PLATFORM / ISSUES:
Ethics & Campaign Finance Reform:
I am not accepting campaign contributions from people who do business with the City of Aurora or corporate PAC money. We need to ban campaign contributions from contractors and developers who do business with the city of Aurora.
Pay-to-play in Aurora is no different from the racket we saw Mike Madigan run in Springfield. It costs the taxpayers when the city allows businesses to dodge paying their taxes, and in many instances, write multi-million dollar checks to subsidize corporate profits. We made a “timeline of corruption” with the Windfall Group that clearly illustrates how the Irvin Administration accepted over $46,000 in campaign contributions that resulted in Eddie Ni receiving up to $15 million in taxpayer-funded incentives.
In many other instances we see numerous city contracts going to the mayor’s donors; suggesting that there is a strong quid-pro-quo. This practice needs to stop.
HIGH SPEED PUBLIC BROADBAND AS A BACKBONE FOR INNOVATION & AURORA'S FUTURE:
The best high-speed broadband in the world is in Chattanooga Tennessee, and it is owned by the taxpayers, not Comcast. Residents of Chattanooga pay 30-50% less than we do in Aurora for either AT&T or Comcast for an equivalent 300 Mbps package. Furthermore, Chattanooga has data transfer speeds of up to 25 GB for commercial or residential users. Their cutting-edge fiber optic network is causing many tech companies to re-locate and Chattanooga, and city officials say that their investment in public broadband created 9,516 jobs while dramatically reducing unemployment.
CLIMATE AND DEPARTMENT OF SUSTAINABILITY:
Every modern city needs to have a climate plan to reduce emissions and move into the 21st Century. The municipalities that move in this direction first will capitalize economically and benefit from the emerging green collar job market. Los Angeles is probably the best example of a larger city that has fully embraced a green economy and boasted 35,000 new green collar jobs in the first two years of implementation.
Aurora should be a leader in making people’s homes energy efficient, moving to renewable energy sources, protecting the Fox River and green spaces, and modernizing our transportation system (PACE). We do this by creating a department of sustainability that will help residents find the numerous savings and incentives at the state and federal levels, as well as making our own incentive programs.
AFFORDABLE SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES INSTEAD OF MORE APARTMENT DEVELOPMENTS
I am a big advocate for more affordable single-family housing stock. The mayor and council have spent millions of dollars subsidizing politically-connected developers to increase the number of expensive, luxury apartments in Aurora.
I believe that home ownership is a better way to stabilize neighborhoods, reduce crime, and maintain property values. As a means of lifting more people out of poverty, I would like to see Aurora work more closely with Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity (FVHH). They are both a builder and a bank for lower-to-middle income people and their mortgage rates never go over 30% of household income. They have been tremendously successful in helping lift people out of poverty and have a 98% success rate avoiding mortgage defaults.
CRIME PREVENTION AND POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY:
In addition to responding to traffic accidents and emergencies, I want to see Aurora police doing more relationship building with the community. The picture on the right is from a pre-Christmas toy-drop in my neighborhood. The current council has defunded proven crime prevention programs, and as a result, Aurora has seen higher crime rates. We need to restore investments we were making into our youth with more intervention programs, positive mentorship, and parental/community engagement. I also believe that a strong local economy with good paying jobs is the best way to prevent crime. Finally, we need to restore trust between community and law enforcement. We can have safe neighborhoods without racial profiling, and without invasive body searches, or vehicle searches for “smelling marijuana.”