Pallas said, “I work with a lot of schools, and it has been a tough couple of years for education here in the city.”
Pallas, a Rogers Park resident, criticized incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I think he seems to be negatively targeting certain parts of our city for the benefit of other parts of our city,” Pallas said. “He’s being sort of divisive in making the tough calls that he needs for the budget, but it seems unfairly allocated.”
Pallas said he would follow election results Tuesday night and is looking forward to seeing change in schools. He was interviewed at the polls in the citywide mayoral and aldermanic election. Emanuel is seeking his second four-year term and needs 50 percent of the vote plus one to avoid a runoff election in April.
Voters were also casting ballots in all 50 aldermanic races.
The city opened 38 polling locations on Tuesday.
Lauren Quinn, a South Loop resident, discussed the city’s pension debt, saying, “I think pensions are very important. It’s crucial for our city to figure it out.”
The city faces $33 million in unfunded pension liability.
Quinn also called for a balanced budget. “The budget in general is important. Making sure everything is properly funded, and improving the schools is a huge issue for me,” Quinn said.
According to the CityofChicago.org, Emanuel presented his proposed 2015 budget to the city council. His proposal called for an $8.90 billion budget that balances the city’s finances without introducing new property, sales or gasoline taxes.
Wanda Wilson, 56, of the South Side’s 4th Ward, said she cares about a different issue.
“More low income housing!” Wilson said with passion. “We need more housing for seniors who are a bit younger than 65, maybe for seniors 55 and up.”
Wilson has been staying with her son in Matteson for five years and has to commute to the city via Metra train to see doctors since she isn’t covered in the suburbs.
Cassandra Collins said she is hoping to see changes in schools and, most important, changes within the community.
“We need some younger, fresher and newer ideas,” Collins said. “Some of these people have been in office way too long, and we keep doing the same things and nothing is changing.”
Collins, an Auburn-Gresham resident, said she is looking forward to hearing the mayor address safety in neighborhoods, better schools and more community centers to give children and teens something to do.
She offered a reason for crime in Chicago: “It’s because the kids have nothing else to do, so they resort to the streets.”
“As far as policing, you can’t just pop up with police out of nowhere,” Collins said. “You have to be trained. Some of the police are fairly new, and they’re scared. Some of these neighborhoods are really bad, and they have been for a long time. But we can’t expect the police to do everything, we have to do something in our own neighborhoods. We have to be our own solutions.