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February 19, 2018


Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Community forum entry by: Pamela Ferdinand

Opposes Northlight Development. Council members: As someone who grew up on the North Shore and returned here 10 years ago, one of the joys of Evanston always has been the small businesses of my childhood (The Mexican Shop, Vintage Vinyl, etc.) and those that cropped up more recently and are thriving.
My family and I moved back here from Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., whose own small businesses have disappeared one by one, to be replaced by banks and chain stores. The character of that university town – so similar to Evanston in many ways – was soon washed away, and it lost both its charm along with its diverse mix of residents. By the time we left, many of the wonderful businesses that were pushed out for the sake of “development” had become empty storefronts with excessively high rents. Or, they were banks, with teller machines and vacant space that create no sense of vitality or activity on the street. Harvard Square became a shell of what it once was.
To replace an iconic stretch of Evanston – once home to the Varsity Theater (which many would love revived) – for the sake of a high-rise luxury tower is obscene. While we would all love to find a home for Northlight, it does not need to go hand-in-hand with a development that represents everything Evanston is not and that threatens the survival of thriving independent businesses such as our beloved Bookends & Beginnings. We are not a downtown where luxury prevails, where big business dominates (and we could talk about Target another time), where tall towers cast shadows on pedestrians below or where wonderful retailers who are the heart of our daily lives are pushed out so that we can look like every other city. So we become like every other city.
To approve this plan is short-term, unimaginative thinking that threatens to destroy the fabric and identity of a downtown that continues to stand apart. I, for one, will not go down quietly if you dare to close Bookends & Beginnings, the best book store for miles around and one that has defied industry odds.
I strongly urge you to oppose this development and encourage the creation of a new, appropriate site for the Northlight that respects small businesses, our heritage, and the hearts of Evanstonians who love our city as a dynamic and diverse urban gem.

Posted: Thursday, February 1, 2018
Community forum entry by: Joan Muller

We were thrilled to learn that Representative Jan Schakowsky has joined the Climate Solutions Caucus! This bipartisan group, consisting of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, is now up to 68 members. In joining this group, Representative Schakowsky, long a strong advocate for the environment, has demonstrated her resolve in addressing climate change, one of the most crucial issues of our time. She has joined the Caucus with Representative Fred Upton (R MI-06), chairman of the Energy subcommittee in the House.

The majority of Caucus members represent coastal states that have been most severely impacted by climate change. But climate change is a shared national and global problem, and Schakowsky and Upton recognize that we need to join together to find solutions. We at Citizens' Climate Lobby, a nonpartisan, volunteer-driven organization focused on national climate policy solutions, hope that such bipartisan legislation will be fair to those who have done the least to create the problem, that is, the poor and underprivileged.

We applaud Representatives Schakowsky and Upton for stepping outside the current highly partisan environment to address this most critical issue. If this truly bipartisan caucus can actually work together to pass effective legislation, just think what a positive message that would send to our nation.

Joan Muller and Laura Winston, Citizens' Climate Lobby Evanston Chapter co-leaders

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.

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