Here’s a recap of our live coverage of Tuesday night’s Evanston City Council meeting.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m.
A packet with information on the agenda items is available online.
Meeting called to order at 5:50 p.m.
Mayor Daniel Biss chairs the meeting. All nine council members are present.
(At about 5:58 p.m. the meeting was disrupted by what appears to have been an instance of “Zoom-bombing,” and the mayor recessed the session to address the “technical issue.” Shortly thereafter the live video feed to YouTube dropped. But the video feed to cable channel 16 continued. The YouTube video feed was restored about 6:06 p.m. Meeting resumed at 6:09 p.m.)
City Manager Luke Stowe introduces a staff member and an Arts Council member to announce the planned unveiling at the Evanston Public Library of a sculpture of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable and other upcoming arts events.
Police Chief Schenita Stewart presents a report on the state of the police department.
She says crimes against property are up 1%, crimes against persons are down 4% and crimes against society are down 6% for the period November 2022 through August 2023.
Says department has seen a 5% increase in sworn staff during that period and hopes to see further staffing gains in the future.
(About 6:25 p.m. the chief’s presentation is disrupted by chanting from people opposed to the Ryan Field redevelopment project. Chief is able to resume her presentation at 6:29 p.m.)
She announces the department’s new mobile smartphone app.
Sgt. Tosha Wilson discusses the “New Blue Leadership Fellowship,” a national program, seven EPD officers participated. Program is designed to reduce recidivism.
Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) praises chief and police staff for doing a hard job — and for the care that they show to residents.
Several speakers support a ban on semi-trucks at Clesen Wholesale nursery at 316 Florence Ave. and one speaker opposes the ban.
Off consent: Five items up for introduction and action A12 thru A16 and A18.
Plus … A1, A2, R1.
Consent agenda approved.
A1 – Payroll and bills
Approved 8-0-1. Nieuwsma abstains.
A2 – Amazon credit card activity
Approved 8-0-1. Suffredin abstains.
A12, A13, A14, A15, A16
Suspension of rules to give final approval tonight. Approved 9-0.
A12 – Sale of property at 1808 Hovland Court
A13 – Three way stop at Grant Street and Cowper Ave.
A14 through A16 – Three liquor licenses.
All approved 9-0.
A18 – Ban on semi-truck deliveries to Clessen Nursery
Ald. Devon Reid (8th) says Clesen just has not become a better neighbor over the months this has been under consideration.
Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) says it would prohibit trucks of 8,000 pounds or more. But city code, he says, allows trucks to make deliveries off truck routes.
Reid says it will at least bar idling.
Nieuwsma says he’s sympathetic to neighbors but also reluctant to make life more difficult for a business in Evanston and that there may be legal ramifications as well.
Assistant City Attorney Brian George says there is a risk of a legal challenge from the business in response to the ordinance.
Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) says would only support a temporary ban if have to vote on final adoption tonight. But says is incredibly frustrated that the business hasn’t been more responsive.
Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) says will support for introduction but hopes someone from the business will be present at the next meeting.
Mayor indicates, at the request of Reid, he’ll put the ordinance on the agenda for action on Oct. 23 agenda — two meetings from now — to give more time to try to resolve the issue with the business owners.
Ordinance is approved for introduction 9-0.
R1 – Taxpayer funding of mayor elections
Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) asks whether there are restrictions on what spent on. Notes there’s no restriction to require using Evanston vendors for services.
Reid elicits comment from ordinance proponents with Reform for Illinois that the ordinance would allow candidates who had money from a previous election cycle to spend that money on the upcoming election.
Reid pushes for only matching contributions from low income residents. Doesn’t get any support for that on Council. Reform for Illinois representative says it would likely be unconstitutional.
Suffredin notes that there’s no “voluntary” aspect for the taxpayers in this — all will have to pay.
Approved 6-2. Suffredin and Reid vote no. Burns not present for the vote.
Call of the wards
Reid.. .ward meeting Thursday 6 p.m. at Robert Crown. Pallet Shelter representative to be among the speakers — possible solution for homeless and/or migrant housing. Also speaking, County Assessor Fritz Kaegi. Reid urges residents to be more strategic in how they protest. Says what happened tonight (the anti-Ryan field protest) was more disruptive than anything else.
Kelly… Ward meeting Tuesday at 4 p.m. at The Graduate.
Council votes to go into executive session to discuss personnel and minutes review.
Public meeting ends at 7:44 p.m.