The Sixth Ward offers one of only three contested races, and perhaps the most intriguing in that it features a rematch from four years ago. Mark Sloane, the CFO of a Chicago media marketing agency, will again challenge Mark Tendam, a graphic designer and the incumbent by virtue of his victory over Mr. Sloane (and Christopher Hart, who is not running this year) in 2009. The RoundTable spoke with both candidates.
Mr. Sloane is running to replace Ald. Tendam because, he says, “I don’t believe he’s got the skills and the passion to be a strong City Council person.”
A passion for the job, he said, is important, and he has heard from residents that they do not see Ald. Tendam as active enough on Council. He referenced complaints about Mr. Tendam’s not returning phone calls or emails.
Mr. Sloane also spoke about his passion for recreation. “There’s no one on Council that’s an advocate for recreation. … It has a huge impact on quality of life for people in the community.” Mr. Sloane, who for about 11 years has served on the City’s Parks and Recreation Board, said he would be that advocate, mentioning the Robert Crown Center and the dormant indoor recreation center that was proposed for the Recycling Center as projects he would champion.
Referring to his experience as an accountant and CFO, Mr. Sloane says he would bring a financial rigor to spending decisions made by Council. He called such decisions “investments,” and said he would insist on examining the return on investment for each decision made.
Ald. Tendam’s predecessor, Eb Moran, was perhaps the most vocal proponent of the proposed 35-story tower at 708 Church St. With the time to pull a building permit set to expire this year, Mr. Sloane said he would not support an extension of time to complete the project. “Thirty-five stories is just too much,” he says, and the concessions made were just too many.
As a longtime member of a City board, Mr. Sloane expressed some concern over the treatment of volunteer boards and commissions, including the Plan Commission. The Emerson Street project “should have been sent back,” he says.
The Central Street project changed, he said. “As it is being built, people are surprised at how close to the street it is.” Similarly, Council should listen closely to advice provided by other boards, including his own Parks and Recreation committee, he said.
The Sixth Ward has significant infrastructure challenges that are part of a larger deferred maintenance issue throughout the City, Sloane said. He proposed tracking and dealing with deferred maintenance as funds become available. The resurfacing of Central Street presents an opportunity to coordinate and consolidate improvements, he added. ComEd could bury power lines, for example. The City should be proactive in working with utilities to add cable, gas or any other underground utility to the resurfacing project, he suggested.
The proposed bank on Crawford Avenue and Gross Pointe Road, now in limbo as Chase has pulled the proposal for the time being, was something that Mr. Sloane “opposed without a doubt.” Any time commercial property “encroaches into residential, you are going down a very slippery slope.”
Under the proposal, the bank building would be on commercial property but some parking would go onto a vacant neighboring lot currently zoned residential.
Economic Development expenditures should pass the “but for” test, said Mr. Sloane, meaning that “but for” City support, the project would not go forward. “If they can do it on their own,” he said, citing the proposed office building at Chicago and Main, then the City should not subsidize the project.
Mr. Sloane supports some commercialization of the lakefront, particularly in the Dawes Park lagoon area. He called for a shuttle to get people from downtown to the lake. “We do a terrible job of getting transit down to the lakefront,” he said. He does not advocate commercial activity on every beach, but focuses on the Clark Street beach and its vicinity, given its proximity to downtown.
The City should consider a resident sticker or transponder on cars that would allow for longer parking periods or other incentives encouraging residents to visit and shop in town. People should not have to worry about running back to a car to plug a quarter into a meter, Mr. Sloane said.