Colby Chapman: 2nd Ward Primary Candidate questionnaire responses

Ahead of the February 28 primary, we asked 2nd Ward candidates about climate change, housing, ethics reform, public safety, infrastructure, youth engagement, and more. Here's how Colby Chapman responded.

Photo provided by Colby Chapman
Photo provided by Colby Chapman

Ahead of the February 28 primary, we submitted a questionnaire to 2nd and 3rd Ward candidates.

Questions were determined based on concerns residents’ raised to our newsroom over the past year.

For those who responded, we’ve posted their answers in the order in which they were received and are not edited in any way.

Here’s how 2nd Ward candidate Colby Chapman responded to our questions.

The Harvey World Herald does not issue political endorsements, accept money from politicians or lobby organizations, nor do we participate in lobbying practices.

What motivated you to run for alderperson and what is your overall vision to create a more thriving, inclusive Harvey?

Where people see despair, I see a city filled with hope. I was born at 15216 Lexington a

block filled with laughter, love, and the epicenter of community. These traditions have been the heartbeat of Harvey, since 1891 when our city was first incorporated. As my Soror, Fannie Lou Hamer, once famously stated “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired”, I want to shift the narrative and provide a bright future for our community. In May of 2018, I was pulling into my driveway and red tape circled both my home and the abandoned home next door to me, because a dead body was found. This ignited a spark to be a change agent and get involved in the legislative process. Aldermen ensure the execution of city goals, major projects, and infrastructure improvements. Harvey is the transportation, distribution, and logistics hub of the Southland and we can build upon this platform to create opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship, home ownership, and tourism.

Map out your infrastructure agenda for Harvey residents.

Harvey sits within a unique location, the 6.2 square miles, borders I-57, I-94 and I-80 making it ideal for businesses. As the transportation, distribution, and logistics hub of the Southland, we have the prime opportunity to attract businesses to our community. Shared below are a list of ideas as apart of the infrastructure agenda:

Identify and manage pavement infrastructure to slow the deterioration of existing roadways, by progressive improvement of asphalt and concrete pavement repair practices.

Urbanization places added pressure on eroded infrastructure. We will continue to address the need to improve supply, influence demand, and make operational improvements with the least environmental impact.

Increase public awareness of environmental impacts due to waste water and contaminated stormwater challenges. Additionally, inspect and assess condition and performance of collection systems.

Seeing the water challenges of our neighboring community Dixmoor, we want to be proactive and address the various approaches to enhance the water utilities. We will inspect distribution systems and technologies for rehabilitation of potable water systems.

Detail how you would collaborate with county and state leadership to address the south suburban climate crisis.

We will overcome the climate crisis by addressing metropolitan land use. Pivoting from traditional people-entered neighborhood designs and incorporating building technologies that promote more sustainable and equitable living. Leaning in on us being the TDL hub of the Southland, we will partner with organizations such as Divvy to provide bikes for rent which produce nearly zero emissions. Also, increasing development in areas in Harvey that are more prone to chronic and acute climate shocks.

Residents often complain about how city government is inaccessible and overly bureaucratic. How often will you hold ward meetings, and how will you communicate and engage with your residents? With young people?

Transparency is best fostered when residents can read information in an easily accessible format. Ward meetings will be held bi-weekly, according to the city council meetings. I would like for us to adopt the Village of Gurnee model of 10 point transparency checklist to promote open governance and provide citizens with municipal updates at one click. Next, using a customer service software system, such as Open 311 to allow residents to write directly to Harvey and describe a problem, such as an abandoned home sitting open. A second ward website will be created to keep residents up to date with specific happenings of ward, including main contact numbers, upcoming infrastructure projects, finances, legislation proposed, and community events. Engaging with the youth in Harvey, will be created, through a partnership with Thornton High School and local community based organizations to get them involved in local governance, via internships, externships, fellowships, and summer employment.

What will you do to promote and preserve affordable housing in Harvey? Detail your larger housing policy agenda.

I will work with the city government to promote and preserve affordable housing. We have a total of 4,156 distressed properties across the City of Harvey and continued partnership with our current allies such as Cook County Land Bank will assist in turning renters into homeowners. Additionally, working with Sheriff Tom Dart to eliminate dilapidated housing that can no longer be restored to ensure our community is not blighted and causing a public safety issue. Also, partnering with NACA, a housing program that offers low to moderate income homebuyers purchase property with no down payment, closing costs, and mentorship before, during, and after the home buying process.

Homicides in Harvey outpace every other community in Cook County, only second to Chicago, according to county data. Police are reactive, in that they respond to crime after it has already happened. What are policies or initiatives—not including policing—that you advocate for and/or implement to address root causes of crime and violence, preventative measures that create a safer Harvey for all?

Creating safe spaces for youth, families, and seniors in our community can deter the increased crime and violence. As a part of the rebuild of our great city, I would like for us to partner with a variety of community based organizations and our local businesses to address mental health, addiction, and employment. Hospital-based violence intervention programs where community members can connect with victims in trauma centers and emergency rooms to engage survivors of violence and prevent retaliation. Street outreach programs to build relationships, support survivors of violence, and implement justice solutions that bring together those who have been victimized by gun violence. Restoration of vacant lots and investing in the communities physical environment to reduce gun violence. Creating post-secondary pathway programs in partnership with Thornton High School to assist youth with job readiness and employment, specifically in the arts, trades, and healthcare sectors. Expanding evidence based community violence intervention programs will prevent crime by making our neighborhoods stronger with more educational and economic opportunities.

What are structural and or institutional reforms you would advocate for and work to implement to hold Harvey Police Department officers accountable?

Community based accountability starts by implementing polices that make police officers directly responsible for the people they serve.

Civilian oversight of disciplinary measures and review of complaints creates direct accountability to provide the opportunity for police to build a relationship where they serve.

Direct hire of officers from our communities will combat ill practices, because there's a direct correlation of community buy-in and decreased violence, when residents live and work within the same space.

Monthly meetings are held to allow residents to voice criticisms, make proposals and introduce resolutions to review or reform specific policy policies.

Creation of a civilian review board, made up of residents and community representatives that are independent and transparent with adequate resources and outreach. These boards would have the ability to govern and conduct investigations and hearings, as well as conduct statistical analysis of infractions.

In what ways will you implement new or build upon existing ethics reform ordinances?

I would like to build upon our existing ethics reform ordinances through a variety of enhancements, including public finance management reform, regulatory reform, right of review of official decisions. Transparency is the key to the approach of each of these, as it allows for full understanding of the happenings within a community. The public management reform will allow for an independent auditor to complete oversight of the government budget. This allows control on strategies to ensure that public movies are controlled in such a way to maximize the benefit to the government and public. Regulatory reform will reduce administrative controls and the number of opportunities provided to individuals to extract bribes. The right of review of official decisions provides accountability and transparency and allows all official decisions to be subject to independent and proper record keeping review, in more significant matters, the details will be reviewed by the courts.

Black and Brown businesses disproportionately shouldered the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. How would you support small business development, sustainability, and job growth in your ward?

I would like to work directly with our city government and business driven organizations such as Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Administration to host workshops throughout the city, where small business owners can learn first hand about resources to edify their business. Additionally, hosting open forums to learn the process of city bids and request for proposals to complete business within the city. The 2nd ward has several new developments on the horizon to increase our transportation and housing, it is vital that with this new development, we work with these organizations, such as Metra and Pace to ensure a specific amount of employment and minority women business enterprise opportunities are provided directly to residents of Harvey.

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, throwing abortion rights in the balance. How will you work to affirm reproductive rights and access in Harvey and across the south suburbs?

We will ensure that Ingalls hospital continues to provide equitable access and high quality, comprehensive reproductive care and services. Ingalls will continue to support the principle that medical decisions should be made by individuals with the support and consultation of their provider.

COVID-19 is still ripping through communities, paving the way for a long-term, disability crisis with a healthcare system ill-equipped to keep up. Detail your healthcare policy platform with aims to improve healthcare outcomes for Harvey residents.

We will improve our health policy platform by creating a health equity response team, task force or other coordinating body to inform COVID-19 policies and direct resources to communities of color. Next, allocate COVID-19 testing resources to address barriers to testing and employ culturally-informed engagement to connect with residents of the community. Lastly, ensure workplace protections for essential workers, particularly for industries that employ people of color and linking people of color to job training and other employment supports.

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