Here’s a recap of our live coverage of Monday night’s Evanston City Council meeting.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.
A packet with information on the agenda items is available online.
Meeting called to order at 6:37 p.m.
All council members present except Suffredin.
Mayor Daniel Biss announces town hall meetings on city manager search on Tuesday, and redistricting on Wednesday.
Council gives standing ovation to retiring Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd). Biss says Braithwaite’s institutional knowledge has been enormously valuable.
Mayor presents plaque to Braithwaite and poses for pictures with him and members of his family.
Braithwaite wishes “all the success” to the rest of the council. Says city has an amazing staff and thanks them for their work. “I’m not going anywhere,” he says, “will be doing new things with more focus.”
Council members praise Braithwaite’s work and character.
Mayor presents plaque to Interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski, on her last day on the job.
Says “we wound up asking Kelley to do way more than she signed up for” — and she did it well. Says it presented enormous challenges in a time of real need.
Gandurski thanks the residents of Evanston “for taking a chance on me.” Says it’s been a pleasure to serve. Thanks the staff — especially Dave Stoneback and Luke Stowe who stepped up as deputy city managers … the department directors … and Chief Richard Eddington, who returned to service as interim police chief.
Says Evanston is a beautiful community, has a lot of resources to offer, and so much potential.
Council members praise her service.
Mayor reads proclamation honoring former Ald. Robin Rue Simmons for her work in winning passage of the city’s first in the nation reparations program.
Guaranteed income program update
150 community members will get $500/month more for one year.
Three eligible groups — people 18-24 and seniors and undocumented residents.
Applications open Aug. 15-29.
More info at: www.cityofevanston.org/gi
Research project as part of the program will be conducted by Northwestern University.
Rob Bush, president of Parks and Recreation Board, says opening parks 24 hours is “a solution in search of a problem.” Says should vote it down — or send it back to parks and recreation board to get some input from residents. Have had no input from residents.
Sue Loellbach, of Connections for the Homeless, says safety of residents is top priority. Homelessness doesn’t go away if you ignore it, she adds.
Special orders of business
SP1 – Changing vote required to hire a city manager
SP2 – Appointing Luke Stowe interim city manager
Approved 9-0. (Biss gets to vote on this item.)
Stowe gets a hug from Gandurski.
Off consent: A2, A8, F1, R1, P1, P2,CM1, H1, H2, H3, H6, HC1. (And possibly others)
Consent agenda approved.
R1 – Ranked choice voting referendum
Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) says could do petition process to get the item on the ballot — rather that have the city council do it. (He omits the distinction that a voter petition to put an item on the ballot would not be binding referendum — only an advisory one.)
Jason McDaniel, associate professor of political science at San Francisco State University, invited by Ald. Reid, speaks generally against ranked choice voting. Says it has the potential for negative consequences and that the benefits are exaggerated.
Eric Friedman, assistant executive director for public affairs of the New York City Campaign Finance Board, speaks in favor of ranked choice voting.
Alisa Kaplan of Reform for Illinois says numerous other studies show ranked choice voting increases turnout, contrary to what McDaniel says. Says it would eliminate low turnout primaries.
Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) says not voting to adopt ranked choice voting tonight — only to put a referendum on the ballot that would let the voters make the choice.
Approved 7-0-2. Burns and Reid abstain.
CM1 – Minutes
Revelle moves to amend minutes to indicate the noise ordinance was tabled to Aug. 8 meeting, not the July 25 meeting.
Amendment approved 9-0. Minutes as amended approved 9-0.
A2 – Amazon credit card activity
Approved 8-0-1. Suffredin abstains.
A8 – Approval of transfer of funds among general fund, solid waste fund and capital improvement fund
P1 – Location restrictions & P2 – Special use permit for Beacon Academy at 1026 Davis
Suspension of rules for adoption tonight approved. And both are given final approval 9-0 (with the second option selected in item P1).
F1 – CAFR
Skipped because of staff illness
H1 – Park hours
Reid moves to refer back to Human Services Committee. Burns seconds
Approved 6-3. Braithwaite, Wynne and Revelle vote no. (Appears those who voted no wanted to kill the proposal completely.)
H2 – Liquor rule changes
Reid says change he’s proposing would bring city ordinance in line with state code. Says would eliminate local prohibition on transporting an open container in the truck or non-passenger portion of a vehicle. Also would allow people to take cannabis into a public building or park, that’s now illegal under city ordinance.
Police Chief Richard Eddington says police are not over-enforcing this now — but where get into issues about aggressive panhandling — it provides an avenue of enforcing against panhandling (when victims of aggressive panhandling don’t want to file a complaint).
The chief says that at this point with the other issues the city is dealing with in the downtown area, would like to have the ordinance as a tool to address other problems.
Burns says should eliminate the ordinance to avoid over enforcement.
Wynne says she would like to takes the chief’s advice. Says she gets almost daily complaints about aggressive panhandling along Chicago area and downtown. Says residents are intimidated and bothered.
Chief says that without a victim willing to sign a complaint, he can’t enforce the aggressive panhandling ordinance, and few people are willing to sign complaints.
Braithwaite asks Reid, who are you trying to help? Without that it’s hard to be supportive, he says.
Revelle says the ordinance would encourage people to take liquor to the parks and hope that police don’t see them drinking it.
Fails 3-6. Burns, Reid and Geracaris vote for it.
H3 – Liquor and those under 21.
Makes purchase of cannabis by someone under 21 and ordinance violation. It would also remove attempt to purchase (liquor) as a violation.
Revelle moves amending the proposal to maintain attempting to purchase as a violation.
Doesn’t want people to be going from store to store trying to purchase.
Reid says its also illegal to present a false ID.
Suggests making “attempting” a ticket-able offense with a $50 fine.
Makes that as a friendly amendment to Revelle’s amendment.
Amendment approved 8-0.
Ordinance as amended is approved for introduction 8-0
H6 – Amending burglar’s tools ordinance to shift burden of proof
Shift the burden from the defendant to the prosecution. (Reid had previously sought to have the ordinance repealed in its entirety.)
Reid still argues for repealing the ordinance completely. But does not propose an amendment
Ordinance approved 8-0.
HC1- $1M of ARPA funds for One Stop Shop housing retrofit program
Revelle, Nieuwsma recuse themselves because they’re members of the Evanston Development Cooperative. Burns says he’s no longer a member of the co-op so he can vote for it.
Call of the wards
Nieuwsma — says will be ongoing discussion about Connections and the Margarita Inn.
Burns and Reid complain about decision to move forward with the ranked choice voting referendum.
Reid has ward meeting on last Thursday of the month at 6 p.m.
Braithwaite — thanks to all the residents for their comments, and for his family.
Nieuwsma moves for the City Council to go into executive session for personnel, real property, litigation and discussion of minutes of closed meetings.
Public meeting ends at 10:05 p.m.