The relationship between elected official and taxpayer should be a simple one.
But across the nation, trust in public officials has declined and Chicago is no exception. Every week we read another story how deals made on our behalf that were ill-conceived, irresponsible, or just plain don’t make sense. A 75-year contract for our parking meters without an "out" clause. Changing the timing on yellow-lights without any public notice. Complicated finance swaps that cost our education system $100 million. Continuously underfunding our pension system.
Why don’t our elected officials care that they are losing the public trust? When will they learn the old adage that “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”? When will they stop gambling our tax dollars?
Unfortunately, none of this will change until we reform our campaign finance system which reinforces pay-to-play politics and corrupts the public trust. The most recent example are reports that Mayor Emanuel received campaign contributions from the financial institutions that manage city pension funds – raising concerns about violations of SEC regulations. Regulations that were put in place "to prevent corruption, or the appearance of corruption, in public contracting."
We need leadership who will not stand silently by as corruption reduces the value of our public assets. We need campaign finance reform so that elected officials will stop recognizing campaign contributors – rather than the voters – as their power base. We need a Mayor and City Council that will say “no” to contributions from city contractors and financiers and will instead stand up for voters' interests.
February 2015 is our chance to elect Aldermen who will take a stand, who will put voters first, who will push back against “the Chicago Way,” and who will safeguard the public trust. I am running to be that person for the 33rd Ward.