Wednesday, August 24, 2016

building community in Chicago by hiring Community Builders

Proposal: Chicago citizens should be empowered to elect Community Builders for their community areas. (Chicago has 77 community areas.)

Assumption: Increasing connectedness will benefit communities in various ways. While Alan Mills comments on crime was the catalyst of this idea, I see more connectedness benefiting Chicago communities in various ways. As Rudy Lozano, Jr. said, there's no alternative to defending communities other than organizing communities.

Each community area would decide whether to implement this plan by vote.
Who can run? 
Anyone (irrespective of citizenship) who lives in the community sixteen years or older 
Who can vote?
Everyone age twelve & up who lives in the community area, including homeless people who identify with the community
What will the duties of Community Builders be?
The nominal duties will be to get to know people in the community and broker introductions between people in the community. But the duties will get defined by the Community Builders and the members of the community.
How much will Community Builders be paid?
$1,500/month (proposed)
How many Community Builders will each community area have?
Two plus one per every 3,000 residents in the last census
How will it be paid for?
Property tax increase for the community area

How much will this cost?
If a community area has a population of 25,000 and 2.5 people per household, it will have eleven Community Builders at a cost of $198,000 per year. Add 10% so they have a minimal budget it comes to $218,000. Divide this over 10,000 households and it comes to $22 per household per year.
How will community areas decide?
I think adoption of the Community Builders should require more than a majority of the voters who vote to support it. Perhaps 55% or 60% should be the threshold?
When will it happen?
I would like City Council (or the Cook County Board) to approve the enabling legislation soon enough that voters can decide if they want Community Builders for their community area (or township) on the March, 2018 primary ballot.
For the community areas and townships that opt-in the Community Builders will be elected in the November, 2018 general election.
How long will terms be?
Four years.
How will vacancies be filled?
The Community Builders will write two systems for filling vacancies. The voters of the community area will decide which system is better in an election.
If 40% of the Community Builders in the community area agree a new system of replacing vacancies will be better, they can submit it to the voters at the next election. The voters will choose which system is better.
What about getting rid of it?
After six years the community area can vote to eliminate Community Builders during any general election by a majority vote.

This proposal was first discussed on Twitter:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Today I&#39;ve been noodling an idea for Chicago that I tentatively call &quot;Community Builders&quot;.</p>&mdash; Carl Nyberg (@CarlNyberg312) <a href="">August 23, 2016</a></blockquote>
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