2015 7th ward alderman candidate: Monica O’Leary

By Andre Phillips

Involvement: 7th ward alderwoman, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church minister, board member of service that helps low-income families who need assistance with rent and lights

Q: What do you think is the most pressing issue in your ward?

A: Crime. We have had a lot of people out here and some of the ones that came out here are criminals. As long as it’s reported to the police, I know there’s been a lot of breaking in cars, purse snatching, robberies. I only heard about a couple rapes, but it’s crime in the 7th ward.

We have a police presence, but it’s not to cover those things. The police presence that we’ve [had] in the 7th have been toward [black people]. If [black people] have a party, it gets shut down. It’s geared toward watching you.

Obviously, people be in front of 7-Eleven [in ward 1] selling drugs. How is it that can happen and anybody can drive by and see a drug transaction and why hasn’t that been addressed to that point?

Q: What is your position on lowering taxes?

A: I am all for it. As a homeowner, I feel [if] they raise my taxes, I’m going to have to move. We have to think about the big picture. … The city is only one part of the taxing body: we have the school district, which we got a new school, taxes went up. … We got a new portion with [Kishwaukee College]. … We [are] getting a new library. All those are taxing bodies. At the city, we have — since I been in office four years — we have not raised taxes. The city portion hasn’t raised, but the other taxing bodies have. We need to find out other ways to eliminate. We have a new police station, high school, library … these things are great and wonderful. We can’t afford to get paid off the backs of the taxpayers.

Q: If there are any state budget cuts, how would they affect the schools, NIU, businesses, etc.?

A: For the city, if we may grow right now, the budget cut that we’re facing is with the [Gov. Bruce Rauner]. His proposed budget is to cut state income tax that goes to the municipalities. If he cuts that, that means we are going to lose $2 million. I’m not sure how much that would affect NIU; that’s to the city. … As a city right now we haven’t done our budget for 2015-16 to see where we can cut because we have to keep in mind that $2 million … may not be there. We have to see how we can cut.

Q: What concerns would you focus on between NIU and the community and how do you think that can better shape the community?

A: I have been attending various community group inputs, giving my input, but what I can say with as many community inputs we’ve had, I have not seen how it has been implemented. We came together to talk about subjects, but I haven’t seen how it’s been implemented or how anything has changed.

… This has always been a transit community when it comes down to the students or the residents. They’re here maybe three, four years and then they’re gone. It’s a transit community. One of the biggest things going on between the university and DeKalb is the police situation.

The former chiefs did not get along, so now that they have communiversity, the police do roll calls together. They are coming together; it’s just a slow process.

We have not seen the results of them coming together yet. It hasn’t come to fruition. We are working together, were meeting together, were talking. It is coming together. It has been years of this division and now we’re working.