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Saturday, October 1

Gapers Block

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Andrew Huff / September 27, 2011 2:18 PM

The city inspector general released some ideas today, including turning Lake Shore Drive into a toll road. What ideas do you have?

Mom / September 27, 2011 3:37 PM

Legalize Marijuana.

vise77 / September 27, 2011 4:15 PM

I hate to say it, but a 1% to 1.5% city income tax. Even by the late 1990s, I thought this was going to have to happen, given all the (mostly overly generous) pension regimes, the gradual pull back of federal funding for everything from cops to transit to low income health care, and other issues. I don't see how Chicago can escape it.

Let's collect all our outstanding bills, including for water to deadbeat towns and institutions.

Two-man garbage crews, and pay as you go garbage collection.

And a casino.

Basically, much of what came out of the IG report.

Much higher retirement age for most city workers. And further consolidation in city departments.

And YES!, a congestion tax, though I would have to know more about how to institute it.

And YES!, higher cash and regular fares for the CTA, with provisions for breaks for those who really will have a hard time affording it (and I say this as a person who has no car, is not rich, and relies on the CTA for many things). (I realize this is not exactly city, but transit is a city issue).

I'd love to have legal pot, really, really would, but I worry that too many people see it as the answer to 75% of this country's multiple revenue problems. That will not be case. Nor will all gang violence simply disappear. And I say this as a proud partaker.

A / September 27, 2011 4:34 PM

@vise77: "Pay as you go garbage collection"? What exactly is that? Would these two-man pickup teams be expected to weigh trash as they went and record it? That doesn't seem like it'd save money -- or time.

vise77 / September 27, 2011 4:56 PM

A: Please correct me if I am wrong--and I often am--but I understand that to mean you are charged more for how much you actually throw out. Not sure now how they measure it. Even so, there is no need in Chicago, save for clout jobs, to have three-man garbage crews.

mule_play / September 27, 2011 8:39 PM

Annual dog tag tax...just like the city vehicle sticker.

Baldeesh / September 27, 2011 8:40 PM

Know how some streets have signs that say "NO PARKING 7-9AM TOW ZONE" and "NO PARKING 4-6PM TOW ZONE?"

Maybe the city could make a couple of bucks by actually towing the people that park there.

Hal Shipman / September 27, 2011 11:33 PM

Eliminate the TIFs and break the parking contract. I don't buy that those things can't be undone.

Andrew Huff / September 28, 2011 12:22 AM

@vise77: I agree with you about the three-man garbage crews. No need for that. But I have to imagine that any weight measurement system would come with a hefty pricetag, which would mean revenue gains would be offset at least in the short term.

vise77 / September 28, 2011 8:54 AM

Andrew, I'd be pretty happy if Chicago just got rid of three-man crews (and moved to a grid collection scheme, of course). More realistic garbage rates can wait for another decade. But good points on yours and A's part, so thanks.

Mike / September 28, 2011 9:54 AM

1. Fine people $200 when their trash is overflowing. I see this in my alley on a weekly basis and feel bad for the garbage crews who have to clean up after the slobs. Fine private waste haulers when their dumpsters are overflowing too. Theoretically the city does this now ... but they really don't.

2. Automobile safety inspections every two years. It's crazy how many jalopies I see on the road.

3. Start charging for emissions inspections.

4. Actually enforce traffic. Right now the city has zero traffic enforcement and it shows by how recklessly Chicagoans have become conditioned to drive. In 13 years I think I've seen three people pulled over for moving violations. Oh, and ticket jaywalkers too. Every day I see the Metra people running across Franklin between traffic. It's only a matter of time before I see a taxi clip one of them.

5. Charge for water usage.

6. Kill TIFs.

7. Invest in teachers, schools, libraries, after-school programs, recreational facilities. It's pennywise and pound foolish to cut these things. When a kid gets shot it costs the city a ton of money.

8. Require all elected officials to send their kids to public school and watch that situation improve overnight.

9. Create a new city department to helps parents get involved at their child's school, shows them how to set up a non-profit organization to raise money for the school. This is currently happening with elementary schools and needs to happen with high schools.

10. Some kind of tax incentive for parents whose kids graduate from high school with at least a 2.5 GPA. This is another kind of thing that'll cost us $1 up front for every $10 we save in the courts, jails, hospitals and morgue.

Andrew Huff / September 28, 2011 10:20 AM

Mike, emissions inspections are state/federal, not city. Though it would be a decent idea.

Cheryl / September 28, 2011 10:42 AM

Get rid of the TIFs and release the money into the general fund.

Sell naming rights to anything and everything possible. Do the Daley want the Daley Center to remain the Daley Center? That will cost them. Take the Target Red Line to games at Wrigley and the Cell.

Mike / September 28, 2011 11:10 AM

Thanks Andrew. I have always thought it's crazy that emissions inspections are free.

Oh, I forgot one: vehicle city stickers should cost $150/year as long as that money is earmarked for the CTA. SUVs should cost $300. And yes, I have a car.

Peter / September 28, 2011 2:20 PM

1.) Consolidate units of government. The number of wards and the associated administrative apparatus could easily be reduced without any disruption.

2.) Expand charter school participation. Opening up the education market to choice will find ways to improve education delivery while decreasing the cost. (think about how much economic loss the current CPS system saddles the city. Almost every family leaves once they have children of school age)

3.) Review current city-specific rules and regulations to determine what can be discarded and what should be kept. City specific rules come with the administrative costs needed to enforce them. There are likely plenty that cost more than the revenue they generate.

4.) Tax incentives for start-up businesses. Chicago will never meet its revenue requirements if it continues to chase businesses out of the state, and discouraging new companies to form.

5.) Pension reform. Without a better credit rating, the city will never be able to roll its debt at lesser rates (which is absolutely necessary for the city's solvency). The number one way to deal with this is to enact pension reform for city workers.

royce76 / September 28, 2011 10:08 PM

Opening up the education market to choice will find ways to improve education delivery while decreasing the cost.

Decrease it for whom?
Charter schools aren't free. If they are given biased preference, like they are now, in a generation education will be yet another formally public entity that charges its citizens twice.

green / September 29, 2011 12:00 AM

lots of great ideas above, hope someone from the city is reading.

I will add: forest preserves and the people being elected and paid to (not) manage them. right now the forest preserves are empty most of the time during the week, except for men cruising for blow jobs and people turning tricks in the woods. get people managing the forest preserves, require them to turn a profit through programming,camps, nature schools like they have in other parts of the country, etc... we have an amazing ring of wild lands surrounding our city and they are being managed by people just showing up and taking a huge paycheck. it's ridiculous.

also, all of the huge lawns surrounding the high schools and grade schools... get teens and kids outside working and growing food that is then served in the schools. stop wasting money growing useless green lawns, and put our open land to work for the health of our city.

jj / September 29, 2011 11:07 AM

I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet - you can save at least half a million easy by cutting the number of alderman in half. NYC and LA have somewhere around 10-15 city council members - we have 50, who get paid $100K a year, plus the costs of their office and staff. There's no reason we couldn't cut that in half and still have the same level of service. Of course, I don't know how we'd make this happen, since presumably aldermen would have to vote themselves out of a job.

JohnnyQ / September 29, 2011 12:04 PM

Health-care cost shift to employees. As a person in the know, you would be amazed at the comparatively cushy deal they have.

Maybe a large venue event tax? Cubs games will continue to sell-out. Tack on $1 per ticky or something like that.

Would LOVE to see higher consumption taxes on tobacco, sodie pops, and gas too.

aff / September 29, 2011 12:41 PM

Build an extensive bicycle toll way system. It would have to be underground or sheltered some how from the Chicago winters. Since bicycles don’t cause a lot of wear and tear, it wouldn’t need much maintenance. It would make getting around the city so much easier, safer, ease congestion, spur development and attract businesses/people along with being a huge tourist attraction.

Spooky / October 3, 2011 2:11 PM

Actually get people to stop stealing and misspending. If city government was honest we would not have the problems we do now.

Spook / October 4, 2011 8:42 AM

We need to increase both the means and modes of production by legally formalizing The Chicago Political Matrix. It needs to be done soon, in the slim off chance that a critical mass of Chicagoans get any real ideas like those in New York demanding real change on Wall Street. Rahm Israel should divide Chicago into grids and tether every citizen (and illegal immigrants) in those grids as chattel to major Chicago athletes, especially "Da Bears" and "Da Cubs". Most Chicagoans will consider it their greats honor to toil under their sports heroes, while wearing their numbered jerseys. But in fact they will be formally on the Rahm Israel Plantation. The sports celebrities will be little more than “overseers” on Chicago’s pay roll. Of course white liberals will not present a problem, just turn them over to Ira Glass, they will be none the wiser and equally as honored to serve Chicago.

flange / October 4, 2011 10:39 AM

just a heads up to mike: i live in a 3-flat in andersonville, and my landlord recently asked me to stop stuffing the trash cans to overflowing because he gets billed the $200. so some wards seem to be keeping up with this. i'm not saying the $200 makes it into the city's general fund, or even the ward's, of course.

Spooky / October 4, 2011 1:29 PM

Rahm Emanuel is Jewish?

Spook / October 4, 2011 3:04 PM

Well, Mr. Spooky
Guess it depends on what Jew you ask? I know certain jews who might take offense. I mean, I you aint gonna find any of the same motivations and proclivities that so moved Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman to go down south that fateful summer back in 64. But I know he would be right at home at a Yisrael Beiteinu settlement ground breaking party with his, (as my Auntie Murk use to say) "ace boon coon" Senator Joe Lieberman.

Vise77 / October 4, 2011 3:21 PM

Anyhoo, speaking of Rahm, I am encouraged by his stance to collect money from various deadbeats, whether certain 'burbs stealing our water, or certain city employees who apparently have a free pass when it comes to fines. Small drops do help fill the bucket of municipal finances, and--more importantly--can set an example.

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