Today, mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle renewed her call for a moratorium on controversial major city development Lincoln Yards and the Joint Safety Training Academy.
“The next mayor of Chicago will face significant budgetary challenges, and cannot afford to have her hands tied by major development projects like Lincoln Yards or the Joint Safety Training Academy before taking office,” said Preckwinkle. “I’m calling for a delay until the next Mayor and Council are sworn in and can make the best decision for the people of Chicago.”
As chairs of Zoning and Budget committees respectively, James Cappleman and Carrie Austin are uniquely positioned to listen to Chicago voters and delay approval of this project until the next Mayor and Council are sworn in.
Last week, Preckwinkle issued a letter to Alderman James Cappleman to postpone a Feb. 28 committee hearing regarding the Joint Safety Training Academy until a new administration is elected.
The letter is copied below.
The Honorable James Cappleman
Alderman of the 46th Ward
Chairman of the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards
121 North LaSalle Street, Room 200
Chicago, IL 60602
Dear Chairman Cappleman,
I’m writing to urge you to cancel the Committee on Zoning's February 28th vote regarding zoning changes which would lead to the construction of the Joint Public Safety Training Academy (“JPSTA”). Put frankly, I believe it is ill-advised for the Committee to tie the hands of an incoming administration on a large-scale capital investment as the city faces acute budgetary challenges.
Improving training at the Chicago Police Department is critical to restoring trust between law enforcement and the community. Fortunately, as a consequence of the findings of the Department of Justice report, the Chicago Police Department has already begun implementing necessary reforms; the most important of which are modernizing its curricula and increasing redundant training for supervisors and officers. In addition to improving training, the next Mayor must dedicate resources to address the under-resourced schools, closure of the mental health clinics, and lack of economic opportunity that have contributed to high crime in the disinvested parts of the city. Two days after Chicagoans go to the polls to choose new leadership and a new direction is the wrong moment to advance a major capital investment. This is especially true when the city has so many other important investments in public safety to make.
As the new Chair of the Committee on Zoning, you have publicly stated your commitment to transparency, due process and democratic deliberation. It is for these reasons, I urge you to cancel this vote until the next Mayor and City Council take office.
Candidate for Mayor of Chicago