News Politics

A Conversation with Amanda Yu Dieterich, Aldermanic Candidate for the 35th Ward

A Conversation with Amanda Yu Dieterich, Aldermanic Candidate for the 35th Ward

Amanda Yu Dieterich needs you to know she’s right here for you. The 10-year Logan Sq. resident is mounting a problem to embattled incumbent alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward) and, if elected on Feb. 26, guarantees to be extra current than her opponent was throughout his first time period.

Dieterich has a deeply progressive plan for serving the wants of her potential constituents in Logan Sq., Albany Park, Irving Park, Avondale, and Hermosa. From selling inexperienced power to making sure that workplace hours are accessible to working households, funding faculties to sustaining the streets, balancing gentrification with the wants of longtime residents to assembly the precise wants of immigrants, her platform is formidable however cohesive and wide-reaching.

The proprietor of an area small enterprise, The Early Phrase, a branding and design studio, Dieterich has been concerned with the group since she arrived. Along with facilitating native cooperation via a collection of social media teams and block social gathering occasions, she is on her second time period as a member of the Native Faculty Council for James Monroe Elementary Faculty.

Rosa, however, enters the race within the wake of two failed bids for larger workplace throughout his four-year freshman time period as alderman. He was booted from the lieutenant governor slot on state senator Daniel Biss’s gubernatorial ticket in 2017 over his controversial help of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions motion towards Israel in help of Palestine and dropped out of the race for U.S. Consultant Luis Gutiérrez’s seat (4th Congressional District) in 2018.

Critics, together with Dieterich, query his dedication to the workplace in mild of those self-aggrandizing tendencies. Rosa was additionally faraway from the Latino Caucus on Metropolis Council in Might 2018 over costs of a poor attendance score and lack of engagement. (He claimed that his dismissal was politically motivated and was later reinstated.) And he carries additional baggage within the type of fees that he had did not repay a 2014 mortgage and that he was in arrears on lease for his former workplaces on Sawyer Avenue.

On a frigid Tuesday afternoon, I journeyed out to Dieterich’s gritty however inviting headquarters for a chat about her time in Logan Sq., her progressive politics, and what units her aside from her opponent. Under is an edited and condensed model of our dialog.


Is there a historical past of public service in your loved ones?

My dad is a retired decide in Taiwan and my mother is a retired professor. These are the values I used to be raised with—public service. Once I was rising up, Taiwan was underneath martial regulation. We weren’t allowed to speak about politics. As a decide in Taiwan, it’s very totally different from america. You’re not allowed to have get together allegiance. You must keep utterly impartial. We weren’t allowed to debate something.

When my mother got here right here she was extra concerned in making an attempt to construct a life right here for us. Determining the place to work and on the similar time determining the varsity system. It’s very totally different right here than it’s in Taiwan. [We had to learn] an entire new set of traditions and customs.

What are your obligations as a faculty council consultant?

Earlier than that, I used to be a part of Chicago Group Belief’s collaboratories [a project aimed at fostering community discussion and cooperation] on father or mother engagement in neighborhood faculties. I actually received into studying quite a bit about neighborhood faculties and the shortage of assets. I needed to become involved, so then I visited our neighborhood faculty. At the moment, the principal stated, “We’re truly on the lookout for a group rep. Would you run for it?” And I stated yeah. One of many huge obligations of the native faculty council is absolutely studying about CPS budgets and approving them, studying administrative features, hiring academics, and fulfilling the scholar’s wants.

You run your personal enterprise. How will your small business expertise inform your political trajectory?

I made a decision to start out my enterprise after graduate faculty. I needed to do branding of companies; the opposite a part of my enterprise is doing social invites and enjoyable occasions. One of many issues I’ve discovered in serving to different small companies is how a lot pink tape there’s for companies to start out. I assist them collect the required assets. All of it begins with a dream. To me, it’s very fulfilling to assist them understand that dream.

Since you do invites, is that the way you came across this area? I noticed it was a print store.

It’s actually only a completely happy coincidence! The print store moved to Elston. We noticed the “for lease” signal and contacted the property proprietor, who lives above, and he stated sure.

When did you determine to throw your hat within the aldermanic ring?

July. I considered operating for workplace this yr, however I needed to know extra about what it entails, so I went to a few marketing campaign trainings. One is PtripleC—the Progressive Change Marketing campaign Committee after which one is Democracy for America. In going there and assembly different individuals, and listening to the audio system [I realized] that I’ve friends who actually consider in doing the work and serving to their group. That impressed me.

Are there any politicians, regionally or nationally, who you’re actually enthusiastic about?

Fairly a couple of, for numerous causes. Regionally, I actually love the work of different aldermen and seeing how they’re capable of do the work effectively. I really like Scott Waguespack’s constituent providers. He has an amazing workforce and system in place. I really like the Progressive Caucus and their values and points they consider in. Nationally, I’m fairly enthusiastic about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the way she’s shifting ahead issues that matter by being herself. I feel that’s necessary.

Any mayoral candidates?

There’s lots happening [and] looks like there’s a information story each week. I’ve to take a seat down and give it some thought a bit extra. There are undoubtedly some nice progressive candidates on the market.

What differentiates you out of your opponent?

Finally, we’re operating for various causes. I’m operating as a result of I consider in belonging. We have to make sure that each resident in our group feels that they belong. We have to work towards affordability, accessibility, and accountability, regionally and citywide. I need to serve due to that. We’d like this stuff in our ward and in our metropolis.

On what I’ll do if elected: “First, I need to make it possible for households who need to keep right here, get to remain right here. Meaning reasonably priced housing. Second, small companies. In an effort to appeal to small companies, we have to work on beautification and neighborhood associations.”

— Amanda Yu Dieterich (@AmandaFor35) January 9, 2019

Will you decide to attending a sure variety of metropolis council conferences?

I plan to attend all of them, until there’s an emergency, however I don’t assume that may occur. I plan to be there on the public periods. Being on time is essential.

Do you are feeling it’s applicable to spend time on worldwide points if you end up in an area authorities workplace? For instance, Rosa took a public place in help of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions motion towards Israel.

I feel that everyone ought to have positions on nationwide and native points. That’s what we’re as human beings. We’ve opinions. I feel he makes his personal selections on his positions. We should always take a look at every little thing when it comes to impression and fairness.

Schooling appears to be one in every of your main planks. What wants to vary within the faculty system? What present packages must be strengthened?

I’m for a totally elected faculty board. I additionally assume the group faculty mannequin is essential. It’s presently within the testing part. It’s rolling out at sure faculties. It’s one thing that I’ll advocate for [in] our faculties. That mannequin helps not solely college students, however their households. I feel [that] to ensure that a neighborhood to develop and thrive, we have to help everyone.

Have you ever seen any shortfalls in your work with the varsity system?

I feel we have to fund our faculties. We have to change our funding system. It shouldn’t be ‘per pupil.’ Some faculties with reducing enrollment, they’re getting much less funding; in actuality, they need to be getting extra assets and help. It turns into an inequitable components. We have to take a look at funding by want and prioritize that.

Amanda Yu Dieterich spoke on the 35th Ward debate Jan. eight. Photograph: Kris Donaker

Do you see any gaps in present constituent providers?

For me, an alderman must be accessible to the constituents. We’d like to ensure our hours are working family-friendly. Personally, I might see myself extending workplace hours so individuals who get off at 5 can are available. And having ward nights extra ceaselessly, as soon as every week—ensuring we’re reaching outdoors of Logan Sq.. The ward, as you possibly can see [she gestures to an outline of the 35th Ward hanging on the wall] consists of Hermosa and goes all the best way as much as Albany Park.

Do you’ve a system in place for ensuring that each one inquiries are responded to?

One of many issues I’ve observed is [how] the output of data on the ward web site and social media [is handled]. And making certain that you simply’re not simply sending a common e mail. As a small enterprise proprietor, I do know that you simply typically get so many requests that you simply’re not truly capable of [respond]. Working towards a system that is ready to separate totally different requests and promote the present 311 app and monitoring that for residents inside the ward [is what I support].

What are your views on the dwelling wage and the common primary revenue challenge?

Common primary revenue is one thing the town is placing collectively when it comes to a pilot program. For me, I’m very a lot for making an attempt numerous strategies to see if we will create a Chicago for all. That’s one thing which will occur. Research have proven that it’s occurred in different cities. I’m behind the pilot program that [47th Ward Alderman Ameya] Pawar is placing collectively. When it comes to the dwelling wage, with Chicago dropping inhabitants, a whole lot of occasions it’s as a result of individuals can’t afford to stay right here. We have to see what the price of dwelling is and what we’re paying individuals. We have to be sure that we’re capable of maintain our metropolis and cease individuals from shifting away.

Is there anything we will do to cease the exodus of Chicago residents?

Job creation and alternatives. I feel we have to take a look at small and mid-sized companies in our metropolis. Finally, these truly make use of much more individuals.

As a small enterprise proprietor, do you see specific challenges to that? Are there obstacles that may be eliminated in order that it’s simpler to start out a small enterprise or acquire employment with one?

It begins with informing individuals what processes are in place and what providers the town has. Knowledgeable small enterprise house owners, it’s simpler for them to start out. More often than not, it’s the lack of expertise of their palms that’s stopping them. I would like to have the ability to assist facilitate that.

There are fairly a couple of small enterprise organizations. There are ones for ladies and minorities. Chicago has a [Small Business Center]. Individuals can go in and get help. Then we have now our personal small enterprise chamber of commerce. There are fairly a number of avenues to assist small companies get began. I’m a part of the ladies’s small enterprise chamber of commerce. I’ve truly referred to as the town’s Small Enterprise [Center] for assist with licenses and permits.

Do have a program in place for liaising with the police division on situations of crime which are reported to your workplace?

I’ll have a liaison for immigrants. One of the crucial essential issues is that members of the group really feel snug telling somebody once they witness a criminal offense with out fearing any penalties. We must be proactive in reaching out to neighbors and the group when there’s a crime and letting them know what we will do. We have to hold individuals knowledgeable. The basis explanation for crime is usually that we’d like extra alternatives and faculty funding, after faculty packages. I need to advocate for that legislatively.

How do you propose to implement higher accessibility to recycling providers and different greening efforts?

Each home-owner presently can [purchase] a rain barrel [from the city]however I need to be far more proactive in reaching out to householders and saying you can have a rain barrel. We may help you get it. One of many different initiatives that I’m taking a look at is group photo voltaic panels. When it comes to ensuring that we’re serving to probably the most weak populations I need to be sure that we will alleviate a few of the burden. Having a group photo voltaic system for electrical energy could also be an choice and I might attempt to advocate for that to be a pilot in our ward. We’ll have to take a look at what different cities have completed it. I’ve seen it occurring in different cities. [I will work] with present properties or new properties being constructed or metropolis properties to see what we will do [about green energy].

Having a group photo voltaic system for electrical energy could also be an choice and I might attempt to advocate for that to be a pilot in our ward.

Amanda Yu Dieterich

Are there infrastructure considerations you propose to deal with, reminiscent of flooding on backstreets?

I’m hoping that, when it comes to infrastructure, we will have somebody tackle [issues] instantly when individuals name and never ask the caller to get a petition and have 75 % of individuals on the road say, “We’ve this drawback” for the workplace to return out and have a look after which determine on whether or not that may be voted on in participatory price range[ing]. We have to maintain the ward as a result of it’s our job. It depends upon the difficulty.

In fact, we would like lights for security considerations. Potholes may be harmful for bikers. I need to ensure our streets are protected for bikers, [pedestrians]and automobiles. I’ve had a pair flat tires from [potholes]. That’s […] a part of being an alderman… with the ability to care for the group and make it possible for it’s protected for everyone who makes use of the infrastructure.

What are you ideas on how our infrastructure can higher serve cyclists?

One of many issues that I’ve observed is that, if we would like our metropolis to be reasonably priced and accessible, we have to be sure that individuals who use bicycles to get from residence to work even have entry to protected bike racks the place they’re capable of lock up their bikes. One factor that’s missing in our metropolis’s city planning is that we’re not offering sufficient for individuals who use bikes as their solely type of transportation. That’s not truthful. I need to be sure that we offer that so that folks have storage once they in our group and once they get to work.

Biking within the 35th Ward could be very well-liked and Yu Dieterich needs extra security and accessibility for bikers. Photograph: Erik Island

Have you ever given any thought to visitors calming measures?

We undoubtedly have to look into ensuring that bikers and automobiles are capable of coexist on the street and ensuring that we have now security for each and [for] pedestrians as nicely. We have to sync our lights. And when [they’re not synced]it ought to be a precedence to repair [that]. We have to have CDOT come out and take a look at general what is occurring in our group. We have to work with neighboring aldermen. You understand, round the place the monument is, it’s divided between [different wards] and I need to ensure that we’re capable of work with our neighbors to make it possible for such a security is prolonged to your complete neighborhood, not simply the ward.

How can gentrification and neighborhood change be balanced with the wants of present residents?

I feel that we have to meet with all the stakeholders within the neighborhood and ask them to be a part of our answer and never be a part of the issue. We have to ask them to offer again to the group. I feel that that’s essential… working with everyone who’s prepared to take heed to you and consider in your imaginative and prescient of affordability.

The factor with displacement is that we will’t wait 4 years for one thing to be constructed that isn’t sufficient to cowl [the displacement that] is occurring each day. I need to have an inventory of obtainable reasonably priced housing from native stakeholders in order that when households are getting displaced, they will come to my workplace and say, “Our landlord is asking us to maneuver as a result of they are saying our condo is less than code, what are you able to do?” I can name an inventory of individuals and ask them, “Do you might have any availability, are you able to tackle this household?” And simply be that useful resource.

I additionally need equitable co-ops in order that households should buy in at a decrease worth, in order that they’re rooted, or grow to be rooted, on this group. I additionally need to legalize coach homes. As a result of when we now have no housing, then demand and pricing goes up, however when we’ve got extra housing, we’re truly capable of meet the demand. Then the pricing will stabilize or go down. It helps long-term householders to remain, as a result of property taxes will not be going to cease growing. We need to make sure that we’re serving to long-term property house owners. We have to take a look at it comprehensively and have a number of methods of tackling this drawback and do it directly. My aim in my first yr is to deliver 50 reasonably priced housing models into the group in a number of methods.

Have you ever had any encounters together with your potential constituents which have knowledgeable your sense of what you need to accomplish?

Knocking on individuals’s doorways and listening to everyone’s tales, there are undoubtedly rather a lot them that strengthened why I’m operating… that feeling of belonging, the truth that we don’t need divisiveness in our group. We don’t need it to be “us” versus “them.” Listening to their tales actually gave me a way that this was my North Star. That is precisely what I’m operating on.

[Some constituents] moved in from Mexico 30 years in the past and speak about feeling a have to belong now. I’m like, “sure, in fact, you deserve to remain right here. Let me make it easier to.” One older man didn’t know he might attraction his property tax denial, so I stated, “Yeah, it truly goes to the Board of Evaluate, apply for that.” It provides me an actual sense of that is what I need to do. I need to assist everybody right here. I need to do the perfect I can.

My objective in my first yr is to convey 50 reasonably priced housing models into the group in a number of methods.


Is there anything you’re notably enthusiastic about in Logan?

I’ve been right here for ten years. I’ve seen so much occurring. What I’m hoping is that we will help Logan develop in a sustainable approach. We have to be sure that it’s reasonably priced to everybody who needs to be right here. Being accessible goes to be essential in ensuring that occurs. Ward boundaries shouldn’t outline our neighborhood. We ought to be rising collectively. I need to ensure that imaginative and prescient occurs.

Any final ideas about your platform voters ought to know?

Illustration issues. I would like my story to be on the market as a result of I’m an immigrant. I’ve that immigrant expertise. I can see the struggles occurring in our group and concentrate on what we will do to make sure that immigrant voices are heard. I’m a mother, so I feel it’s essential that mothers have a voice on metropolis council. We perceive what it’s that our youngsters are dealing with in public and the way a lot want there’s in public faculties. Our coronary heart is in it.

Being a lady and operating this race, I’m actually realizing how sexist it may be. I need to be sure that ladies have that voice on metropolis council. And that I’m capable of symbolize our group as greatest I can. And ensuring that everyone has a voice and know that I’m there to take heed to them. And doing all the things I can to assist them. Everybody deserves to belong right here and I’ll do my greatest to be sure that everybody is aware of that they belong.