Folks eager to implement the 10 “big ideas” developed by Evanston 150 to celebrate the city’s anniversary next year will gather Saturday morning at the Evanston Public Library over bagels and coffee, and maybe some cookies, to develop their plans. But Ponzi thinks they missed an idea.

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  1. We need more private investments not more public debt

    We participated in the Evanston 150 and quickly realized it was an event hijacked by local community activists who wanted their fantasy giveaways such as free beach access for everyone. None of our suggestions made it to the top 30, one was building a restaurant and convention center on the lake.

    The top 10 include a youth center, literary centers, a technical school, an indoor community market, a green waterpark and a community health center.

    If the Evanston 150 can get any of these from private investments and not local government financial assistance I am OK with it. But with everything else, these ideas sound like they would come with strings attached. Who's going to operate and maintain these buildings?

    The whole shebang sounds like another way to tap into local government resources and money and that means higher taxes. City taxes have gone up 17 percent in the past two years. Property and income taxes are up and school taxes will rise.

    D65 officials and it's Superintendent Hardy "Can I Have Another Pay Raise Please" Murphy wants to build a new Fifth Ward school at a cost of about $40-45 million. D65 board members are trying to convince everyone that the school district enrollment is bursting at the seams when in reality enrollment hasn't even reached the peak levels of 10 years ago. Consider that Roycemore wants to expand its enrollment and surely will siphon off more D65 students.

    The Citizens for a Greener Evanston is sponsoring an Evanston 150 workshop. I try to be green but this local green movement is getting out of hand. It seems it is anti-business: they want to ban grocery bags and nudge people through government mandates not to drive, plant gardens and shop at farmer markets.

    Why can't the CGE primarily focus on attracting startup green companies to Evanston? That would be productive, ease the tax burden on property owners and possibly lower our carbon footprints.

    1. 150 Event

      Al, I too was at the 150 event and heard about many ideas that can't be paid for.  Yet there are a few very good  green ideas that deserve an effort on our parts.  (a raise for the school superintendent is not one of them).  I continue to have hope for the lakefront development of a convention center in tandum with expansion of Northwestern's campus. The idea resides at NU since late last year. Don't lose hope in this effort.  It is alive and kicking.  More to come during this year.


  2. Ponzi’s economics

    Ponzi wants to 'cut taxes', but also complains that free beaches will mean less revenue. 

    This is the same Ponzi who complains about increases in the water rates. 

    Won't cutting taxes result in less revenue too? 

    If Ponzi wants the city to rely on fees instead of taxes for revenue, I would expect him to welcome higher fees in water rates (we still have some of the cheapest water in the country).

    And if Ponzi doesn't like the idea of free beaches, and wants to cut city services…  should we start in Ponzi's back yard, with the North Branch library and the Chandler-Newberger community center?

    Does Ponzi want a balanced budge, or lower taxes?  (No Laffer-Kemp nonsense…you can't have both).  Does Ponzi want fewer city services, or branch libraries?    Enquiring minds want to know.

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