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EDITORIAL BOARD QUESTIONNAIRES

Gaylon Alcaraz

Democratic candidate for Cook County Board (4th District district)

Gaylon Alcaraz

Gaylon Alcaraz

Democratic candidate for Cook County Board (4th District district)

Education
Bachelor of Arts in Applied Professional Studies DePaul University Master of Arts in Applied Professional Studies DePaul University PhD in Community Psychology National Louis University
Occupation
Consultant for Project Fierce Chicago and Professor/Instructor at NEIU
Home
Chicago
Past Political/Civic Experience
Franklin Fine Arts Local School Council and Parents and Teachers Association

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.

First and foremost, the County is not broke. I do not believe the narrative that the current elected officials are feeding the public. Secondly, corruption across the County government is pervasive, thus, the most important way the County can evolve is to rid the system of Machine style politics and elect true public servants. Thirdly, I would push for a forensic audit of all County contracts and employees. Finally, I would seek a progressive system of "Zero Based Budgeting" that forces the budget to restart from zero every year.

If faced in budget debates with cutting the county's payroll or raising taxes, which one will you choose, and why? Please be decisive.

I am seeking your endorsement because I am a true servant leader and I want change. So I will not talk about cost cutting or raising taxes until there is an audit from an outside source not tied to County government. We need to clean house. We deserve great leadership! These types of questions take us down the same tired path of thinking. The media - YOU - must give voters a call for change by endorsing servant leaders. Nonetheless, one of the very first things we need to do is call for the resignation of Assessor Joseph Berrios. I would like the incumbent of the 4th District to join in this call. Due to the assessor's leadership, we will be faced with lawsuits around the racial assessment policies that benefits the rich. Who will pay for this? This issue is of historic magnitude! I say NO to any more cuts, fees or regressive taxes until we look at every progressive idea out there. Residents are already paying too much, not getting enough and the County is leaving potential revenue on the table by not looking at all the ideas - progressive ideas - that are out there.

Do you favor or oppose privatization of county services and downsizing of the county's workforce?

No. I say no to the privatization of any services. However, I would advocate for an outside consultant to work on the County interview and hiring systems.

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?

First, the breakdown in the social order of society happens when critical resources are removed from communities. Communities that see massive school closures, mental and community health systems removed, food sources and stores dismantled, and economic opportunities depleted are going to deal with the issues that we are seeing today. So ensuring that the Affordable Care Act - a prime source of funding County health systems - remains intact should be of our primary concern. their court and trial dates or continuing to advocate for bail bond reducing measures, me Further, allowing people that have been arrested for non-violent crimes be placed on home monitoring systems until their court and trial dates means that people stay out of the criminal justice system, provide for their families, don't lose their jobs and continue to contribute to the economy.

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?

The County's role in this is to ensure that we have enough resources - public defenders - to undo the backlog of cases and waiting. People wait years to have their case heard. As stated in previous answer to last question, I am an advocate for bail bond reduction and home monitoring so that people who have not been convicted of a crime are able to continue to contribute to the economy and support their families and communities.

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.

There is a duplicity in government and most of these municipalities. Thus, asking another public body to take over our duties, when we should be looking at whether there is a duplication of service is more of the concern.

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?

An audit would provide a more detailed snapshot of this and only after that would proposes be made.

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?

First order of business, fire the assessor, who has failed to provide a fair service for Cook County residents and homeowners. Secondly, put a system in place (that Berrios failed to do) that would fairly assess properties across the board. Thirdly, be transparent and open up the books for media and the public.

For incumbents: During your current term, on what proposed ordinances have you been the primary sponsor? For challengers: What proposed ordinances would you introduce?

I would propose an ordinance that consolidates city and county departments, elections and health care systems. I would propose an ordinance that prohibits all county employees from holding second jobs that are directly related to the offices they serve.

Candidates for Cook County Board (4th District district)

DEMOCRATIC