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‘I’ve lived in Evanston since …’

What’s it matter how long someone’s lived in Evanston?

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, posed that provocative question on her message board this afternoon.

"Why do people feel they have to preface a discussion with how long they have lived in Evanston?" the alderman asked, adding, "I don’t give a ‘d’ how long you have lived here — 20 years or 20 minutes — unless of course you want to discuss what it was like to shop at Marshall Fields at Church and Sherman. Does it matter to you?"

Anybody who’s ever listened to public comment at a City Council meeting has undoubtedly observed the phenomena of which the alderman speaks — speaker after speaker starting their remarks by noting that they’ve lived here most of their life, or that their family traces its roots here back to the Civil War.

Is that a persuasive rhetorical strategy, or a waste of breath? Your comments appreciated.

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