Evanston's Future: September Newsletter

Evanston’s Future!
Electronic Newsletter of

Evanston’s Energy Future
Evanston’s Transportation Future
Evanston Interreligious Sustainability Circle
Evanston’s Affordable Housing Future
Citizens Lighthouse Community Land Trust
Evanston Food Policy Council
Evanston Climate Change Campaign
Evanston’s Water Group

September 2006
Network for Evanston ’s Future welcome new members at any time and at any level of interest or participation.

Web Address: www.evanstonfuture.org

Editors: Gina Lettiere, [email protected]

and Joel Freeman, [email protected]

Web Manager: Ross Vagnieres [email protected]

Contents:

Calendar

Special Announcements

Network Updates

Other News: Check Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Calendar

September 7, 7 – 9 pm

Evanston Food Policy Council Meeting

Location: Unitarian Church ,1330 Ridge, Evanston

Contact: [email protected], 847-328-7175

September 9, 9 – 11 am

Conversation with Julie Hamos

Location: Prairie Moon, 1502 Sherman , Evanston

RSVP to: 847-424-9898 or [email protected]

See Special Announcements for more details.

September 12, 6 – 9 pm

Urban Farm Community Support Meeting

Location: Dawes Elementary School , 440 Dodge Ave. , Evanston

Contact: Debbie Hillman, [email protected], 847-328-7175

Take part in a community collaborative to support locally grown produce in Evanston . See Evanston Food Policy Council Update for more details.

September 14, 7:30 – 9:30 pm

Evanston’s Energy Future

Location: Home of Gary Peterson, 1322 Hinman Avenue , Evanston

Contact: Joel Freeman, 847-869-0955

September 16, 8 am - Noon

Evanston Farmers’ Market Not-For-Profit Day

Grab a friend and join the Network to promote a sustainable vision.

Contact: Gina Lettiere, [email protected], 847-424-0724

September 29, 7:30 am

Evanston’s Transportation Future Meeting

Location: Café Mozart, 600 Davis St. , Evanston

Contact: Rick Martin, 847-492-1467 or [email protected]

October 29, 1 pm – 4 pm

Sowing Seeds of Care: Hands-on Habitat Restoration

Organized by: Evanston Interreligious Sustainability Circle

Opening religious ceremony at 1:15 pm .

Location: Harms Woods Forest Preserve

Contact: Steve Perkins, [email protected] or 773-269-4055

Visit www.evanstonfuture.org and click on Calendar of Events for upcoming meetings and activities.
Special Announcements!

Conversation with State Representative Julie Hamos

Julie Hamos invites you to discuss challenging issues over coffee and bagels. Julie would like to know your thoughts on: school funding, expansions in gaming, same-sex marriage, global warming, and universal health care. Please RSVP to 847-424-9898 or [email protected]

Evanston’s Farmers’ Market Non-For-Profit Day

Volunteers are needed represent the Network on Saturday, September 16th from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at the Farmers’ Market in Evanston . Select your favorite topic and share with the community – transportation, affordable housing, food policy, energy, water, faith in place, or community land trust.

Please contact Gina Lettiere with a time period in which you can participate at the NEF table. Gina’s contact information is [email protected] or by phone 847-424-0724.

Urban Farm Community Support Meeting
Hosted Evanston Food Policy Council
Fresh from the Farm....Right here in Our City?

Food is at the nexus of a wide range of social and environmental issues -- human health, environmental health, energy, transportation, sensuality (enjoying food!!), economic justice, deterioration of rural communities, and democracy. We think beginning to look at food seriously (as a policy issue) is a wise thing for urban adults to do.

Evanston Food Policy Council is asking the same questions being asked by communities around the country: Why can’t we grow food closer to home? What does the freshest food taste like? Would our food supply be more nutritious and more reliable if it doesn’t travel large distances? Would fresh, nutritious food be more affordable without the inputs of gasoline, refrigeration, packaging? Can we know how our food is grown – with or without harmful chemicals, with or without petroleum products, with or without the health of a diverse ecosystem? Can we know who grows it? Why doesn’t every community have direct access to this basic necessity of life?

And, like many other communities, we are dreaming about an easy and obvious answer: Grow and sell organic food in Evanston .

On September 12, we are hosting a community support meeting to share our vision of an Evanston urban farm. The meeting will be at Dawes Elementary School and will showcase food growing in Evanston soil, the Dawes Edible Garden Project. After garden tours, a panel of experts will share their knowledge of urban agriculture:

Michael Marcus, Consultants for Community Resources – The Illinois Context

Michael Thompson, Project Manager, Chicago Honey Co-op – The Farm

Harry Rhodes, Exec. Director, Growing Home – The Community

Patsy Benveniste, Director of Education, Chicago Botanic Garden – The Business

Right now, our vision is only that – an idea. But 2-3 acres of land will grow a lot of fresh food that can be sold directly to the public. Hoophouses can extend production to four seasons. As a community center with a kitchen and a classroom, the farm can be a year-round site celebrating food and culture. Growing food within the city limits keeps our food dollars here. A job training program can teach a variety of marketable skills.

Through this meeting, we are seeking broad community support: partnerships with other community groups and government bodies, as well as enthusiastic individuals to make this idea a reality. All manner of expertise and commitment will be needed in order to reclaim control of one of the necessities and pleasures of life. Come salivate with us about creating something as beautiful and as basic as an Evanston Farm and Food Center .

Urban Farm Community Support Meeting, September 12 (Tuesday). 6:00 – 7:00 Tours of Dawes Edible Garden Project. 7:00 Panelists and Q & A. Dawes Elementary School (corner of Oakton and Dodge).

Contact: Debbie Hillman at 847/328-7175 ([email protected])

Evanston’s Affordable Housing Future

(Submitted by Sue Carlson)

On Monday, August 14, with virtually no resident input, no publicity, our City Council agreed, unanimously, to submit a referendum to the voters in November, authorizing a 20% increase in the real estate transfer tax for the purpose of supporting affordable housing. Currently, when property is sold in Evanston , a tax is paid to the state, the county and the city totaling 6.5% per $1,000 of the sale price. This referendum, if passed, would increase the city’s portion from 5% to 6% per $1,000 and could, if past history is an indicator, generate up to $1 million a year for affordable housing. Why aren’t affordable housing advocates dancing with delight at this prospect?

Unfortunately, the aldermen have failed to act on an Inclusionary Housing proposed ordinance which they have had before them for more than 2 yrs. The Inclusionary proposal would require developers of housing over 25 units who want to exceed zoning requirements to provide affordable units in their development or, alternatively, money to the city to build affordable units elsewhere. Instead of requiring that developers, who have been making lots of money changing our skyline, give back affordable housing to our community, they have decided to go to the citizens to ask them to OK a tax increase which kicks in when they sell their homes. And, enthusiastically, they indicated that this referendum is a wonderful opportunity for citizens to show how much they value the affordable housing in Evanston .

I believe citizens DO support affordable housing here. Most are aware that without affordable housing, we cannot maintain our vibrant and diverse community. However, if the Council had FIRST passed an Inclusionary ordinance, THEN come to the citizens asking them to share in the cost, it would have shown an exciting vision of Evanston ’s future, inviting all parties in the community to participate in a vision of maintaining our diversity and vitality. Instead, it is only asking citizens to pony up. This does not sound like the behavior of a City Council that supports “a comprehensive inclusionary and affordable housing policy” (Objective B of Goal 2 in recently passed Strategic Plan).

There are other concerns for organizations like the Citizens’ Lighthouse Community Land Trust and other not-for-profit community housing development organizations. Because this is a binding referendum, if it fails, the Council may find it difficult to support affordable housing measures in the future. Alderman Rainey made it clear in her promotion of this referendum that the Council should use a negative vote as proof that Evanstonians aren’t really concerned about affordable housing.

Nevertheless, if, in September, the Council does not rescind this vote, Evanston ’s Affordable Housing Future, Citizens’ Lighthouse Community Land Trust and many other organizations that help those struggling with housing issues will urge all citizens to support this measure. Think of your own reasons why this is good for Evanston and watch for additional reasons that you might not have come up with in the next issues of the newsletter.

Global Warming Group
(Submitted by Verna Todd)

The Global Warming Group at its August meeting adopted a goal statement: To cut greenhouse gas emissions from the City of Evanston to 7 percent below our 1990 level by 2012 (the Kyoto Protocol standard).

The means to the goal is to form a coalition of Evanstonians from every sector -- city government, residents, businesses, religious congregations, schools, etc. -- organized to identify and carry out appropriate action in their sectors. Every organization in Evanston is welcome to join.

Plans build on Evanston 's committed city government and on structures/organizations already in place throughout all sectors. Benefits, in addition to keeping the planet livable, include economic growth opportunities for Evanston and improved quality of life.

To get involved, call Steve Perkins at 773-269-4055 or Andrea Orcutt at 847-475-2262.

Evanston’s Transportation Future

(Submitted by Alex Sproul)

City staff reports plans and status for several projects:

2006-Dodge repaving from Howard to Oakton

2006-Asbury repaving from Green Bay to Dempster or Main

2006-Ridge new traffic signals (normal post type, not the overhead type to which citizens objected) from Howard to Clark

2008-Ridge repaving from Howard to Clark , with continued four lanes

2009-Sheridan repaving from City of Chicago to Chicago Avenue (the arch)

The CTA viaduct replacement at Church Street is now under way. Next viaduct to be replaced has not been selected as yet. Presumably, Davis Street or Dempster.

Study Status

RTAP Skokie Swift North Shore Corridor Travel Market Analysis - under way, with some of the $150,000 consultant's fee allocated to study the market for a Yellow Line stop in Evanston . Evanston may supplement the survey work planned with its own postcard survey of residents who might be served by the Yellow Line in Evanston . Peter serves on the Corridor Advisory Committee, and Rick on the local advisory committee.

Northeastern Evanston Transit Service study-an outgrowth of the controversy over the CTA 201 bus routing, the city has applied for an RTAP grant of $50,000, for a study to be conducted in 2007.

Pursuant to the city’s strategic planning process, this fall the staff will propose a study to develop a City Transportation Plan, aiming for Council approval in the fall with the study to get under way in 2007. This study will potentially include recommendations for bus stop locations and amenities (signs, pads, benches, shelters).

Bike Plan will be implemented in 2007.

ETF Policy Position Needed
It has become apparent that ETF should take a clear position on whether the existing CTA flag stop policy in Evanston should be modified, as CTA wishes. Everywhere else on the CTA bus system the standard is for marked bus stops every eighth of a mile (approximately two blocks), with no flag stops at other points.

ETF has recommended that stops should be marked every eighth mile throughout Evanston routes (more frequently downtown), but it has not made clear its position on the flag stops. This issue should be resolved at the next ETF meeting.

Complete Streets and Context-Sensitive Design Missing from Evanston Strategic Plan
These concepts were recommended by ETF in the recent strategic plan process, but they were not included in the final product. It is therefore important that they be specifically mentioned in the RFP for the new Transportation Plan.

Comments Needed on Proposed CMAQ Plan
There is a strong desire for the CMAQ traffic signal project to consider pedestrian clearance times as equal in importance to moving auto traffic. Peter Nicholson has drafted a comment to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to this effect.

Video “Taken for a Ride” available at Evanston Library
This video depicts the campaign by General Motors and the tire companies in the 40’s and 50’s to eliminate street cars and buses, and it now raises the specter of computers taking over our lives. Nancy Sreenan recommends it to all.

Next Meeting: Friday, September 29, 7:30 am , Mozart Café.

Check your Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Add your savings to those of other Evanston residents

(Submitted by Steve Perkins)

As the Network gears up to address global warming by motivating Evanston residents to help the whole community meet the Kyoto goals, it would be great if you would figure out your own greenhouse gas emissions and add your savings to other residents. Here’s how to do it using Airhead, an internet tool of the Center for Neighborhood Technology:

First go to www.cnt.org

When you get to the site, click on the Airhead website (on the left)

When you get to Airhead, click on Evanston Climate Campaign in the Partner Communities box

Then go to “register” in the upper right corner and start your account

Then follow the steps to determine your GHG emission profile.

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