In a “State of The Ward” address on Tuesday night, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) told members of the South Lakeview Neighbors Association, that in his opinion, the city is still run by many of the same people in the Richard M. Daley Administration.
“In many ways, things are the same. That’s why you will see some conflicts between my vision of what the city could look like and the new administration,” he told an audience of about 50 people in the basement of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, 1429 W. Wellington Ave. ”A lot of the people in the Intergovernmental Affairs Office and the Mayor’s office are the same people as before.”
When asked if he thought new Mayor Rahm Emanuel was trying to change things for the better, he gave Emanuel credit for trying. “I think he’s trying to bring more accountability. Twenty or thirty years of a certain way, it’s hard to change. You can’t take the Titanic and turn it in a canal.”
The meeting also included a brief update from Cong. Mike Quigley (D-5) on Congressional action. Cong. Quigley greeted meeting attendees before kicking off the start of the meeting with a brief four minute talk where he touched on five main points:
[Listen to audio of both speeches at the bottom of this article]
The U.S. Postal Service is essential, in his opinion, and unless Congress acts soon, it is threatened with elimination;
The federal debt is high, and he would like to see action taken on it soon; but
Unemployment is a more pressing issue and he hopes President Obama will present a plan for more economic stimulus and infrastructure spending;
There will need to be cuts throughout the federal budget this year, and defense should not be exempt from those cuts; and
We need to stop subsidizing the wealthy through the tax code.
Following Quigley’s speech SLVN addressed two other matters, including a proposed hookah lounge on Belmont Ave. and a proposed electronic sign on Lincoln and Wellington. Next, Waguespack addressed the group. Highlights from his one-hour talk and question and answer session include:
“Rats, trash, trees and graffiti are the big problems” in the ward the moment.
The City Council passed an ordinance last month that changes the definition of “property holder” to include banks for properties in foreclosure. This measure allows the city to force banks to take responsibility for abandoned properties. There are about 80-100 of those properties in the ward.
This summer he organized a crew to “roust out” homeless people from abandoned properties in the ward and to put on new locks on those properties.
He has been making an effort to convince criminal court judges to sentence graffiti artists to performing their community service with 32nd Ward clean up crews. This summer a judge sentenced the an offender for the first time to 35 hours of service in the Ward.
This fall the entire ward, including homes south of North Avenue, will have city recycling service.
He disagrees with Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s proposals to move police officers from less violent areas, like the 32nd Ward, to crime problem areas. Waguespack believes the police force is understaffed and he favors increasing the police force instead.
This fall he hopes to pass the Mobile Food Truck Ordinance in City Council, but he is facing stuff opposition from the restaurant industry.