CHICAGO (CBS) – A new survey seeks answers on who is the “culture candidate” among a dozen mayoral hopefuls, both prominent and obscure.
Time Out Chicago conducted the questionnaire on an assortment of issues, from the city’s role in funding the arts to whether naming rights should be sold at area sports stadiums. The candidates’ answers appeared in the magazine’s Nov. 11-17 issue.
“Not only do music clubs, theaters, restaurants and other arts venues employ countless Chicagoans, but the work they produce makes this one of the most vibrant cities in the world,” the introduction to the survey said.
The magazine received answers to the questionnaire from all of the best-known declared and likely mayoral candidates, including Rahm Emanuel, Gery Chico, Carol Moseley-Braun, state Sen. Rev. James Meeks, and city Clerk Miguel Del Valle.
But Time Out also received answers from six more obscure candidates, including state Rep. Annazette Collins, attorney Christopher Cooper, conservative magazine editor R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., unsuccessful 2007 mayoral candidate William “Dock” Walls, Streets and Sanitation Department truck driver Frederick K. White, and Cynthia “Plaster Caster” Albritton, a Chicago native who is best known for her sculpting projects involving rock stars.
Also included in the survey was state Sen. Rickey Hendon, who has since decided not to run.
There was no questionnaire from U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), who was recently been named the consensus African-American candidate by the Chicago Coalition for Mayor.
Most candidates expressed support for municipal arts funding to at least some degree.
Emanuel wrote that he believes city government “can and must play a role that allows our arts and culture to flourish,” but must also be realistic about budget challenges. Braun wrote that by supporting the arts and artists, “the city administration can not only enhance the life experiences available in Chicago, but also tap the revenue streams created by the arts and cultural economic impact.”
Chico called the arts “critical to Chicago’s overall health, future and quality of life,” while Meeks called arts and culture “essential to the general welfare of our citizens and a financial engine.” And Del Valle said the city should “should use its investment in the arts in a balanced way, drawing people both downtown and to our neighborhoods, promoting access to the arts for all Chicagoans.”
But some of the candidates questioned whether funding the arts is the government’s job.
“The city’s role is the role of every good citizen, support the arts and enjoy them, but not in this tough economy,” Tyrrell wrote. “No budgetary increase.”
Time Out also asked the candidates about several other issues of interest to the city’s arts and culture community, including whether the proposed promoters’ ordinance that would place stricter regulations on local event promoters, the call to allow cooking on-site food trucks on Chicago streets, and whether the annual Lollapalooza festival boosts the local music scene or takes business away from local venues.
The magazine also asked whether city festivals should be prifvatized. As it is, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration is forging ahead with “request-for-proposals” from private companies interested in running the Taste and other lakefront festivals, including Blues and Jazz Fest.
Also in the questionnaire was whether casinos should be allowed within the city limits, and whether naming rights should be sold at Soldier Field or Wrigley Field. Ironically, the magazine came out just as the CTA announced that it is seeking corporate sponsors and might sell naming rights to its assets.