How will Mayor Daley’s record be judged on the issues that impact Chicago’s communities? One primary source is a report card issued earlier this year by a coalition of community and civil rights groups, and it’s not particularly favorable.
The Developing Government Accountability for the People project rated the city’s record on a range of issues in March, giving an overall grade of D and finding that the city’s performance in several areas had declined since a previous assessment three years earlier.
On criminal justice, DGAP gave the city a D, citing the failure to institute an effective early warning system for abusive cops or to fund alternative crime models like CeaseFire.
On economic development, the city got a D, with the O’Hare expansion serving as “a prime example of the inequity and corruption that plagues economic development in Chicago: money is ill-spent and goes to the people who need it least.” DGAP called for living wage protections for big box and TIF-backed development, and for stepped up funding for jobs, including TIF funding for summer youth jobs.
On education, DGAP gave the city a D+ and called for a moratorium on school closings and for support for LSCs. On the environment the city got a B+, with DGAP calling for action on recycling and coal power plant pollution.
On ethics and corruption, the city got a D+, with DGAP calling for enacting Shakman Decree protections, making budget information transparent, limiting campaign contributions, and requiring public hearings and independent evaluations of privatization deals.
The city got an F on housing, with DGAP reporting that the CHA Plan for Transformation has been a disaster for many residents, and the city’s ten-year plan to end homeless has only two years left and “there is still no city investment in creating permanent housing for homeless people.”
On transportation, with CTA service cuts “exacerbating inequities in service provision across the city,” DGAP gave the city a D and called for a congestion tax, full accessibility on public transit, a new formula for RTA funds, and a commitment to the Gold Line and the Red Line extension “to rectify the huge transportation inequity on the southeast side.”
The report showed that “despite all of its efforts to beautify and modernize the city, local government does not adequately and equitably serve all of its communities,” said DGAP coordinator Michaela Purdue in a statement with the report’s release.
“Where residents have expected to be actively engaged in the implementation of equitable policies that benefit all residents in every neighborhood across the entire city, they have instead found themselves in a constant struggle against forces that ultimately exclude their voices from the democratic process,” according to the report.
The Mayor still has several months to get his grades up.