1. TRANSGENDER HEALTH CARE
In December, the CTA updated its insurance policy to cover transition related surgeries for transgender employees, as required by law.
Would you ensure that every City agency and private city-contractor has a policy that covers transition related healthcare and prohibits discrimination against employees who are transgender? If yes, please explain how you would implement this legal requirement in your first year in office.
The Enyia Administration would establish a zero tolerance policy for discrimination against transgender employees. It is still legal in the United States to fire someone due to their gender identity—in order for this status quo to change, mayors of big cities across the country must not only reject a culture of apathy and disdain towards the lives of transgender citizens, but implement positive policies like transition related health care that affirm their right to be in the workplace. Our administration would work with pro LGBT activist groups and inclusive providers in the healthcare community to ensure that every Transgender employee is respected.
2. LGBTQ & POLICE
Members of the LGBTQ community, especially individuals who are transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming, and who come from communities of color, report experiencing high incidents of violence and harassment from law enforcement, which erodes trust, and leads to a fear of law enforcement.
Will you pledge to work with the LGBTQ community to update CPD policies that would reduce violence and harassment, and increase trust between the transgender, intersex and gender-nonconforming community and the CPD? If yes, please describe the elements of an updated policy that would reduce the violence and harassment faced by the LGBTQ community.
No one should experience violence, harassment, or disrespect by members of the law enforcement community in Chicago or anywhere else in the country. These kinds of incidents are violations of trust; they violate civil and human rights. Transformative policies would require updated police training procedures that stress the importance of treating members of the LGBT community with respect, banning any questions related to gender identity that are not explicitly related to the solving of crimes or gathering of evidence. Any required pat downs must be conducted in a respectful manner.
3. RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED HEALTH CARE
Religiously-mandated restrictions – such as the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) – tie the hands of health care providers at religiously-affiliated institutions by prohibiting a wide range of services, including contraception and other types of essential reproductive health care. Patients are harmed when religious restrictions require that their health care providers deny them basic health care services or withhold full information from them.
Will you oppose the extension of TIF and other taxpayer-funded resources to expand and advance health care institutions that deny comprehensive reproductive health care services and information on the bases of religiously-mandated restrictions?
The city must move forward on the question of access to contraception. The Enyia administration would make it exceedingly clear that Chicago is a city where women will have access to the appropriate forms of birth control, contraceptives, and abortions as needed, without fear of being judged or rejected. Religious liberties are an important part of a healthy democracy, but should not impede the rights of others to make their own decisions regarding what is right for themselves and their families.
4. BREASTFEEDING IN CHICAGO
A breastfeeding parent who is not able to regularly nurse or express breast milk through pumping is likely to experience pain, discomfort, and engorgement, and may be at risk for possible infection and/or a reduction in the amount of breast milk produced.
Will your administration insure that every municipal building and office is accessible for breastfeeding parents, including a private, non-restroom space for parents who need to pump breast milk and provide staff training on the rights of breast-feeding parents?
|Absolutely. Breastfeeding is an important part of the nurturing process for young children, and is one of the best ways to ensure the health of a growing baby; breast feeding mothers should have access to discrete but readily available spaces that enable them to perform the most basic of their responsibilities in municipal building and offices. Trainings will also be implemented, so as to ensure that mothers are respected by on-site staff, with access to privacy without harassment in fulfilling their maternal responsibility.
5. POLICE REFORM
In September, the City committed to reform the CPD by signing an agreement with the State of Illinois.
Do you support the consent decree between the City and the Illinois Attorney General designed to reform the CPD? What three steps would you take immediately upon taking office to ensure that the decree is effectively implemented?
While the consent decree is not as robust as our campaign would like, it is essential for our success as a city. Our institutions must operate with the highest levels of integrity and fairness, and the reports issued by the Department of Justice and the Police Accountability Taskforce expose what many communities have already known: a toxic culture of abuse, corruption, and racism that has persisted for too long in the City of Chicago. An Enyia Administration would begin immediately by working with community activists, civil rights attorneys, and CPD leadership to implement a radically different code of conduct for the CPD. The contract with the police union would be renegotiated to allow for an easier dismissal of officers with too many complaints on their records. And the standards for the use of force would be re-evaluated to decrease the likelihood of deadly encounters between unarmed civilians and police officers.
6. CHANGES TO CPD
Are there any elements of the consent decree that you would want to change? If so, what changes would you make?
We would also implement changes in the city’s officer recruitment policy, so as to ensure that only those applicants with integrity, a respect for local communities, and an understanding of and willingness to change the long-standing culture of abuse, torture, racial discrimination, and disrespect would be admitted. Community policing would be another priority, with officers being encouraged to get to know local community members. New recruits in particular must be provided ample opportunities to familiarize themselves with the locals they will be serving, so as to decrease any hidden discomfort or aversions.
7. POLICE CONTRACTS
If new contracts have not been negotiated by the time you enter office, what changes would you demand in a new FOP contract in order to advance the police reform process? Do you support the 14 recommendations promoted by the Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability?
I would demand that all 14 recommendations be instituted.
8. LICENSE SUSPENSION
Suspension of a person’s drivers license for unpaid tickets is currently being used as a debt collection tool. Tickets often go unpaid simply because people lack the financial resources to pay tickets on time. For these individuals, license suspensions only make matters worse. Many Chicagoans need to drive for their jobs, and even many non-driving jobs still require employees to have a valid driver’s license.
Will you support ending the use of driver’s license suspension as a penalty for non-moving violations, including unpaid parking and compliance tickets? What concrete policy changes will you initiate or support?
Chicago has a history of punitive policies that increase the everyday economic stressors of Chicago’s most vulnerable and widen the wealth gap that only benefit and privilege those with access to power.
The answer to Chicago’s problem is not just a change in leadership, but a reimagining of the system’s design.
We have the chance to build a Chicago that is equity-forward, a Chicago that actively rejects the idea that citizens should be punished for being poor, a Chicago that protects its people and provides a workforce that allows us all to thrive.
Chicago’s legacy of draconian policing in low income black and brown communities takes a significant toll on the pockets our communities when its predatory practices exploit public safety systems, hurting black and latinx communities the most.
The majority of Chicago’s bike tickets go to bikers in Black communities like Austin and Lawndale, and when it snows, CPD tickets minority communities for shoveling violations more than all other communities. Almost a quarter of those living on less than $15K a year report having outstanding ticket debt, and are 40 percent more likely to be issued vehicle-related tickets and fines, even though white communities own more vehicles. On top of student loans, medical bills and other debt, ticket-driven debt perpetuates a cycle of financial insecurity for families that are already significantly disenfranchised, pushing them into unemployment, bankruptcies and incarceration.
Chicago is leading the nation in bankruptcies – not because Chicago’s wealthy face higher rates of hardship, but because compliance violations incur the largest source of ticket debt in the city, and that fact is a stain on Chicago’s progress. When people lose their licenses and cars, they lose their jobs, and when people lose their jobs, they lose their livelihoods.
From overwhelming tax costs that eat away at what Chicagoans are able to put on the table at dinnertime, to targeted racist and classist ticketing that place even higher barriers on an individual’s ability to live their daily lives, the draconian nature of Chicago’s fines, fees and forfeiture systems perpetuate disparities in revenue growth and holds us back from thinking of new, innovative ways to keep Chicago’s economy thriving. We need progressive and productive ticketing and fee policies that protect our communities instead of punishing them for being poor. As mayor, I’ll:
9. PARKING TICKET DEBT
Implementing “ability to pay” hearings and affordable payment plan terms would benefit low-income Chicago residents by allowing them to keep driving legally and avoid having their cars towed or booted.
Will you support creating a citywide process to determine a person’s ability to pay fines and fees, and adopting standards to ensure that payment plans for people who owe ticket debt must be affordable and accessible?
See Question 8 response. I also support implementing community service as a means of paying off ticket debt.
10. WELCOMING IMMIGRANTS
Chicago prides itself on being a welcoming city for immigrants, newcomers and asylum-seekers. The current policy that the City is defending against a challenge by the Trump Administration is considered inadequate by many, since the policy allows someone to be reported to ICE if they have a prior felony conviction, a criminal warrant, a pending felony prosecution, or they are on the City’s gang database – a database that is notoriously inaccurate.
Will your administration support closing the loopholes listed above, in the Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance?
I support closing the loopholes. ICE’s policy related to arrest and detainment is rooted in xenophobia and has an adverse and draconian impact on people of color. It’s institutional bigotry disguised as a race-neutral matter of national security, of which our campaign vehemently condemns.
11. TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT
Open, transparent government is a critical value in our system of government. Over the past several years, the City has refused to release material about important public policy matters, even when requested through the Freedom of Information Act process. Such denials have led to litigation and delays in releasing information to the public.
Will your administration commit to ensuring that city, and all of its agencies, promptly and completely respond to FOIA requests? How will you act to implement your commitment?
Good governance requires that requires that all groups, with particular attention to the most marginalized, have direct and representative access to the systems of government. It requires that citizens are provided, in user-friendly and easily accessible formats, the means and processes by which decisions are made. It further demands that institutions respond to their stakeholders within a reasonable time frame.
12. SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS
As one of the most surveilled cities in the world, Chicago collects vast amounts of sensitive information about its residents every day. The city employs an extensive, unchecked, surveillance camera system that is utilized by an unknown number of agencies, including CPD.
What specific steps would your administration take to limit and regulate the use, and how will you ensure that the public knows how these systems work, and what technology is being utilized?
I would have a cross-agency audit conducted involving legal and law enforcement personnel to determine the extent to which the populace should be made aware of type, approach, and systems employed related to public surveillance.
13. FACIAL RECOGNITION
The use of facial recognition technologies by law enforcement has been criticized because those systems have been shown to be susceptible to discrimination and bias.
What steps would your administration take to limit and regulate the use of facial recognition technologies by law enforcement and private businesses? How would your administration generally support or oppose the use of facial recognition technology in Chicago?
It is vital that we determine the extent to which facial recognition technology may be helpful to law enforcement. This aspiration must also be balanced with addressing the risks related to technological mistakes and abuse. Facial recognition technological algorithms struggle to distinguish faces of people with dark skin, and the industry is troubled by the implications of its use by government agencies. More transparency and conversation is required about the use of these technologies and the extent they may unfairly target communities of color.
14. SURVEILLANCE DATABASES
Do you believe in using civilian oversight to ensure transparency and accountability for police practices, including the use of automated and surveillance technologies for law enforcement decision-making? How would you incorporate civilian oversight and ensure transparency in CPD’s use of automated and surveillance technology?
Yes, I fully support using civilian oversight to ensure transparency and accountability for police practices. Participation, the primary driver of good governance, requires that all groups, with particular attention to the most marginalized, have direct and representative access to the systems of government. Citizens are competent in knowing what they need for a respectable quality of life. Civilian participation in public safety oversight manifests itself in the various forms, including but not limited to, funding and expanding community block clubs and providing more infrastructure for CAPs.