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Garfield Ridge Civic Officially Greets Quinn

As guest speaker at the Garfield Ridge Civic League meeting on Monday night, Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) introduced himself to some newly acquired constituents who saw their homes moved from the 23rd Ward into the 13th Ward in the recent remap.

Quinn, 37, who lives in Clearing with his wife and three young daughters, said his goal is to Òbring government to the people.” Toward that end, he noted that a new full-service 13th Ward office opened a month ago at 6014 S. Central Ave. The original office is still open at 6500 S. Pulaski Road, which Quinn shares with House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-22nd), the 13th Ward Democratic committeeman. {{more}}

ÒI know some of you don’t want to go as far as Pulaski because you have to cross two or three sets of railroad tracks to get there,” he said at the meeting at Kennedy High School.

ÒMy philosophy is to get out from behind the desk and work together to find common ground and get things done,” added the freshman alderman, who has been in office for 17 months. ÒI view the title of alderman as your titleÉI like to think my staff and I are fanatical when it comes to returning calls and following up on requests.”

He said that his office is working with the aldermen in the 14th and 23rd wards as well to ensure that residents do not lose service due to the remap.

He said graffiti is a pet peeve, and cleaning it up as quickly as possible is among his prime concerns.

He noted that over the past two summers he has been alderman, his office has hired 30 neighborhood teenagers to clean up graffiti in the ward.

ÒIt takes some pressure off parents, and gives the kids an opportunity to learn (about working),” he said.

Since becoming alderman, he said he has sponsored several ordinances that will help improve living conditions in the ward.

One ordinance involving the curfew for minors, Òputs more teeth” in the existing law and gives police more tools to keep minors off the streets.

Another involves vacant properties, and makes banks and other lending institutions more accountable for properties left vacant due to foreclosures.

The alderman said he also enjoys hosting community outreach programs, noting that he has held two annual senior appreciation events since he became alderman, along with job boot camps, electronics recycling days, paper shredding events and a few others.

Quinn also said that in a bid to save the city money and show solidarity with residents in financial distress, for the past two years, he has chosen not to accept the cost-of-living increase that aldermen receive.

He also takes furlough days, which are not mandated.

ÒTo date, I have worked 17 days without pay. At the end of my term, I’ll end up turning back about $20,000 back to the city,” he said. ÒAldermen still make a good living.”

He then took questions from residents, ranging from problems with people not picking up dog droppings, to tree removal, foreclosures, and the need for jobs in the area.

The alderman said pamphlets available at his office outline expectations of residents, concerning issues such as garbage pick-up and cleaning up after pets. These can be dropped off at homes where neighbors see a problem. ÒSometimes, it is just a matter of education,” he said.

He said that he and Madigan also held a forum on foreclosure issues in July, where Bank of America and other mortgage lenders were available to answer questions.

In an effort to attract businesses to the ward, he said representatives of big box stores and others were taken by bus around the ward to see what was available at Ford City Mall and elsewhere.

ÒAttracting new businesses is difficult,” he said, noting that Wal-Mart is already located in Bedford Park, just across Cicero Avenue, and did not want to move into Ford City. Some said they were not interested in moving to the city at all.

Several residents also asked if he could give any details on the mayor’s proposed budget, which was to be introduced this week, but he said he expected that that aldermen would be given more details on it at meetings later in the week.

ÒWhen the real estate market collapsed, so did the budget,” he said, explaining one reason for budget shortfalls, since a city fee is attached to every real estate transaction.

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