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November 28, 2018 EMBARGO: 12:0O P.M.

, 11/28/18

Growing Chicago to Meet Our Challenges


Prepared Remarks for Bill Daley -- City Club – 11/28/2018

Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to the City Club and giving me an
opportunity to share my thoughts about Chicago and our future. Let me begin by
saying that I think it’s a bright future with unlimited potential. But I admit I’m a little
biased because I love this city and never wanted to live anywhere else.

I believe it is the greatest city in the world -- and I’ve been fortunate to travel all over
the world. You can’t find another city with a lakefront like ours. You can’t find
another city full of neighborhoods with this much diversity and character. You can’t
find another city with Chicago’s unique blend of beauty and grit. Look – Paris is
beautiful but it’s not gritty. New York is gritty but it’s not nearly as beautiful as
Chicago. We have just the right amount of both. That’s what I love about this city.
That’s what we all love. Let’s be honest: What other city in the world… has dibs?

We’re living in a special moment for the City of Chicago. It is a moment of great
promise and a moment of equally great uncertainty. In this critical moment, one
path could take us forward. Another path could lead to drift and decline. While there
is much to celebrate, there’s a lot of frustration out there -- disappointment—even
anger. People are tired of excuses. They’re giving up on Chicago -- just when we need
them most. And there are troubling trends that could divide us—both economically
and socially.

That’s not acceptable. We cannot accept that success in one part of Chicago is good
enough for all of Chicago. We have to make this city work for everyone. We cannot be
two cities – and unless we come together to address our problems, that is what we
will become.

On the positive side, we’re gaining high-income people. It’s adding to our tax base.
We are attracting young entrepreneurs. We’re one of the hottest cities for
millennials. Today, we have a thriving central core. Many of our 77 communities are
doing well. Home values are rising. Business is thriving.
At the same time, immigration has slowed down—due in part to the policies of the
current administration in Washington. Chicago has always been a welcoming city for
immigrants. From Devon Avenue to Chinatown to Uptown to Pilsen – diversity is our
strength. It’s a competitive advantage. We celebrate our diversity and we work hard
to maintain it.

But the big factor – and the most troubling -- is that we have lost nearly 400,000
African-Americans since 1980. That’s the size of the entire city of Cleveland, Ohio.
Whole neighborhoods are emptying out. Some of this is to be expected. Like every
other group, some middle-class African-American families have left for a new life in
the suburbs – the big yard and the two-car garage -- and that’s OK. But they are also
leaving because they want safer streets—better schools—and a fair shot at a good
life.

Worst of all, they are leaving because of economic isolation. They’re just not sharing
in the city’s growth. By one estimate, the cost of economic isolation is over four
billion dollars a year. We accept this -- as if there is nothing we can do. We surrender
as our people are walking away. We have failed these communities. And the impact
of this neglect is felt across the city. Today, our population is nearly a million less
than our peak 70 years ago. Our schools are emptying out. Crime is festering. Our
tax base is not big enough to meet our obligations or provide the services we need.
Taxes keep rising year after year but people aren’t getting much for it. Most of it pays
for pensions and debt.

It hasn’t helped to have a state that ignores problems, doesn’t pay bills, and allows
our roads and bridges to fall apart. Thankfully we have a new governor. We also have
one-party control of the entire state government. There are no more excuses for
inaction in Springfield. They must fix their pensions, rebuild infrastructure, fund our
schools, find new revenues, and help us fight the biggest cause of our declining
population – which is crime.

The economic and social costs of crime and violence impede our ability to invest and
improve our quality of life across the city. Just nine days ago, a domestic dispute
turned violent and left four people dead. They include a doctor, a pharmacist and a
young Chicago police officer who left behind a wife and three young children. They
were all cut down at the beginning of their careers -- all because of the easy
availability of guns. The shooter had a troubled past but that didn’t stop him from
acquiring a powerful handgun and a concealed carry license. He fired 40 shots
before he took his own life. He had several magazines with him and was obviously
planning to kill more people. It’s senseless, sad and tragic – and it’s all too common
in Chicago.

Every week, we lose an average of 10 people to gun violence. We’re gonna’ hit 500
murders this year. We may have three thousand shootings. Today, our murder rate is
four times higher than L.A. and seven times higher than New York. We have more
killings than both cities combined. My goal is a 75 percent reduction in shootings
over four years and a comparable reduction in murders.

It starts with gun control. From the local police to the county, the state and the feds,
we are unable to get guns away from people who should not have them. We can shut
down the Dan Ryan Expressway but we can’t shut down the flow of illegal guns from
Indiana – or even from our own suburbs. It’s a disgrace and a failure and we must do
everything possible to get guns off our streets. We need tougher laws, tougher
sentencing and tougher regulations for gun dealers.

Second -- we need to focus on putting gangs out of business for good -- with better
policing and more technology. First of all, we need leadership at every level that is
committed to changing the culture in the department. We need a major shake-up.
Only one in 5 murders and one in 20 shootings produces an arrest. That is a failure
no matter how you measure it. We all know that some police have made mistakes.
But we also know that the vast majority of the men and women in the Chicago Police
Department are good, honest, decent people who protect us every day. We need to
support them and give them the tools to do their jobs.

We need a massive investment in training. It will help police deal with tough
situations and will build trust between our people and our police. We need new
technology, including cameras and drones to bring information to police quicker. Our
city has also been slow to embrace proven strategies that have worked in other
cities. Like violence prevention, which is the third part of my plan.

Police can’t do it alone. They need partners in the community – organizations that
intervene in gang disputes – and organizations that help young people stay out of
gangs and give them a path to a better future. I will commit $50 million dollars a
year for violence prevention. It worked in New York. It worked in Los Angeles. And it
will work here.
The second big factor driving people away are the schools. We’ve had 30 years of
school reform here in Chicago and some people say we’re now one of the fastest-
improving districts in the country. Well, I don’t want to spoil the party but less than a
third of our students test at grade level. And just one in five CPS grads goes on to
complete college.

If you ask parents in Chicago how they feel about the school system, they shake their
heads. They might like their own school -- but they’re sick of the fights over money --
and arguments about charters and neighborhood schools – and reformers versus
unions – and testing versus teaching. None of it matters to parents. They just want
their kids to get a good education.

And the elephant in the room is the enrollment issue. Simply put -- we have too
many schools and not enough kids. We have 150,000 empty seats and enrollment is
gonna’ keep dropping as we keep losing people. Parents shouldn’t have to send their
kids halfway across the city to find a good school. It’s partly a safety issue but it’s
mostly about quality. Parents are desperate to find great schools. In the coming
weeks, I will offer a plan to meet one simple goal: give every child more great
options close to home. We need to focus on kids and teachers. My three sisters
taught. My daughter taught. I know it’s a tough job and teachers deserve our respect.
They also deserve the truth and the truth is – we won’t have the money we need for
our schools and for other investments until we figure out how to meet our
obligations to retirees.

And that gets to our third big challenge. Our pension system is broken. We have $42
billion dollars of pension debt at the local level. That works out to $35 thousand
dollars for every single household in the city. We can’t tax our way out without
making Chicago unaffordable. We can’t cut our way out without compromising our
quality of life.

We have to find new revenues and everything is on the table. Marijuana, casinos,
commuter taxes, real estate transfer taxes – and reforms to the system -- must all be
on the table. The one thing I want to take off the table is more property taxes. Tax
bills next June will reflect new assessments and people will be shocked. I am
determined to avoid new property taxes next year. And over my four years, I promise
the taxpayers of Chicago that for every dollar of new property taxes, there will be a
dollar of cuts first.
Our city government is way overdue for an overhaul. Every department will have to
stop and rethink its core mission. Consider housing: Today we have 20 different
housing programs – with different rules, goals and funding streams. And yet,
according to some advocates, Chicago is 120,000 units short of affordable housing.
We have whole neighborhoods of Chicago without any new affordable housing—
even as the city creates more programs to address it.

So yes – we will overhaul every agency of government, cut the waste and refocus the
mission on serving the people of Chicago. Government doesn’t exist for the insiders.
That’s the old way. The new way – and the right way -- is to set goals and hold people
accountable. If existing programs work –great. If they don’t we will end them.
Because we don’t have a dollar to waste. In the long run, we have to grow our way
out of our financial problems. More people means: more homeowners, more
families, more children, more jobs, more business activity,m more revenues, and
more of what makes Chicago special – which are safe, strong and affordable
neighborhoods.

Today, I am proposing an ambitious goal to restore Chicago’s population to three


million people within a decade. Step back for a moment and think about this. We
were once 3.6 million people. Now, we’re 2.7 million. That’s almost a million people
less--fewer taxpayers, fewer businesses, fewer homeowners, sparser
neighborhoods. The city has shrunk but the government hasn’t and that’s why we’re
in financial trouble every year. It has to change and it must start with growth. The
2020 census is coming. We have a federal administration determined to undercount
the undocumented community. I ran the 2000 census at Commerce. I know how it
works. We need everyone to be counted. With another three hundred thousand
people, our tax base will grow. Over time, we’ll get billions more in federal and state
aid. Revenues will rise. Economic activity will increase. Our schools will fill up again.
Our neighborhoods will come back to life. And we’ll pay our bills instead of passing
on debt to our children and grandkids. Is it possible? Of course it is. America is
growing. The world is growing. We need them to grow here. We need people to come
here and stay here. We need inclusive growth – in which everyone benefits – in every
neighborhood.

The first thing we can do is connect people with existing jobs. Right now, there are
half a million open jobs in the region – and about 60 thousand people on the South
and West Side who need those jobs. It isn’t as simple as it sounds. Some jobs are far
away. Some require special skills. Some people struggle with child care and other
issues. But we can solve these things -- if we have the will to solve them. I’m not the
first to name these problems. We’ve had mismatches in the workforce for decades
and countless attempts to address it. Today, we have scores of job training programs.
The schools offer hundreds of vocational education programs. The City Colleges have
aligned curricula around key industries. Career colleges offer degrees in all kinds of
specialized fields. There are apprenticeships, internships, job fairs and recruitment
campaigns. And yet, despite all these efforts, unemployment is 20 to 40 percent in
some neighborhoods. In some Chicago communities, 60 percent of young adults are
unemployed. That is a crisis. We need a bridge from the people to the jobs and a
commitment to do whatever it takes to help people cross that bridge.

I recently met with people running prisoner re-entry programs. They understand
that people with a criminal record need extra help to make it. They need counseling
and coaching. They need employers to give them a chance. And let’s talk about the
kind of jobs we need to help our struggling communities. Our city has made progress
creating new economy jobs like green energy and tech. Our schools should prepare
young people for those jobs by teaching coding and other key skills. We continue to
have a strong market for professional careers in business, health care, education, law
and finance. We’ve added something like 134,000 jobs downtown in the last eight
years. I give Mayor Emanuel credit for that. He’s been a great salesman for the city.

But we can’t overlook sectors like construction, utilities and manufacturing – where
people with a high school degree can earn a good wage. Right now, there are at least
425,000 manufacturing jobs in the region. Thousands of them are open. They pay a
living wage for young people. Over time, they can support a family. And you only
need a high school degree to qualify. Some people have declared manufacturing dead
for years, but it’s still here and it’s growing again. Because of shipping costs and
rising wages in other countries, the economics of manufacturing in the U.S. are
becoming more favorable. We should make Chicago the center of advanced
manufacturing in America – producing products for strong local sectors, like health
care and transportation. We have a new railcar plant under construction on the
Southeast Side with 170 jobs. These jobs can spur growth -- lead to a career --
support families. We have many family-owned manufacturing companies in Chicago.
They are desperate for employees. We can’t give up on them. There’s an organization
called M-HUB here in Chicago. They’re coming up with creative new ideas to drive
innovation in manufacturing. If we strengthen these core industries, we can begin to
rescue these neighborhoods.
And once we give people a job, we can help build wealth and put them on a path to
homeownership. Many working families in Chicago earn enough to pay a mortgage
but they have no money for a down payment. They have to keep renting and they
can’t build wealth. We have to help them.

The next thing we need to do is coordinate public investments. Every public project
-- schools, parks, transit, roads, utilities--needs to support a community vision. We
have capital programs in half a dozen different state and local agencies. They have to
talk to each other. They have to work together. We can target a billion-and-a-half
dollars in public projects to these communities over the next four years. If we’re
strategic, we can turn $1.5 billion in public money into $5 or $6 billion in private
money. And that’s the real ballgame. I’m a former banker. A commerce secretary. I
spent my life in business. Government can be a catalyst, but it’s not the answer. We
need the private sector involved. Start with small business. Give them a one-stop
shop and access to capital. Get rid of the red tape and the regulations. Give them city
land, tax credits and other funding sources. Provide expertise from a business school
and from the corporate sector. We have the talent. Let’s make it available to those
who need it.

Ultimately, we need to reach a tipping point in struggling neighborhoods so that the


private sector feels confident enough to invest. We have a Department of Planning
that does a good job of driving growth downtown. Let’s refocus on neighborhoods.
Clear out the rules and regulations. Put the money to work. The money is out there.
We have state and federal tax credits. We have money in the city – the neighborhood
fund, the affordable housing fund, TIF’s. Federal opportunity zones in Chicago could
be worth $1.5 billion dollars. New Market Tax Credits could be another $50 million a
year. Add it all up – public, private, tax credits, and opportunity zones--and we can
put six or seven billion dollars in struggling communities in the next four years. We
need to commit to it and ask every business leader in Chicago to support this effort. I
will help them understand that our growth strategy – three million people – three
million strong – three million together – across every neighborhood of Chicago -- is
the foundation of a strong city. This is our future.

As I have said many times, I am running for mayor because I love this city and I want
to see it grow. I have spent the last 10 weeks in living rooms all across Chicago. I
have talked with small business owners and faith leaders. I have talked with parents.
One person told me he’s lost confidence in local government. He keeps hearing the
same old promises from politicians but doesn’t see results. I talked with a guy who
spent time in prison. He has a job but can’t get a mortgage because of mistakes he
made years ago when he was a young man. I met with a small business owner who
thinks the city only cares about real estate. No matter what we say to him, that is
what he believes. I met young parents who want to stay in their neighborhood but
they’re worried about school quality. If they have to pay for private school, they will
likely move to the suburbs. I heard from a businessman who wants to reopen a
factory on the Southwest Side and put people to work. He is ready to invest but the
city is holding him up.

Saddest of all--a few weeks ago I met a mom who lost her son to gun violence. I sat
with her as she cried and talked about him. He died at the age of 28 -- but she still
calls him her “baby.” She said he wasn’t an angel. She admits he made mistakes. But
he was trying to turn his life around and had even moved out of the city. He came
back just to pick up something at his mother’s house when a bullet found him and
took his life. Amazingly, she has turned her grief and pain into action and has
become a voice for gun safety, better policing and justice for victims. That’s the kind
of courage and power we have in our neighborhoods. That’s the kind of courage and
power that defines our great city.

We cannot fix our problems with incremental changes. We can’t ignore problems
and pretend everything is fine. We won’t ease that mother’s grief with just thoughts
and prayers. We have to think big. We have to get bold. We have to set ambitious
goals that stretch us. It’s not good enough to get back down to 500 murders and
declare victory. If we were as safe as New York, we’d have less than 100 murders.
And even one is too many.It’s not good enough to celebrate downtown development
while our neighborhoods are emptying out. We need every neighborhood to grow.
It’s not good enough to get one in five kids through college. Every kid who wants to
go -- should be prepared to go -- and to succeed.

In a nation that’s growing and a world that is growing, we cannot stand still. To make
this city the best place to live, work and raise a family, we need to make it our
collective goal to be a city of three million people. That’s 30,000 more people each
year for the next 10 years. That is absolutely achievable. With growth as our
strategy, we can better address issues like crime, education, pensions, affordability
and taxes. We can extend opportunity to every community. We can make good on
our promises to ourselves and to our children.
Our problems are not bigger than us. We’ve faced tough times before and we have
always risen to the challenge. I believe in Chicago as do all of you. I have lived here
my whole life. My wife and I, my children and grand-children are here. I want what
every parent wants: A better life for their kids. This is our moment and our chance to
fulfill our destiny as a proud, diverse, livable, thriving, growing city of
neighborhoods. That is who we are. That is why we’re special. That is why I love
Chicago. And that is why I’m running for Mayor. Thank you.