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A previously unknown group passed out door hangers touting a slate of school board candidates Sunday.

The cards, credited to a group calling itself Evanstonians for Equity at ETHS, urges votes for candidates Pat Savage-Williams, Bill Geiger, Casey Miller and Elena Garcia Ansani in the eight-candidate election Tuesday for four seats on the Evanston Township High School board.

The door hangers provide no contact information for the group and a web search failed to turn up any prior references to it.

The text of the card does state that the four favored candidates have been endorsed the the ETHS teachers union and says they will “provide support to school staff.”

The cards were found on doors in parts of the 2nd Ward. We haven’t received reports yet of how widely they may have been distributed beyond that.

Teachers Council President Bill Farmer says he’s “furious that a group has published campaign material without our explicit approval” — especially because the teachers actually endorsed five candidates, including incumbent Gretchen Livingston, who was omitted from the “equity” group’s list.

Farmer says any materials the union has promoted or financed include all five of the candidates the union endorsed.

State law requires registration and reporting requirements for any group raising or spending more than $3,000 on an election campaign. (Much more information on the state of state campaign finance regulations in the report linked below.)

From printing service ads found online, it appears enough door hanger cards to put one on every front door in Evanston could probably be produced for less than the $3,000 limit that would trigger the registration requirement.

Top: A copy of the “Evanstonians for Equity” door hanger.

Related document

Independent Expenditures and Illinois Elections, Illinois Campaign Finance Reform Task Force, February 2013 (.pdf)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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19 Comments

  1. Slate = Rubber Stamp

    Each of these candidates has their own unique story – collectively they are a rubber stamp for Dr. Witherspoon. Unquestioned support is NOT the role of a healthy school board.

    It would be interesting to know the funders – given the door hangers and yard signs they've likely spent over $1,000 which would mean they are either regsitered with the state or in violoation of campaign law.

    I've been unable to find their information with the state to date.

    Rubber stamps are not a good thing, for anyone.

     

    1. @slate=rubber stamp.That is

      @slate=rubber stamp.

      That is such a self serving statement. It seems that ever since  a few  weeks ago someone wrote in this forum that may be it was not such a good idea to have what appears to be an all white school board. That the level of rhetoric against diversity has risen. All the white candidates  were running on the same anti PEG platform in one way or another. The minority candidate were being drowned out, and that posting has since awakened the sleeping minority community. To sit there and tell me that all our issues are the same is quite self serving. I have nothing against any one running, but in a diverse city like ours everyone should be represented.

      1. Get your facts right

        The school board is not all white!  And yes we are a divese community- how about Asian, multi-racial, middle-eastern people.  We are being very short-sighted if we think the color of skin is all there is to a person.  I'm so ashamed!

      2. 50 shades of white

        I do not think that all "white" people are the same. There are many, many different types of "white" people, with very different opinions, views and perspectives.

        Nor do i think that all black, nor Hispanic, nor Asian people are all the same.

        To classify and group someone superficially by the color of their skin is unfortunate and demonstrates poor judgement.

        As the saying goes, "don't judge a book by its cover."

        We need to go to the library, open the book on Evanston and look at each and every one of its 75,000 pages and then we can all see the differences that truly make our city so vibrant, so interesting and so exciting.

         

  2. Door Hanger on 6th Ward as well

    In the hundreds of doors I visited this weekend, many did have this door hanger on them. Found mainly on the far west end of the 6th Ward.

    Mark Sloane

  3. So very many questions

    So how much did these fancy hangers cost?  Enough to require the ghost group to file?  Who bought the hangers?  Did they spend money on anything other than the hangers for these four candidates?, or make any other contributions in kind to these four candidates?  Did any/all of these four candidates and/or their campaigns know, participate, or contribute to the door hangers?  Who are the ghosts supporting these four candidates?  Does anyone know?

    Transparency has been a recurring issue regarding how a School Board ought to function.  And now the secret door hangers underscore the transparency issue again.

    1. David Futransky again ?

      The same issue, Equity, and the same slate of candidates is the focus of this door hanger.

      David Futransky wrote an article in the Evanston Patch about the upcoming ETHS School Board elections also focused on Equity and endorsed the same 4 candidates. Is he behind this effort? The community should know before we vote.

      And what do people think about a Senior employee who's role is Community Liaison, endorsing a slate of candidates who will ultimately be his boss? Maybe Bill Smith should do a poll on this issue.

    2. Unknown group makes D202 election pitch

      Teachers Council President Bill Farmer says he's "furious” about unknown group passed out door hangers touting a slate of school board candidates Sunday.

      Is he also furious about the flyers been circulated by a group of staff at ETHS to vote for Bezaitis, Holt, Livingston and Graham?

      1. In response

        I am Bill Farmer, president of ETHS Teachers' Council, and I certainly am NOT furious about flyers being circulated by individual members about candidates that they are supporting.  Faculty and staff have the right and freedom to individually support any candidates that they wish.  

        Our organization conducted its own in-depth review of each candidate through questionnaires and individual interviews.  Based on that we made endorsements and recommendations to the faculty.  Obviously, within a large organization there will be individuals who will have their own personal choices in terms of the candidates.

        The issue is linking our organization to campaign material with statements like  "These candidates are endorsed by the ETHS Teachers Union" when this campaign material clumps together some, but not all of the candidates that we have taken a position of support for.

        I would greatly appreciate it if an anonymous poster would not speculate about what I may or may not be furious about.  If you are curious about my opinions on a matter you are free to contact me directly.  Thank you!

  4. Let’s call it … Hangergate!

    In the era of the "Citizens United" decision, this this kind of behavior may be just fine with the courts. But still…if they feel that strongly about this slate of candidates, they should be willing to put their names behind their literature.

    1. No retaliation

      Quite right, Maret. I can understand those who do not support the administration or who are not supporters of the teacher''s union's endorsement being afraid to put their names on campaign literature (particularly when charges of racism may be leveled at such individuals), put this does not appear to be the case with this organization. Unless, of course, there is funding coming from the administration itself?!

      1. if that were true..

                         "Unless, of course, there is funding coming from the administration itself?!"

        That would make for some interesting board meetings if the election went the other way!

      2. actually, no

        I disagree, Martha B. If one is going to put literature out there, one should be willing to put one's name on it.

        My understanding is we have eight candidates, all of whom are running as individuals. None of them embarked on this with the intent to run as part of a slate, but one way or another, they've all been categorized and pushed onto slates–either sanctified or demonized, depending on your point of view.

        I don't buy it. I don't think most of these candidates would vote 100 percent of the time as part of some bloc. Didn't both the two incumbents who are running vote for freshman honors restructuring, in spite of considerable pressure from their supporters to not do so? Am I wrong on that? And now they're being vilified for being "against equity"?

        C'mon, people. There are no angels or demons on the ballot.

        The most telling thing I've heard was candidates saying "I can't believe the number of forums I've been invited to." All eight of them have gotten out and spoken to the public, and they've done so often, and way more than in other 202 board elections. It's been covered thorougly in the local media. Most or all of the candidates have web sites. There's plenty of info out there without resorting to anonymous endorsements.

        1. Voting as a bloc?

          It is interesting that you choose the two incumbents as examples for not always voting as their supporters would like. Can you cite comparable examples of Martha Burns or Rachel Hayman (two supporters of the Geiger, Ansani, Savage-Williams, Miller slate) ever voting against proposals by the administration? Can you give examples of how the current board president, Mark Metz (whose wife has been a vocal supporter of the same slate) has challenged the administration? I am sure these candidates are good, intelligent, and fair-minded, but are they going to question the received orthodoxy or are they going to be the rubber stamp that some are suggesting?

      3. Retaliation from whom?

        As a public employee in Evanston, I am not intimidated by administration,   I am intimdated by the citizens.

  5. Some civility please

    I'm appalled by the amount of vitriol and personal attacks directed against specific ETHS staff members during this campaign. If I had found one of these on my door (5th Ward) ,  prior to voting , I would be certain NOT to vote for these 4 candidates. Why that would be the case isn't anyone's business.  Really, people,   has civility in this community devolved to such a place that it is acceptable to excoriate anyoine that doesn't agree with you?

    I would encourage undecided voters to check out the  candidate questionnaires posted on the PTA Council's website, and maybe even check out a few tapes of  D202 and/or D65 Board meetings, in order to see any inculmbent candidate in action.   

  6. Distraction!

    All of this is a distraction and fodder for those candidates whose name was not on the door hanger. Its an election! Make an informed vote. The word on the street is that the candidates who are listed had nothing to do with it.

    People are pointing fingers and making assumptions because they want their "candidate" to win. Someone broke the rule, someone's name was left off and someone was not included….yadda yadda ya. Yall know Evanston need diverse viewpoints on the board who are sensitive to all of Evanston so please vote like caring citizens and not base on the door hangers.

    How can you boast being a progressive, diverse town while stirring the pot about the injustice of door hangers? The reality is that ETHS need direction so it can regain or retain its top status with the demographic it has.

    It can be done and it has been done in other American schools. Look next door in Chicago. What are yall afraid of? Each other. The kids are reading, listening and watching us and this is what we are teaching them….to be divisive, hatemongers. Just vote according to what's right and equal for our students not your favorites or color or money. Geez! This is 1950's and 60's all over again.

  7. PEG and diversity

    To those PEG supporters on the ETHS staff and beyond who are saying how important it is to have a racially diverse school board, would you be ok with African-American or Hispanic school board members who did not support PEG?   (Just as there is not one "African-American community" or "Hispanic community" in Evanston, there is diversity of ideas and opinions in both of those groups.  They do not uniformly support PEG as the way to eliminate the achievement gap.) 

    Also, I live in a neighborhood that has a majority of African-American and Hispanic residents and no one I know in my neighborhood received a hangtag or any other piece of campaign material in our mailboxes about the school board election.  Why would PEG supporters on the high school staff shower a section of the 6th ward with hangtags and leave out the communities they claim to want to include?  Maybe because the voter turnout is usually higher in the 6th ward than the areas with the most minority voters?  Sounds bogus to me.

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