Poll: Chicagoans want more transparency, less Olympics

Chicagoans want more transparency from Chicago officials and cited paying for hosting the Olympic Games as one of their lowest priorities, according to a poll released yesterday by SEIU Local 1.

Balancing the city's budget was the top priority for the 550 registered voters who participated in the poll, according to the SEIU.

Local labor leaders and community organizers descended on city hall yesterday to demonstrate in favor of transparency, and to criticize the city for failing to focus on the needs of the working class.

"There is a general dismay about politics in Illinois these days," says Alderman Toni Preckwinkle (D-4).

She cites the city's controversial deal to lease Chicago parking meters to a private company as particularly lacking in transparency. 

Alderman Manny Flores (D-1) agrees that it's time for more accountability from city government. A bill co-sponsored by Flores would force the city to publish documents related to tax financing districts on its website.

The measure was written after Republic Windows and Doors shuttered its Goose Island plant, which had received TIF funds.

City Council's Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill today.

Calls for comment to the Mayor's Office were not returned yesterday.

The poll also found residents rated street maintenance and crime prevention as the city services most in need of improvement. Ratings for city services were lower on the South and West sides.

Ray Quintanilla, a spokesman for SEIU Local 1, says the poll was commissioned following a series of moves by the city to limit services, including secondary street plowing this winter.

The poll, which was conducted by an outside firm for SEIU, had a confidence interval of 95 percent and a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

Staff Writer Fernando Diaz covers labor and unions for the Daily News. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 14, or fernando [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.