The Jan. 8 aldermanic debate brought several key issues facing the race in Logan Square to the forefront at Norwegian Luther Memorial Church (2614 N. Kedzie Ave.). Hosted by Logan Square Preservation, the forum had a packed attendance and engaged residents who listened to the candidates speak. If you are still unsure of who’s running against who, this debate will clear that up.
- 32nd Ward: Alderman Scott Waguespack (unchallenged for re-election)
- 1st Ward: Alderman “Proco” Joe Moreno and challenger Daniel La Spata
- 35th Ward: Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and challenger Amanda Yu Dieterich
The debate centered around affordable housing, education, police presence and safety,
Everyone agreed that we need more affordable housing options in the community, which was a reoccurring theme of the debate and one
Waguespack said the process for rezoning is important but has stayed the same for many years. His sliver of Logan Square has seen multiple developments rise up in the last couple of years. He said all but one community groups have agreed to
“We work as closely as we can with the LSP to make sure we are getting the right project,” Waguespack said.
Carlos-Rosa said he wants to continue to halt developers who have incentives to demolish buildings and stop them from building high-leved projects.
“One of the things we pursued together as a community was downzoning to create a disincentive to not build along Milwaukee,” Carlos-Rosa said. “Unfortunately, the chair of the zoning committee blocked that in support of the powerful developers. That is why I am so excited about the changes coming to City H
Carlos-Rosa announced a victory for the recently rezoned building that will become Logan’s first boutique hotel: “We will move forward with the boutique hotel. … the developer signed on to pay a living wage of $17 [to all the workers],” he said.
Dieterich also hammered affordable housing and that the issue isn’t only plaguing Logan Square. She stressed strengthening community partnerships and
“Our population is moving out because the city is not affordable,” Dieterich said.
For the 1st Ward debate, Moreno and La
“People that have [worked with] affordable housing way before you got to this neighborhood—those are the people I am going to rely on,” Moreno said, which earned him rings and applause from the audience.
La Spata noted Logan Square’s high numbers of demolition and said the 1st Ward has seen a loss of housing that needs to stop.
“[We] lost 800 units of two-flat rental housing since 2011 in this ward,” La
With more developments comes more congestion in traffic, on the CTA and on the sidewalk. The candidates discussed this issue but did not lay out concrete plans to diminish congestion;
Dieterich said we need to think about housing that is transit-friendly before we downzone all of
La Spata talked at length about protecting rideshare employees and how they affect the local economy. He said he
“We are moving towards this gig economy in Chicago, where workers are pitted against each other,” he said. “People are working more time, lower wages and
Easy access and safety on the streets, especially as they become more congested, was a talking point for La Spata, Dieterich and Wauguespack.
Carlos-Rosa and Dieterich hammered the affordable housing issue with access to education. Making sure families can afford to live in the place where their kids go to school—and vice versa—needs to be a top priority for the community, one Dieterich said hits close to home because she sees it in her son’s school. More funding to local schools, more efforts from parents and community partnering are needed to make sure CPS gives local students access to a strong education, she said.
Both agreed more resources are needed. Carlos-Rosa said class sizes, school programs
“We can fully fund our public schools if we tax the rich.,” he said. “We actually have space for after-school programs, art programs, for the types of things our students need and deserve.”