PORTAGE PARK — An aide to the City Council running 38th Ward alderman said she would work to make Portage Park and Dunning more welcoming to young families.
Belinda Cadiz, 45, said she would reach out to the new young families moving to the Far Northwest Side, and create a more lively community full of things to do as well as places to eat and drink.
"We need to bring the young families together," said Cadiz, who grew up around Portage Park.
Cadiz, who works for Chicago City Council Sergeant at Arms Christina Pacheco-Butler, said her experience helping aldermen put legislation together and researching issues would make her an effective member of the City Council.
"I want to make a difference," Cadiz said. "There are so many people in need."
Cadiz is one of seven candidates in the Feb. 24 election, the first under a new City Council map that moved most of Dunning from the 36th Ward into the 38th Ward.
Ald. Tim Cullerton, whose family has represented the 38th Ward since 1973, will retire when his term ends in May.
"There are a lot of empty storefronts," Cadiz said. "We need to do something different."
A graduate of Kelvyn Park High School, Cadiz expects to earn a bachelor's degree in business administration next year from the University of Phoenix.
Cadiz said her ability to speak Spanish will help her reach out to the ward's growing Latino population.
"Many people don't know what resources are out there for them," Cadiz said.
Cadiz said she was particularly concerned about crime in the ward, and said she would support the hiring of more police officers to reduce the amount of overtime officers are being asked to work.
"Working overtime takes a toll," Cadiz said. "You can't help but get burnt out."
Cadiz said she would "find other options" rather than raise property taxes to cover the $550 million pension payment that the state Legislature has ordered the city to make to police and fire pension systems by 2016.
Cadiz said she supports building a Las Vegas-style casino built Downtown to raise money, as well as raising taxes on liquor and cigarettes, according to Cadiz's answers to a questionnaire published by the Chicago Sun-Times.
In addition, Cadiz said she would also tax financial transactions to help close the city's structural deficit and support an elected school board.
The other candidates in the race are Realtor Tom Caravette; retired city employee Michael Duda; Carmen Hernandez, a City of Chicago water department investigator; Cook County Forest Preserve police officer Jerry Paszek; Heather Sattler, the chief operating officer of the 100 Club of Chicago; and Ald. Nicholas Sposato (36th).
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