Joe Moore has served as Alderman of the 49th Ward of the City of Chicago since 1991. During that time he has overseen a steady and major improvement in all areas affecting the quality of life for 49th Ward residents. He has shown himself to be hard working, progressive and effective—a strong advocate in the Chicago City Council for those who live and work in the 49th Ward. Following is a list of some of Alderman Moore's accomplishments during his time in office:
- More Room to Learn
- Neighborhood Improvements
- Power to the People
- Participatory Budgeting
- Environmental. Sustainable. Marketable.
- A Ward for All
- A Leading Voice
- Local Action, National Vision
Moore has overseen the revitalization of the 49th Ward, while taking care to maintain the neighborhood’s diversity. The 49th Ward’s revitalization is apparent in the Morse and Glenwood streetscape beautification project and the new restaurants, cafes and businesses opening in that historic district. Moore has also paved the way for the construction of the Gateway Plaza Shopping Center, a 40-acre complex containing a Dominick’s Grocery Store a Bally’s Health Club and a host of other retail amenities. Moore also oversaw the construction of the $60 million Howard Transit Center, the opening of a new 14,000-square foot branch of the Chicago Public Library, a new firehouse, and a new 2.5 acre park and community center, which replaced an adult bookstore and dilapidated housing. Moore also supported the creation of hundreds of units of affordable and market rate rental housing and new condominiums geared toward families of all incomes. [Back to the top]
Moore advocated for reforms that have led to more effective policing and safer neighborhoods. He sponsored City Council hearings that moved City officials to adopt community policing and then mobilized community groups in the far North Side to successfully designate the 24th Police District as a pilot district. Since then, Moore has worked closely with the CAPS beat groups and the 24th District Police commanders to effectively combat crime and worked to install blue light police safety cameras in neighborhood “hot spots.” As a result serious crime in the 49th Ward is now down over 50 percent.
Recognizing the link between criminal activities and irresponsible landlords, Moore took on slumlords in the 49th Ward, a neighborhood with older housing stock, 75 percent of which is rental housing. He forced slumlords to improve their tenant screening and property upkeep or sell to responsible property developers. He designated one staff person in his Ward Service Office to handle tenant complaints and take irresponsible landlords to housing court. As a result, problem buildings, such as “Reside on Morse” at Morse and Glenwood and the Broadmoor Hotel at Howard and Bosworth, are now neighborhood assets. [Back to the top]
With a burgeoning population in a diverse neighborhood, school overcrowding posed a daunting challenge. Moore successfully pushed for construction of the new $15 million Jordan School, a $13 million addition to Gale School, a $12 million addition to Kilmer School, $2 million for renovation of Field School and $15 million for construction of New Field School at Clark and Morse, and most recently worked with The Chicago Math and Science Academy, a highly successful public charter school, to expand their capacity while moving into renovating what was an eyesore building on Clark Street. [Back to the top]
Moore obtained $800,000 in improvements to the Morse Avenue el station and enhanced lighting at the Morse, Jarvis and Loyola el stations. In addition, Moore oversaw the creation of Special Service Area designations on Clark Street, Morse Avenue and Howard Streets, which has resulted in additional street cleaning, security and business promotion activities on those vital commercial streets.
Moore joined with other aldermen to demand more city dollars for neighborhood infrastructure. As a result the “Aldermanic Menu” program was born, which brings $1.3 million in new infrastructure each year to the 49th Ward, including new streets, alleys, sidewalks, streetlights, curbs and gutters and the like. [Back to the top]
Moore has gained recognition and praise for his open and inclusive approach to zoning and land use decisions in the ward. Immediately upon assuming office in 1991, Moore formed the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee, a committee of neighborhood residents, business owners and representatives from the major community organizations who advise him on all zoning and land use decisions he is asked to make. He also holds community meetings on all significant zoning and land use issues and almost always follows the advice and recommendations of his committee and the community.
When rampant development threatened to overtake the ward, Moore launched a two-year community planning process, the first of its kind in the city, to comprehensively examine the 49th Ward’s zoning map Moore enlisted scores of community volunteers to survey each block in the 49th Ward and look at the neighborhood’s strengths and challenges. Moore then worked with the Metropolitan Planning Council and the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Committee to fashion a series of recommendations for changes to the area’s zoning that would help to preserve the character of the 49th Ward’s residential streets and encourage development on the commercial corridors. Those recommendations were reviewed, modified and ultimately approved by community residents at meetings held throughout the ward, and are now in effect.
Today, Moore gives direct decision-making power to ward residents to decide how to spend those infrastructure dollars through a process known as “Participatory Budgeting.” The 49th Ward is the first community in the United States to give its residents the power of the vote on capital budget spending, and has earned Moore and the 49th Ward national recognition for this pioneering democratic approach. [Back to the top]
Starting in 2010, Moore made the 49th Ward the first political jurisdiction in the country to put people directly in charge of public dollars. The initiative is called “participatory budgeting,” and although used throughout South America, Europe, and Canada for over two decades, this is the first time it has been applied in the U.S.
Each year, every Chicago ward receives about $1.3 million in City “menu-money” dollars to spend on infrastructure improvements, from streets to sidewalks to lights to parks. And until now, every alderman decided which projects would receive the money. But Alderman Moore changed all that when he invited the residents of the 49th Ward to both identify and research what improvements they would like to see and then to vote at a ward-wide community election to rank the projects for funding. Those improvements that receive the most votes, get the money. For the first time, the decisions made by the people are not advisory to the Alderman;
rather, their decisions are binding.
The first Participatory Budgeting vote was held on April 10, 2010, resulting in 14 projects chosen to receive funding. Among them were a new park path, new streetlights, the repair of hundreds of feet of sidewalk throughout the ward, a community garden, a dog park, and murals to be painted onto CTA and Metra underpasses. Currently a second round of research and decision-making is underway to develop projects that will be funded by 2011 dollars. In less than two years, the 49th Ward has become a national model of fiscal and political transparency and a source of information for other cities and states interested in establishing similar programs. [Back to the top]
Joe Moore is leading the way to transform the 49th Ward into the greenest most sustainable ward in the City. Working closely with his wife Barbara, Moore launched the 49th Ward Green Corps, an organization of environmental leaders and activists who organize and conduct community actions on environmental and sustainability issues. Among the scores of activities are the popular green workshop series and the annual “Neighborhood Swap” that encourages local re-use of goods.
The popular Glenwood Sunday Market is one outgrowth of the 49th Ward Green Corps. This independent weekly farmer’s market began in the summer of 2010 and features entirely organic and locally grown produce. From November through May, a monthly Winter Market is held that continues to bring quality, organic products to the neighborhood. In order to ensure that the produce sold at the market is affordable to people of all incomes, the “Market for All” program was initiated to not only accept LINK cards but to raise funds to double the purchasing power of the card holder. Reflecting its successes in just its first year of operation, the Glenwood
Market was recently voted Illinois’s most popular market. [Back to the top]
Moore worked hard to make sure community residents of all economic circumstances benefited from the development that occurred in the 49th Ward during the real estate boom. Working closely with the Chicago Urban League, Moore secured jobs for local residents on some of the neighborhood’s publicly funded projects, such as the Howard El Station redevelopment. Working with the Howard Area Community Center and the Organization of the Northeast, Moore launched a pre-apprenticeship training program to help neighborhood residents develop the skills necessary to qualify for trade union apprenticeships and ultimately trade union jobs.
Moore also believes in the importance of building neighborhood spirit in the 49th Ward. Community ties are growing stronger with regular community events, such as the annual Back to School Picnic, the Community Bike Ride, the Rogers Park Dinner and Pub Crawls, and the weekly “Follow Me on Friday” series that highlights a 49th Ward business each week.
Moore also keeps ward residents up to date on community and City Council news with regular electronic newsletters, which are delivered to over 10,000 49th Ward residents several times a week. [Back to the top]
Joe Moore is a voice for ethics and reform in the City Council and successfully sponsored a Whistleblower Ordinance that gives taxpayers the right to recover damages on behalf of the city against corrupt city contractors. The ordinance is the first of its kind in any large city. Moore also sponsored an ordinance giving the City’s Inspector General the power to investigate wrongdoing among alderman and the Accountability in Privatization Ordinance, which calls for greater accountability and transparency in the privatization of city services.
Moore gained national renown as the lead sponsor of a “Big Box Living Wage Ordinance,” that would require large retail establishments to pay their employees wages of at least $10 an hour and benefits equal to at least $3 an hour. The ordinance passed successfully over Mayor Daley’s opposition, and while it did not survive a mayoral veto, the living wage ordinance is given credit for pushing the Illinois General Assembly to increase the state minimum wage.
Today Moore is leading the charge for a Chicago Clean Power ordinance that would clean up Chicago’s two coal-fired power plants and open the door for a move toward renewable energy. [Back to the top]
Moore understands that policies adopted in Washington, D.C. directly affect the ability of local elected officials to effectively govern at home. Under Moore’s leadership, the Chicago City Council became one of the first city councils in the nation to go on record opposing the pre-emptive military invasion of Iraq. Moore also was one of the chief sponsors of successful City Council resolutions calling for an immediate withdraw of U.S. military forces from Iraq and opposing the unconstitutional provisions of the so-called USA Patriot Act.
Moore recently served on the board of the National League of Cities (NLC), a national organization that advocates on behalf of America’s cities and towns, and now serves on its advisory council. In the past, he has chaired several NLC committees including the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Advocacy Committee and the Central Cities Council.
Moore is past-chairman of the National Democratic Municipal Officials Conference, a national organization of Democratic mayors and city council members, and served on the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) where DNC Chairman, Governor Howard Dean, appointed Moore to a newly formed DNC Committee on Budget and Finance.
Moore is one of the founding members of Cities for Peace, a national organization of mayors and city council members, who represent cities that passed resolutions opposing the war in Iraq. The organization is now known as Cities for Progress and includes progressive-minded local elected officials from across the nation. [Back to the top]