Bill Smith's blog

'Tradition' carries high cost

Pop Quiz: Is $29 greater than $5?

To hear some Evanston political candidates talk, you'd think it's not.

The candidates -- we'll leave them unnamed here to give them a chance to review their math -- argue that the city gains little from new development.

They've opposed an effort by several commercial property owners in the 1000 block of Davis Street to challenge a downtown plan provision that would keep their block low-rise, while allowing high-rise development just across the alley from them.

City in rush to throw money at Microsoft

Evanston city staff will ask aldermen Monday to approve spending nearly $200,000 over the next three years for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office computer software.

The memo from Business Performance & Technology Division Manager Bruce Slown recommending the purchase calls the software tools from Microsoft "an essential part of almost every function performed by City staff."

Hahn doesn't merit city tax subsidy

Tower talk in Evanston has died down recently, with the Fountain Square project tabled until the Plan Commission acts on the larger downtown plan.

But it will be back -- and when it returns, there's one piece of the plan I hope the developers will have withdrawn.

That's their request for a $3 million subsidy from the city to restore the landmark Hahn building next door.

While it would be nice to have the Hahn building restored to glory, it appears there's no payoff in it for the city.

Fear mongering about density

The president of the Central Street Neighbors Association tried to stir up the fears of his density-phobic neighbors last week by setting up a straw-man list of high population-density communities he figured they wouldn't like.

Should Evanston aspire to resemble "Cicero, or Harwood Heights? Oak Park? Chicago?" Jeff Smith asked.

It's easy to see that Jeff's status-conscious neighbors wouldn't want to emulate such low-rent towns as Cicero or Harwood Heights. Heck, I wouldn't either.