Stacey Pfingsten

Personal Statement

In September 2014, Stacey resigned from the ward office to launch her campaign for Alderman.

In her time working on behalf of the 2nd ward, Stacey pursued her passion and commitment for public service. Prior to her role as 2nd Ward Director of Community Outreach & Constituent Services, Stacey devoted seven years professionally towards grassroots efforts to maintain and improve Chicago neighborhoods as Communications Manager of Preservation Chicago.

In 2009 she founded the grassroots group, “No Foam Chicago” after discovering that the Chicago Public Schools system used and disposed of 250,000 lunch trays daily. This practice was alarming from not only an environmental standpoint, but from a public health perspective as well. Stacey’s work with local communities increased her awareness and passion for public service. In addition to experience in Chicago’s 2nd Ward, she has also served as 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack’s political coordinator and fundraiser.

Stacey is grateful to have grown up on a small farm in rural Crescent City, IL, and has resided for the past 18 years in one of the greatest cities, Chicago. She lives in the beautiful and historic Gold Coast neighborhood and enjoys biking on the Lakeshore path and exploring exhibits at any number of Chicago’s museums and checking out the local music scene.


Biographical Summary

Party Enrolled In: Independent Democrat
Occupation: Candidate for 2nd Ward
Education: School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Masters focus: Historic Preservation

Eastern Illinois University, BA Graphic Design, Business Administration Minor
Organizational Affiliations: Raise Your Hand
The Chicago Help Initiative
No Foam Chicago (founded by Stacey)
CAPS
Chicago Votes founding member
Prior Public Experience: Alderman Bob Fioretti’s 2nd ward constituent service office
Political director for 32nd ward Alderman Scott Waguespack

On the Issues

City remapping


The recent remap was the perfect example of old politics at play. The new 2 was created due to a Chicago-style political move where the ward was comprised of areas the former Aldermen no longer wanted and pieced together. They didn’t think of constituents.
As Alderman, I will treat each distinct neighborhood as its own entity with its own identity and needs. I will advocate for the creation of an independent body to oversee a fair remapping process.



City Services/Infrastructure


As former Director of Constituent Services for the 2nd ward, I learned how to work with our city departments to get services delivered as efficiently as possible. I will be ready to start as Alderman day one. I have long established relationships with the five former aldermen of this newly created ward, critical to understanding the infrastructure and development projects planned and underway, and for getting major projects accomplished in the future.

Corruption


Chicago has had a long history of machine politics, back room deals, and clout-filled contracts and unfortunately it continues. The old way has done nothing but run this city into the ground.

I will keep a critical eye on our spending, contract negotiations, and advocate for an internal fiscal audit. We need more oversight and transparency to cut the waste and start having City Hall work for all of us.

Crime/Safety


The new 2nd ward has very safe neighborhoods, but we have to be proactive instead of reactive. We need to maintain a strong police presence throughout the ward and be creative with our approaches. In partnership with the 18th police district, I created focus groups with residents and officers about problematic areas, and over one summer, put a stop to the drug dealers in Washington Park. I look forward to applying these techniques throughout the 2nd ward. 



Development and Jobs


My approach to development will be to let the local community lead. Unlike my opponents, 
I have pledged not to accept developer contributions. I want to make fair-minded decisions, not swayed by paid influence, when it comes to projects affecting communities for decades. I am for economic development that complements and hires from our neighborhoods. I will hold regular job fairs comprised of local businesses, and take an active approach to vacant retail spaces.



Fiscal responsibility


Putting an independent in council is the smartest financial decision a voter can make. Clout contracts, backroom deals, corporate TIF giveaways run rampant. I will work to put an end to that in City Council. Additionally, in a ward office, menu dollars are extremely scarce; we have to be mindful of how each dollar is spent for the best use of the ward, and be creative in our problem solving to make the most of our resources. 


Historical preservation


My background in historic preservation bodes well for representing the new 2nd ward. 
We are fortunate to have many neighborhoods within or near historic districts. In addition to blocks of bungalows, greystones, and the like, 1920s commercial buildings and historic parks make for an architecturally rich fabric that greatly enhances our new 2nd ward communities. These historic resources should be a major consideration in future 
planning and community-led development decisions.



Reducing Gun Violence


City-wide this is of great concern and I will be a strong advocate in council against gun violence. Although light in comparison to most wards, the new 2 is not immune. Streets and alleys need to stay well lit and regularly patrolled, with increased programming on street safety. Chicago’s city-wide summer youth job program led to a reduction of 46% in gun related violence. I will champion such proactive initiatives, which can have a ripple effect throughout the city.

Schools

We have good schools, but they can always be better with more resources. I will maintain open lines of communication with our schools, local school councils and the Chicago Teachers Union. I am a strong proponent of an elected school board, an issue I have worked on since 2012. Let’s take from the TIF surplus and bring back programs like P.E., art and music so all our children will receive a well ­rounded public education.

Transportation/Transit Issues

Transportation is a huge issue. We have congested streets, confusing intersections, and missing signage. The areas around our Red line stops have new developments increasing the population density, thus contributing to overcrowding. With tight budgets, we need new solutions. I’ve driven this ward many times with the head of Streets and Sanitation and have a strong idea of what needs work. As Alderman, I will use creative solutions: from graduate student studies to more express train service.


Ward office communication

I look forward to running a transparent, accessible ward office. As the only person running with ward office experience, I know I will be ready to work on day one. I will commit to doing satellite “pop-up” offices twice a month in various areas of the ward. Dollars are scarce so we will be creative in our communication and stay in touch with every corner of the new 2.



Stacey Pfingsten was last modified: January 30th, 2015 by runclean

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