Recap: City Council


Here's a recap of our live coverage of tonight's Evanston City Council meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 8:25 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight's agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 8:30 p.m. Aldermen Wynne and Holmes are absent.


Divvy launches in Evanston this week. Stations are going live Wednesday and Friday. Presentation

Public Comment

Lisa Hilgenberg, of Chicago Botanic Garden, does presentation on beekeeping 

Says the garden has more than 1 million visitors a year, has several beehives. Says she's worked there seven years and has only been stung once.

Does illustrated presentation. Says the bees are very close to visitors and situation has been problem-free.

Shows photo of beehive at the White House — says it's probably 40 to 50 feet away from the fence line and public space.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says had been discussing possible beekeeping in public gardens in the city — very useful information. Says should be thinking more about it.

Leslie Shadd says the beekeeping notice proposal would effectively kill beekeeping in Evanston. 

Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, asks about signage.

Fiske asks is 35 feet a safe distance?

Heldenberg says they're comfortable with that. 

Says thoughtful beekeeping and maintaining them at a high level of care is important.

City Manager's Announcements

City receives award from United Way … says Evanston was the lead municipal agency and winner of the innovation award.

Oscar Murillo, IMCA fellow, wrapping up his year in the position. Gets a plaque.

Murillo expresses his thanks for the opportunity … and says he hopes years from now when he's wrapping up his career he'll be able to Google Evanston and find out the the city has figured out what to do with the Harley Clarke mansion … which gets big laughs from the aldermen.

Lara Biggs of city staff says IDOT has told the city to stop work on two roadwork projects because it doesn't have funding to make payments

Emerson Ridge Green Bay project and Dodge Avenue bike lane restriping are affected. IDOT manages the projects and pays the contractor and then gets reimbursed by the federal government..

On Emerson were in the middle of phase one … got the water main to a stopping point, Biggs says, and are in good position to temporarily stop. Have been restoring the road surface to be drivable. Then contractor will remove all the traffic control signage.

Expect to be finished — for now — on Emerson-Ridge-Green Bay by Wednesday.

Expects cost of delay will be in low $10,000s.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says there's hope that the situation may be resolved by early next week.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says this is just ridiculous, outrageous on the state's part.

Notes the projects are funded by the federal government, but funding goes through the state.

Wilson says people need to start speaking up — let people in Springfield know they need to do their jobs.

Fiske says should put up signs saying this delay is brought to you by the folks in Springfield.

Biggs says unclear what other projects may be impacted by the situation in the future.

Public Comment

Wendy Pollock, member of Ladd Arboretum Committee, says needs more time to sort of potential merger of the committee with the Environment Board.

Priscilla Giles supports Goodwill proposal.

Special orders of business

SP1 – Youth and Young Adult Division. Presentation 

Lawrence Hemingway, Parks director, says division has one staffer for every 40 clients. Says has served 130 female and 556 male clients over the past three years.

Alderman Brian Miller, 9th Ward, says thinks should have more resources. Says three people under the age of 20 were shot in Evanston last week. Says its the beginning of summer and have seen an uptick in shootings.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl says strategies for reducing gun violence … says need to zero in on some of the most heavily gang-involved young people == combine workforce and mental health development — if that doesn't work, use the police and follow them around until they decide to leave town.

Says ratio of outreach workers to young people in need is pretty reasonable based on the formulas she's seen.

Says need more opportunities for the young people. 

Kevin Brown, director of the youth program, says his older brother is a director of such programs nationally — says number of workers is proportional to what other cities have. But need more opportunities — especially for the high risk people they encounter.

Notes partnership with NU for skilled trades program. Starts workers off at about $18/hour. Sustained program that lasts a year and is making the difference in reducing violence in the community.

Says outreach workers are not police officers — not engaged in police activities.

Miller says agrees that important to deal with the most at-risk youth.

If are dealing more time to the hardest individuals — don't think have the resources to deal with that.

Brown says have identified who the really high risk people are in the community — it's a very small number engaged in gun activity, he says.

Says what's really neeed is the opportunity to take those individuals and put them in situations where they can be successful.

Points to program in Richland, California, that cut homicides by 50 percent in its first year.

Says Evanston has an abundance of resources and institutions — are talking with them to see how can best build that kind of a program.

Miller says also need mental health treatment — which has also proved very effective.

Brown says he's not an expert in the health area — but program helps reach services they need.

Miller says have seen an increase in shootings …and two people have been murdered in the city this year. Says need to increase the resources devoted to the problem.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says these kind of problems have existed forever. Violence is a problem and a plague, he says, but appears have enough capacity to make the contacts.

Says the outreach workers are selling an idea — you can have an alternative life path–make different choices. But they need to be able to deliver — have a tangible alternative for them.

Says there's a question of how to define success.

Says putting four or five more poeple to find the kids — already know where they are. Need to deliver on the opportunities. Money is finite and we're mindful of that too, Wilson says.

Says there are people working so diligently to solve the problems in the community and there's a lot of opportunity for those who want to help to do so.

Brown says have met with the latest shooting victims about five times since they were shot.

Rainey says will be doing great service if can avoid having them retaliate and beome involved with the criminal justice system.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, says staff doesn't get the credit it deserves for the impact it has had on the lives of at risk youth.

Says the police chief has identified 35 to 50 potential shooters in the city. Says do need to find additional opportunities for the kids who are being saved.

Tisdahl says the staff does a tremendous job and is delivering exactly what the community needs.

Rainey suggests Goodwill could provide some of the jobs the at-risk youths need. Brown says he's already started talking with the Goodwill representative

SP 2 – City Council Compensation Committee report

Al Telsor, the compensation committee chair, says there was a wide range of views on the committee. Ended up recommending a 23.1% increase… or $3K increase.

Also recommended same percentage increase for the mayor.

Says city clerk gets fuller range of benefits and is full-time employee … decided to have his increase match that for other non-union city employees.

Clerk Rodney Greene says he's surprised mayor and aldermen are being recommended for so much bigger increase.

Says should have fair compensation models for all elected officials.

Rainey says from reading the compensation committee report that she doesn't think the proposal or the clerk is not legal — because the increases for non-union employees for the next four years are not yet set.

Rainey says she attended a couple of the committee's meeting. Says had discussion about opportunity for council members to get insurance. Says there's a wide range of cost insurance is very inequitable.

Says never would she say that people shouldn't select the insuranc they need. But when some members receive $18K of city-supported insurance — but others — who may be single — get much less — that's not equitable.

Says those aldermen who don't benefit from that subsidy should receive an additional stipend.

Says she works 30 to 35 hours a week. Says it's sometimes humilating say how much we make.

Says Miller receives no insurance … others get something else … but some of us have insurance that generates cost.

Telsor says it's hard to find comparables in the northern Illinois areas — looked at median income, population.

Says Evanston stands out. Aldermen in other comparable communities don't get health insurance at all.

Says Evanston has a lot more committees than other communities. So Evanston aldermen put in a lot more time that others, he says.

Rainey says isn't fair that some aldermen receive $30K+ and others receive $15K.

Telsor says the committee didn't see a way to solve that problem.

Fiske says if there are aldermen who receive medicare benefits that would make a difference.

SP 2 … for aldermen … vote to introduce is 7-0

SP 3 … for clerk … vote to introduce is 6-1  Rainey votes no. (She asks for law department to report on the issue regarding whether clerk proposal actually meets legal standards.)

SP 4 … for mayor … vote to introduce is 7-0

SP 5 …Aldermanic Communications Allowance … is referred to Rules Committee.

Consent Agenda

The three alley paving special assessments are taken off the consent agenda.

Also off …

A 9 – Removed for technical amendment

P 1 – Medical office at 922 Noyes St.

H 2 – Beekeeper license ordinance amendments

All three Rules Committee items on merging committees taken off the consent agenda.

Consent agenda approved.

A 9 – Amendments to nuisance premise ordinance

Add explosive devices to the list of violations.

Ordinance approved unanimously.

City manager says wants to hold the alley paving issues for the July 11 meeting.  That's approved.

P1 – 922 Noyes St. medical office

Approved for introduction 7-0.

Fiske says she's opposed because wants retail and restaurant uses in the Noyes business district.

Vote to suspend the rules to take final action tonight fails because it's not unanimous.

H2 – Beekeeper license ordinance amendments

Fiske suggests amendment that notice be sent to adjacent property owners instead — sending to all "neighbors" — especially if have large apartment building next door would be onerous. But ask in notice that property owner notify tenants.

Revelle says she was interested in same kind of amendment. Says the chicken ordinance speaks to adjacent landowners.

Notice would be limited to abutters — people who share a property line.

Vote to introduce ordinance as amended carries 7-0.

Rules Committee items … all were held for the July 11 meeting.

Call of the wards

Fiske … asks about Alderman Holmes … is told she's watching the meeting … had surgery recently.

Meeting adjourned at 10:58 p.m.

Executive session that had been scheduled for tonight postponed until July 11.

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