Ten Radical Ideas to Improve Chicago and Cook County

By: Ray Hanania

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News If we want to save Chicago and Cook County, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle need to think outside of the box and bring radical change to the region. Here are ten radical ideas that Emanuel and Preckwinkle should consider to save this region and establish a new government that will run more efficiently and produce more dramatic results. They’ll need the support of the Illinois legislature and some fine tuning.

    Build one of the nation’s largest casinos right in the heart of Downtown Chicago, not on the north side in the Gold Coast, but rather in Chicago’s South Loop to spark a building revival there. Put a land based casino and two riverboats in the canal.

    Consolidate the various transportation agencies and service in Chicago and the suburbs into one system. Expand existing CTA services beyond Chicago’s borders to the suburbs in the six county region, merging it with PACE. Place the entire system under the control of one new board consisting of board members selected from the region’s most successful mid-sized businesses.

    3. Reduce the cost of transportation on the new system by 50 percent to encourage more users while doubling the price of parking in the Loop.

    Ban the driving of private cars in the Loop and force people to use taxi cabs. Give Cab Drivers a raise -increasing fares and giving the fare increase to the cab drivers.

    5. Change Chicago’s political system and consolidate it by merging Chicago’s City Council with the Cook County Board to create a new two-tiered legislative system with the suburbs creating a County Senate and County House.

    The County House would consist of 250 Aldermen elected from 250 new wards of near-equal shape and with populations of about that would consist of equally divided wards of 24,000 residents each. Create a new Cook County Senate replacing the Cook County Board, and give it 100 members representing 58,000 residents in each County Senate District. Make the Mayor of Chicago the president of the County’s new House of Representatives and make the Cook County Board President the President of the County’s New Senate. Prohibit any candidates for the Cook County House or Cook County Senate from running as Republicans or Democrats and have every candidate run at-large in an open primary. Eliminate Cook County’s township government altogether.

    Create a public health care system. Create a healthcare fund by doubling the property tax. Businesses would eliminate their existing healthcare plans and the premiums would go directly to employees. Every resident of Cook County would receive free healthcare from hospitals located in Cook County. Healthcare would be paid to the hospitals from the new healthcare fund. Everyone would get healthcare regardless of their illnesses.

    Get the legislature to pass a new law that prohibits any public or private business from paying a pension that is more than 80 percent of an employee’s salary, based on an average of the person’s salaries earned during the past ten years. No one can retire prior to the age of 67.

    Get the legislature to pass a law limiting the amount of monetary damages any individual may win in any lawsuit of any kind.

    Change some of our criminal laws. Adopt a mandatory death sentence for any individual convicted of taking another person’s life. Castrate anyone who is convicted of rape.

    10. Create publicly funded retirement housing for any senior over the age of 70. Give seniors 70 or older free public transportation

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