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October 24, 2017


Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Community forum entry by: Darlene Cannon

Questions About the HOW Project

The HOW project citied the census tract as justification for the building to be placed at 1305 Pitner a predominantly black area. However, on this end of the census tract within a six-block radius of the building is made up of mostly blacks, Latinos, and retirees on fixed incomes.
It was quoted in the Daily Northwestern that this type of housing will help the really poor. However if they arenít in need of supportive services nor on the Regional Housing Initiative list, then they will not be placed in this building.
1. How is this project not in alignment with the neighborhood according to R5 zoning outlined by city of Evanston Zoning Ordinance 6-8-5,6-8-6, 6-8-7,6-8-8? Nothing in the surrounding area is over two stories Ė only single-family, townhomes and two-flats.
2. The neighbors have not received full disclosure on the project from the City or HOW. City representatives gave this project the stamp of approval in January 2017, long before neighbors learned of it. HOW promised transparency however, they refused to disclose soil and engineering reports to neighbors.
3. The City cited mailing issues as to why people within 500 feet werenít notified about the HOW project until the April 2017 meeting.
4. This is a continued practice of the City, placing affordable/public support housing in the Fifth, Eight, and Second wards, in areas where blacks, Latinos, and poor people live.
5. The City of Evanstonís practice of placement of affordable housing is a continued violation of the Fair Housing Act.
6. Every year the City receives CDBG Funds, Home Funds, and McKinley Funds from the federal government. HOW is seeking CDBG funding from the City in November.
7. The City isnít enforcing the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule to actively foster integration of the community or to reduce disparities, in good health.
The residents of the 1300 Block of Pitner.

Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Community forum entry by: Jane Wickenkamp

Time to Confront Affordable Housing Issues

The time has come for Evanston residents and business people to really confront the affordable housing issue and to begin to do the right thing by building affordable units for seniors and families. No more of the luxury units, we have enough of them.
And not only that, Northwestern will be having more students living on campus in the near future, so more apartments may well become empty in those very same luxury buildings.
As a member of the Commission on Aging, I have heard numerous stories of seniors being displaced because of faulty reverse mortgages or the inability to pay property taxes. Where do these folks go? We have a terrific Ombudsman, Audrey Thompson, who has assisted many a Senior and taken on these problems and come up with solutions.
However, the job is much bigger than one person. The City of Evanston needs to provide housing for all its citizens and not just those who can afford to pay the exorbitant prices of luxury apartments.
I am a member of the Aging Well Task Force housing committee, and we have been working over three years now on ways to bring more affordable housing to Evanston.
We are hoping to get a feasibility study done at some point as this may show various ways to accomplish affordable housing goals.
This task force remains hopeful that developers will be open to this kind of development in Evanston. We also hope that our Mayor and Aldermen will remain open to ideas that will be forthcoming so that affordable housing can become a reality in Evanston.

Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Community forum entry by: John and Baila McCullough

Metra Camouflage

At the east side of the south end of the Metra overpass over Dempster Street, the embankment of the railroad is contained by a concrete wall. Outside the wall is a concrete staircase. Access to the wall and staircase is closed off by a steel gate.
The concrete wall has several large open cracks near the sidewalk and staircase. A large piece at the top of the wall is completely severed from the rest of the wall. These fractures were obvious from some distance until recently.
In the first week of October, a large abstract mural was painted in bold colors and random pattern on the underpass wall, including this side section. With this camouflage the cracks no longer stand out, but they are still obvious if you know to look for them.
Eventually, vibration and erosion will release the piece of concrete at the top of the wall, and it will bounce off the staircase and knock down the flimsy gate and anyone on the sidewalk in front of it. The railroad can claim not to have noticed the cracks obscured by the mural.
The City should barricade the south sidewalk under the overpass and a few yards to its east. Until then, pedestrians would be well advised to walk on the north sidewalk of Dempster Street under the Metra.
Who commissioned the mural?

Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Community forum entry by: Michael Hayes

Maintain Social Services at EPD

When my child was involved in a police issue, social services from the Evanston police department reached out to us. We did not have to explain: they simply offered direct support to our family.
We were fortunate in that the issue with our son was something we understood, for which we were already had support. Not all families are so lucky, and I know neighbors and friends who depend on support from police department social workers for their children.
Not only is it critical to offer support this direct so that families do not have to waste time convincing social service agencies they really need help, but if we are to be a just Evanston, it is critical that we maintain the level of hours we are offering. The proposed move and reduction in hours is a gigantic step in the wrong direction.
If our police are going to be a just force, the practices of this social services department have been a concrete step in that direction. If we plan to have a police force focused on reducing crime and not focused on punishment, the services as they stand are a step in that direction. If we plan to meet the needs of all Evanstonians and not just those who have resources like myself, the services as they stand are a step in that direction.
Do we really want to take such a small step forward at the expense of three large steps back?

Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Community forum entry by: Clif Brown

Because there was no meeting in Evanston, last night I rode my bike to Rogers Park to attend one given by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The group, as earnest and dedicated as it is, is not meeting the issue of guns in America head on. Whether it is acting under the idea that such a thing is impossible I do not know.

Everyone should realize how the attempt to ban accessories to guns while leaving guns themselves readily available is glaringly illogical. Banning an accessory that makes a gun more efficient, while the basic machine that launches pieces of metal at high velocity is just fine to purchase, is completely illogical. It is only because we have been so cowed into helplessness that this nonsense passes (IF any legislation does pass) for an accomplishment. It is testimony to our acceptance that cosmetic action is real action. We wring our hands and hope the NRA will allow us even this. The NRA, a lobby like so many other lobbies on issues under their control, has ruled gun control off the agenda. Fanaticism wins.

Suppose your child was being beaten bloody with a stick by a bully at school. Would you find it acceptable if the school decided that the bully could continue to slap your child and throw him to the ground but was forbidden to use a stick? We the people are telling future shooters that we refuse to allow them to kill so many as might be technically possible, but we will not take away the basic tool for killing.

Weep not for the shooting victims because you will run out of tears. There will be many, many more victims to come. Slavery fired up those who demanded abolition. Against guns for all, we cringe and fall back, setting our hopes on, maybe, just possibly banning a gun accessory.

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