Contact: Kelley Quinn
CHICAGO — To prevent future corruption or abuse, mayoral candidate Gery Chico is calling for an end to all aldermanic privilege when it comes to their approval of any permits, including zoning changes, parking and liquor licenses.
“For more than 80 years, aldermen have been allowed to control who gets a building permit, who gets a liquor license, or a parking lot,” Chico said. “No single alderman should hold this kind of power over permits, land use and housing development. Chicagoans have had — and seen — enough,” Chico said. “The time has come to end this old school practice. No one deserves this much power.”
Aldermanic privilege has been around since the 1930s. It is a practice that not only invites corruption through campaign contributions but has prevented business development, affordable housing, and has caused segregation in many parts of the city, Chico said.
“Campaign contributions should not be exchanged for a liquor license or for allowing affordable housing in a certain neighborhood,” Chico said.
A 2018 Chicago Tribune investigation revealed that the number of affordable residences being built is below City Hall projections, and the fees by developers to pay for affordable housing have been steered away from gentrifying neighborhoods.
“This will be an end to the ‘not in my backyard’ mindset,” Chico said. “This is a key way that Chicago can move forward. We are not two cities — we are one.”
Chico said the approval process for permits and zoning should be done where it belongs: in the city departments and with the planners that examine defined criteria and grant the permits to those seeking to build or do business in a neighborhood.