Tuesday, August 18, 2015

some ideas to make Chicago more progressive

Email from United Working Families yesterday:
Just a reminder that tomorrow is the North West Regional Meeting for United Working Families at 6:00pm at 1184 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL.

Please join the United Working Families and our partners and allies, including GIA Humboldt Park and One Two Punch, at the upcoming regional North West regional meeting tomorrow!

At the North West meeting we will be sharing exciting updates about our collective work both in the region and across the city. We will also help build UWF's platform to reflect our values and those of our neighbors across the city and state.This will be the working families' platform!

Come and help build an organization to hold our representatives accountable to the issues that matter to you and your neighbors.
I'm out of town, so I won't be able to participate. But I written some ideas for what should be part of the progressive agenda.

  • There should be a citywide council that receives, generates & disseminates ideas. Who is on the council should be clear on UWF's website. And how to submit an idea and get it added to the platform should be clear.
  • Organize community groups along lines of community areas or police districts, not ward boundaries (which are arbitrary & get changed every ten years).

Building infrastructure
  • Chicago needs more progressive infrastructure. We need more people involved. We need more revenue streams. But this implies that the existing leaders & funders of progressive activism in Chicago are going to have less control.
  • Create a statewide organization to push for amendments to make Illinois Constitution more progressive.
  • Negotiate a deal where local organizations can partner with national organizations that have big email lists, eg MoveOn, Daily Kos, Democracy For America, Sanders campaign, PCCC, etc.
  • Create a think tank to advocate for the interests of Rust Belt communities.

Violent crime/gun violence
  • Every firearm used in a crime (or homicide) shall have its full ownership history published online.
  • Illinois shall pass a law that revokes privilege of owning/operating firearms for those who have demonstrated poor judgment in the past, especially poor judgment with a firearm.
  • Create a foundation/think tank to reduce homicides in Chicago funded by a tax on sports tickets. One penny for every homicide in the previous year. Have the foundation be governed by body elected by people who buy sports tickets.

  • Instead of asking for permission to create a police oversight board, citizens should create them for specific police districts. These bodies should be popularly elected. They should assert the power to demand problem officers be transferred. 
  • Create a think tank to improve law enforcement & better protect rights guaranteed in Bill of Rights.
  • Require all law enforcement entities in Illinois to report on police misconduct settlements & judgments in way that allows voters to evaluate elected officials, police chiefs & commanders within large departments.
  • Pass an amendment that guarantees the right of Illinois citizens not to be policed by racist cops.

  • Amend Illinois Constitution to guarantee a right to counsel in cases of evictions & foreclosures (like public defender).
  • Create a system of allowing homesteading in properties that have remained vacant (especially due to foreclosure) for an extended period of time.
  • Create a group of city employees that are responsible for tracking the status of homes & buildings being rebuilt after a fire or similar events. Insurance companies & contractors blame city permits for delays. Let's provide some real oversight.
  • Chicago should have a citywide plan to greatly reduce/exterminate bedbugs.

City Council
  • Each alderman shall publish on her/his website what responsibilities they assume for constituent services and what 311 is responsible for. It often seems like my alderman's staff is just sending constituent service matters to 311.

Airport noise
  • Install noise monitoring stations for all airports.
  • For communities that experience noteworthy airport noise, create an elected council that can negotiate with the airports on behalf of the people in the community.

  • Create a union of public transportation users. This union would advocate for the interests of members, including specific grievances, suggestions to improve services & fighting to keep fares low.

  • Go to war with Chicago Tribune. Actively work to reduce circulation. The Tribune is the enemy. Time to treat them this way.
  • Build community newspapers & media outlets
  • Illinois Constitution should guarantee right to be part of an effective labor union.
  • Cooperatives rarely move & abandon communities. Chicago should subsidize cooperative businesses to create parity with large corporations.


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