“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”
— Edward Abbey
Friends asked Jay Stone, “Why are you putting yourself through the stress of a campaign for mayor? Don’t you know that Daley’s people will come after you with everything they’ve got?”
Stone replied, “It’s my patriotic duty to run. I’m fighting to re-establish the democracy that Daley stole from the people of Chicago. If American soldiers can fight for democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq for years on end, I can fight for democracy in Chicago and endure a seventh-month campaign for mayor.”
The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks instilled in Stone a desire to serve our country. Sixteen months prior to September 11, before terrorists with knives hijacked four airplanes, Stone sought a ban on airplane passengers legally walking onto planes with weapons. In 2000 Stone wasn’t seeking publicity or public office when he lobbied to make airplanes safer. Now Stone sees a need to protect Americans from politicians who are making self-serving decisions that put citizens physically and financially at risk.
Civil Rights and Election Reform
Stone knows city government and politics. Besides closely following Chicago politics for over 40 years, Stone gets his information directly from City Hall documents. He unsuccessfully ran for alderman in 2003. As a result of Daley sending city workers to campaign against him, in 2008 the federal court declared Stone a civil rights victim. Stone wants to prevent other candidates from going through the ordeal of running in a rigged election. Stone also wants to protect voters from voting in undemocratic elections.
Stone used what he learned in his unsuccessful bid for alderman to initiate two campaign financing reforms that passed the Illinois General Assembly and were signed by Governor Quinn in 2009. Stone’s testimony at the March 5 Illinois Reform Commission hearing was meant to increase political competition and make politicians like Richard M. Daley accountable for their actions while they hold public office.
Stone believes too many Chicago politicians don’t allow the will of their constituents to succeed because they establish election laws that give them unfair advantages at the polls. Stone also wants to put an end to the extreme advantages that those already holding office have taken for themselves.
Campaign Contributions Limits
Divergent thinking comes naturally to Stone. Since 2002 he has used thinking outside the box to come up with creative solutions to Chicago’s corruption problems. For example, Stone knew that Daley and his minions would never impose a campaign contribution limit upon themselves. Instead of going through city politicians to establish campaign contribution limits as he previously had tried, Stone successfully sought the state of Illinois’ help. Starting January 1, 2011, thanks in part to Stone’s initiative, Daley’s wealthy friends will no longer be able to donate $25,000, $50,000, $100,000, $150,000, and $200,000 to Daley as they did in the past.
Daley’s 2005 executive order banned the mayor from taking contributions from individuals and companies doing business with the city. Stone says Daley didn’t go far enough. For one thing, Daley has accepted contributions in violation of his own executive order. Moreover, Daley’s executive order did not include any penalties if Daley failed to follow his campaign contribution ban. Furthermore, Stone is aware that individuals and companies doing business with the city provide too many aldermen with the bulk of their campaign funds.
Stone wants to completely ban the mayor, city clerk, city treasurer, and all 50 aldermen from taking campaign contributions from individuals and companies that do business with the city. This will take away the mayor and aldermen’s incumbent advantages.
Thinking Outside the “Pay Box”
Like so many others, Stone is outraged that Daley sold the right to parking on city streets without input from the citizens who will have to pay as much as 800% more to park in 2013 than they did in 2008. Stone hopes the IVI-IPO lawsuit will void the parking meter contract that Daley committed us to.
In the meantime, Stone came up with a creative solution to help those who forget what time they must return to their cars before their parking fee expires. Stone says the parking meter boxes should dispense two parking receipts. You place one receipt on your dashboard to prove you have paid for your parking. The second parking receipt you take with you as a reminder of when you have to return to your car.
Stone Demands Transparency in Government
When Stone ran for alderman, the Chicago Tribune didn’t endorse him, but the newspaper did endorse his transparency ideas. “Stone wants to make city records clearer to the average citizen and more available through the Internet. It’s a good idea.” Here we are eight years later, and the problem of Daley stifling transparency still exists today.
A lack of transparency weakens political competition and accountability. How can voters hold politicians accountable for their decisions if a lack of transparency prevents voters from knowing what the politicians are doing and have done in office? Before the election is over, Stone will have a lot more to say about transparency, political competition, ethics, campaign and election reform. Stone promises that no other candidate for mayor will come up with more or better ideas to improve Chicago government than he will.
Stone is often asked why he is so politically different from his father, Vice Mayor and Alderman Bernard L. Stone (50th). Jay Stone answers that his political beliefs were shaped by the 1960s civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. Stone reports that he chose his political heroes and philosophy before his father was first elected to office in 1973.
Jay Stone is a political reformer who is convinced that city government can free itself of machine politics and the corruption of the Daley administration. Instead of business as usual, he will put in place a truly fair, honest, and democratic local government for the benefit of the citizens of Chicago.