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Candidates for 46th Ward alderman
Five aldermanic hopefuls weigh in on the future of Uptown.
Michael Carroll, 32
For the last four years, Carroll has been assigned to the Chicago Police Department’s Targeted Response Unit, a specialized anti-crime unit that patrols Chicago’s high-crime areas. This cop’s top priority is tackling public-safety issues. “I know exactly how to deal with crime because I see it every day,” he says. “It just takes the right alderman to bring in more resources for the neighborhood. It could be as simple as getting a police car to park overnight for two weeks in front of a troubled corner, but if the alderman’s not asking for resources like gang units, you’re not going to get them. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.”
Marc Kaplan, 58
Kaplan, a catering-company bartender, is perhaps the most Shillerian candidate in terms of defending lower-income residents by championing affordable housing. A longtime Shiller supporter, he has organized support in all of her campaigns. “We’ve lost a lot of affordable housing in Uptown over the years, but we remain one of the only communities along the lakefront on the North Side where people of moderate incomes can afford to live. If you walk around, you’ll see half of these condos—no one is living in them. I’d like to use eminent domain to get those condo units at fair-market value and transition them to housing that’s affordable.”
Mary Anne “Molly” Phelan, 38
“I want to make Uptown the Midwest capital for live entertainment,” says Phelan, an attorney with the property-tax law firm Kearney & Phelan. Think Beale Street in Memphis, she says. “We’ve got the infrastructure here. We have large theaters: the Uptown, Aragon and Riviera. We also have smaller places like the Green Mill and Kinetic Playground. Uptown has the ability to compete on a national level with Austin, Nashville and even New York City. The problem is that no one has crystallized this vision and marketed Uptown as an entertainment center. It could bring so many jobs to the neighborhood and business interest that could really revitalize this area.”
Emily Stewart, 30
This corporate finance attorney sees the city’s budget as the starting point for solving ward-specific problems. “Citywide, we’re 2,300 police officers short. We have seen a spike in violent crime in Uptown because police resources are being shuffled to other neighborhoods. To help alleviate that problem, we need a forensic audit to determine whether there’s misallocation of funds. Also, I’m proposing zero-based budgeting: Instead of relying on last year’s budget to determine what this year’s budget should be, we need to build from the ground up. For instance, are we budgeting for a million envelopes when we’re only using 500,000? With the money saved, we can look to hire additional police officers.”
James Cappleman, 58
Cappleman went up against longtime alderman Helen Shiller in the 2007 election, losing by only a few hundred votes. Unlike Shiller, who some say advanced affordable housing in Uptown to a fault, this social worker envisions more mixed-income residential developments based on his belief in “evidence-based best practices.” “I’m certainly for affordable housing,” he says, “but research says there are standards. [The Department of Housing and Urban Development] suggests housing should be placed in areas where the poverty rate is lower, around 20 to 25 percent. The housing should be a mix of low income, affordable and market rate.”