by Charlsie Dewey
Larry Doody believes that Chicago's services need to be maximized and, with a background in financial services, he thinks he is just the person to accomplish this task. Doody also believes that he can bring answers, accessibility and accountability to the 2nd Ward as well as adapt to change within the ward.
Windy City Times: What led to your decision to run for alderman?
Larry Doody: I am very active in the community. This ward has changed dramatically. People want somebody who is going to be accessible and accountable. … What we see is a demand for a change in leadership, and the need for somebody who is more willing to adapt to change in this ward—[someone] who's going to answer the questions and concerns of the ward.
WCT: On your Web site you mention the need for an increase in City of Chicago services within [your] ward. Could you talk about what you mean?
LD: In terms of the maximization of the city's services, [Chicago] has a vast universe of departments and city services for people to take advantage of. One of the things we need to do [in order] to maximize their services is get inside and take a look at the expense side of the income statements. We believe—and we won't know until we are inside there—that there is excessive spending, pinstripe patronage, excessive legal billing and a lot of things that need to be done away with on the expense side. We also believe that if we can get in there and manage the expense side of the income statements better we will open up a lot of extra money, which could be used for all the different city services and making those services more available and more understandable not only to the 2nd Ward, but also to the City of Chicago.
WCT: Are there specific service needs?
LD: Ninety percent of the people are concerned with accessible parking. We have circulated a petition to have a question put on the ballot concerning increasing the number of parking spots in the 2nd Ward. On Feb. 27, we're asking the residents of the ward if an ordinance should be passed to increase the number of parking spots for any unit of new development from one to two. If they vote yes on that, I will listen to that referendum and I will work to require developers to make more parking available, which will make parking more accessible to the residents of the ward.
WCT: Are there any LGBT-specific issues or service needs you've come across while campaigning?
LD: I haven't had anybody approach me with those issues. In terms of the services available to the LGBT community, I can't speak directly to exactly what is available, but I am very open to learning exactly [about the community's] concerns and needs. I can be a voice for that community so the ward can be better educated on those issues.
WCT: Can the LGBT community count on you?
LD: I am going to be a voice for all members of the 2nd Ward.
WCT: The big box ordinance has gotten a lot of attention. Where do you stand on this issue?
LD: I believe that the big box ordinance is a very appropriate piece of legislation that should be adhered to. Let's think about it this way: If you took a look at the publicly traded companies, that equates to less than a fraction of one penny per share to the bottom line of those corporations. … The living wage ordinance, in my mind, is mostly about health insurance. We need to do something and make corporations—companies that do business with our governmental bodies—more accountable to the people they employ [and offer] good benefits to them.
WCT: What are some other important issues in the 2nd Ward?
LD: What we want to do is work on creative development solutions that will benefit not only the ward, but our entire city. ... That's why I want to work with developers, community groups, neighbors and the constituents of the ward to maximize development opportunities for our city. We need to focus on better more conducive ways to address the issue of affordable housing. [We need to] address the situation of our seniors and residents being taxed out of their homes because of the wonderful gentrification we have all benefited from. … The bottom line is that a lot of different entities need to work together for the common goal and collective interest of all the people in our ward [and] our city. My job will be to work within the framework of the city council and with the mayor to make sure that I meet the goals and objectives of the second ward.
We need to focus on safety. I think we can do a better job of doing everything we can to educate all people in the ward. Work with the schools, universities and all the businesses to create more mentoring programs [and] work on the after-school programs [to] make sure as many children are off the streets [as possible]. [We need to] try to maximize opportunities for them to be involved and decrease the odds of them getting hooked into gangs and drugs.
WCT: Is there anything that you would like to add about your plans?
LD: I am going to work with your community. I do need your help in becoming more educated on the issues. I will never portray myself to be an expert on things I'm not an expert in. As your issues arise, I want to work with you, hear your side, hear what they are and properly represent them the way they should be represented.