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February 22, 2018


Posted: Thursday, January 25, 2018
Community forum entry by: Betty A. Bogg, Executive Director, Connections for the Homeless

Joining Forces
In 1984, Connections for the Homeless was born of Evanston’s unique focus on making sure that everyone in the community had a safe, stable place to live. Started in the basement of Lake Street Church, that program, Hilda’s Place, still provides shelter to the homeless 365 days a year.
Now our community faces a different crisis, and once again, we are compelled to respond. Driven by our values, which promote equity and inclusion and acknowledge our role in the community, we recently expanded our work to include advocacy for affordable housing in Evanston and all the communities we serve. This work is focused on catalyzing the systemic change necessary to prevent and end homelessness.
Many of our fellow social service agencies and citizens are just as motivated as we are to address the affordable housing crisis. Knowing that together we are far more powerful than in isolation, we have spearheaded a coalition called Joining Forces for Affordable Housing. Launching Joining Forces as part of our advocacy efforts aligns directly with our core values and the change we seek to create. We support the rights of all people to obtain safe, affordable housing that meets their financial, personal, and family needs. As part of our commitment to transparency, we invite anyone interested in advocating for more affordable housing to join us and become a member of Joining Forces.
Through Joining Forces, Connections has been vocal in its position regarding inclusion of on-site affordable units in projects under development in Evanston. Because many factors impact a project’s “goodness” or “badness,” we do not take a stand regarding whether any particular building or development should be built. However, we are in a position to weigh in on whether the project includes the appropriate number of units on-site, and in this narrow aspect, we hope to influence the project’s eventual configuration. Indeed, through these advocacy efforts, we were able to push the Albion development to increase the number of on-site units from 2 to 15. As a result, 13 more households will have the opportunity to benefit from living in this incredible community.
Through this work, we keep Evanston a strong, sustainable community where everyone has an opportunity to thrive and to reach their full potential. We look forward to bringing greater awareness to the issue of housing instability and poverty by engaging our community and its leaders in dialogue that inspires long-term action and change.

Posted: Thursday, January 25, 2018
Community forum entry by: Mary Rita Luecke Democratic Candidate, 17th Illinois House District

Proud to be a Member of the Evanston/Skokie Community
I was very proud to be a member of the Evanston/Skokie District 65/202 community on Sunday, Jan. 21, when more than 550 residents, young and old, came out on a dreary winter evening to fulfill their civic duty by learning about the candidates running in the March 20 primary. I am thankful to live in a place where folks are not discouraged, not disenfranchised and far from done trying to improve our society.
Candidates running for governor, attorney general and key county positions were there, along with those who, like me, are vying to become the next state representative in the 17th Legislative District. Thank you to the leaders of the DPOE for the countless hours they spend to create this and so many other opportunities for us to be informed and active citizens. I am very grateful to be a member of this community.

Posted: Thursday, January 25, 2018
Community forum entry by: Steve Hagerty, Mayor

Our Community and Country Are Richer
I just want to say... I’m so glad that so many Haitians have made Evanston their home – from District 202 School Board member and high school counselor Jude Laudé, to entrepreneur Pierre John-Paul, to former ETHS teacher Aliette Marcelin, to former Alderman and now Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste, to social worker and community activist Aline Lauture, to DePaul Professor Ludovic Comeau, to former Mayoral candidate and Township Supervisor Gary Gaspard, to attorney Lynn Toussaint. The list goes on... Their contributions to Evanston and the wider country and world are immeasurable.
Haitians are our brothers and sisters. They are teachers, public servants, entrepreneurs, professionals and others who stand, worship, struggle, learn, love, and live with us each day. Our community and our country are richer because of our Haitian neighbors and all immigrant neighbors for that matter.

Posted: Thursday, January 25, 2018
Community forum entry by: Sheila Brown

Taking Climate Change Seriously
Evanstonians can be proud of Mayor Hagerty’s actions in the past year to affirm our City’s commitment to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In December, Mayor Hagerty joined municipal leaders from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico in signing the Chicago Climate Charter, committing to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and supporting regional, state, and federal policies to address climate change as well as private sector efforts to transition to a clean energy economy. Mayor Hagerty also committed to the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy initiative which supports a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2035. Evanston joins several other Illinois cities in this program, including Alton, Chicago Ridge and Park Forest. In August, the Mayor formed the Climate Action and Resilience Plan Working Group to develop Evanston’s third climate action plan.
President Trump’s recent comments mocking the science of global warming during a winter cold snap are a sharp reminder that his administration seems unlikely to take any meaningful action on climate change at the national level. It is clear that citizens, such as those in Evanston, will have an increasingly important role in filling this leadership void through their federal, state and municipal representatives.
Mayor Hagerty is to be commended for his efforts to ensure that Evanston continues to be a leader in fighting and preparing for the impacts of climate change.

Posted: Thursday, January 25, 2018
Community forum entry by: Darlene Cannon On Behalf of the Pitner Block Club

Demanding a Public Hearing
Evanston Township High School, with City approval, is moving forward to install an off-campus alternative school while disregarding the rights of the residents in the predominantly Black Second Ward for a public hearing on a zoning change for the proposed site before allowing the project to go forward.
Residents in the neighborhood surrounding the site have concerns about the location of this particular alternative school in a majority minority neighborhood. The residents' denial of their right to a public hearing on the zoning text amendment change for this school has reinforced a feeling of discrimination and disregard of the rights of this Evanston population by both ETHS and the City of Evanston. Residents request that the zoning change be rescinded until neighbors receive a public hearing before any zoning change, and are afforded an opportunity to question and challenge any zoning change at such a hearing. We feel the bypassing of this simple procedure would never have occurred were this in a White upper-income neighborhood.
We didn’t get a public hearing on the text amendment that other neighborhoods in Evanston are given, and we deserve one by right. We have concerns about the deep, long-term ramifications of the zoning text amendment and want to present these before the Plan Commission at a Public Hearing.
Alderman Braithwaite failed to inform residents that he recommended a text amendment on behalf of ETHS. According to Mary Rodino, CFO at ETHS, ETHS has been working on this school project since August, yet residents only officially heard from ETHS representatives in December. ETHS has already secured a lease agreement. Where was the transparency for the taxpayers in this majority minority second ward neighborhood?
If ETHS prides itself on diversity and inclusion then why does ETHS not seem to be at all concerned that the mostly Black neighbors in the proposed location were not afforded their right to a zoning public hearing? This has been brought to the attention of ETHS numerous times, and not a single board member has showed any concern, even after receiving letters and public comments on this matter at the recent School Board hearing.
A majority minority neighborhood was chosen for the off-campus alternative school simply because the site is close to ETHS, without once considering the worsening of an already marginalized community.
We ask for equal treatment under Evanston law and code. The neighbors surrounding the Hartrey-Dempster site must be allowed a public hearing on this zoning change.

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