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Peddlers, fans block stadium ban

After an outcry from sidewalk peddlers and their fans in the community, the Evanston City Council voted Monday to postpone a final vote on an ordinance that would ban peddling around Northwestern sporting events.

Ted Borowy, of 931 Hinman Ave., spoke from his motorized wheelchair to say that he and his father, who is also disabled, have been licensed peddlers in Evanston since the 1980s.

He said a big non-resident company has taken over the inside concession operation at Ryan Field and that the ordinance is a response to their demand for a monopoly.

“Peddlers are part of mom and pop America, Borowy said, “and should be allowed to continue to sell at NU games.”

Jeanne Lindwall of 625 Library Place, an unsuccessful candidate for mayor in April’s election, said the ordinance appears to be a restraint of trade in favor of Northwestern.

A season ticket-holder for NU football, Lindwall said she’s seen no public safety issues around the stadium as a result of the presence of peddlers.

She also objected to the ordinance’s ban on reselling tickets. Fans with extra tickets now try to sell them outside the stadium at below face value, she said, adding that there’s not enough demand to justify higher prices.

“The ban is unnecessary and just plain silly,” she added.

But Dave Gaborek, an owner of Let’s Tailgate at 1805 Central St., said the peddlers compete unfairly with storefront merchants. And he said the Central Street Business Association supports the ordinance.

“Most peddlers don’t live in Evanston and don’t employ Evanstonians,” Gaborek said. “Peddlers only leave garbage behind in Evanston.”

John Mack of the NU athletic department said NU considers the peddling to be a public safety issue, but Police Chief Richard Eddington conceded that there’s no record of fans being hurt or injured as a result of the congestion around peddlers’ carts.

“But we want to prevent incidents,” Eddington said. If someone forced into the street by the congestion had been struck by a vehicle, “I imagine the issue would be, chief, what could have been done to prevent this?”

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said vendors have been part of the street carnival atmosphere on game days for years, and she moved to postpone action on the ordinance to the next council meeting in two weeks.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, seconded the motion to hold the measure, which effectively blocked action on the ordinance.

During debate on the issue Aldermen Lionel Jean-Baptiste and Don Wilson also indicated that they had reservations about the ordinance.

It wasn’t clear from the debate where the other five council members stand on the issue.

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