Evanston aldermen this week voted to keep sending out post card reminders for ward meetings at a cost that could reach nearly $22,000 a year.

Despite objections from two aldermen about the cost, the council majority sided with City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz’s argument that, despite the spread of much cheaper electronic forms of communication, the post cards still serve a valuable purpose.

Bobkiewicz said city staff members frequently hear from residents about the effectiveness of post cards.

“From our perspective twice a year is money well spent,” Bobkiewicz said. “It attracts new people who may not have been plugged into things before.”

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, called the cost ridiculous. “I can’t support this,” Rainey said.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, the council’s newest member, said he’s received a lot of good feedback from residents about post card reminders sent about his ward meetings.

Not all aldermen have taken advantage of the post card program.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says she distributes monthly printed newsletters through a network of block clubs.

And Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said she used to pay to print fliers for meetings that were then distributed by community volunteers.

But Wynne said the fliers approach doesn’t work well in trying to reach residents in apartment buildings.

“No faster would we tape a notice to a building door, than a janitor would remove it,” Wynne said.

Wynne and Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, suggested that one postal mailing a year might be sufficient, but the aldermen in the Rules Committee meeting ultimately voted to go along with Bobkiewicz’s plan authorizing two mailings per alderman per year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Let’s meet in the middle

    Did no one suggest an opt-out? Maybe you could opt out for a duration of two years, with an e-mail address, that would remind you after the two years was up to opt-out again.

    This would allow more or less anonymous opt-outs based on physical address but would also preclude home sales from preventing new residents from receiving the notices.

    Take that 34c per year times 6 or 12 and put it somewhere more meaningful than my trash can.

  2. Notification of ward meetings by postcard approved

    What ward meetings?  Have lived in Evanston on and off (mostly on) for over 40 years and have never received notice of a ward meeting by postcard or any other means of communication. I do receive a letters from the city when there are requests for exceptions to the building code in my immediate residential area.

    Does that mean my alderman does not want my opinion on his actions affecting my community and particularly my neighborhood.  By the way, I have used e mail to reach him but have yet to receive an answer.

    Signed — Old enough to vote but too old to run for office.



  3. I agree with Ald. Rainey

    I agree with Ald. Rainey that this is a ridiculous expenditure. Perhaps a better use for some of that $$ allocation would be to prepare and send ONE postcard to the local citizenry inviting them to — and explaining how to — check out the city website and take advantage of all the information and email alerts that are available there, including electronic notifications of ward meetings.

  4. What meetings?

    I live on the north side and have never got a post card or seen email or city news letter about a meeting.

    Surely the Council can save the wasted money of sending out postcards.  The only reason they do so is to get their names before the public.

    Given all the meetings city officials hold and how it is clear they have their minds made up already, the meetings are useless anyway.

  5. Another huge waste of taxpayers money!

    Having lived here for almost 30 years,  7th ward meetings are very well attend when there are issues, effecting the neighborhood people in the ward  they live in.   

    One of Jane Grover's ward meeting had 3 attendees,  Jane canceled it in about 15 minutes and left, when the issue of  closing Chandler came up at another ward meeting it  was very well attend by over 50 residents. In talking to one of the residents, a young mom in her 30's who appear active in issues in the city of chicago when she lived there, she pointed out her lack of time, to be involved, due to family committments.  Only real issues bring out residents like her, when the council is going to really impact a program they value, then they organize.  Jane got the message real quick.

    Sending out post cards to listen to an police officer on crimes in the ward, or to have the alderperson bring in some other elected officials is a waste of time.  

    I have to admit, I did enjoy the ward meeting where I got to question Wally on the yard waste sticker screw up, after about five answers and my replies he stated he was responsible. ( although I do think he was the one who screwed it up )

    I have been to other ward meetings over the years and they are always well attend if there is an issue, sending out post cards for ward meetings with  little real agenda or pressing issue is a huge waste of time and money.

    Word of month when there is an issue, gets everyone to the ward meeting. Ofcourse some council members don't want to have a ward meeting if there is an issue , unless pressed.


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