Candidate Questionnaire: Christopher Cooper, "fortysomething"

Civil-rights attorney, River North

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1. How do you define the importance of arts and culture to the city of Chicago? And what do you see as the city’s role in funding the arts and fostering growth in the cultural economy?
Art is important in every society. It tells the tales of that society’s development; both trials and tribulations. Culturally speaking, the arts allow for the expression of creative exercise teaches tolerance for diversity. The city must play a role in funding the arts. This task should not be left to private industry.

2. Where do you stand on the proposed promoters’ ordinance, which aims to increase the regulatory and insurance requirements on local event promoters?
I am against it.

3. Where do you stand on legalizing cook-on-site food trucks, as many other cities have done?
I support it. I am a native New Yorker—raised in New York City. One of the things that I miss about NYC are the sidewalk pushcarts on which food is prepared.

4. Where do you stand on the merging of the Department of Cultural Affairs with the Mayor’s Office of Special Events?
I am for it, since consolidation will keep costs down.

5. What was the last live local performance you attended? When? And what did you think of it?
Shrek the Musical with my eight-year-old son. I enjoyed it! My son enjoyed it! [Also,] African Festival of the Arts.

6. What was the last local cultural institution you visited? Are you a member of any cultural institutions?
DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago Arboretum

7. What is your favorite local band? How about your favorite theater company? Restaurant? Artist? Comedian or other performer?
1. None 2. None. 3. None 4. Was Bernie Mac

8. What will you do to bring the arts to underserved communities, as well as to children, around the city?
After-school programs. I will keep most K-12 public schools open well after the close of the school day. In schoolhouses from approximately 3 to 9pm on weekdays and until midnight on weekends, children and teenagers will have opportunities to engage in a variety of arts. Additionally, mentoring and sporting activities will be available.

9. Do you see Lollapalooza as a boost for the local music scene or a challenge to local venues?
Thinking like a lawyer (I am), the clause is way too restrictive. The non-compete agreement sounds unconscionable. Lollapalooza is not good for artists or residents if such a clause is in place.

10. Do you favor privatizing city festivals?
No. With some exceptions, city festivals should be free events since they occur as a result of taxpayer revenue. I don’t like the idea of privatization of any city service that should be provided to residents by virtue of their [residents] having paid taxes.

11. Where do you stand on allowing a casino within the city limits?
Absolutely. I would bring casinos to Chicago.

12. Would you support the sale of naming rights to Soldier Field or Wrigley Field? How about more advertising signage at Wrigley?
Not Soldier Field. I am a proud United States Marine veteran. I would not trust private industry to show respect to military veterans.

13. Do you have a personal connection to the arts community (i.e., are you an artist yourself, or do you have friends/family in the arts community)? If so, what is it?
None

14. Should the number of available liquor licenses for bars and clubs be increased, reduced or stay about the same?
Stay about the same.

15. Mayor Daley cites the Theater District as perhaps his most cherished cultural accomplishment. What cultural achievement would you hope to see as your most important legacy?
Wider sidewalks. I am not sure why many of Chicago’s sidewalks are so narrow. Parks and lots of green space, in particular, downtown. Chicago’s downtown lacks parks and green space! Most important, it is time that getting to and from Chicago cultural attractions is not an obstacle-ridden path (exactly the present situation). I intend to build new CTA rail lines and to increase existing CTA rail and subway service. This includes a goal of new subway service from Ogilvie and Union Stations to Michigan Ave.; Navy Pier; major museums and Soldier Field with additional service to the Museum of Science and Industry. A monorail would be fitting above Lake Shore Drive from South Shore to Loyola University.


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