Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl is urging Evanstonians to contribute to a fundraising effort to provide clean drinking water to residents of Flint, Mich.

And to prime the pump she’s announced that the city will provide a $5,000 donation to the fund, managed by the United Way of Genesee County

Contributions to the Flint Water Fund can be made online or at the collector’s office in the Civic Center during business hours through Wednesday, Feb. 3.

“There is nothing more important than access to safe, clean drinking water,” Mayor Tisdahl said in a statement. “I am proud to lend the City of Evanston’s support to this effort, and I thank each and every individual and organization that makes a contribution.”

Flint has been suffering from a water crisis since 2014 when, in an effort to save the beleaguered city money, officials switched from using water piped in from Detroit to drawing it from the polluted Flint River.

The crisis has led to high levels of lead contamination in the water and other quality issues which are blamed for an array of health problems afflicting residents of the city, which has a population of just under 100,000 people.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. This is horrible, taxes are
    This is horrible, taxes are high enough without the Mayor flat out giving my money away to some other city. Absolutely reprehensible, isn’t there some way we can stop her from giving our money away?

    1. Seriously
      Your comment is shallow and narrow minded and you should stop being so dramatic. The situation up there is pretty bad. I think the least we could do is send $5K. Glad to see she offered some modest help.

      1. Very seriously…

        Seriously, Seriously,  you have no right to call s n’s comment “Shallow and narrow minded”. Name calling and the judgmental tone you use is deplorable and further weakens your already weak argument.

        I agree with ‘s n’  that the local tax dollars I pay need to be deployed LOCALLY. If the Mayor, or you, or any other individual feels compelled to give from their own pock, I applaud you.

        But, a major choosing to give local tax dollars to pet charities that are outside of the city is immoral and should be investigated as malfeasance.

        There are literally millions of good causes to donate to in this world, but giving from local tax appropriations IS reprehensible and should be investigated.

  2. Our money??

    It is nice that the mayor is providing the citizens a link to help the people of Flint MI, and having the collectors office serve as a drop off point for donations. Since she is encourging individuals to contribute, it would be even nicer if she, personally, contributed the $5,000. Since she is using the city money, I feel that I have already contributed my share. There are so many other things that this money could be used for, right here in Evanston. 

  3. Short sightedness
    These people need relocation as soon as possible, not supplies of outside water. The pipe leeching issue will not go away for some time.

    The mayor should lead the way in inviting these people to leave Flint.

  4. Water for ALL the people of Flint
    It is a humanitarian gesture to assist in providing water to residents of Flint- but i would hope that the funds and the water that flow from Evanston to Flint are accompanied with a statement that ALL residents have the right to clean water- not just those with “identification” or “documents” which is what the National Guard who is distributing water is currently asking for. Ergo- many undocumented residents currently do not have access to this water.

  5. Genuine Help for the Residents of Flint

    I recently sent the message below to our elected officials. I encourage those who would like to help the residents of Flint to sign Michael Moore's petition, and urge Mayor Tisdahl and your alderman to sign and support it as well.

    I applaud the City of Evanston for endeavoring to support the residents of Flint, Michigan as the water crisis there continues. But while the donation of bottled water is a generous gesture, those who know and love Flint best are suggesting that this is not, in fact, an effective way to address this “catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.” Trucked in water, unfortunately, cannot undo the damage that has been done or address the ongoing needs of the city’s residents. What has befallen the people of Flint is a man-made, politically motivated disaster, and it occurred because Michigan’s Governor Snyder valued cutting taxes for the wealthy over the lives of the poor and powerless in Flint. Those who wish to stand with the people of Flint should stand up against the individuals guilty of such callous, and possibly criminal, disregard for the health and safety of the citizens they had been elected to serve and protect.

    Michael Moore is currently asking that people not send water to Flint, but instead sign a petition calling on President Obama and Attorney General Lynch to  “investigate and, if warranted, arrest and prosecute the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, for violating the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations in cutting off clean drinking water to the city of Flint and making the citizens, instead, drink polluted water from the Flint River; for fraud and political corruption; and for covering up the criminal actions of his administration.”

    I urge you, as individuals and in your role as elected officials for the City of Evanston, to sign this petition and provide it with full-throated public support. As elected officials you understand the duties and obligations that are inherent in public service, and you can recognize when – as in Flint – those duties have been grossly violated. And this progressive community, which I am sure has been sickened by the stories out of Flint, will support you in your efforts to draw attention to the political causes – and the proper solutions – to this American tragedy.

    Thank you again for the concern you have evidenced for the residents of Flint. Please consider stepping that up so that we might see genuine justice done for the people there. Here is the link for Michael Moore’s petition. Please sign it and circulate it widely.


    Toni Gilpin

    1. Democrats are playing politics at the expense of Flint
      It is the Democratic party that is turning this into a political issue. Here, Gilpin, a former Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Evanston, is asking people to sign Moore’s petition calling for the ouster of a Republican governor as if this problem is solely his fault. Michael Moore is not exactly bipartisan, ya know.

      The city of Flint, all Democrats, voted to temporarily switch the water supply to the Flint River until a new supply line to Lake Huron was ready. This vote followed complaints and a report by Veolia North America that Flint water was in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Veolia. Sound familiar Evanstonians?

      The EPA said there was no significant change of lead in the water after the switch. Four government officials—one from the City of Flint, two from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and one from the Environmental Protection Agency—resigned over the mishandling of the crisis. Now, who is in charge of the EPA?

      The Obama Administration turned down Michigan’s Republican governor’s request for a “Major Disaster Declaration” status. The Republican governor then asked the feds for emergency funding under FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. More than a week later, they still are waiting for a response.

      It appears the Obama Administration is playing political football with Flint residents by denying aid under a federal disaster declaration and waiting to make a decision on other aid requests from Snyder. Does Obama want Flint residents to suffer; to ratchet up the anger and pain so it can be directed toward the Republican governor IN AN ELECTION YEAR?

      And so now our Democrat mayor has joined the frenetic blame the evil Republican fracas, donating $5,000. Did she, or should I say, the City of Evanston, donate to other disasters? Sandy Hook? Hurricane Katrina?

      There is blame to go around in the Flint water crisis. And some of the blame goes all the way to the White House. Government at all levels failed. But when Bernie Sanders says Snyder should resign and Clinton says Snyder “acted as though he didn’t really care” it is clear Democrats in an election year are trying to pin the blame on Republicans – reinforcing their tired and false mantra that Republicans hate the environment.

      And now our good Democrat mayor has joined the political chicanery with our own money. Did you get your property tax bill this week? I bet it went up. You can thank a Democrat this November for the constant hike in taxes, utility bills, food, etc.

      1. Tax bills

        Hi Al,

        First installment property tax bills have — for several years now — always been 55 percent of the prior year's full bill. So you won't know what your full tax bill for this year will be until you get the second installment bill several months from now.

        — Bill

      2. Stop with the partisan noise

        Anonymous Al you are playing loose with the facts. Yes Flint is primarily Democratic city but Flint has been under receivership and has EM (Emergency Manager) in charge of the city. In short, the EM overrides both the mayor and city council (how's that for democracy??). The EM direct boss is in fact the governor of the state. You'll want to view the org charts. This isn't a issue of Dem vs Reps but rather a failure of policy decisions based off ideology, money, and simple incompetence at the state level. The reasons behind these points I'm sure people will say it's complicated. But, if it's the job of the government to protect it's people, then the state failed. This is why people are calling for Snyder to be removed from office. I'm not saying the EPA didn't fail, cause they did, but you have to know the whole story (see timeline below). Please note the reason the request for "Major Disaster Declaration" status was denied because that status is reserved for natural disasters not man made one (facts.. those darn things). Here is the timeline of the water crisis: http://michiganradio.org/post/timeline-heres-how-flint-water-crisis-unfolded#stream/0

        1. The Democrats are the source of partisan noise

          Stop with the partisan noise? Are you sure you're not addressing Toni Gilpin, former Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Evanston, or uber liberal advocate Michael Moore, passing around a petition to arrest the Republican goveror in Michigan?

          Well, let's take a look at the EM (Emergency Manager) you cite.  His name is Darnell Earley – a long time career Democrat politician.

          Under Earley's leadership, the city separated from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and joined the Karegnondi Water Authority, switching the water supply to the Flint River on April 25 2014. This decision resulted in lead poisoning to the city, in what became known as the Flint water crisis. Earley is a named defendant in a lawsuit due to this crisis. Earley blames the Flint City Council for voting on the switch before he was Flint's EM.

          Earley is now the emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools system.

          I noticed you have no criticism for our mayor, the president, Earley or the Flint council – all Democrats.

          Moore's petition only calls for the arrest and prosecution of Snyder and asks Obama to visit Flint. No mention of Earley, the Flint City Council, consultants or the fact Obama flat our refused Snyder's request for major disaster declaration or Obama's hem hawing on Snyder's request for emergency funding under FEMA's Individuals and Households Program.

      3. Points of Commonality (!)

        Hey Anonymous Al – guess what? I agree with you, at least on this one point: “some of the blame goes all the way to the White House.” President Obama did not intervene soon enough and as yet has not done all he should to address this crisis. He hasn’t even gone to Flint, and shame on him for that (Michael Moore has begged him to). Note that Moore’s petition is addressed to President Obama and to the Attorney General, who are not likely to do what they’re being asked, not unless there is tremendous public pressure. So yup, I’d say that some of the blame for this goes straight to Washington and there is still far more that the Obama Administration should be doing on this front.

        And Michael Moore agrees with you too, as he’d prefer that our city officials sign the petition rather than spend money on bottles for Flint. So you, me, and Michael Moore are all on the same page – how cool is that? Granted, I am presuming that’s about where our points of agreement end. But we should celebrate them where we find them. And signing the petition won’t cost you a thing! So give it some thought.

        And incidentally despite my illustrious position as former ED of the DPOE I have little pull with Mayor Tisdahl – her reply to me, in its entirety, was “When people need water, they need water.” I don’t even know if she will sign the petition. So maybe you and the Mayor have that in common.

    2. Really — forego clean water for a signed petition?

      Ms. Gilpin wrote in support:  "Michael Moore is currently asking that people not send water to Flint, but instead sign a petition… ."

      Huh?  Sounds rather heartless to advocate that others who are drinking poisoned water should forego clean water donations so that the would-be donors can sign a petition instead.

      I hope that if Mr. Moore or Ms. Gilpin ever need clean drinking water, others will be wise enough to come to their aid with water, not a signed petition.  News flash: a signed petition won't keep you alive and hydrated properly.

    3. Toni,


      You are totally misinformed. The flint water problemed was not caused by Governor Snyder cutting taxes. It was caused by people employed by Flint.  The mayor of Flint has announced that several people will be fired because they  decided that it was cheaper than getting Flint's water from a polluted river than from the City of Detroit.

      The MI governor,his staff, and the Flint Mayor are the people who have taken the lead on this problem. Today the governor has signed a bill providing about 30m in immediate aid to fix the problem with Flint's water supply. If they reconnect the Detroit water supply or a nearby safe source, the immediate issue of clean safe water will be fixed in less than 2 weeks. The long range issue will take months.




  6. irresponsible

    The fact that the Mayor asked that city funds be given away – regardless of the cause and council approval, is irresponsible. It sounds like it's too late to get the funds back, unfortunately for Evanston. At the very least the Mayor could've posted a link and let the citizens of Evanston decide if we wanted to donate to her pet cause.I wish the Mayor could be fired and Lyons reprimanded.

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