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City to file away critical letters

If you write a letter criticizing city government and ask to have it read at an Evanston City Council meeting, forget about it.

Aldermen Monday rejected the idea of reading such letters aloud or making copies of them readily available to the public.

About all the aldermen seemed willing to agree to was a suggestion from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz that a single copy of the letter be placed in a binder at the back of the Council Chambers where citizens could look at it during the meeting.

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, asked whether there would be a way to make copies of such letters available at the meeting or make them available online.

But Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said, “I want to avoid putting ourselves in the position of publishing a lot of stuff for people who aren’t coming to the meetings. Ask the newspaper to run an ad for you, we shouldn’t bear the burden of putting other people’s information out for them.”


If you write a letter criticizing city government and ask to have it read at an Evanston City Council meeting, forget about it.

Aldermen Monday rejected the idea of reading such letters aloud or making copies of them readily available to the public.

About all the aldermen seemed willing to agree to was a suggestion from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz that a single copy of the letter be placed in a binder at the back of the Council Chambers where citizens could look at it during the meeting.

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, asked whether there would be a way to make copies of such letters available at the meeting or make them available online.

But Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said, “I want to avoid putting ourselves in the position of publishing a lot of stuff for people who aren’t coming to the meetings. Ask the newspaper to run an ad for you, we shouldn’t bear the burden of putting other people’s information out for them.”

Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, suggested the city’s legal department should review any such letters before they’re made available to the pubic.

“If something comes in that’s defamatory, we don’t want to take the responsibility of republishing it,” Jean-Baptiste said.

After the meeting the letters would become part of the meeting record, which citizens could gain access to my making a request to the city clerk’s office.

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