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48th Ward Candidates Talk Public Safety, Housing And Favorite Restaurants At Edgewater Forum

Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth said her top priorities are housing affordability, economic development and health care, while Joe Dunne said he would focus on affordable housing and repealing the automatic property tax increase.

Local business owner and political organizer Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth and affordable housing developer Joe Dunne are in a runoff to replace the retiring Ald. Harry Osterman (48th).
Jake Wittich, Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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EDGEWATER — The candidates for the open 48th Ward aldermanic seat shared their proposals to tackle public safety, development and other issues at a forum Wednesday.

Affordable housing developer Joe Dunne and local business owner and political organizer Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth are in a runoff to replace the retiring Ald. Harry Osterman (48th). The two candidates participated in a debate Wednesday at St. Ita’s Church, 5500 N. Broadway, that was organized by the Uptown, Edgewater and Andersonville chamber groups.

The 48th Ward includes Edgewater, a northern portion of Uptown and East Andersonville. The runoff election is April 4.

Dunne and Manaa-Hoppenworth outlined their top priorities if they were to win office.

Manaa-Hoppenworth said her top issues are housing affordability, economic development and health care, including access to mental health support.

“All of those things need to be viewed through an equity lens and a holistic approach,” she said. “We need structural changes, and I’m a candidate that can do that.”

Dunne said his top priorities would be more affordable housing development and repealing the automatic increase in property taxes. He also said the “No. 1 issue” brought up to him is public safety.

“My vision for the 48th Ward is to see the ward remains the welcoming, diverse community that it is,” Dunne said.

Watch a video of the 48th Ward forum:

On public safety, Dunne said he favors a two-pronged approach that includes addressing underlying factors that contribute to crime and using a more community-based method of policing. More funding for affordable housing, mental health resources and initiatives to help people who are homeless could help improve public safety, he said.

“We need the police reengaged in our community,” Dunne said. “We need active, reinvigorated and engaged community policing.”

Manaa-Hoppenworth said the city needs a mayor “who’s going to prioritize structural change” to address public safety and its underlying factors. She supports the violence prevention Peace Book ordinance and the Treatment Not Trauma proposal that would send mental health professionals to emergency calls for mental health episodes, she said.

“When we think about public safety, we also have to think about who is living in violent conditions every single day, including those that live on the South and West sides of Chicago where disinvestment has happened for decades,” Manaa-Hoppenworth said.

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth (l.) and moderator Pat Whalen look on as Joe Dunne speaks in the 48th Ward debate.

The candidates also discussed how they would increase funding to efforts to reduce homelessness in the city.

Both said they would support a measure like Bring Chicago Home, which would tax real estate transactions over $1 million and use the funding for housing initiatives.

The Bring Chicago Home measure stalled last year after a majority of alderpeople skipped a hearing to consider the proposal. Manaa-Hoppenworth said she would work with colleagues to get it signed into law.

“We must have a housing-first approach and then provide the wraparound services that people need,” she said. “And we need City Council to actually come to the table to talk about these issues.”

Dunne said he supports the idea behind the ordinance but would like to take a second look at how the tax is assessed. Taxing sales of over $1 million would have a “distorting impact” on the real estate market, Dunne said. He suggested a progressive tax over a wider span of property sales, but local leaders need to have more conversations on the topic, he said.

“We need to have a mechanism to provide funding for building housing for homelessness,” Dunne said. “We’ve got to have difficult conversations with people who are our allies and [those] who should be our allies. I’ve done that in my professional career.”


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To end the evening, moderator Pat Whalen asked each candidate for their favorite restaurant in the ward.

For Dunne, it’s Patio Beef in Edgewater.

At least until Saturday, Manaa-Hoppenworth’s favorite spot is Andersonville’s Calo Ristorante, which is hosting a fundraiser for her campaign.

The runoff election is April 4.

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