Edmund Moran has been 6th Ward alderman since 1991 when he defeated tax-cut activist Bernard Schmidt for the open seat created by Margaret Wold’s decision not to run for re-election.

That makes him the Evanston alderman with the longest continuous service and gives him the ceremonial honor of reading off the council’s consent agenda at the twice-monthly meetings.

Edmund Moran


Moran, an attorney with an office in Chicago’s Loop, says he uses his experience as a zoning lawyer to try to alleviate problems Evanston citizens face.

A few years ago he jumped on concerns some of his constituents raised about small old homes being torn down and replaced with larger houses — “McMansions” to those who don’t like the new dwellings.

He fought for an ordinance that would have limited newly built homes to 1.2 times average of the height of the four closest homes on the same side of the street.

The full City Council ultimately rejected that plan, but did adopt a 35-foot height limit for new single-family residential construction in the ward.

It later also adopted a Moran proposal to impose a $10,000 tax on the demolition of single family homes across the city, with the revenue targeted for affordable housing projects.

Moran has taken diverse positions on other zoning and development issues, often finding himself on the losing side in those debates.

In 2000, he voted against an ordinance that lowered height limits on sections of Chicago Avenue in the 3rd Ward from 105 to 67 feet.

The same year he opposed creation of the Northeast Evanston Historic District, which the council approved 6-3. Supporters saw that as a way to restrict Northwestern University’s expansion west of Sheridan Road.

He was the only alderman to vote against the development a decade ago that led to construction of the Century Theater, Hilton Garden Inn and Maple Avenue Garage.

And he was the only vote on the council in 2004 in favor of constructing a lakefront marina. Though that plan appears to be dead, “I hope there is a bit more interest for this in the future,” Moran said. “I think it’s a good idea.”

But otherwise, Moran says, he’s generally excited about the city’s recently-adopted lakefront plan.

Before becoming an alderman, Moran served on the Evanston Recreation Board, an appointed panel that develops plans for how to improve the city’s public facilities. Moran believes that the issues he discussed and fought for then are still important today,

The lakefront is a beautiful place, Moran said, but the addition of newer public facilities and landscaping will greatly improve the area.

Moran says he’s also very proud of the changes in the downtown area. “I am amazed by the amount of activity in the area,” Moran said.

But he says he has reservations about some aspects of the new downtown plan now being reviewed by the Plan Commission.

Aldermanic snapshot
Edmund Moran, 6th Ward
Born: January 6, 1947, Chicago, Ill.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Notre Dame, 1969, majored in business and accounting. Law degree, Purdue University, 1973.
Occupation: Lawyer, specializing in litigation and civil law.
Evanston resident: 35 years.
Public Service: Alderman, 6th Ward, since 1991.
Family: Married, two children.

Contact the alderman
Edmund B. Moran, Jr.
Home: 2522 Isabella St., 60201
Phone: (847) 475-7267
Work: (312) 408-1544
Fax: (312) 408-1539
emoran@cityofevanston.org

Join the Conversation

20 Comments

  1. Marina not even close to a good idea!
    Alderman Moran the articled “And he was the only vote on the council in 2004 in favor of constructing a lakefront marina. Though that plan appears to be dead, “I hope there is a bit more interest for this in the future,” Moran said. “I think it’s a good idea”

    The Marina is dead since it would have cost over 25 million dollars – the revenue from the boats would not have even come close to paying for it. The idea of state or federal support was unlikely.

    Also there was a large amount of community against it –

    I think alderman is a much bigger supporter (than the article stated) of all the affordable housing effort here which is a very large waste of our tax dollars – with little real results.

    Interestingly enough – the article mention nothing about our high taxes or any solutions to correct them – what a suprise? For someone on the council for over 16 years you would think he might have some concern about taxes?

  2. His tear down tax was not such a great idea either.
    This tax impacts everyone in Evanston who owns land improved with a residential dwelling. In addition to various administrative fees related to any permit to remove the improvement, the City demands the land owner pay an additional $10,000 “tax” into a separate, special purpose fund. Effectively, the City’s position is, “No $10,000, no permit.”

    While Evanston property owners did not immediately “feel” the effect of this tax directly in their pocketbook, it nevertheless had the effect of reducing the value of their property by the same amount, vis-a-vis properties in the surrounding areas not subject to the tax..

    The $10,000 fee is discriminatory, violates the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment, U.S. Constitution, the due process of law and equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution and the Uniformity Clause of the Illinois Constitution.

    See http://www.cityofevanston.info for more information.

    1. Moran’s Behavior Insults Citizens at Hearing
      I attended the P&D Meeting where the 38-story skyscraper proposed for 708 Church was on the verge of being rejected. Everyone in the Council Chambers was treated to a 30 minute lecture from Moran as to why the Tower would be good for Evanston and good for them. Many people commented afterwards on Moran’s parentified, condescending tone, a tone more appropriate for young children than for adults. In most cases, this comment were quickly followed by the statement that Moran must be voted out in the next aldermanic elections.

      1. Moran’s civil and decent behavior
        I saw the meeting on TV, and saw Ald. Moran’s talk. There was nothing at all condescending about it, and his essay in the Roundtable was also reasonable and well-written. I think that he just said things that you didn’t want to hear, and that is what made you mad.
        Perhaps he was showing courage by standing up for what is right (tolerance and development) even though it is unpopular in his ward – or maybe he just doesn’t care if he gets elected again and is free to say what he really believes. It looks like he, more than any of the other alderman, has taken the most abuse from the shrill anti-tower group – for example, Peter Sanchez posted on evanstonnow.com about the “rabidly pro-skyscraper Aldermen — Moran and Rainey” .
        I’m not sure it was a ’30 minute lecture’. Can anyone verify that time? It seemed a lot shorter when I saw it.
        Also, I think that if he did not give a speech explaining his position, you guys would be attacking him and calling him arrogant for not being willing to explain his votes.
        You say “in most cases, this comment were quickly followed by the statement that Moran must be voted out in the next aldermanic elections.” I saw several people hounding the alderman after the meeting. Were you one of them?

        1. I am not a hound on Moran or the Tower
          I don’t have an opinion about the Tower. Maybe I’m the only one in town who doesn’t.

          My negative comments about Alderman Moran are focused on his ridiculous stance on loading up the 8th Ward with low-income housing, while other parts of the City show no signs of any low- or moderate-income housing. And his “look down his nose” attitude toward those who presented their concerns. A pathetic display of total cluelessness.

          In our diverse community, we need someone who is willing to listen to all viewpoints. That means listening to those who object to the results of the great man’s thoughtless actions.

          Frankly, I could give a rip about the Tower. Surprised? I’m certain that I’ll draw big “oh my” comments from both sides on the issue.

          But look at it from my spot: my part of town is floundering and suffering. People down here don’t have the luxury of “fighting City Hall.” We’re fighting to protect the minimal quality of life that we have south of Oakton Street and that’s full time job. For example, residents regularly go to court with our Alderperson to try to get judges to enforce the law.

          If you lived here, you’d know. If you don’t live here, please take the time to understand and ask your alderman (especially Ald. Moran) to stop treating our south Evanston residents as second-class citizens.

      2. civil and uncivil behavior
        From what I have witnessed, Moran is openly disdainful of constituents whom he opposes. I have attended council meetings in which personal attacks and snide remarks were made openly, which I found astonishing. See, I had assumed–silly me–that our councilmen and women would naturally behave with a basic sense of respect and decorum towards anyone who attended and spoke at meetings, REGARDLESS of which side of a particular issue they were on. I was wrong, and I found the nasty remarks both childish and uncivil. I felt embarrassed for the others–many of whom I have opposed but respected for their civility–for Moran’s offensive attitude and behavior.

  3. Loves low income housing — but not in his ward
    Yes, why no mention of his passion for placing low income housing in every location in Evanston other than his own ward?

    Alderman Moran has turned his back on the problems caused by overloading certain areas of Evanston with low income housing, including crime. For example, he scoffed at requests for an ordinance to try to rein in known gang members when citizens who live in the heart of his low income handout area pleaded for it. He told those citizens that there should be a personal, interaction approach to known gang members.

    Where is that personal, interaction approach that he advocated for these known gang members? I haven’t seen Alderman Moran on the south end of town, extending his words of wisdom to these known gang members or offering any resources.

    He should be stopped — stopped from handing out city money to put low income housing ONLY where he doesn’t live. If low income housing is so great, why hasn’t he proposed any funding for it in his own ward?

    I’m all for diversity and this guy has it all wrong. Why is income diversity okay for everyone but him and his neighbors? How can someone claim to believe in diversity when they don’t encourage it where they live?

    1. Reply to “Anonymous” re: Moran’s Positions
      Anonymous–

      Please don’t assume that everyone in the Sixth Ward agrees w/ Ald. Moran’s positions. A frequent topic of conversation in the Sixth Ward these days is residents’ dismay that Ald. Moran votes for what he wants and against what he doesn’t want, rather than representing what his constituents want or don’t want. The 708 Church Street development proposal is a prime example.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Moran is defeated in 2009 if he runs for another term.
      In fairness to Mr. Moran, though, I have not heard of any concrete proposals to put “affordable housing” in the Sixth Ward, in which I am a resident. If you know of such proposals, which Ald. Moran has shot down, please post specific details.
      Thank you.

      1. A response to “Reply to ‘Anonymous’ re: Moran’s Positions
        I can’t name a particular project low-income housing proposal for the 6th Ward that “Ald. Moran has shot down.” But that problem further supports my point — Alderman Moran likes low-income housing everywhere but his own ward AND does nothing to encourage it in his own ward.

        Once, just once, perhaps Alderman Moran could speak up and say:

        You know, we’ve placed quite enough low-income housing in the 8th Ward. That area of town is struggling with excessive crime and quality of life issues that many residents view as tied to a concentration of poverty in those same areas. I think that it’s time that city staff work with developers of low-income housing to find opportunities for low-income housing in the 6th Ward while we have a 12-month moratorium (at least) for new low-income housing in the 8th Ward.

        It’s the right thing to do. It’s the fair thing to do. But, for Moran, when pigs fly.

        Perhaps he’d like to spend a weekend with the boom-bitty-boom-boom stereos blaring from cars all day and night, the 1:00 a.m. street fights and, let’s not forget, the shootings on the south end of town. Let’s call him what he is: a hypocrite who can brag to his wealthy friends about how much he helps the down trodden while he turns his back on the problems south of Dempster Street.

        Please, 6th Ward residents, vote him out. The south end of town can’t take much more of his “help.”

        1. Reply to “Anonymous” Concerned w/ South Side
          Dear “Anonymous,”

          I can’t speak for all 6th ward residents, but a large number of us will do our best to vote Moran out of office in 2009. It is very unsettling to be tarred with the same brush as Moran simply because we live in the 6th ward. We don’t like him anymore than you do!
          If you would post your real name, we would be happy to get in touch with you when we have kicked off a “campaign” to get Moran off the Council and replace him with someone who listens to the voices of his constituents and, at the very least, does not insult them when they fail to agree with his positions.
          Although you don’t live in the 6th Ward, we will be working on a cross-City campaign to unseat a number of aldermen so we would certainly appreciate your help.
          Since this site is read by many, we would appreciate suggestions of 6th ward residents who would potentially consider running against Moran in 2009.

          Thank you.

          1. Replies, replies on Alderman Moran
            IT is my intention to comment only on Alderman Moran’s idiotic decisions on the City Council.

            He should be voted out of office. I am glad to hear that there is sentiment among those in the 6th Ward to do that. I will consider your offer to get involved in unseating many of the rock heads who currently take up space on the City Council. I wonder — do the free health benefits bring out pompous, self-employed, egomanics who are wealthy but want free, deluxe health care?

            Those of us on the south side of town need to have more people on the Council who don’t see our area as the “throw away” part of town where low-income housing project after low-income housing project is placed without any regard for crime or quality of life issues. We need more people on the Council who practice what they preach and will advocate for low-income housing citywide.

            We advocate for and dream of the same peaceful and safe quality of life that much of Evanston enjoys — but it’s not a reality when Alderman Moran and others view us as second class citizens.

  4. Moran doesn’t represent his constituents
    I have observed Moran on several occasions — at a meeting with constituents, during email exchanges, at public meetings — and he clearly does not wish to represent his constituents. His tone is dismissive of resident opinion and has been quite insulting when responding to individual residents. Moran’s op-ed in the Rountable certainly sounded reasonable but, like many politicians, reflected a “polished” Moran rather than the real Moran. In that editorial, if I remember correctly, he stated that it made great sense to put off the vote on the skyscraper until after the downtown plan was approved. Well, that’s what many of us had said for months, but Moran had tried to get the skyscraper approved well before the downtown plan was approved. It wasn’t until after the skyscraper was going to lose, and Moran staged a parliamentary ploy to delay the vote, that Moran began to argue that the vote should be taken after the approval of the downtown plan. During this while skyscraper fiasco, Moran has been rabidly on the side of the developers and has ignored his constituents and some of his fellow aldermen to do everything possible to build the skyscraper in Evanston. Moran’s Roundtable op-ed sounds reasonable only to those who haven’t been watching Moran’s behavior prior to the editorial. As with many current politicians, what is important is not what Moran says but what he does and how he considers the wishes of his constituents. As far as I’m concerned Moran fails on all measures as a representative of his constituents. Of course, as an elected official, he can vote as he pleases. But, in the next election this coming March, we can vote as we please too, and hopefully enough of us will vote him out of power.

    1. Peter Sanchez Expresses Anti-Moran Sentiment Beautifully
      I am in whole-hearted agreement with Mr. Sanchez’s comment. I, too, was surprised by the reasonable and responsible tone adopted by Moran in his “Guest Essay” in the Round Table. Like Mr. Samchez, I don’t believe it reflects the real Ald. Moran, who is consistently condescening and patronizing to those of his constituents who do not share his views. While I do not agree with the views of certain other aldermen, none of them has adopted the insulting tone towards constituents who disagree with his/her personal positions.

      It sounds as though Mr. Sanchez will be involved in a campaign to unseat Moran in the 2009 elections. If Mr. Sanchez reads this post, would he post a reply letting me know how I can join an anti-Moran campaign directed to the next election? I can think of many who would also wish to join.

    2. You must suffer from chronic nightmares of the skyscraper
      Sanchez,

      Moran has NOT “been rabidly on the side of the developers.” For example, I understand he voted against the downtown Evanston Century Theatre that is now undeniably a great success. He also helped put through a moratorium on new home construction in his ward in an effort to supposedly stop McMansions. These are just a few examples of his 16 year career on the Council.

      I am not defending Moran because, as my alderman, he has done some things that has made my blood boil, namely trying to squeeze through twice a transfer tax (as you may know, I really don’t like taxes). And, his never ending quest to have taxpayers foot the bill for affordable housing has irked me some.

      My point here is that like everything else in life it’s a mixed bag with Moran (I pray to God that Moran will have an opponent who supports less taxes and more growth). I’m afraid, Sanchez, that based on your seemingly one-dimensional criticism of Moran, YOU are rabidly opposed to development, dare I say, any development, especially another highrise. Are you afraid of heights, maybe? There are more issues affecting Evanston than new development, though some may be intertwined. As a Loyola poly sci professor, I think you know that.
      Anonymous Al

      1. Chronic nightmares indeed
        Dear AA,

        Sanchez does suffer chronic nightmares of skyscrapers. He suffers from chronic nightmares (as do many of us) of bad economic decisions made by the City of Evanston.

        Given the city’s dire financial problems, they need to find quick sources of revenue other than taxpayers’ wallets. The Tower is not a source of quick revenue. Given the variables of the present TIF, construction timing, the vagaries of the housing market, it may be at least a decade before revenue exceeding the current tax at 708 is available. In fact it makes it worse since tax revenue from 708 will decrease during that period.

        I do not find this an amenable solution to the revenue problem.

        The issue is not fear of skyscrapers but fear of bad revenue decisions, of which the city has managed to do a few whoppers.

        1. it’s deja vu all over again
          Vito,

          I keep hearing the same thing from you about TIFS again and again. I apologize if I sound preachy but…..TIFS are not designed nor were ever meant to increase tax revenues in the short run. TIFS are a mechanism to develop a certain area, usually considered blighted, but not always. After a certain period and once that area (downtown Evanston) is developed and the property values in that area have increased the TIF matures. The end result is an increase in property values and thus an increase in tax revenue. Yes, there is strain on taxing entities during the period of the TIF but the end result is that there will be more tax revenues after the TIF than before the TIF. Way more.

          Consider the alternative. What do you think downtown Evanston would be like if there were no TIFS? I’ll tell ya – no Century Theater, fewer shops and restaurants, no residential highrises, a lot less people, just to name a few. If there were no TIFS, do you really think the CURRENT tax revenue would be in better shape than it will in a few years? Consider the taxes from the new highrises and the businesses that follow. And consider what downtown Evanston was like before the TIFS – the 1970s and 1980s. Once the TIFS have matured we will have even a more vibrant and dynamic downtown and the tax burden will be greatly eased

          TIFS in the long run are worth it. My family and I Plan to be in Evanston for the long run so TIFS do benefit us. I guess if you don’t plan on being here in the next 7- 10 years, then maybe you should move to an area without TIFS. I hear Cicero and Harwood Heights are pretty good.
          Anonymous Al

          1. There you go again AA
            AA: I did not say anything negative about TIFs. All I said was that the TIF would negate any tax abatement on taxpayers until it expired. Again the point is not against development or TIFs, just this proposed development would not help solve the City’s immediate revenue burden involving the pension debacle. The Council made an egregious financial error there. I just do not want another one.

            Now I know why you are anonymous.

          2. We don’t need any more TIFs –
            AA – TIF are fine – but the council appears to have openned up a flood gate – Now any developer coming here wants one – this is not acceptable – given Evanston is now well positions with the high price of gas – it is time to ask the developers to starting helping pay for the improvements rather than the tax payers. I am here for the long run too – do you like paying 33% more in city taxes than someone who lives in a home similar to yours with the same assessed value?

      2. Anonymous Al for Alderman
        Anonymous Al –
        Once again I find myself agreeing with you on everything. If a suitable anti-tax, pro-development candidate does not emerge to challenge Moran in 2009, I hope that you will consider running.
        Even though I live in the 1st ward, I would be happy to donate to your campaign – as long as the laws permit anonymous campaign contributions.
        The affordable housing business is nonsense , I agree. But at least Moran is not as hypocritical as those who say that they want affordable housing, and then stop all development that provides affordable housing.

        Now McMansions – I think that they are obscene, even if they are old McMansions like the Dawes House – but if people want to build them and live in them and pay taxes on them, then you are right,the city should not stop them. I think that the NIMBY’s are just offended by seeing wealthier people in their neighborhood, and of course they don’t want poorer people in their neighborhood either.

        Mr. Who Knows

        1. Anonymous individuals can only vote not run for office!
          Mr Who and AA – you both can vote – but can not run for office Anonymously – nor can you give contributions in that manner. If you are too afraid to put your names out – you clearly can not run for office –

          By the way I have been against the city misuse of our tax dollars for years – and affordable housing – but I am not holding my breath – the special interests in this town keep on helping getting their friends elected. As I have been stating you will be seeing a 10% tax increase next year out of the city.

          ( Mr Who – you continue to not understand the purpose of zoning – and planning – McMansions are fine on the proper lot size – they are not fine on a street of small houses that is the issue.There are plenty of Mansions sitting on very large lots here – and the work quite well. The Dawes house is not a McMansion it sits on a large lot.)

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