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Recap: City Council

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

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

Meeting called to order at 9:03 p.m.

Mayor announces formation of a committee to explore alternatives to arrest. Three aldermen and other members recommended for the new committee, formal appointments to occur at next week’s meeting.

Announcements

Glenn Vanek is promoted to fire division chief.

Chief Vanek is sworn in for his new position by Deputy City Clerk Akasha Terrier.

Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration on Saturday. Various activities. Details here.

Officer and Gentleman Academy presentation. Officer Adam Howard discusses the new program. Presentation.

“Women of Substance” photo exhibit in council chambers. (The new set of photos that’s been displayed in the council chambers for a while now.)

Tom Sullivan from the Irvine Company says he’s thrilled to have the art the company is donating to Evanston stay in the Chicago area. Related story.

Introduction of RCN to Evanston. Tom McKay, general manager for RCN in Chicago, says RCN has been in the area since 1996, in parts of Chicago and in Skokie.

Last year expanded to Lincolnwood. Started work in Evanston earlier this year.

Says have 3,700 homes passed so far between Howard and Oakton … will be gradually expanding north from there.

Says offer ultra-fast speeds — up to 1 GB for downloads.

Public Comment

Chava Wu, president of the Woman’s Club board, says making progress in talks with 1714 Chicago development.

John Leisinger says he’s concerned about traffic on Foster from the 831 Emerson development.

Alex Morgan, former 3rd Ward aldermanic candidate, thanks Alderman Wynne for setting up townhall meeting schedule and regular office hours.

Tina Paden speaks about the number of homeless people in Evanston. Says she has 13 units in affordable housing programs, about half of her total units. Says hasn’t gotten any help from the city — just higher taxes and more inspections.

Madelyn Ducre says need more transparency for the City Council.

Priscilla Giles says new development is driving people out of town — higher rents, higher taxes.

Consent agenda

Items taken off the consent agenda…

A 3 – Honorary street name sign for Pope John XXIII School … taken off at request of Alderman Fiske.

P 2 – Downtown Plan expansion … held in committee.

P 4 – 831 Emerson planned development … off at the request of Alderman Fiske.

Appointment to Board of Ethics of Elizabeth Gustafson … off at request of Fiske.

Consent agenda approved.

A&PW Committee report

A 3 – Honorary street name for Pope John XXIII school

Fiske says rules for honorary street names say it’s supposed to be for a living person who’s made a contribution to Evanston. This — naming a street after the school — would set a precedent for changing the rules. Suggested honoring an individual associated with the school instead. But since haven’t done that, will be voting against it.

Holmes says she’s troubled that this wasn’t sent through the Parks and Recreation committee. Says aren’t following the correct process.

Miller, who pushed for the proposal, says the school applied six weeks before, will be having a 30th anniversary celebration for the school later this month. It’s just a $200 expense, Miller says.

City manager says it missed the last rec board meeting. Alderman Fiske requested that it be pulled from the last City Council meeting.

Rainey says while the pope is dead … the school is still live.

Fiske says the application says a person.

Holmes says there was a similar issue raised when Second Baptist Church was celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Wynne says there have been many organizations that have celebrated significant anniversaries — proclamations, and so forth. Says doesn’t think changing the rules on street names would be right.

Wilson says he’s told a bunch of people over the years that they couldn’t have a street named for an organization.

Holmes recommends having the mayor do a proclaimation instead.

Motion for street name fails 3-6. Braithwaite, Rainey and Miller vote in favor.

City manager promise to work on a proclamation and get it done.

Planning and Development Report

P2 – Amendment to downtown plan … held in committee.

P4 – 831 Emerson … vote to introduce the ordinance … 5-3 … motion passes … Fiske, Wynne and Revelle vote no.

(Tendam has left the meeting by this point.)

Board of Ethics appointment of Elizabeth Gustafson.

Fiske says doesn’t think it’s appropriate for the mayor to be making appointments to the board, since she’s named in an ethics complaint.

Approved 6-2. Fiske and Miller vote no

Call of the wards

Holmes … Y.O.U. open house Thursday at 7 p.m. … and 5th Ward meeting there.

Revelle … community meeting about Harley Clark…Wednesday, April 26, in Parasol Room at Civic Center.

Rainey … says would like to hear more about situation with homeless families that Tina Paden mentioned during public comment.

Braithwaite … April 25 … Housing Opportunites for Women affordable housing proposal for 2215 Dempster to be discussed at Erie Community Health, 6 p.m.

Wynne … Thursday, April 27, ward meeting at Lincoln School. Makes reference to Plan Commission re limiting public storage locations

Wilson … joint 3rd and 4th meeting at Prairie Moon, 7 p.m. May 7, re the Albion development on Sherman Avenue.

City Council Meeting adjourned at 10:32 p.m

Rules Committee meeting

Called to order at 10:33 p.m.

Public Comment

Junad Rizki …. says the incoming mayor is a director at First Bank & Trust … mayor has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers. 

Madelyn Ducre … asks who’s on the Rules Committee.

Alderman Wilson, who’s chairing the meeting, says all the aldermen and the mayor are members.

Policy on Banking

City manager says adopted current policy in 2012 as a five year contract.

Fiske says she has concern about mayor serving on bank board. Asks whether it’s compensated and whether it’s conditioned on bank performance.

Bobkiewicz says Hagerty is compensated for his service. Says Hagerty says he’s reviewing his service on the board and hasn’t decided whether he’ll make a change in that service.

Alderman Miller recalls the Chicken & Waffles situation where First Bank had the first mortgage, and city had a second mortgage — and ended up losing out when the loan went bad.

Braithwaite asks about aldermen who may have accounts at FB&T.

Told not a problem.

Wilson says will get RFP, will have time to discuss then.

No other action taken

Policy on Advertising

Bobkiewicz says city tries to advertise with all the publications that serve Evanston — to spread the media dollars around.

Wilson says some people had spoken about concerns regarding comments on one publications.

Says he looked at some other publications, says people say all kinds of awful things in comments on all kinds of publications.

Says doesn’t have any solutions to offer.

Asks about budget for advertising?

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says have ad line item in several areas also have have large expense for annual report of expenses in the RoundTable.

Said $59,000 in payments for those entities… mostly to Pioneer Press/Tribune for legal notices and bids.

Wilson … thinks wants to split out the legal notices from the marketing/promotional items.

Lyons … reads list of ad spending … about $2,200 for Evanston Now … goes into partial list for RoundTable… doesn’t have numbers for Review.

Fiske … asks if could spend the money on getting people to sign up for city mailing lists.

Bobkiewicz says have been reducing spening on advertising, but people want to get information in many different ways

Recommends “staying the course.”

Miller says don’t have standards for where spending advertising dollars. Says have complaints that Evanston now is biased.

Could spend on Fox News, but we’re not spending there, Miller says.

Pat Efiom, the city’s new equity and empowerment coordinator, says in looking at concerns of parties… language isn’t always nice …but to call it racism and stop advertising would be detrimental. Says there’s nothing there to say that we shouldn’t advertise.

She says publications sometimes use language that doesn’t always portray persons in the best light. “I may not like the way they say what they say, but they’re publishing the facts,” she says.

Says would rather see comprehensive policy on what is racism and where draw the line, rather than just looking at advertising question.

Shouldn’t make a quick decision on this because it really isn’t fair, Efiom says.

Rainey says those who were criticizing became bullying and conducted very sophisticated bullying campaigns and “I felt I was a victim of that.” Says online ads let people click on the ad and go right to the city’s website. “If we want to drive people to the city website we buy the small ads and they’ll go to the website,” Rainey says

Efiom says there’s a need to develop policy about what entire community is thinking.

Rainey says a lot of the bullying was coming from Caucasian women.

Efiom says have to consider how to not be speaking on behalf of others, but allow other voices to be heard.

Braithwaite says spending last year was about $1,700 on Evanston Now, $10K on the RoundTable and $49K+ on the Chicago Tribune.

Fiske says back in the day the Evanston Review required name and address for letters. Says she opposes anonymous comments. Says want to spend advertising dollars where it will reflect the values of the community.

Wilson says it doesn’t actually work to require real names. During the recent election campaign, he says, people were subjected to wicked and vicious comments on Facebook. Says people who posted something completely legitimate were just attacked. It carried over into school parking lots in the community. That accounts for why people feel strongly about anonymous posting. People don’t feel safe or comfortable saying what they want to say under their real name. Some poeple, he says, have even become afraid of putting a  “Black Lives Matter” sign in their yard because of the possible repercussions.

Tisdahl says when we try to contorl the press by spending or not spending $1,000 with Evanston Now we’re on a slippery slope.

Says she’s worried about people who say they’re speaking for other people.

Says hopes won’t go into the land of trying to control the press.

Fiske says she’s very aware of people who have been blocked from Evanston Now of posting anything at all.

Vote is to place the report on file.

Rules committee adjourned.

Council votes to go into executive session at 11:16 p.m.

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