Evanston Ald. Devon Reid (8th) has proposed two new health-related ordinances that would appear to have opposite impacts.
He wants Evanston to impose a tax on the use of sugar in all products sold and also legalize the creation of hookah bars in the city.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that “hookah smoking has many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking.”
And, the CDC says Americans should reduce their consumption of sugar, because too much sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
At Thursday’s Referral’s Committee meeting, Mayor Daniel Biss suggested it appeared to be “vice day” for Reid — on the one hand banning sugar while on the other authorizing hookah bars.
Biss said he planned to talk to Reid about the scope of the sugar proposal. He pondered whether it would apply to baked goods sold at Bennison’s Bakery, or bags of sugar sold at Jewel.
He said that if the city was going to pursue the sugar proposal seriously it would take a major effort.
Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) suggested that perhaps Reid “would want to do some legwork on it” before the concept was handed over to staff to research.
Currently people who want to find a hookah bar have to travel to Chicago or Skokie to find one nearby. Adding a sugar tax to baked goods might drive residents to cross the border in search of pastries as well, adversely impacting local bakeries.
Reid has been the referral machine on the Council since it created a committee to play traffic cop on aldermanic ideas for new legislation.
He has offered 27 of the total of 60 new legislative proposals brought up by the entire Council since the Referral Committee process started in June. The only other council members with above-average totals are Bobby Burns, with 14, and Cicely Fleming, with 7.
In addition to the sugar and hookah proposals, Thursday’s Referrals Committee session also addressed Reid proposals that the city bar landlords from rejecting certain breeds of dogs, change its plastic bag tax, bar motions to end debate on items before the council until all alderpersons have spoken at least once and provide legal representation to low-income residents who’ve been sued by the city.