As you may have heard, there's a race for Chicago's next mayor. Like any responsible journalist I have sent questionnaires to all the candidates, but there's only one who's had the stones to actually answer my queries, and that's 53rd ward alderman Ed Bus. After reading his responses, I can't wait to vote for him for mayor, and I extra-can't-wait to attend his subsequent victory party.
Q.Previous political experience (elective and appointed positions):
I've been alderman. committeeman and little league umpire of the 53rd Ward for over 40-45 years.
Q. The City Council has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in reserve funds to balance the city budget in recent years. How would you balance the budget without relying on one-time revenues? Should the city raise taxes? Please specify three areas in which you would cut city spending and estimate how much money would be saved.
First off, you have two questions here. Just pick a question and go with it. Should the city raise taxes? No. Don't raise taxes, that's stupid. If we need more money, we'll just do one-time revenues. What was the second question again?
When my campaign had to raise money in the 53rd, we did a series of celebrity cakewalks. We'd get one of the lesser-known Murray brothers and one of the gals from Designing Women. If that don't work, we'll sell off a couple old buses to Atlanta or rig the lotto.
Q. Chicago's tax increment financing districts raise about $500 million a year that is spent outside of the normal city budgeting process and largely at the discretion of the mayor. Do you believe the money has been spent wisely and responsibly? Should the city council and/or the public play a larger role in deciding how TIF money is spent? Should the city reduce the number of TIF districts?
What is so hard to understand about TIFs? It's a fund that is created by the mayor where he takes tax money and puts it away for a rainy day fund when he or one of his friends needs it for a re-election campaign. Duh. I don't understand what the hub-bub is. It seems to me that most of the critics are jealous they ain't mayor. If I'm mayor, I'll continue the TIF program, but probably make it even more secretive - because I don't want to deal with all of you talkin' about it all the time to sell your free newspapers.
Q Should the chief executive and board of the Chicago Public Schools be appointed by the mayor? If not, what model of CPS administration do you support, and why? Please assess the success or failure of Renaissance 2010. How would you improve the performance of the public schools?
What? What's Renaissance 2010? Are you talking about that fancy fair? My education platform is pretty complex. I believe we should a) name all our schools after Daley, b) upgrade lunches to include chops and choice cuts and c) take recess indoors to the gymnasium if it rains. Oh, and no math. Why are we teachin' math anyway? We made computers for that. I think we should teach more kids to become city workers - like streetsweepers. Half the guys I worked with can't keep it straight. They always miss the curbs. What's the point of sweepin' streets if you don't hit the curbs? They don't teach em like they used to.
Q How can Chicago reduce violent crime?
By reducing those dance-gangs that rape and pillage our streets every night. They mostly hang out in abandoned subway stations. And city parks that are next to the junkyard. My plan is a one word plan (two syllables): Vigilantes. We need more Charles Bronson types clampin' down, breaking boom boxes, crackin' skulls. If that won't fly - then I say we call up gangbangers and tell them they won a contest. When they show up to get their prize, boom - arrested.
Q How would you improve the ethical standards of city government?
What do you mean? I'm running on the idea that we need to reduce ethical standards and take it back to the way it was. Keep it like it was. That means hiring who you want, forcing people to campaign for you on state-time, and bribes. That's the only way to effectively run an efficient government.
Q.Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
I fought in Korea. I wanted to be an artist til some art teacher tried to feel me up. I once made out with Eartha Kitt at the Indy 500. I once killed a hippie who tried to shit in the lake. And I was rear-ended on Western by Scottie Pippen. When my son turns 21, he is gonna run for Comptroller. I can't stand rap music, but tolerate Eryka Badu. And I love turkey jerky.
This interview is over.