Democratic candidate for Cook County Board (2nd District district)
Responses to our questions
In preparing future budgets, Cook County may face rising costs and static revenues. How should county government evolve? What specific finance strategy will you encourage for producing balanced budgets? Please be decisive.
In the advancing Cook County Government there is a need to focus on delivering efficient services and assuring financial stewardship based on ethical principles. As Commissioners, it is imperative that we use our oversight fiduciary duties to encourage departments to focus on innovative ways to cut costs as well as maximize revenues. For example there are opportunities such as the Federal 340b program where Cook County Heath & Hospital System (CCHHS) would see a substantial increase in revenue that can lead to CCHHS sustaining themselves.
If faced in budget debates with cutting the county's payroll or raising taxes, which one will you choose, and why? Please be decisive.
There is a need for comprehensive, fair, and objective solutions that favor the citizens of Cook County that does not minimize their struggles and financial situations. Simply put I am not in favor of raising taxes. However I am in favor of streamlining Cook County operations.
Do you favor or oppose privatization of county services and downsizing of the county's workforce?
I am opposed to privatization. It appears that whenever privatization of services is implemented it minimizes the cost upfront, but ultimately it ends up costing more over time. Furthermore with the privatization of services there is often a diminishing of service quality.
The relative stability of the county health system has reduced the costs to taxpayers. How can the county now stabilize the finances of the public safety and court systems?
Public safety and our court systems should focus on alternative solutions to stabilize finances through a combination of public expenditures and private stakeholders, especially those who are invested in the growth and stabilization of Cook County.
What is the role of the County Board in accelerating criminal defendants' time to trial and otherwise speeding up the flow of court cases? What if any changes do you propose for defendants' pre-trial release and electronic monitoring?
Cook County should utilize alternatives to incarceration, to include but not limit to, mental health courts as well as other non-traditional methods such as Cook County's Restorative Justice Court. In doing a paradigm shift, focusing on the person and issue, and not the crime, we could streamline our justice system without compromising our community safety.
Do you favor or oppose contracting with municipalities or other public bodies to take over services now provided by the county's highway department, the forest preserve police, and other county-run offices? Please be specific.
The focus should be on collaborating with other municipalities. We should leave these matters to the voters of the municipality.
Do you believe unincorporated areas of Cook County are paying their share for services provided by the county? What if any changes do you propose?
I would rely on the expertise of the commissioners who's constituencies reside in unincorporated Cook County to determine whether they are paying for their fair share of services.
What specific changes, if any, do you advocate for Cook County's property assessment system? Do you favor or oppose creation of an office of tax administration to combine functions now performed by several offices?
There is a need to create a special task force to appraise and examine the property tax assessment system; examining all components and explore all solutions and alternatives. The task force should address any inequality the current system institutes as well as provide solutions that would assure everyone pays their proper share of the tax burden.
For incumbents: During your current term, on what proposed ordinances have you been the primary sponsor? For challengers: What proposed ordinances would you introduce?
Though I have been in office for 5 months I have introduced an amendment to the Sexual Harassment Ordinance which mandates additional training for all employees of Cook County government. The Ordinance passed unanimously. I also Introduce this same legislation to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and look forward to it being passed unanimously.