Evanston aldermen agreed on a dozen priority projects for the city staff Monday amid a general focus on generating revenue and growth for the community.

The dozen items were culled from a list of 39 presented by City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz with a few additions and modifications by the aldermen.

Faced with declining city revenue as a result of the recession, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said “we need to make money.” Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, said, “I chose mostly things that are revenue generating.” And that was a theme repeated by several other council members.

Economic development had no trouble making it on the list of priorities, although it was not entirely clear what specific changes the aldermen want from current practices — beyond more results.

The aldermen also indicated that some topics may get a dramatically different approach.

For example, they agreed that affordable housing should be on their priority list.


Evanston aldermen agreed on a dozen priority projects for the city staff Monday amid a general focus on generating revenue and growth for the community.

The dozen items were culled from a list of 39 presented by City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz with a few additions and modifications by the aldermen.

Faced with declining city revenue as a result of the recession, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said “we need to make money.” Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, said, “I chose mostly things that are revenue generating.” And that was a theme repeated by several other council members.

Economic development had no trouble making it on the list of priorities, although it was not entirely clear what specific changes the aldermen want from current practices — beyond more results.

The aldermen also indicated that some topics may get a dramatically different approach.

For example, they agreed that affordable housing should be on their priority list.

But just a few years ago that meant imposing taxes on market-rate developers in an effort to force production of new affordable housing units.

Monday the mayor spoke of affordable housing in terms of keeping taxes affordable and expanding the city’s tax base so Evanston can remain a diverse community. “Current policies need to be revisited,” she said.

Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, said the priority should be “trying to save homeowners who currently own their homes” rather than building new affordable housing. “Maybe last year it was different,” Jean-Baptiste added.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said of affordable housing, “It’s not necessary to provide more city funds, but to develop more effective policies.”

And Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, said the city should focus on providing workforce housing for current residents.

Several recent affordable housing projects developed by non-profit groups have been caught in the housing market crunch, with units sitting vacant and requiring ever-deeper city subsidies. And to find any buyers at all, the agencies developing the projects have often ended up selling units to people from outside of Evanston.

And, when it came to lakefront development some aldermen focused, as Jean-Baptiste put it, on finding “new revenue-generating uses.”

Grover said, “we need better ways to make use of and profit from the lakefront.”

That may suggest a future conflict with activists in the Southeast Evanston Association, who by coincidence were holding their annual meeting at the library at the same hour. They’ve generally opposed any expansion of commercial or revenue-generating uses along the shore and heavily influenced the city’s recently adopted lakefront master plan.

The aldermen agreed that redeveloping the Robert Crown Center should be a top priority, suggesting that since the ice rink program there generates revenue from the city, letting it fall into disrepair is causing the city to miss an opportunity to increase its revenue stream.

And they agreed to take a broader look at capital improvement program planning to come up with a better way of prioritizing facilities projects — and funding deferred maintenance on city buildings including the Civic Center.

The aldermen added two topics that hadn’t been on the city manager’s list — a focus on community safety, suggested by Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, and finding ways to fund public safety pensions, suggested by Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward.

Rounding out the list of a dozen priorities were:

  • Budget planning
  • The climate action plan
  • Efficiency and effectiveness of services
  • Federal/state/regional government affairs
  • Cooperation with Northwestern University

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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24 Comments

  1. I found it interesting that
    I found it interesting that Jeff Smith was the ONLY candidate for State Representative there at the City Council meeting. The next State Representative for Evanston, Willamette, New Trier, and Rogers Park area is going to need to work closely with municipal, as well as the federal government, to get things done. Jeff was there and was engaged afterwards with others who attended the meeting. Of course this was after he was sure to be at the 49th Ward Meeting and the Southeast Evanston Association Meeting. Seems to me that the other candidates (Patrick, Eamon, Robyn, and Ed) need to pull their socks up and try to keep up!

  2. So, the priority is not for
    So, the priority is not for the city government to create an environment inducing productive individuals to eagerly flock to Evanston. Just like the Three Stooges, their real priority is to somehow pick our pockets for some harebrained money making scheme without being too obvious about it.

    The private economy – that’s the real economy of jobs and useful goods and services – is going through a major restructuring involving capital reallocation, productivity enhancements and price cuts while the tax-feeders in our city government dream of more free money acquired at gunpoint from our most productive residents.

    Here’s a clue folks: How about dismantling the decrepit and incredibly wasteful public school monopoly and allowing parents to have their children educated in any way they see fit. The ensuing competition for school children will result in all kinds of schools appearing. If they fail to offer affordable and effective schooling, they will go bankrupt as parents take their business elsewhere. As we have discovered to our lasting misfortune, there is no such thing as a failed public school monopoly, only an underfunded one! The educrats will screech to the heavens, but nothing other than incompetence will prevent any of them from starting their own schools and offering their services to parents for a fee.

    The resulting educated workforce as well as the drastic reduction in property taxes will act as a magnet attracting plentiful jobs and producing prosperity for all in our town. But of course none of this will happen until the monopoly gun is extracted from the cold dead fingers of the education bureaucracy.

    1. abolish the public school monopoly! good idea!
      “Here’s a clue folks: How about dismantling the decrepit and incredibly wasteful public school monopoly and allowing parents to have their children educated in any way they see fit. The ensuing competition for school children will result in all kinds of schools appearing. If they fail to offer affordable and effective schooling, they will go bankrupt as parents take their business elsewhere”

      Yes..we can follow the glorious example of Pakistan, where the public schools were inadequate or nonexistant. Fortunately, the Saudi Royal family was generous enough to fund private religious schools for the children.

      It would be nice to see the Sarah Palin Institute of Creation Sciences compete for students with ETHS.

      1. Or we could follow Belgium’s
        Or we could follow Belgium’s example. Schools are publicly funded but parents are able to send their children to any one of their choosing. The ensuing competition between schools for students keeps them producing positive results. It also produces students whose level of education is years beyond what we provide in the States. I guess that doesn’t quite fit so easily with your Pakistan example. By the way, I would love to see the Sarah Palin Institue of Creation Sciences compete for students in Evanston. Could you imagine the enrollment numbers? HUGE!

        1. Belgium?
          “Or we could follow Belgium’s example.

          We could, I suppose, follow Belgium’s example. And how is Belgium really doing?

          In addition to learning basic skills (reading, mathematics, science, NPV) and critical thinking skills necessary to have an enquiring mind, one of the purposes of our (US) public education system is to assimilate people of various ethnic, religious, and social backgrounds. It hasn’t always been perfect, of course. Those who don’t want to be assimilated (often religious types, like Orthodox Jews or Catholics when anti-Catholicism was prevalent in the public schools) were free to set up their own schools or homeschool. But do we want to encourage that? Do we want to make it easier?

          Belgium is different. In Belgium, the Flemish and Walloons (and Germans) have wanted to keep their separate identities, and educational system has been set up to accomodate this.

          What will the result be? Perhaps Belgium will go the way of Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia. (This is not absurd speculation..see the difficulties that the country has had putting together a stable government recently .) And how well are immigrants absorbed into Belgian society?

          Do we want that in this country?

      2. School test scores vrs. a wider criteria for good schools
        I think everyone agrees testing is needed, just not what tests, how often, and are students just ‘taught to the test.’
        I’d suggest wider criteria for what schools pass mustard and which need to be replaced/taken over.
        Schools should also be judged on some of the following and increases of percentage increasing each year until a high level [90%] are met:
        1. Students graduating high school in four years
        2. Students attending college
        3. Students passing AP tests
        4. Students taking classes at local colleges while in high school
        5. Students not going to college attending vocational training programs.
        6. Students not going to college obtaining jobs at graduation—and not being fired in under two years.
        7. Parents attending PTA and Board meetings
        8. Parents required to meet with teachers at least four times a year
        9. Parents spending time helping their children with studies and/or while the child does homework, the parents set an example and read/study themselves.
        10. Teachers with at least a Masters in their field—e.g. Math not Math for Education or a Masters in Education

        Schools not seeing progress in these areas after a two year transition, having to reconstitute and provide alternative educational programs that will receive the funding that had gone to the fail school.
        Locally parents [university educated] say that the elementary programs are o.k. [though some schools are dangerous], the High School is good [though again dangerous] if the students can get into the right ‘track’ and can supplement the offerings at a local college. However the Middle Schools are felt to be inadequate—teachers not versed in their subject and having to teach such a wide range of students that the good students get bored and lose interest until High School—hopefully they will not have become so broken by then that they don’t recover. I certainly see the result with even Northwestern Univ. students who major in soft subjects like journalism, speech, music, communications and have minimal math and science skills—in fact almost remedial courses have to be offered in those areas for these majors.

        Of course the drop-outs are not included in the statistics and they become a major problem for society.

        Currently the teachers seem more interested in their unions than teaching and certainly Congress has supported the unions in anything they want instead of the quality of the education. The school boards and administration are constantly increasing their budgets and staffing even as enrollment decreases and the quality of education falls. We should get the quality of the education back on track first before inflating the bureaucracy. More schools/districts need to be run by people like Michelle Rhee of the D.C. schools.

        Parents say the teachers convey to the students that they—the teachers—know what is needed and don’t listen to the parents—I’ve heard this from both Evanston and Naperville parents. Thus more and more parents want to change schools even if it requires moving, change to private or Catholic [even when they are not Catholic] or home school [for educational not religious reasons]. One parent said his child loved reading and mathematics but the teacher kept calling the parents in saying the child was progressing too fast ! and should stay at the same level as her classmates—“no winners, no loosers, just a homogenous bland education.” The parent started home schoolingand says “My 14-yr-old took physics, calc and Latin (4th year) this past year. Somehow I don’t think her 8th grade counterparts in the government schools are doing the same”—and this despite her spending time in the Lyric Opera’s chorus when children are needed !

        Congress and past Presidents seem to recognize that the pubic schools are a failure—they send their children to private schools—but deny vouchers, transfers, alternative schools to not only the middle class but poor children.

        1. Wow, do I disagree with you
          First, the majority of your “criteria” are based on the ability of the child. With or without a strong education at school many children (with lots of support from parents) will obtain these goals. The key is whether the teachers are able to educate the more difficult children – those with IEPs and learning differences, and those without support from home. Thus the testing. How would you determine whether a child has progressed without some sort of testing? I’m sure that at your job you are measured – and that you do not always think it is a fair and accurate measure of your work.

          All of your talk about parent involvement and “dangerous” schools (many of us call that diversity and have chosen to live in Evanston for that reason) makes me think you would be much happier north where the demographics are much more homogenenous. Frankly, that is the environment I was raised in and feel my children are receiving a MUCH better, more rounded education here in Evanston. There is no single correct answer for all children and families, so please stop degrading the system many of us love.

          1. choose your words carefully
            Be careful on your broad brush statement that children with IEP’s are ‘difficult children’. Some children with IEP’s are actually more intelligent than their classmates, but have other issues such as physical disabilities or behavioral manifestation brought on by issues such as sensory integration disorder.

            Perhaps you meant to say that in general children with IEP’s have a difficult time learning? And even that statement is very broad.

          2. actually …
            I have two children with IEP’s and yes, typically these children require more effort to educate. Whether it is because they are gifted, have physical disabilities or sensory issues, mentally challenged or anywhere inbetween, they usually are more difficult to educate – if they didn’t require some sort of additional effort or accomodation, they wouldn’t have an IEP in the first place. I am in no way maligning kids with IEPs and I truly believe that their inclusion – what ever their reason for an IEP – benefits ALL children (thus my arguement that judging schools by how many kid go to college or pass AP tests is ridiculous).

        2. Please share…
          Here’s your comment:

          “Locally parents [university educated] say that the elementary programs are o.k. [though some schools are dangerous]… .”

          Please share the names of those schools so that your conclusions can be debated. That way, we don’t have this nebulous “some schools are dangerous” hanging out there with everyone just assuming the schools to which you are referring.

          Here are the questions that you need to answer:

          — What are the names of the Evanston elementary schools that local parents have told you are dangerous?

          — And do those parents actually know any students who attend to those schools? If not, how do those parents reach the conclusion that those schools are dangerous?

          I have a feeling that I know that at least one of the schools on your list. If it is, you couldn’t be more wrong. But please share that list so that those conclusions can be debated. Thank you.

        3. Oh, John F, you’ve been very quiet
          After you bashed some unnamed Evanston elementary schools being dangerous, I asked you to name those schools. I also asked you to explain how the parents who shared those sage words with you know that these schools are dangerous. But nary a peep from you in these past few days.

          But why the silence? Don’t the parents of Evanston youngsters deserve your wisdom so that they can keep their children safe? If there are dangerous schools, you should want to share that information so that we can protect our youngest students.

          I think that something else is going on with your statement and you need to examine why you made it. What are the demographics of the schools on your still-secret list?

          I’ll bet that I send my children to one of the schools on your secret list. And I have absolutely know doubt that they are as safe as the children in any other Evanston school, if not safer.

          Either back up your statements or be prepared to have someone call you on them. You should know that thoughtless, thinly-veiled insults can be damaging to good schools and their fine students. And you should be know that your children are listening. What are they learning when they hear your opinions on the schools where “those children” go?

      3. So, Mr. Who Knows, one can
        So, Mr. Who Knows, one can infer from your cartoonish caricature of freedom of choice, that Americans are smart enough to know which politicians to elect who will appoint competent bureaucrats to organize the public school monopolies to properly educate their children, but they’re too stupid to directly make the such schooling choices themselves.

        From among a vast array of consumer goods and services, we can be trusted to freely select the food we eat, the housing we live in, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the careers to pursue, the places to vacation…, but the very important issue of educating children, why that must be left up to experts who collect their charges and funds at gunpoint. Most needs in life today are satisfactorily provided by way of voluntary transactions in a competitive marketplace. No matter how fussy one’s needs or, how extravagant or modest one’s tastes the free market is always there to satisfy them. But, we are told, not in education. One is forced at gunpoint to pay for the public school monopoly whether one uses it or not. All in the name of some warm and fuzzy cultural and civic National Socialist oneness.

        So, having for generations spent huge sums per capita, how well have the experts with guns done in producing citizens and voters knowledgeable about their nation’s history, founding principles and the spirit of freedom? To be charitable, not very.

        From the comments of others, I get the impression, Mr Who Knows, that you are a teacher at NU. Good. Why don’t you give the short, civic literacy quiz available here

        http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/resources/quiz.aspx

        to your students, colleagues and, of course yourself. Keep in mind that the average score is 49%. I scored 97% on this easy test and kicked myself for not getting 100%.

        Perhaps I am old fashioned and civic literacy is now passe. Well then, how have the education experts with guns done in preparing their charges in coping with life’s daily demands for functional literacy? Those results are also pretty dismal. According to the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, only 13% of all American adults are capable of “feats” of literacy such as:

        1. comparing viewpoints in two editorials
        2. interpreting a table about blood pressure, age and physical activity
        3. computing and comparing the cost per ounce of food items.

        According to The National Survey of America’s College Students, only 37% of college graduates with at least a 4 year degree are capable of the above. We are not talking here about deconstructing Shakespeare or calculating the probability of a comet striking the earth. We are talking about getting by in life and understanding the issues that impact us as individuals and as a nation.

        Finally for a simultaneously hilarious, sad and frightening display of American illiteracy and ignorance see the following You Tube man-in-the-street interview.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WBtyG2OJvw

        It’s no wonder that the American public has tolerated generations of wars, preparation for war, economic plunder and erosion of civil liberties and property rights at the hands of the political class. The public school monopoly has done a superb job of incubating a docile, conformist and obedient citizenry militant in its ignorance. The ties that bind us are not diversity and tolerance as we are endlessly told. The ties binding us are the shackles of servitude. The threat to our liberty and well being comes not from the Saudi Royal Family or from Sara Palin’s creationist fantasies. That threat comes from the lack of freedom of choice in education.

        1. warm and fuzzy National Socialists?
          “All in the name of some warm and fuzzy cultural and civic National Socialist oneness.”

          What?? What’s so warm and fuzzy about the National Socialists?

          I never suggested that private schools, or even homeschooling, should be outlawed. If people wish to send their kids to schools where the ‘science’ class teaches creationism, or the ‘history’ classes focus on ‘historical events’ such as the Hebrew captivity in Egypt or the appearance of the Angel Moroni in America…then they have every right to do so. I believe that – like with health insurance – the public option should be available.

          As for your anecdotes – and that is what they are, anecdotes – about how uneducated Americans are, I just don’t buy it.

          1. After controlling for factors such as income and parents’ education, there is no convincing evidence that the graduates of private schools do any better on any assessments.
          2. When American students do poorly in comparison with other countries, it is worth noting that most of the countries at the top have strong public education systems.
          3. As for comment about not letting education be ‘ left up to experts ‘..it is this same paranoid right-wing rhetoric that keeps our country stupid. The idea that the ‘elitist’ experts should be ignored – whether they be economists with experience in NPV, or scientists talking about CO2 emissions, or people with knowledge of emergency management, or diplomats who warned about invading Iraq – was what made the Bush administration so bad. McCain tried to pander to the anti-intellectuals by choosing Palin and hanging out with “Joe the Plumber” (Samuel, who was not a plumber).
          This anti-intellectualism is at the heart of NIMBYism and their campaign against the tower. Despite the overwhelming evidence that development is good, the NIMBYs dismissed the ‘consultants’ and produced their own faux ‘analysis’ – even pretending that they know about NPV. The same was true with the Civic Center.

          4. You wrote “The public school monopoly has done a superb job of incubating a docile, conformist and obedient citizenry militant in its ignorance”…this too is laughable. Americans are docile, conformist, and obedient because our media – our corporate controlled, conservative media – promotes only certain ideas. CBS, NBC, and the New York Times would be considered right-wing stooges in most of the world, yet in America they are called the ‘liberal media’ while nutcases like Glenn Beck , Charles Krauthammer, and Lou Dobbs are given airtime as an alternative.

          The BBC and CBC – which are funded by the British and Canadian governments – actually provide a much more diverse range of viewpoints for enquiring minds than all of the private corporate ‘news’ sources in America.

          1. Gee, Mr Who Knows, you are a
            Gee, Mr Who Knows, you are a master of disinformation erecting strawmen to heroically demolish. You so cleverly dance around, refusing to acknowledge the focal point of my last post. I never said that experts are ruining America. I repeatedly argued against experts with guns! That’s a world of distinction.

            In short, I am arguing that society can be organized in one of two ways, through cooperation based on voluntary transactions (free markets) or through force backed by guns. Dictatorships, at one extreme, are by definition based on force. They are all run by experts with guns supported by kept intellectuals paid to justify the tyranny to the masses. And woe be to anyone who disagrees with someone holding a gun whether that be an expert or a robber! Are we to believe that experts backed by guns are any less motivated by self interest than anyone else just because they are on the public payroll or are the recipients of government contracts and privileges?

            There is nothing wrong with relying on experts. That is the basis of the division of labor. However government licensed monopolies, such as the public education system, are run by experts with guns looking out for their own interests. The entire system is based on force. Why should those experts whose livelihoods are secured by force care about whether their “customers” receive their money’s worth? As is the case with all coercive monopolists, they don’t, and the product shows it.

            It is disingenuous to claim as you do that parents are free to pursue alternative forms of education. That would be true except for a detail which you conveniently ignore. We are all forced to pay our share whether we choose to use the “service” or not! So, the only ones who can afford to pay twice and escape the system are the rich. The poor and much of the middle class are trapped with no freedom of choice, as was always the intention of public education advocates.

            The National Assessment of Adult Literacy which I refer to in my earlier post is not anecdotal as you claim. It is based on the testing of 19,000 adults. The designers of the survey, as you can read in their report, went to great efforts to select as broad a cross section of the adult population as statistically significant. If anything, the bar for entry into their highest literacy level is set awfully low so that Americans are even more functionally illiterate than the report would indicate. If this survey is anecdotal, then so is any study or survey in any field which generalizes from thousands to millions.

            I agree that the mainstream media are nothing more than propaganda organs. Unfortunately you’ve reversed cause and effect. Public school brainwashing begins at the age of 5, long before children show an interest in media beyond entertainment. By the time they start reading the editorial page of the New York Times, most are already state worshiping national socialists nodding their heads in agreement. If they weren’t, the mass media would have been out of business a long time ago.

            You seem to have a simplistic view of the world based on the phony left and right labels which you hurl around with abandon. You also seem to think that only religious loonies are dissatisfied with the public education monopoly. What today passes for left and right is nothing but worship of the gun as a tool of coercive social engineering both domestic and foreign. There is no room on that spectrum for those who believe that spontaneous social order can be maintained through voluntary cooperation. Left and right are the secular counterpart of religious creationism. The religious creationists cannot understand how complex life forms can evolve without an almighty being’s guiding hand, and the secular creationists cannot understand how complex, prosperous societies can emerge without the guiding hands of experts holding guns.

            The True Believers expected savior Obama and the Democrats, because they are not Republicans, to usher in a new age of enlightenment. Instead we are predictably living through what looks and feels like the first year of George Bush’s third term. Brown skinned people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are still being murdered by the thousands, those in Iran are next, the Bill of Rights is now denounced as a domestic terrorists’ fetish and Cap and Trade, a boondoggle for derivatives traders while a huge tax increase on the rest of us, is being proposed by power hungry charlatans to stop the unstoppable – climate change. And of course, the above Bushism via Obama is ok with the illiterate True Believers so long as they think that they will get “free” medical care.

            Oh, and I almost forgot. Out of solidarity with her president, Jan Schakowsky, Evanston’s “antiwar” liberal darling, had recently voted to fund the overseas carnage and to bailout the billionaire banksters. I guess that bullets fired by liberals don’t hurt, and wealth redistribution is still holy even if from the poor to the rich.

          2. Bravo
            Thank you MetaCynic for responding to Mr. Who Knows What?

            The educational oligopoly has failed miserably in its supposed purpose of educating children. The tax money destined for education belongs to the child, not to the oligopoly. Parents should use that money in the best interest of the child.

      4. Schools again use non-Evanston contractor
        Pioneer Press has a story about space usage at Evanston schools.
        Guess what, they again hire an out of city and even out of state
        contractor. Have the schools and city never heard about NU ?
        http://www.pioneerlocal.com/evanston/news/1972227,evanston-district-65-space-issues-010410-s1.article

        On Jan. 19, the School Board also is due to receive a demographic study from John Kasarda of Chapel Hill, N.C., who has done work for other suburban school systems in the Chicago area.

        In addition, using capacity figures they already have they have excess space so that extra students could be accomodated. Guess what they now re-evaluate and find they don’t have that space. Sounds like changing the rules so they can justify more building and staff.

  3. Soak ’em again, soak ’em again, harder, harder
    Ain’t this idea grand?

    “And, when it came to lakefront development some aldermen focused, as Jean-Baptiste put it, on finding “new revenue-generating uses.”

    Grover said, “we need better ways to make use of and profit from the lakefront.”

    Are they serious? We already need to purchase beach tokens to even put our toes on the sand of our own public beaches. What other ways can they soak the taxpayers to use their own public waterfront?

    Noisy, congested marina? Shove it in south Evanston — that was the plan and it stunk.

    Will the City impose a city licensing fee or additional taxes on the guys who pedal the bicycles to sell ice cream at the waterfront? Will they charge us if we bring towels or an umbrella or our own snacks? Will they charge us to park (bonus — keeps the riff raff away if there’s no free parking, don’t ‘cha know).

    It amazes me how much time our elected officials spend dreaming up ways to soak every nickel out of us — out-of-sight property tax bills, exorbitant water bills, expensive city stickers, obnoxious beach token fees, excessive trash and recycling fees, ridiculous burglar alarm licensing fees, etc. How about devoting 30 minutes at each City Council meeting exclusively to cutting costs?

    The new City Manager needs to put “cutting costs” on his “to do list”, no matter what the City Council says. The Evanston taxpayers will send his name to the Vatican for sainthood consideration if he can institute some discipline and get the City to curb its hog-wild spending.

    1. Might not be fatter fees
      It was impossible to tell for sure from the brief comments by the aldermen, but it’s also possible they were thinking of adding amenities like lakefront restaurants or other projects that would generate tax city revenue and new jobs without increasing fees.

      But then some folks don’t want to have commerce intrude on the lakefront either.

      — Bill

  4. Re: the city and saving money
    Who was the rocket scientist who thought that Maple Ave between Clark and Church needed “improvement”? Whose brother-in-law (father, uncle, grandson, etc.) got the contract and at what cost. Just wondering, that’s all!

  5. Naperville has to make same kind of cuts Evanston does
    Naperville cuts 22 employees, won’t fill 27 vacant positions
    Tribune staff report January 9, 2010
    Naperville cut 49 positions this week to help the city close a budget deficit, officials said Friday.
    The city eliminated 22 positions and 27 vacant positions to save $3.6 million a year, officials said. Combined with 43 positions eliminated last January, the cuts amount to 10 percent of the work force and will save the city about $7 million a year.
    Officials are trying to close an $11 million deficit this year.

  6. In comparison to Naperville, Evanston is way behind the curve
    Here’s what Naperville did THIS YEAR – laid off 10 percent of its employees, including 17 from the police department and two from the fire department.

    But more importantly, it’s what Naperville did LAST YEAR that is interesting. The city laid off 23 employees and eliminated 23 vacant positions. And, some city employees voluntarily took unpaid time off.

    In other words, Naperville was acting on budget shortfalls last year.

    In a span of one year, Naperville laid off and eliminated 92 city jobs.

    Evanston has laid off ZERO, NADA, ZILCH employees. And the proposal is to end 47 jobs – only four in the police department and one in the fire department.

    In addition, union employees, which is the vast majority of city employees, would still get an annual merit increase – non-union employees have no such luck.

    I’m not sure how many of the actual Evanston employees losing their jobs are union members but I suspect very few. It’s my understanding that the 17 library employees losing their jobs are not in the union.

    This is typical in this town when you have the PRESIDENT of the city union employees sitting on a budget task force, participating in budget recommendations. EVERY Council member and the mayor are Democrats who are clearly in bed with the unions on every government level.

    This, I believe, is the primary reason why NO city employees have been laid off during a three-year-long Recession and city budget shortfalls.

    No one is willing to bite the hand that feeds them.

    Instead, we see the city continue on with its tax increases to feed the machine.

    Reply:
    Two points …
    At the budget meeting today the AFSCME union leader who spoke said the library workers being laid off are union members.
    Also, the city manager is not proposing a property tax increase this year, although he is proposing an increase in fees for trash pickup.
    — Bill

  7. Greedy pig
    Someone’s gotta say it. The city of Evanston is a fat, bloated greedy pig. An intervention is needed. Governmentaholics Anonymous for all of you! Stop it already. Cut your damn spending. End of story.

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