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Privatizing city festivals

Mayoral candidates weigh in on whether they'd privatize city fests.

Do you favor privatizing city festivals?

Caster, Tyrrell

Collins, Cooper, Hendon, Walls, White

Braun, Chico, Del Valle

Braun “I am open to considering the efficiencies and savings to be achieved with this initiative.”

Caster “I do favor privatizing city festivals. We need to take as much money out of the city budget and create new sources of revenue. Privatizing events brings in new revenue to the city and helps the city’s budget problems.”

Chico “Not without consulting those it would directly affect. I would host an open forum with local artists and the City Council to gain everyone’s sense of the impact of privatization before making a decision.”

Collins “No, I do not want to privatize. The city is broke and we want to make money. I don’t know what’s their argument, that it’s costing them too much, or if they just want to get rid of a lot of services. I think they’ve been popular, people really come out in droves, and once you privatize costs just go up and up. People from all over the world want to be here for the 4th of July weekend to go to the Taste.”

Cooper “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.”

Del Valle “I am not necessarily opposed to limited privatization, but the recent privatization of parking meters reminds us that such decisions need to be entered into with great care and consideration. Both the residents and the city need to get a good deal. I would be concerned that privatized festivals may offer some financial benefits to the city, but would cost so much to attend that many Chicagoans would be shut out. As such, I would be opposed to admission fees for Taste of Chicago. We must not lose the diverse nature of festivals.”

Emanuel “City festivals are about celebrating Chicago’s arts, cultural and culinary scenes, and they should remain accessible to everyone.”

Hendon “No, absolutely not. Often privatization is a way for those in power to pay off their buddies and we don’t save any money. The city doesn’t save any money. It’s just, Who gets the money? So the city can lay off some people and break even…that doesn’t make sense to me. And private companies do things for a profit. I remember in Springfield they wanted to privatize the prisons. And I’m like, Okay, we’re in the prison business to keep people safe by locking the bad guys up, but a private company might say, Hey a $10 lock versus a $100 lock, and they buy the $10 lock. So privatization is a crock.”

Tyrrell “I do and that’s just the beginning.”

Walls “I am completely against privatizing the festivals. The city should retain control of the quality of presentation and other vital aspects of the festivals.”

White “No! If the present administration says that privatizing the local festivals has to be done because they are a drain on the taxpayers, and a private company could make a profit—that means the festivals are not being run properly.”

Meeks declined to respond.

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