I am proud to say that I have lived the American Dream. I am an immigrant who worked my way up, becoming a successful executive and community leader. I was born in Iran, my family migrated to Sweden as political refugees when I was 9. At the age of 19, I arrived in Chicago with $30 in my pocket and a full scholarship to North Park University. I studied Political Science and polished my skills at speaking five languages. While in school, I earned extra money waiting tables, and worked my way up in the corporation to be an executive today. In 2004, I proudly took the oath to become a United States Citizen. In 2006, I married my husband, Marcus, a Chicago Police Officer of 19 years.
As a citizen of Chicago, I feel we can work together to keep our communities and neighborhoods safe and beautiful, we can ensure our economic prosperity and good-paying jobs for our residents, we can keep our taxes low, and we can manage our schools so that our next generation is ready to compete in a challenging global economy. Since this city welcomed me 20 years ago, I have proudly called it my home. I have worked to make Chicago the best that it can be. Chicago is a world-class city and as your 2nd Ward Alderman, I will fight to make sure that it is stays vibrant, financially sound, and a great place to live, work, and raise a family, for all of us.
|Party Enrolled In:||Independent|
|Occupation:||Executive with Restaurant Management Corporation|
|Education:||Bachelor or Arts In Political Science from North Park University, Chicago|
|Organizational Affiliations / Prior Public Experience:||
Neighborhood Watches and Block Watches
Effort to ensure address signs on homes for police and fire purposes.
Member of 2nd ward Chambers of Commerce and Merchants’ associations
Ukrainian Village Churches and Community organizations
On the Issues
I am not fundamentally opposed to a reduction in the number of aldermen, but based on my experience with our campaign and planning to provide service to nearly 60,000 widely distributed residents, I feel that concentrating power and responsibility into fewer aldermen is not the best plan. I do believe that the remapping process should be more transparent than it has been.
I will work to ensure that our 2nd Ward residents receive their fair share of city services. Our campaign office has already helped to make sure that potholes are filled and that our residents know how to engage the city. We will continue to fight for our 2nd Ward and to ensure that city services are delivered in a timely and efficient manner.
I will run a transparent alderman’s office and publish information about use of public funds. I support the office of the Inspector General and funding the current term of the Legislative IG and providing them the powers that they need to do their jobs.
Our Chicago Police Department is a world leader in community involvement and tactical methods. We need to support them, call for statewide supporting legislation, and to fund more “beat cops”. I feel we should have more police available, on staff. Police presence keeps our homes and families safe.
Development and Jobs:
I want to encourage economic prosperity. With residents’ input, I will support developments that enhance our neighborhoods while preserving their character to help bring good jobs to our ward. In our 2nd Ward, the future use of the Finkl Steel site is an important opportunity that I will work to carefully manage for the good of our Ward.
I am not in favor of long-term borrowing to pay short-term operating expenses. As a city we do not do a good enough job of collecting revenue that is due and owed to us such as fines and fees. In addition, we can look at excess TIF Funds. In the case of a dire budgetary emergency, excess TIF funds could be used for general revenue purposes. One other option is a Chicago-based casino.
We have to balance the economic growth with the character of our neighborhood. I will work with residents and with developers to present solutions that benefit everyone.
Reducing Gun Violence:
The Supreme Court has spoken and we will have to abide by their rulings. I do not want costly legal challenges. On the other hand, I support the actions that we can take at the state and city level, including federal background checks, measures to prevent “shill buyers,” and strong penalties for a failure to report a lost or stolen firearm.
I will ensure that our schools have mentorship programs and that our teenage residents know the value of remaining drug-free, of finishing their educations and/or continuing, and of having a good job to earn a living. I also support improvements in City Colleges and the expansion of recently-announced tuition assistance programs.
2nd Ward residents walk, bike, and use public transit. Transportation enables economic growth by helping employees and helping patrons get to where they need to go. I generally support public transportation, and will consider requesting CTA to restore the #11 Lincoln Bus route. For all issues, including larger area-wide issues, such as airports and interstates, I will carefully consider studies on effectiveness, impact, and costs before coming to any decisions.
Ward office communication:
Our offices (we are planning two) will be open some evenings and weekends. Our campaign website, Bitanow.com has been in service since July. We will launch a similar website for the 2nd Ward. Social media like Facebook and Twitter provide informal communications such as CTA notices and Streets and Sanitation information. Not all 2nd Ward residents are web-savvy, so we also will use mailings, flyers, and community meetings with organizations to reach everyone.
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