Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1958, and raised in Oak Lawn and Evanston, Illinois, Joe Moore has lived in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood for 26 years. He has two sons, Nathan (16) and Zachary (9).
Moore graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1976, earned a B.A. from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois in 1980, and received a J.D. from DePaul University Law School in 1984.
From 1984 to 1991, Moore worked as an attorney in the City of Chicago’s Department of Law, first in the department’s Appeals Division, where he argued cases before the Illinois Appellate Court, the Illinois Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and later in the department’s Affirmative Litigation Division, where he worked to recover millions of dollars on behalf of the City’s taxpayers.
In 1991, Moore ran for the Chicago City Council from the 49th Ward, which encompasses the Chicago communities of Rogers Park, the northern reaches of Edgewater and the eastern edge of West Ridge. Crime was on the rise, schools were overcrowded and commercial centers were struggling. Moore won in a close run-off election and focused on three areas: community policing, housing and economic development.
Known as a pioneer in the battle to bring community policing to Chicago, Moore sponsored City Council hearings that moved City officials to adopt community policing. He then mobilized community groups in the far North Side to successfully designate the 24th Police District as a pilot district. Since then, Moore has worked closely with the CAPS beat groups and the 24th District Police commanders, and crime in the 49th Ward is now down over 40 percent.
Recognizing the link between criminal activities and irresponsible landlords, Alderman Moore took on slumlords in the 49th Ward, a neighborhood with older housing stock, 75 percent of which is rental housing. He forced slumlords to improve their tenant screening and property upkeep or sell to responsible property developers. He designated one staff person in his Ward Service Office to handle tenant complaints and take irresponsible landlords to housing court.
The 49th Ward’s revitalization is apparent in the construction of the Gateway Plaza Shopping Center, a 40-acre complex containing a Dominick’s Grocery Store a Bally’s Health Club and a host of other retail amenities. Work is scheduled to begin soon on a new rapid transit center adjacent to the Gateway Center on Howard Street.
Moore has also overseen the opening of a new 14,000-square foot branch of the Chicago Public Library, a new 2.5 acre park which replaced an adult bookstore and dilapidated housing, a soon-to-be-constructed 20,000 square foot community center, the renovation of the old Howard Theater building, the Sheridan Road and Howard Streetscape beautification projects, hundreds of units of affordable rental housing and new condominiums geared toward lower-income working families.
With a burgeoning population in a diverse neighborhood, school overcrowding posed a daunting challenge. Alderman Moore successfully pushed for construction of the new $15 million Jordan School, a $13 million addition to Gale School, a $12 million addition to Kilmer School, $2 million for renovation of Field School and $15 million for construction of a new school at Clark and Morse.
Moore also recently obtained $800,000 in improvements to the Morse Avenue Elevated Station and a new police security camera on Morse Avenue to curb loitering and illegal drug activity. In addition, Moore oversaw the creation of Special Service Area designations on Clark Street, Morse Avenue and Howard Streets, which has resulted in additional street cleaning, security and business promotion activities on those vital commercial streets.
Moore also fought hard in the City Council for more city dollars for neighborhood infrastructure. In the last 10 years, the 49th Ward has received 188 new blocks of sidewalks, 65 blocks of curbs and gutters, 171 resurfaced streets, 129 repaved alleys, 86 alley speed humps and 132 streetlights.
While overseeing the many neighborhood improvements, Moore also has worked hard to protect and maintain the 49th Ward's residential character. Moore launched a two-year community planning process, the first of its kind in the city, to comprehensively examine the 49th Ward's zoning map in light of the city's new zoning code and the extensive development taking place in the neighborhood. Moore enlisted scores of community volunteers to survey each block in the 49th Ward and examine the neighborhood's strengths and challenges.
Moore then worked with the Metropolitan Planning Council and the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Committee to fashion a series of recommendations for changes to the area's zoning that would help to preserve the character of the 49th Ward's residential streets and encourage development on the commercial corridors. Those recommendations were reviewed, modified and ultimately approved by community residents at meetings held throughout the ward, and are now currently being put into effect.
Moore also is working hard to ensure that community residents of all economic circumstances benefit from the development occurring in the 49th Ward. Working closely with the Chicago Urban League, Moore has secured jobs for local residents on some of the neighborhood's publicly-funded projects, such as the Howard El Station redevelopment. Working with the Howard Area Community Center and the Organization of the Northeast, Moore has also launched a pre-apprenticeship training program to help neighborhood residents develop the skills necessary to qualify for trade union apprenticeships and ultimately trade union jobs.
Moore is a voice for ethics and reform in the City Council and successfully sponsored a Whistleblower Ordinance that gives taxpayers the right to recover damages on behalf of the city against corrupt city contractors. The ordinance is the first of its kind in any large city. Moore also sponsored an Accountability in Privatization Ordinance and currently is the lead sponsor of a “ Big Box Living Wage Ordinance,” that would require large retail establishments to pay their employees wages of at least $10 an hour and benefits equivalent to at least $3 an hour.
Moore also understands that policies adopted in Washington, D.C. directly affect the ability of local elected officials to effectively govern at home. Under Moore’s leadership, the Chicago City Council became one of the first city councils in the nation to go on record oposing the pre-emptive military invasion of Iraq. Moore also was one of the chief sponsors of successful city council resolutions calling for an immediate withdraw of U.S. military forces from Iraq and opposing the unconstitutional provisions of the so-called USA Patriot Act.
Moore recently served on the board of the National League of Cities (NLC), a national organization that advocates on behalf of America’s cities and towns, and currently serves on its advisory council. In the past, he has chaired several NLC committees including the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Advocacy Committee and the Central Cities Council.
Moore also is chairman of the National Democratic Municipal Officials Conference, a national organization of Democratic mayors and city council members, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). DNC Chairman, Governor Howard Dean, recently appointed Moore to a newly-formed DNC Committee on Budget and Finance. Moore is one of the founding members of Cities for Peace, a national organization of mayors and city council members, who represent cities that passed resolutions opposing the war in Iraq. The organization is now known as Cities for Progress and includes progressive-minded local elected officials from across the nation.
Moore won re-election in 1995, 1999, and again in 2003. He serves on the following City Council Committees: Budget and Government Operations; Rules and Ethics; Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities; Finance; Health; and Historical Landmark Preservation.