Mark Tendam launched his campaign to retain his position as Evanston’s 6th Ward alderman surrounded by fellow aldermen and other elected officials.

Responding to criticism Saturday by challenger Mark Sloane of the city’s cool reception of plans for an indoor youth sports training facility in the city’s former recycling center, Tendam said the full City Council never actually rejected the project.

And, while the sports groups involved pulled out of talks with the city after receiving criticism of the project’s finances from aldermen on the Administration and Public Works Committee, Tendam insisted in an interview with Evanston Now that the project is not dead.

A crowd of about 50 people (above) gathered at the Central Street Cafe to hear Alderman Mark Tendam (top) launch his re-election campaign.

“There’s actually an alternative plan in the works,” Tendam said.

“No one’s conceded defeat on this,” he added, “I think the plan is a good one and we can bring it back.”

He said that in addition to himself, the project has the support of at least three other aldermen — Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward; Don Wilson, 4th Ward, and Jane Grover, 7th Ward.

Update 1 p.m. 1/28/13:

David Campbell, the past president of the Evanston Baseball and Softball Association, says his group and the other non-profits that collaborated on the indoor recreation proposal are not in any talks now with the city about the project.

Campbell said the city raised its expectations for revenue from the project to the point at which it would have been cheaper for the groups to rent vacant industrial space in Skokie instead.

In addition, Campbell said, the higher cost structure would have made it impossible for kids of limited financial means to participate.

He said the city may now be talking with a for-profit company about the space. But not everybody can afford to spend the rates they charge, which Campbell said can run $50 an hour for practice time.

Overall, Tendam said, the key issue for the campaign is fiscal responsibility.

He said that he and other members of the current city council “have been very cautious about spending money.”

But he said the city’s budget now “has been cut down to the bone, and any further reductions would do harm to the character of the community.”

“Since we don’t want to raise taxes,” Tendam added, the city needs to focus on economic development to bring in new revenue.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl was among the officials who turned out for the Tendam event, along with Aldermen Coleen Burrus, Jane Grover and Don Wilson, State Sen. Daniel Biss and State Rep. Robyn Gabel.

In addition to putting together a good economic development team, Tendam said, the City Council has “been a little easier than in the past” for developers to work with.

Evanston had developed a reputation as a community that “made people jump through hoops to get plans and permits,” Tendam said. “But now we’re really seeing the developers’ side and know we need to work with them and not against them.”

But at the same time he said he’d worked with neighbors to dramatically reduce the impact of a planned new Chase Bank branch at Crawford Avenue and Gross Point Road.

With the revised plan, Tendam said, the project “will take a blighted corner and turn it into a very pleasant entrance to the neighborhood.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Tendam consistently voted to raise taxes

    Our city taxes increased 20 percent in the past four years as property values declined.

    Tendam voted to spend $2 million to land Trader Joes right across the street from Jewell and Whole Foods. There is no way three groceries stores on top of each other can survive on Chicago Avenue. When one closes we will be back to two grocery stores there and $2 mil in the hole.

    Tendam voted to underwrite a loan for the new waffle joint on Dempster. We all know about the city's investment in opening a wine bar on Howard Street that Tendam supported.  Tendam also supported a loan to a restaurant that owes $30,000 in unpaid property  taxes!

    The city has handed out hundreds of thousands of dollars to businesses but not all businesses. The city picks the winners and losers. Meanwhile, the city has been selling off its assets and wants to sell the lakefront mansion near the Evanston Lighthouse.

    Of course Jane Grover supports a below market sale of the recycling center to the youth indoor sports league. Her husband is a former president of EBSA, part of the sports consortium that wanted to lease the building for $1.

    The city is essentially involved in crony capitalism. And they are using taxpayer money to do it. Evanston has a serious debt problem that includes an unsustainable pension debt problem. Tendam implies that developers are now happy working with the city. Try opening up a business in Evanston and see how easy it is. It's a bureaucratic maze of red tape. 

    Why did Tendam and the city feel it was necessary to involve themselves in the Chase bank purchase on Crawford? In the proposed deal, the city would accept the deed to a vacant lot zoned residential and then use "roughly half for public parking that would be leased to the bank for daytime use." The Planning and Zoning Committee denied rezoning the residential lot. Tendam has managed to turn the residential lot into public parking in which the city must maintain.  

    Tendam has the gall and audacity to claim the city is "very cautious about spending money?"

    If Sloane is going to win he must do more than make the recyling center a key issue. He must be specific on the city's debt, spending sprees and convince voters what he would and would not do as alderman.

    Sloane needs to go door to door and rouse new voters because he is clearly up against the status quo as aldermen and other politicians rally behind him at his campaign launch. There is a voting bloc in the 6th Ward that consistenly votes for status quo politicians. In order to break that, Sloane must get people who normally don't vote in local elections out to the voting booths in April.  

    Remember, Tendam voted for all those tax hikes in the past four years.

  2. ?? for tendam

    I'd like to know what he means when he says the council has "been very cautious about spending money."

    1 million on Trader Joe's, $100,000 on a wine bar, waffle and pancake house, facade improvement funding.."  10 million dollars worth of spending last year alone on economic ventures  (

    If we are truly to call these economic investments, what is the rate of  return ?  My taxes went up 11%, so how does anyone figure that these expenditures are helping the city tax pie grow?

    Considering Tendam and the other council members (except for Wilson who always voted no), believe that they can act like investment bankers with my tax money, I'd like to see what the return is on  my dollar.  Where can I find this information  Mr. Tendam? I've looked all over the city web page, and I do not see anywhere information on monetary loans/grants to private businesses from the past few years.

      The city is spending roughly 1 million dollars on an economic development team;  I'd hope that someone is responsible for following through on the investments.

    As for Tendam saying that Evanston no longer makes businesses jump through hoops to get plans and permits,  perhaps he  forgot that he lobbied to ban the McDonald's drive through from the Crawford/Old Orchard corner.  Or that recently, the city council wouldn't let owners of that HEil & Heil building on CHicago build an extended stay hotel, so the owners simply chose to tear it down as they couldn't afford the property taxes on an empty building.

      I hope Sloane posts his platforms soon and creates a web page(If he has one, please share it). Many that I know are very eager for change. 



    1. Support for Sloane

      Thanks!   Sending him my campaign contribution this week. His experience and vision look fabulous.

      I very much like his past experience in the community, combined with his financial experience as Chief FInancial Officer.  We need someone with financial business experience on council.

      Please everyone, check out Sloane's web page.    He will be an excellent economic leader on the city council.


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