2020 Citywide Plan Referendum

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Chicago’s recent planning efforts have been largely place- or policy-focused, limiting the City’s ability to comprehensively address systemic issues that impact different neighborhoods in different ways.

As the first citywide planning effort of its type in half a century, We Will Chicago seeks to develop a people-focused vision for all aspects of Chicago government using two guiding principles:

EQUITY & RESILIENCY

These two principles can be applied to nearly all challenges faced by Chicagoans, including transportation, economic development, sustainability, public safety, education and other issues.

As guiding principles, they can help Chicago create the first people-focused plan in the city’s history — one that prioritizes investment in families and neighborhoods, which will inform priorities for government programs and projects and guide future budget decisions.

About the Referendum

In the 2020 general election, the voters of the City of Chicago were asked a question about the top-line goals of We Will Chicago through an advisory referendum:

“In creating its City-wide plan for continued growth and sustainability, should the City of Chicago place equal focus on the goals of resiliency, equity, and diversity?”

Results

According to final data from the Chicago Board of Elections, with 1.04 million ballots cast on this question, 88 percent of Chicago voters cast a "Yes" vote.

Principle Refinement

The City of Chicago gathered input about the referendum on this website, at focus groups for this initiative, and at multiple community conversations related to Mayor Lightfoot's Together We Heal initiative. Many respondents said the referendum was innocuous and phrased in a way that obligated them to vote yes. Others said they voted no because the question suggested that the three principals should have equal weight, which may not be proper for every conversation related to the We Will initiative.

After reviewing this input, the City decided to limit the chief principles of We Will to Equity and Resiliency, and city planners will work with the community to properly define those two terms within the context of this plan.

Moving forward, both of the principles of Equity and Resiliency will be informed by diversity, which will address stakeholder differences, experiences, strengths, and weaknesses through strategies that serve our common interests.


Chicago’s recent planning efforts have been largely place- or policy-focused, limiting the City’s ability to comprehensively address systemic issues that impact different neighborhoods in different ways.

As the first citywide planning effort of its type in half a century, We Will Chicago seeks to develop a people-focused vision for all aspects of Chicago government using two guiding principles:

EQUITY & RESILIENCY

These two principles can be applied to nearly all challenges faced by Chicagoans, including transportation, economic development, sustainability, public safety, education and other issues.

As guiding principles, they can help Chicago create the first people-focused plan in the city’s history — one that prioritizes investment in families and neighborhoods, which will inform priorities for government programs and projects and guide future budget decisions.

About the Referendum

In the 2020 general election, the voters of the City of Chicago were asked a question about the top-line goals of We Will Chicago through an advisory referendum:

“In creating its City-wide plan for continued growth and sustainability, should the City of Chicago place equal focus on the goals of resiliency, equity, and diversity?”

Results

According to final data from the Chicago Board of Elections, with 1.04 million ballots cast on this question, 88 percent of Chicago voters cast a "Yes" vote.

Principle Refinement

The City of Chicago gathered input about the referendum on this website, at focus groups for this initiative, and at multiple community conversations related to Mayor Lightfoot's Together We Heal initiative. Many respondents said the referendum was innocuous and phrased in a way that obligated them to vote yes. Others said they voted no because the question suggested that the three principals should have equal weight, which may not be proper for every conversation related to the We Will initiative.

After reviewing this input, the City decided to limit the chief principles of We Will to Equity and Resiliency, and city planners will work with the community to properly define those two terms within the context of this plan.

Moving forward, both of the principles of Equity and Resiliency will be informed by diversity, which will address stakeholder differences, experiences, strengths, and weaknesses through strategies that serve our common interests.

Citywide Plan Referendum Survey

Why did you vote yes or no on the 2020 Citywide Plan Referendum?

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I voted "no" because the language seems to justify the displacement of historic African American communities under the guise of "diversity." I doubt any historic white communities will be subjected to displacement strategies.

Steve about 1 year ago

I voted "no" not because I necessarily disagree with the notion but because the methods to implement these platitudes were not detailed. General continued growth, sustainability, equity (especially income and racial equity in this city), and diversity are all great ideals to strive for but combining them in a blanket vote and using them to justify tangential policy in the future is disingenuous. Think the "Patriot" Act - the name implies patriotism yet it was used to implement draconian policy. In the future I would like for clearer descriptions of what these referendums entail.

Dss Wallis about 1 year ago

Strong agreement with the need for a citywide plan, and also that resiliency, equity, and diversity are essential goals/metrics to use in shaping the process and producing a more inclusive, productive, and sustainable city long-term.

Nick about 1 year ago

I voted yes because why should we want anything but that... of course the problem is like all things associated with politicians - the devil is in the details. That question is not specific enough. The first question is what are the city’s definition of resiliency, equity and resiliency? The next question is what is the formula for measuring each one? Without a clear understanding of how this will be measured and what those definitions of each category are - without that then it’s simply more government bs, hocus pocus, and stuff that sounds good at election time yet there is no way to validate results and hold government accountable.

Nobody’s Cousin about 1 year ago

I voted "Yes" on this referendum because I am excited to see coordinated, well-considered action plans coming into existence to address desperately needed changes for our neighborhoods. The city's historical disinvestment in the south and west sides never should have happened, but I think the Mayor and Mr. Cox can make change. Not only is the concept right, but the time is right, and the people involved are visionary and intelligent. I am all for it!

vickimogil about 1 year ago

I don't remember this section on the ballot.

kangarookathy about 1 year ago

The language of the statement made it very difficult to answer. Equal focus on three different goals - resiliency, equity, and diversity, what does that mean. Does it mean 1/3 of the available resources for each? Are equity and diversity more inter-related? Will they get solved together? Which can we move most quickly on? There is absolutely no nuance in the statement, and as such I had to say no since such a blunt approach can't possibly be correct. I'm sure there is more behind it, but I can't tell from this statement.

“In creating its City-wide plan for continued growth and sustainability, should the City of Chicago place equal focus on the goals of resiliency, equity, and diversity?”

Jonathan about 1 year ago

Removed by moderator.

Tom_Tresser about 1 year ago

I voted yes on the 2020 Citywide Plan Referendum I n hopes that the city government will do and implement through We Will Chicago a truly viable, working program for our City that just isn’t for Optics but truly for the betterment of our City and communities for people of color. This City makes laws, and this City breaks the very laws it creates!

Debbie Allen about 1 year ago

YES. But I did not know really what it meant! I would love to receive updates.

kathymoore over 1 year ago

Before March I probably would have voted yes, but it was too vague and we need to focus on recovery more than diversity (we are a diverse city, what is this focus?) and resiliency (we are resilient, what is this focus?).

anon over 1 year ago

I voted "yes" as an aspiring developer in the Englewood area.

In creating its City-wide plan for continued growth and sustainability, should the City of Chicago place equal focus on the goals of resiliency, equity, and diversity?”

Without a doubt! We are challenging ourselves vis a vis the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund to create sustainable commerce that helps to stimulate the economy by creating jobs and affordable housing that will give small business owners the ability to become vested in their communities with home ownership and the ownership of their physical business spaces.

Lauren5411 over 1 year ago

I agree with the plan

Maurice over 1 year ago

Voted for
not sure what the term resiliency means
not sure how long it will take for the start of implementation
not sure if it will have a negative impact on other parts of the city
would like an update on the impact so far of invest south/west

allan over 1 year ago

I voted "No" on this referendum, because the goals of equity, resiliency, and diversity should not have equal weight. In both the history of advocacy planning *and* recent movements in favor of racial equity, achieving equity means something very specific: achieving equitable outcomes in planning requires placing priority to residents who have been historically disadvantaged or historically underserved by Cities; understanding and resolving historical power dynamics that produce segregation; and using the principles of resolving these issues to build an inclusive, structured process that engages disadvantaged residents. Given that the history of segregation includes a clear history of environmental racism, if the City places "equity" as its planning priority, a true equity plan will achieve resiliency by taking demands for environmental justice seriously; and if the City places "equity" as its planning priority, a truly equitable process will achieve a diversity of participants. Thus, equity is the strongest and most important concept here, and should not be weighted equally: if Chicago builds an equitable plan, it will achieve goals of diversity and resiliency.

Nick Z. over 1 year ago

voted yes as I want to be a partner in Chicago's economic renaissance

jake over 1 year ago

Voted yes in hopes that this referendum can serve as an indication of Chicagoans' priorities and to hold city council and the Mayor accountable

dtollefson over 1 year ago

I voted yes on the 2020 city-wide plan referendum because I care about growth and sustainability in Chicago and focusing on resiliency, equity, and diversity. They all sound nice, and voting yes does not seem to commit me or the city to anything because we don't seem to yet have a plan on how this will be accomplished. I hope that the plan will be revealed to us soon and that we can vote on whether we want to actually implement the plan.

JT over 1 year ago

I voted in favor of this nonbinding referendum item, though I’m a little perplexed as to who might vote against it. MPC calculated the cost of our city’s segregation at $4.4b, 30% higher homicides, and 83k fewer Bachelor’s degrees. Additionally insofar as Chicago’s resilience is concerned, ComEd fail to meet their FEJA goals by a country mile, and their corruption costs Chicagoans, particularly low income communities and communities of color. Every election cycle there are exactly 3 Yes/No questions which are, as I say, nonbinding. There’s sometimes some jockeying to avoid some issues in favor of politically convenient topics. So, I’m not sure what even an overwhelming support for this question would actually do to change things.

Rory over 1 year ago
Page last updated: 12 March 2021, 16:45