Danny Davis vows to reform City Hall

December 27, 2010

Emily Wilensky

Congressman Danny Davis says no more "overnight deals" if he's elected to office. WBEZ/Emily Wilensky

U.S. Congressman Danny Davis has pledged to reform key areas of city government if elected mayor of Chicago.

Davis said he wants to see tax increment finance (TIF) money used for long term community development in struggling neighborhoods, rather than to benefit developers. Davis also said he would not use TIF money to fund Chicago Public Schools, one idea that has been proposed to help close the schools' $1 billion budget shortfall.
 
Davis, a former Chicago Alderman and Cook County commissioner, questioned what he called “overnight deal making” by the current administration, such as the bulldozing of Meigs Field and the leasing of the city’s parking meters. He says the city’s current contracting practices have resulted in “scandal after scandal,” and lack representation, especially for minority and women businesses.

Davis also pledged to invoke an existing city ordinance to stop paying legal fees for former Chicago police lieutenant Jon Burge, and would support a fair settlement for plaintiffs in the four remaining Burge torture cases.

When asked about whether he was concerned about the possibility of splitting the African-American vote with mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun, Davis said, "In some instances we would be vying for the same voters and trying to get the same voter types to support us, so there is some concern."

State Senator James Meeks (D-IL) stepped out of the mayor's race last week, citing concerns about dividing African-American votes.  On Sunday, Meeks repeated his calls for the African-American community in Chicago to unite behind one candidate.   The prospect of a runoff election without a black candidate would be "the worst thing we could possibly do for our city", said Meeks.