As the city enters its third month of Burke-related scandal, with news continuing to break about Ald. Danny Solis’ (25) role in Burke’s troubles with the feds (and his own debts), and with few weeks to go until the polls close and the field likely narrows, mayoral candidate Bill Daley sat down for The Daily Line’s Aldercast podcast.
The former Chief-of-Staff for Barack Obama and former U.S. Commerce Secretary for Bill Clinton had stints in the private sector at SBC Communications, JPMorgan Chase, and at Swiss hedge fund, Argentiere Capital. And, of course in Chicago, Daley’s name carries weight – baggage or clout, depending on who you talk to – as the son of Mayor Richard J. Daley, the brother of Mayor Richard M. Daley and Comm. John P. Daley (D-11) and uncle of Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11).
Daley is sticking to bread and butter issues on the trail – crime, education, and housing affordability – but expounded in this interview to discuss continuing #MeToo issues in Chicago, the potential for future school closings, and his thoughts on progressivism.
- Surveillance on every block; build the new police academy – “We have more cameras than most cities, I’d have a camera on every block in the city, a very high definition camera in order to give comfort to people, not just in those areas that have high crime, but throughout the city,” he said. The ACLU described the city’s already-extensive surveillance system in 2011 as “a pervasive and unregulated threat to our privacy.” His crime platform also includes further investments in police Strategic Data Support Centers, incentives for businesses to invest in security cameras, and the use of drones. “I think the training part is the most important, that’s one of the reasons I think I’m the only one of the 13 people that are actually for a new academy,” Daley said. That’s in addition to investing $50 million in violence reduction programs similar to CeaseFire, a reinvestment in CPD’s CAPS program, and asking Springfield for harsher gun penalties and an assault weapons ban.
- Strip down the FOP contract – The city’s contract with the Fraternal Order of Police is long-expired, and for reformers, is a key impediment to changing the culture of the police department. “The contract should be there, I get, to protect the police officer. He has rights. But it should not be there as an impediment for investigations or actions where actions are needed to correct a wrong,” Daley said. “I’ve asked somebody to bring in the copies of the contracts and I’ll be you need a Harvard Law degree to figure them out, which is ridiculous, okay? And usually, when it’s hard to understand these thing, it’s done for a reason – nobody wants you to understand them. So I think we ought to simplify them.” Many public employee contracts are “layered on, layered on, layered on,” he said. The FOP’s should be streamlined so they can be used “for the purpose they were originally developed: to make sure people are paid fairly, compensated fairly, and that they are not subject to political interference and a fair process for them to be adjudged when they make mistakes and not just the sort of tragedies we’ve seen with Laquan McDonald.”
- On the millions he’s raised from out of state and corporate interests – “I’ve been fortunate over the years of having a lot of friendships and relationships around the country. I had one senior businessperson, a Republican, give me a substantial amount of money and has no interest in Chicago other than his attitude was we need reasonable sensible leadership in urban America,” he said. While many connected Chicagoans have donated to his campaign, including the Ricketts, former Tribune owner Sam Zell’s trust, and dozens of Chicago-based investors, he said, “The people that have supported me don’t play in the game of Chicago politics, they have no business interest in that sense. I’m proud of the fact that I am pro-business. I think the opportunity to address so many of our issues in this city relate to our ability to grow economically.”
- On his definition of liberal – “Let’s be honest, ‘progressive’ is just because Democrats didn’t want to call themselves ‘liberals’ anymore because it was such a negative term… I think you understand that government is there to provide a service to help people and that it must interact and must interdict themselves for social good, but that you also must be part of making sure that the economic pie grows and isn’t just the economic pie of government, it’s the economic pie of the private sector, which is much larger and much more meaningful than government’s ability to affect things. Some people look at using government as a stick to force private sector to do what you want, or what you think is the right policy. I think you’ve got to work with the business community in many ways, and that’s one of the biggest challenges for the next mayor.”
- On the CTU’s demand for higher pay and hiring nurses, librarians and aides – “Conceptually, everyone would like to see everybody get a pay raise as much as she could, and give everybody whatever they want. The reality is, we have to deal with reality. I’ve had three sisters teachers, daughter a teacher, I understand what a tough job and how we expect much more of them. I have respect. I plan to sit down with the leadership if I’m elected mayor, and we will work to being fair to them, fair to the kids of Chicago, and fair to the taxpayers and the future of this city,” he said. He floated a private partnership to provide some of those services, including healthcare, but said he didn’t believe “one should say that’s totally out and therefore you must just layer on more people into a system” already struggling to pay teachers.