Evanston’s Electoral Board is scheduled to hear challenges to the nominating papers for three mayoral candidates and one candidate for city clerk Monday morning.

The challenges to mayoral candidates Gary Gaspard, Steve Hagerty and Mark Tendam were filed by William Arndt of 514 Ridge Ave., a contributor to the campaign of another mayoral candidate, Brian Miller.

Information on the basis for those challenges wasn’t immediately available.

Challenges to the papers of clerk candidate Devon Reid were filed by Lynne Greene, the wife of his opponent, incumbent City Clerk Rodney Greene, and by long-time Evanston resident Joan Hickman, a member of the city’s Public Safety Civil Service Commission.

Greene told the Chicago Tribune he didn’t know his wife was planning to file the challenge until after she’d done it.

Lynne Greene’s challenge to Reid contends that a statement of economic interest wasn’t filed along with his petitions. Reid argues that the law allows that to be filed later.

The Electoral Board meeting is scheduled to be held at 11 a.m. Monday in Room 2404 of the Civic Center.

The board is chaired by Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. The other members of the board are aldermen Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, and Ann Rainey, 8th Ward and Clerk Greene, who will recuse himself from the issue involving the clerk’s race.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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    1. I agree, but it should be an independent commission

      I am disappointed that ballots are being challenged at all.

      This isn't Chicago, after all: I'd like to think in Evanston we respect the voice of the people rather than nitpicking whether all I's have been dotted and T's been crossed. Even though this is a legal use of the system, I don't like the implications of candidates or their supporters making an end-run around voters by removing their competition.

      I'd go even further than Biss suggested and have an independent panel, maybe at the state level (like the one for parents challenging the school system?) County politics and local politics are pretty heavily intertwined.

      1. Ballot Challenge

        My attorneys called City Corporation Counsel to advise of the law or to make an honest inquiry as to the position of the City but he did not deign to respond to two phone calls. Apparently, this matter was not important enough for him to take the time to study the issue and respond to legal inquiries. Not being aware of the laws and City referundum on the matter is no excuse. Not making the time to respond to inquiry or even study the issue on a legal matter over which that office has responsibility is derelict not to mention irresponsible to the citizens of Evanston. There was plenty of time for the Corporation Counsel to respond but apparently a determination of the legal status of the election cycle and appropriate dates for acceptance of petitions was not seen as important by the legal representative of the City. What else may we conclude? Let's follow the letter of the law if that's not asking too much. And, let's have a City government that is that strives to adhere to the letter of the law is or change to one that thinks strictly legal is basic element of governance. Clearly, the Corporation Counsel and the Electoral Board must strive to give the citizens of Evanston excellence in electoral matters as well as in every other area of municipal governance. Anything less is simply unacceptable. And, in this case, the objection is valid under the law as outlined by the State Election Board cited in the Roundtable article which prompted the challenge. The board must act to uphold the law and the referundum passed by the citizens of Evanston governing this matter. Or maybe following the law would be inconvenient and in misalignment with some peoples political objectives.

        1. Legally silencing the people is still silencing the people

          If these issues are really a concern, they could easily be used to educate voters via campaign materials. Finding a legal loophole to make decisions on behalf of the people still stinks, and speaks very badly of you and your candidate.

          You should be ashamed to behave this way in Evanston, and your candidate should be ashamed that he didn't publicly ask you to drop this challenge. 

          1. Sorry that you feel that way..

            Apparently, you didn't understand the point of my comment. I am not ashamed of exercising my right to seek clarification of Evanston's election laws by a duly constituted electoral Board comprised of the Mayor, City Clerk and the senior alderman. The City Counsel did not tender an opinion prior to the filing deadline when requested to do so. That was wrong and lead to this next step. Perhaps you don't understand the process. We have laws and procedures that are in place to guide our conduct. When there is a question, we seek an opinion and then a ruling. I have every confidence that the Mayor and her Board will act within the guidelines of the State Elections law and the City referendum and ordinances to arrive at the proper decison on the matter. Anything less would compromise our legal system which is what lead to this chaotic situation in the first place. Do you think that it was to much to ask the City Corporation Counsel what the laws was? Do you think that seeking a legal decision on Evanston Election Law by the Electoral Baord to clarify how we conduct our elections is wrong? Just what is the law? I don't know and doubt that you do either as it has not been established in this case. That's what's great about our legal system.  And, after an election, we can seek a recount, too, if there are grounds to do so. It's called the American Way and I am proud that we live in a country that provides for due process. And, as a result, everyone will know just what the law is in Evanston pertaining to Primary and General elections for municipal officers. 

          2. Deceitful and Disingenuous

            Deceitful and disingenuous arguments only make your agenda and motives more distasteful. Mark Tendam and Steve Hagerty are the two most qualified and capable candidates. Brian Miller is neither. He has proven himself an embarrassment. Miller's only chances of winning the mayoral race occurs by the obstructing competent candidates for the ballot. Your petition is an undertaking to deprive the voters of their right to decide. The greater offense is depriving Evanston of competent leadership.

          3. I am surprised at your comment


            I am surprised that you would term my statement to be deceitful and disingenuous. It's easy to get carried away, I suppose. Your comment says more about you than what is happening in reality as a point of law. Frankly, the ordinances surrounding elections in the City are unclear and need to be clarified.

            This is that opportunity. I would refer you to an excellent  FAQ article written by candidate Jeff Smith on the topic to see just how confused this matter is and how the City has botched the matter of elections in the past..


             My point has always been that all of this would have been unnecessary had the City Corporation Counsel done his job in the first place. rather than ignoring the calls by the attorney for an opinion. I have no problem seeking clarification and, should the actual law be determined by the Electoral Board or in the Courts, we will all finally know how to conduct elections in Evanston. That is the whole point of my objection. No one knows what the laws are in Evanston regarding elections. Resolution of these questions will serve as an improvement over the current situation. 

            On your point of qualifications of candidates, I think that that is subject to individual interpretation. Of the two that you mention, one is in recovery, if I am to believe his statements in the press over the past year. I am hopeful of his success in that.The other is unknown to me and, like Bruce Rauner or Donald Trump, he has never held public office.  So, who is to say at this point? 

            I live in a Ward that I feel has been ignored in many ways by the City administration in relation to other areas and has had a string of alderman that have done little to improve our situation. One Alderman was unavailable so that we had to contact Alderman Ann Rainey to get proper action from the our own Alderman with regard to robberies in our neighborhood. The next was well liked but left for greener pastures without accomplishing much. Brian Miller was appointed by the Mayor last year and is the past President of the Democratic Party here in Evanston. Those seem like good credentials to those of us in the 9th Ward for a start. I met him shortly thereafter. He has demonstrated to many of us in the Ward that is wis willing to work on behalf of the people in our community. He is young and idealistic, grew up here and appears to have the best interests of the people in Evanston as his motivation. Like the others, he's not perfect but we are coming to know and trust him. 

            In my case, specifically, he has been most helpful in getting the City to be more active in the fight against rats that infest Evanston. I've had bait boxes out here in each of the last three years and I am tired of the City's half hearted effort to combating these plague carriers. In any event, we will be electing another alderman in what appears to be the seat that no one really wants. I hope that the next one stays for a while as we need help in City Hall here on the other side of the tracks. 

            Frankly, I think that Alderman Miller would have a better chance of being elected in a field of five than up against one or two other candidates. I don’t think that fewer candidates would be to his advantage. And, I never thought that any one would ever be bounced off the ballot given the nature of the challenge and the normal outcomes of local Electoral Boards here in Cook County and Illinois. Did you know that the Statutes governing petitions alone are 70 pages? This is a highly regulated, complex and litigious field. This case is an opportunity to clarify the law but some have seen it as an opportunity to discredit an opponent. I learned long ago that obfuscation and the smear are generally the first things that one must face when taking action in a political way. Most candidates have surrogates cast aspersions. I assume that is the case here. I believe that I have been forthright in my statements in this forum and stand by them. Each of us sees the world through our personal prism. I think that I am doing a service to call attention to a matter that could have been dealt with by the person that taxpayers hired to do the job but did not for whatever reason. The end result will provide a better situation for all of the voters and candidates and, most likely, better election outcomes. At least that is my motivation. I don't know who you are Pauil, but I am happy that you have had your opportunity to express yourself albeit in a misguided and sad way.

          4. Candidates & leadership

            Mr Arndt,

            I do not know you, but I am sure that you do support Mr Miller and his campaign for mayor. I think the attempt to remove candidates from the ballot, while distasteful to many, is something that has long been done by candidates to further their political careers. I do not agree with arguing technicalities when their appears to be strong support for all four candidates (now five), but realize that a candidate will try to gain an electoral advantage as early as possible.

            I am not an attorney, so I may be naive, but I don't understand how corporation counsel would be able to offer a decision on election law when he/she may have to help the Electoral Board interpret it. If counsel had offered a decision, which was challenged by a candidate, who would serve in their place? Would the city have to hire an outside attorney?

            I hope that our mayoral candidates will run on their records. Mr Miller has served as alderman, political party leader and adviser to Commissioner Suffredin; Mr Hagerty as a businessman and civic leader; Mr Tendam as 6th ward alderman and community leader; Mr Gaspard as a civic activist and township supervisor; and Mr Smith, as an attorney, advocate and community organizer.

            Personally, I do not see your candidate's record as a leader during his tenure on Council. He may have some good ideas, but I don't see him working to solve problems. Just making others aware of the problems, some of which I think everyone is willing to acknowledge. A leader not only identifies problems but determines how to solve them and bring his/her colleagues on board. I can't think of one instance where Mr Miller worked with Council and/or staff to craft public policy. Maybe that demonstrates independence, but it doesn't move proposals forward.

            His suggestion that the law on bicycle lights be abolished would not have done anything, as the city's code mimics State law, which our police enforce. If indeed he feels that African-American men are being unfairly stopped using this law, and he is not alone, then he should lead discussions with the police department to change their policy on stops. He wants additional park programming. I think a number of people agree. Work with the other aldermen to develop a strategic plan which includes expansion of park programming and the funding to support it. Don't just complain.

            We should make our decisions on our vote for mayor based on the record of each of the men running, not on innuendo or personal attacks. The fact that you liken Mr Hagerty to Mr Rauner and Mr Trump, implies that he will govern in the same manner as these two men. I see nothing he has said or done that would make me believe that he would be divisive and not supportive of all Evanstonians.

            And the fact that you imply that someone in recovery is less qualified to hold office goes beyond the pale. To quote Joseph Welch, "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" 

            I look forward to an open discussion of the issues, letting each of the candidates express their vision of Evanston and how they hope to achieve it. I hope Mr Miller, and all of the candidates, will present a plan for Evanston that is positive, inclusive, fiscally smart and progressive. And after hearing their plans, Evanstonians can then vote for the type of leadership they want. 

          5. 9th Ward Alderman

            At least the previous 9th Ward Alderman actually communicated with all 9th citizens via regularly-issued newsletters and emails that summarized what was discussed at Ward community meetings.  Mr. Miller never even took notes at the few community meetings he held.  I know because I asked him. It was obvious to me the 9th was just a quick stepping-stone to add to the resume for loftier career ambitions.

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