providing affordable housing for thousands of Chicagoans. It is a shame that this ordinance sat in City Council for 10 months while our neighborhoods continue to struggle with foreclosures and joblessness. I was gladdened on November 15, when the Sweet Home Chicago ordinance was recommended to the City Council by a 13-8 vote of the Housing and Finance committees.

I continue to support the original ordinance introduced by the Sweet Home Chicago campaign that would dedicate 20 percent of Tax Increment Finance (TIF) funds for affordable housing. The Sweet Home Chicago ordinance also targets households with more significant housing affordability problems: rental housing for families earning less than $37,700 for a family of four and for-sale housing for households earning less than $60,300 for a family of four.

Other U.S. cities have managed to create successful curbside recycling programs. How would you make it work here?

Because of history of the failed blue bag program and lack of enforcement of existing requirements for larger residential building and businesses to recycle, our community suffers from a lack of confidence in the possibility for Chicago to be leader in recycling and waste reduction.

Expanding the curbside recycling program to the whole city needs to be a priority, but obviously money to pay for that needs to be identified and secured. A business or residential fee on recycling is an option, but only after all other ideas have been explored.

Privatization should be considered, but, as the Chicago Recycling Coalition suggests, any deal needs to be transparent, and Chicago should collect a fair percentage of the revenue that any private company would make from recyclable materials, because the value of these materials is likely to go up over time. This would be the opposite of how the parking meter deal was handled.

However, as Mayor, before considering privatization or a fee, I would start out by reviewing and prioritizing the recommendations in the Chicago Waste Diversion Study completed for the City of Chicago in February 2010.

Chicago was designed as a weak mayor, strong council form of government. Is there a power imbalance between Mayor Daley and the City Council? On which issues should the mayor lead? On which should the council lead?

The difference between how Chicago government was designed and how government has historically operated demonstrates that the design is less important that the practices developed by the Mayor and City Council. I believe that Chicago should have a strong mayor and a strong council.

As Mayor I will focus on creating the needed balance between the Mayor and the City Council through sharing decision-making powers and supporting City Council in taking a more active role in city government and budget process

Of course, having a Mayor and a City Council both trying to fully exercise their power can result in gridlock. To avoid this, as Mayor I'll set up a system for regularly communicating with members of the City Council to collaboratively develop solutions to the City's problems. At the same time, I will be very clear about what I think needs to be done to get the city through these tough economic times. Both the Mayor and the City Council will have to focus on what's good for people of Chicago rather than developing political power for themselves.

Would you accept campaign contributions from companies that contract with the City of Chicago? Would you accept campaign contributions or gifts from city employees?

Shortly after declaring my candidacy for mayor, I announced that I am not accepting campaign contributions from companies with city contracts. I issued a challenge to all other mayoral candidates to do the same, but to date, no others have publicly made such a commitment. I also do not accept campaign contributions or gifts from city employees.

My leadership on this issue since the very inception of my campaign stems from my strong commitment to good government and transparency, which I believe must be a leading commitment of Chicago's next mayor. The corruption that has become a regular part of city life - pay-to-play politics, illegal hiring, bribery, convicted elected officials, and more - has to end not just because it is the ethical thing to do, but because it wastes taxpayer dollars and reduces confidence in our ability to address all the challenges we face together.

Does the city need to change the way it hands out contracts? How will you ensure that contracting decisions are based solely on merit and free of patronage? Should Chicago aldermen reclaim oversight of city contracts? If so, contracts above what dollar amount?

To deliver the best return and highest performance, we need a vigorous open bidding process that is transparent and accessible to the taxpayers of the City. Our procurement criteria have to be specific and grounded in performance outcomes. The procurement process needs to reach all potential vendors who can put together a strong proposal. Opening up the competitive bid process and building in quality controls and monitoring will go a long way towards ensuring that privatization is a sound strategy.

I am reluctant to enter into long-term arrangements without periodic review of the contractual agreement and performance to guarantee we are getting what we paid for. And, if we are not, then it is time to give another company the opportunity to compete.

All of this must take place with significant deliberation by and oversight from City Council.

Contracting decisions will be based on merit and free of patronage when we have a responsible bidding process in place. As City Clerk, I advocated for a responsible bidding process when the City's procurement office contracted out the city stickers.

Also, when the privatization of contracts is considered, we must be sure that privatization is not being used as a way to shift patronage jobs to contractors, with no way to discover if the private company is being given a list of people to hire for the contract.

I believe that the City Council should vote on any contract with a value of more than $25,000. Of course, the City Council is not going to have the time and resources to carefully review every contract, so I believe that there should be a more comprehensive review process by the City Council for the very largest contracts. Determining the dollar threshold for a more comprehensive review requires further evaluation.

The Shakman decree was supposed to end political hiring and firing at City Hall. As mayor, what would you do to bring the city into Shakman compliance? Be specific.

As City Clerk, I've followed the Shakman decree as required. It is important to continue to monitor City hiring until we are absolutely sure the hiring system that is in place is one that does not allow for any circumventing that could result in people being hired for political reason.

In reviewing Noelle Brennan's March 2010 report on Shakman compliance, I'm pleased that the report notes that the level of cooperation between the Monitor's office and various City departments, including the Department of Human Resources, has shown a marked improvement.

I think the work Tom Dart has done as Cook County Sherriff is the model for how the City of Chicago should respond to the Shakman decree. Rather than fighting the decree, Tom Dart welcomed monitoring of hiring in his office, including inviting examination of the office's personnel operations to gauge the level of adherence to those standards.

Of course, fully complying with Shakman requires the commitment of department heads, personnel staff, and the City Council. In response to the March 2010 Shakman compliance report, as Mayor I'd publicly pressure and introduce ordinances to make the City Council totally transparent about their hiring, including hiring for City Council committees and regardless of what fund the payroll dollars come from. I also think the City Council should be required to consult the City's "do not rehire" list prior to extending offers of employment and develop a definition of conduct that would result in an individual's permanent disqualification from City employment should she or he violate that code.

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?

Philosophically, I believe in stronger limits on who can lobby City Hall officials and alderman, and current definitions should be reviewed and strengthened. Unfortunately, I think the difficulty of defining what it means to be a "lobbyist" or to "lobby" makes it hard to enforce these kinds of provisions. Therefore, I think other types of restrictions-especially contracting methods and closing the "revolving door" between being a City employee and doing business with the City-are more important issues to address.

As Mayor, I would work to legally restrict any employee, appointee, or elected official who is paid by the City of Chicago from doing business with the City during and two years after their service. We also would define what it means for people in the above categories to have a significant financial interest in a business, and those businesses should be prevented from doing business with the City for the same period of time.

Do you support an inspector general just for the city council? Would you support giving the city's existing inspector general the power to investigate aldermen and their staffs, including subpoena power? What should be done with the weak Chicago Board of Ethics?

I prefer a single Inspector General for the City and the City Council. However, the problem is not so much with having a separate Inspector General for the City Council, but rather the limited powers of the City Council Inspector General. For example, the legislative inspector general should not have to get approval from the Chicago Board of Ethics before opening an investigation, and I as Mayor I will work with the City Council to implement this change.

I believe that the Board of Ethics should be supervised by the Inspector General.

To be effective, the Office of the Inspector General has to be provided with adequate resources to conduct regular audits of every city department to promote efficiency and increase public confidence that tax dollars are being spent for the good of the city. Currently the Inspector General's office has about seven auditors, so even with the budget deficit I believe we need to at least double that to create long-term savings.

As City Clerk, I asked the our Inspector General's office to conduct an independent audit of our office to determine how we could run more efficiently and better provide services to Chicagoans. Not only did we realize substantial cost savings, but the City Clerk's office has modernized to take advantage of technology that improves access and transparency.

What's the best book ever written about Chicago? Why?

I think that the 1909 Burnham Plan for Chicago is the best book about Chicago. It recently inspired my dedication of the City's automobile sticker to the 100th anniversary of the Burnham Plan, per my role as City Clerk.

The Burnham plan was a great plan for a great American city, with attention both to downtown Chicago and the neighborhoods -- as they were 100 years ago. Today we can see how the Plan has unfolded over the years, guiding our city's physical development. No other document in modern times has had as much influence on city planning throughout the United States. We can thank this plan for our transportation infrastructure, North Michigan Avenue, Wacker Drive, our lakefront parks, the regional forest preserves, and much more.

But it is much more than a city plan. It is a model of private-public partnership. Commissioned and led entirely by the private sector through the Commercial Club of Chicago, this plan was developed by civic-minded corporate citizens through hundreds of meetings and discussions over three years. A look at its implementation over the years shows the private and philanthropic investments made in its implementation. It exemplifies what can be done when our private sector partners with and invests in our city.

It also demonstrates how to engage residents -- as part of the Commercial Club's marketing plan, they printed and distributed the Plan to eighth grade children throughout Chicago and teachers discussed the Plan at school.

This quote from the Plan: "The people of Chicago have ceased to be impressed by rapid growth or the great size of the city. What they insist asking now is, How are we living?" still applies today. But in 1909 our great thinkers and planners were preparing to build the infrastructure of the city. Today we must continue to protect our infrastructure and open space while building our economy -- better jobs, stronger neighborhoods, and great government -- so businesses can thrive and all Chicago residents can live well.

Please list your educational background

Chicago Public Schools

Tuley High School (now Clemente)

Northeastern Illinois University, BA, MA in Education and Guidance

Honorary Degree National Louis University

Please list civic, professional, fraternal or other organizations to which you belong

As State Senator 1987-2006:

Assistant Majority Leader

Vice-Chairman of the Education Committee

Co-Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Education Funding Reform

Senate Executive Committee

Higher Education Committee

Founder Illinois Latino Legislative Caucus

Member Illinois Legislative Black Caucus


Founder of the Illinois Legislative Caucus Foundation

Founder of the Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees (IAHSE)

Co-founder Illinois Latino Advisory Council on Higher Education (ILACHE)

Co-founder the Alliance of Latinos and Jews Illinois

Co-founder Hispanic Democratic Council

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

State Senator 1987-2006

City Clerk of Chicago 2006-present

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government

State Senator 1987-2006

City Clerk of Chicago 2006-present

Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed

You can obtain a full report from the Illinois Board of Elections:

Anyone doing business with the city of Chicago is restricted from making contributions to my campaign.

Please paste a brief biography here

Meet Miguel del Valle: A Mayor For All Chicago ... For Every Neighborhood.

For more than three decades Miguel del Valle has been an independent voice, tireless community advocate, and a dedicated public servant for people in Chicago and the State of Illinois. He has fought for open and transparent government, stronger consumer protections, and for reform and better funding for education, healthcare and social service programs throughout his 23-year tenure in the Illinois General Assembly and as the Chicago City Clerk.

His political career began in 1982 by campaigning for his friend and ally Harold Washington. It was that historic mayoral victory that inspired del Valle to seek a career in public service. He realized that if elected to the State Senate he could create policies and laws that would bring greater change to the community he was working for as a community advocate and not-for-profit director.

A History of Bringing People Together

In 1986 del Valle defeated powerful Northwest side ward boss Ed Nedza, a protege of Tom Keane, for a seat on the State Senate. In that campaign he was able to unite people of all backgrounds -- progressives whites, African Americans and Latinos -- to rally around an idea that when working together they could bring effective change and improve their community. To this day, a much broader multi-ethnic and multi-racial coalition has kept him in public office.

With his election to the State Senate in 1986 he became the first Latino Senator in the Illinois General Assembly, where he then served for 20 more years and rose through the ranks to become Assistant Majority Leader. While representing Chicago's northwest side, he was Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and a member of the Senate Executive, Labor and Higher Education committees. He also co-chaired the Senate Select Committee on Education Funding Reform.

During his respected career in the Illinois Senate, he earned a reputation as a win-win negotiator by working across party lines and was honored by the AFL-CIO for his voting record. As Senator, he fought for open and transparent government, stronger consumer protections, education funding reform, and better healthcare and social service programs.

As an outspoken voice for increased minority and women representation in the legislative and judicial branches of government, his leadership in redistricting cases in 1981, 1991 and 2001 led to the creation of more fairly balanced districts on the city, county and state levels, and the election of more women, Latinos, and African Americans to the judiciary.

Del Valle was the first non-African-American member of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, on which he served for 15 years. He was also one of the first elected officials to endorse Barack Obama in his bid for the U.S. Senate.

Clerk del Valle brought transparency to City Council hearings; made city services more accessible

In 2006 he was appointed by Mayor Daley as City Clerk of Chicago. Just a few months later the people of Chicago elected him to a four-year term.

As City Clerk, Miguel del Valle has brought unprecedented transparency to the Chicago City Council, through a modernization of the City Clerk website, including posting video of City Council meetings, creating tools to track legislation and voting records, and making City legislation and Executive Orders available online. He also launched the online sales of residential parking permits and dog registrations, expanding his goal of making city services more accessible.

Community Roots

Del Valle's life is a true American success story. Growing up, his parents worked in factories on the city's west side. He attended Chicago public schools and graduated from Tuley High School in 1969. He went on to Northeastern Illinois University where he received a B.A. and M.A. in education and guidance.

Del Valle has first-hand knowledge of working with and helping people. He served as director of Barreto Boys and Girls Club and as executive director of Association House, where he led human service programs and workforce development initiatives. He also worked with the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Pilsen-Little Village Mental Health Center.

Leadership and Advisory Roles

Del Valle currently serves on the Board of Directors for Advance Illinois and chairs the Illinois P-20 Council. The statewide P-20 Council studies and makes recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly to improve the quality of public education from preschool through college.

He also co-chaired the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and co-founded the Illinois Alliance of Latinos and Jews. Always focused on building coalitions, he served as Mayor Harold Washington's Chairman on a Mayoral Advisory Commission and as a board member of several not-for-profit organizations including Josephinum High School.

Clerk del Valle resides on the near northwest side. He and his wife of 39 years, Lupe, have four children and three grandchildren.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.