It’s election time in Chicago. You can tell because your mailbox and your voicemail are full of negative political smears. These attacks on your Alderman, John Arena, are not true. Some take information out of context, while others are outright lies. Our opponents’ goal is to distract voters from Alderman Arena’s record of delivering on his promises during his first term. Here are the facts:
ACCORDING TO ARENA’S OPPONENTS, “Two hundred businesses have left the Ward since John took office.”
BUT THE TRUTH IS Alderman Arena has worked with the community to bring 89 new businesses to our neighborhoods, filling empty storefronts, creating jobs, and generating property and tax revenue for the city. Challenger John Garrido falsely claims 200 businesses have left the Ward. Not only is this claim not true, but Garrido has offered no new ideas to help boost the local economy in the 45th Ward.
THEY SAY “John doesn’t listen to the community.”
BUT THE TRUTH IS Alderman Arena has transformed the 45th Ward office so that it is open and responsive. He has opened the office to the public more than 50 hours per week and instituted weekly Ward Night to listen to residents’ concerns directly. Alderman Arena instituted a zoning review process to create guidelines for developers and include community feedback on any changes. He also instituted participatory budgeting so that the community can help determine how its tax dollars are spent to improve the Ward.
THEY SAY “John doesn’t do a good job of delivering city services.”
BUT THE TRUTH IS During Alderman Arena’s first term, 3,741 pothole repairs were completed, including 1,938 repairs in Jefferson Park and 1,258 in Gladstone Park. Nearly 19 miles of streets were repaved: 5.5 miles in Gladstone Park, almost 8 miles in Jefferson Park, and more than 5 miles in Portage Park, Old Irving Park and Independence Park. And 2,874 feet of sewers were repaired, all in Gladstone Park.
THEY SAY “John will raise your taxes.”
BUT THE TRUTH IS Alderman Arena has voted against City budgets with fees and tax hikes three years in a row. He has fought to reform wasteful TIF spending. And he knows that many families in our neighborhoods don’t want more taxes. Alderman Arena wants to make sure that if the City does seek new revenues, the very wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share so we’re not balancing our budget on the backs of middle-class families.
THEY SAY “John wants to reduce the number of traffic lanes on Milwaukee Ave.”
BUT THE TRUTH IS Alderman Arena rejected the Chicago Department of Transportation’s plan to reduce lanes on Milwaukee Avenue. He worked with CDOT to bring a $1.5 million investment to our streets. Alderman Arena asked for community feedback on CDOT’s proposal, and listened when residents said they didn’t want lane reductions. As a result, the changes to Milwaukee Ave. will bring improvements for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians without reducing lanes.
THEY SAY “John voted against early childhood education funding.”
BUT THE TRUTH IS Alderman Arena strongly supports early childhood education for all of Chicago’s children. He voted against a privatization scheme that benefits big banks at the expense of underprivileged children. It’s a bad deal for our city and a bad deal for our students, and John Arena was one of only five Alderman to vote against it. At the same time, he’s a co-sponsor of a City Council resolution calling for full funding of truly universal pre-kindergarten with wraparound services.