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home : elections : elections March 30, 2017

3/8/2017 9:00:00 AM
Eighth Ward Alderman Candidates, Profiles

City Council - Nine aldermen serve on City Council for a four-year term, one from each of the nine wards.  City Council sets policy, adopts legislation, approves the City budget, gives advice and consent to mayoral appointments, and hires and fires the City Manager.  Aldermen are organized into four standing committees:  Rules, Administration and Public Works, Planning and Development, and Human Services.  Aldermen are expected to communicate and be responsive to residents of their wards.  

Like the Mayor, Aldermen are considered to be part-time officials.  Salary for the position will be increased in 2017 to $15,990.  Aldermen are also eligible to participate in the City medical insurance plan. 



There are two candidates for Alderman of the Eighth Ward: Robert “Rob” Bady and Ann Rainey (incumbent).

The League of Women Voters of Evanston (LWVE) and the Evanston RoundTable have partnered in preparing profiles of these candidates. Each candidate was asked to provide background information and to answer a set of questions prepared and sent to the candidates by the LWVE and the RoundTable, with answers limited to 150 words. The profiles below contain each candidate’s unedited responses to the questions (up to the stated word limit for each response). A thumbnail sketch of each candidate was prepared by RoundTable staff, based on the background information provided by the candidate.

The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.


Rob Bady



Thumbnail sketch:
  Grew up in West Garfield Park, bused to Taft High School. B.A., Communications, North Park University (four-year letterman in basketball. Employment: Property Manager for Holsten Management Corp., responsible for 275 SRO units; Director of Operations for Hilliard Homes, developing  710 units; Department of Family and Senior Housing for CHA; program manager at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center. Current employment: energy consultant for IGS Energy.

Civic activities: Evanston's Citizens Police Alumni Association; City of Evanston Historic Preservation Commission. Children attend District 65 and 202 schools.

Question: Please provide information on your educational background; employment/professional background; volunteer and civic activities; and how long you have lived in the Ward.

I grew up on the west side of Chicago in West Garfield Park, where I was bused to Taft High School. I graduated from North Park University in 1991 with a B.A. in Communications and as a four-year letterman in basketball. I worked for Holsten Management Corp. as a property manager responsible for 275 SRO units;  as director of operations for Hilliard Homes ,) where I developed 710 units; and for the department of Family and Senior Housing for the CHA. I was a program manager  at the Fleetwood Jourdain Community Center for the Evanston Parks & Recreation Department. There, I successfully pushed for the creation of the first strategic planning group in its 77-year history.  In January 2015, I joined Evanston's Citizens Police Alumni Association. Later in 2015, I  joined  COE Historic Preservation Commission Board.  As of May 2016, I am an energy consultant  for IGS Energy, providing commercial and residential customers with expertise on a wide variety of energy solutions. …

Question: What qualifications and key attributes do you feel qualify you for the position of Alderman?

My communications background is key.  My background in business and sales has allowed me to interact with administrators and executives at many levels and often requires me to multi-task to meet deadlines. I've had a variety of great experiences working in Evanston as a teacher and a program manager, as a volunteer board member for a housing development organization, and as a trustee for Reba Church. For the past three years, I have been working with four other board members and the community for Ridgeville Park District to build citizen participation in our recreation programming. My background has endowed me the attributes necessary to be an effective alderman: informed, well-rounded, flexible and experienced interacting with a diverse constituency.

 

Question: What would be your top three priorities as Alderman? What would you do to advance your priorities?

Involving all 8th Ward residents in the political process through frequent face-to-face interactions, quarterly ward meetings, frequent neighborhood gatherings and social media. 2.) Resolving ongoing issues related to water purity and the lack of city services for everyone in the 8th Ward. 3.) Focusing on community-first development that involves everyone in the process, including the development of a Howard Street Master Plan.

Question: What are the top three challenges facing your ward? What would you do as Alderman to address the challenges?

Our three greatest challenges are making sure that our water is pure, that all of our citizens are involved in the political process, and promoting economic development in a way that involves our community in the process. How do we address these challenged? We need clarity from city staff on the status and the long-term history of the water issue, as well as on our options moving forward to guarantee that our water is safe. We need to create a citizen-awareness campaign that encourages participation in ward discussions, rewards youth for volunteering, and involves our residents more fully with their community.

Question: What should the City do to address violence? Is it doing enough, should it do things differently?

We need walking beat cops who know their wards. There is something about a friendly cop in a neighborhood who knows everyone that just makes you feel safer. Violence needs to be addressed by the entire community. We are dealing with human beings and we have to reach them young, starting even at kindergarten level.  We need a safe haven in the 8th ward that will allow for mentoring and tutoring.

Question: What should the City do to promote economic development in your Ward? In the City? Is it doing enough, should it do things differently?

First, you need an open channel for citizen involvement. People need to know that their opinion counts. This has been a foregone conclusion in too many cases in the past. Some wards do a much better job engaging their constituents than others, but we are not doing all we can to include everyone in the 8th Ward. As alderman, I would issue an open invitation to meetings and be forthcoming with everyone about my vision for the 8th Ward.

Question: What do you think about police-community relations in your Ward? In the City? What, if anything, would you suggest doing differently?

We need officers that walk the beat for longer periods, especially in the summers. Our police department generally does a fine job for the most part, but we need more stringent criteria and better hiring practices to assure that all members of the force meet the highest criteria. Meanwhile, the Howard outpost is rarely occupied and should be better utilized.

Question: What specific strategies would you support to preserve affordable housing and to create additional affordable housing in all areas of the City?

A: As a first step, we should use the money collected from developers and use it to energize developers, nonprofits, local banks, city staff and aldermen to designate blighted or distressed properties that should be earmarked for affordable housing projects. We also need a Howard Street Master Plan to help guide these activities in the 8th Ward.

Question: What specific strategies do you believe should be in place to promote equity in the decision-making process for all City departments? What form should citizen input take in this process?

We need to make sure that the aldermen and city staff who are in place consider Evanston as a level playing field, not somewhere that plays favorites or caters to special interests. Citizens should be our go-to sounding board as we build and renew our city and its neighborhoods.

Question: What would you do to make Evanston a more environmentally sustainable community?

Invest in commercial and residential solar energy that is self-sustainable and does not make us grid-dependent while reducing the city’s overall carbon footprint.

Question: How can Evanston’s Cradle to Career initiative benefit the community?

This program has already started to benefit our community by its mere existence. It is great that as a community we have recognized that a significant portion of our children were being left behind in critical areas and that we need to set them up for good careers in the long run. This program will provide a network of support and resources for our children and is a fantastic investment in our future as those kids grow up and become employers and parents of the next generation of Evanstonians.

Question: How will you balance your constituents’ interests with the interests of the City of Evanston?

By allowing the people to hold me accountable and allowing citizen input wherever possible. The constituents are the City of Evanston.
              ...............................................................

 

 

Ann Rainey, Incumbent



Thumbnail sketch:
Attended ETHS (the 26th school, and the fifth high school attended); attended the University of Illinois and Northeastern Illinois. Current employment: Eighth Ward Alderman. Previous employment: HUD Housing Coordinator for CEDA, Neighbors at Work; Director of Housing for Howard Area Community Center; Manager at not-for-profit developer Peoples Housing. Made a 20-year career shift to commercial real estate property management and development.

Civic activities: Civil rights and feminist activist since the 1960s; went to Selma with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee; long-time member of the Women’s Political Caucus, attending the first convention in Houston in 1973. First elected an Evanston alderman in 1983. Moved from the Third Ward to the Eighth Ward in 1980.

Question: Please provide information on your educational background; employment/professional background; volunteer and civic activities; and how long you have lived in the Ward.

I moved from the 3rd Ward to the 8th in 1980. ETHS was the 26th school I attended and the fifth high school. I also attended the University of Illinois and Northeastern Illinois.

I served as HUD Housing Coordinator for CEDA, Neighbors at Work, served as director of housing for Howard Area Community Center and manager at not-for-profit developer Peoples Housing. I made a 20-year career shift to commercial real estate property management and development. I’ve been a civil rights and feminist activist since the 1960s, most importantly, I went to Selma with the student non-violent coordinating committee and am a long-time member of the Women’s Political Caucus attending the first convention in Houston in 1973. I was first elected an Evanston alderman in 1983.

Question: What qualifications and key attributes do you feel qualify you for the position of Alderman?

I have invaluable experience.  I've been exposed to every issue a midwest municipality confronts, short of a tornado. I learn from very smart residents and staff people that have guided the many Councils on which I've served.

My understanding of city departments is excellent—I have watched them grow and change over the years. I've seen what works and what doesn't. I can answer constituents’ questions within an hour.  If I don't know the answer, I know exactly who does.

I've been an innovator when it comes to economic development because I have to be, not to mention creative, smart and tireless. Howard Street is not an easy street! I understand complex financial and economic development issues, I provide good service to my constituents. Through my leadership and problem solving skills l have resolved controversial issues in this past term by bringing very diverse people together to reach compromises.

Question: What would be your top three priorities as Alderman? What would you do to advance your priorities?

Residents, neighborhoods and commercial will continue to receive the best possible service from me and the City of Evanston. Each spring, this includes extraordinary cleanup, maintenance, repair on all the city parks; aggressive rodent abatement service and encouraging all neighbors continue to take rodent prevention seriously: lists for potholes and curb and sidewalk repair. It’s also a good time to remind all so our commercial neighbors to take a look at their landscaping and service areas for spring cleaning.

While I'm certainly not on the legal team I want the James Park lawsuit settled. Hopeful, the judge’s order is encouragement.

I want to stay on top of all the projects that are in the works right now. The Howard Street Theater, Smylie Brothers and Patisserie Coralie. I will continue to check in on regular basis wilth appropriate departments and projects.

Question: What are the top three challenges facing your ward? What would you do as Alderman to address the challenges?

Our densely populated multi-family neighborhoods have insufficient on-street parking. I am working with engineering to double parking on a narrow street by widening street, with no trees loss. Parking problems in Brummel Park and the Dobson-Brummel-Barton area were addressed with evening resident only parking restriction.

Some south Evanston residents around James Park are very concerned about the safety of their water. Staff and I will continue to meet with neighbors, and experts will provide all information available to prove water is safe. Additionally, we are continuing with the lawsuit against ComEd and Nicor, which a federal court determined must go forward.

The Dodge bike lanes between Oakton and Howard have created problems and Council has failed miserably at fixing them. I have not given up on finding a better solution for bicyclist, pedestrians and drivers.

Question: What should the City do to address violence? Is it doing enough, should it do things differently?

Domestic battery reports and arrests are high. Karen Singer, YWCA,. assists in training EPD on calls and advocates for clients in Circuit Court with orders of protection, securing counseling, finding shelter, etc. The City (through Mental Health and CDBG) contributes financially to the Y’s Domestic Violence Program. I am certain we are not doing enough and will focus on what more needs to be done as a project in 2017.

Jobs are one way to address violence. we have one of the best jobs summer jobs program for young people. They are taught skills that will help them not only in school but teach them to make decisions about going forward. Youth job center is expanding into all sorts of programs that include training and placement for adults. The Moran Center provides for expungement so that people with backgrounds that previously prevented them from jobs or job-training.

Question: What should the City do to promote economic development in your Ward? In the City? Is it doing enough, should it do things differently?

Since 2006, the City has been the guiding force for economic development in the 8th Ward with the high-rise at 415 Howard and the purchase of five buildings on Howard Street. My ward is a model for any challenged business district if the partners have the vision, patience, and know how to use their resources.

Are you familiar with Evanston Edge? The Economic Development Division helps businesses grow the Evanston economy as we strive to create the most livable city in America.

No other city could be doing more. We are already doing things differently. Whoever thought there would be a cocktail lounge on Howard Street named Ward Eight (named after a famous cocktail from the 1800s invented in Boston, not after the 8th Ward).

Question: What do you think about police-community relations in your Ward? In the City? What, if anything, would you suggest doing differently?

Over the years the 8th Ward has suffered more than its share of crime, and the police have been there for us. They also kept watch over horrible housing inspections before we had the proper tools to properly demand compliance. I think many residents developed a relationship those officers and now have a good relationship with the problem-solving officers. Things have really changed.

Community police relations in my ward are ok— I get few complaints. The few I do receive, I have addressed immediately and encourage people to file complaints, if they are of that nature. I saw few 8th Ward residents at the community police meeting in January at the Levy Center. Citywide, there are concerns regarding the recent videos. Chief Eddington is making an effort to address concerns with 21 PROPOSED POLICY AND PROCEDURE CHANGES introduced Mon Feb. 6. I am in full support of these changes.

Question: What specific strategies would you support to preserve affordable housing and to create additional affordable housing in all areas of the City?

I am responsible for extending the City of Evanston’s  CDBG rehab program to include condo-unit rehab work. That is a good thing. The most affordable housing in my ward is found in condo properties. Low-to-moderate-income condo owners find it difficult to generate reserves for big-ticket common-area expenses. They cannot get loans, or rehab program won’t help.  I would like to change that by using our affordable housing fund to establish loans to condo associations that pass a means test. Loan money could fund roof repair or replacement and other common area work that will destroy the value of the property, if left undone. The associations can afford repayment plans.

We know adding housing is ridiculous. My position is pretty simple: we have the housing, people do not have the ability to pay. We need jobs, higher salaries, and a substantial smart-housing voucher program. The latter is the real answer.

Question: What specific strategies do you believe should be in place to promote equity in the decision-making process for all City departments? What form should citizen input take in this process?

We have hired an Equity and Empowerment Coordinator to address equity issues across all departments. A 2017 work plan draft proposes that this position be classified as a coordinator to work across departments and coordinate efforts. Some examples of processes/procedures where this position could aid in prioritization/project decision are human resource hiring and promotion processes, workforce development and LEP processes and provide updates to City Council at the end of the year. (Full text can be found at http://www.cityofevanston.org/assets/TOTAL%20MEMOS%2011-4-17.pdf, details pg. 59)

Citizen input, I believe, will come from Housing and Human Relations Commision, as suggested by the Mayor.

Question: What would you do to make Evanston a more environmentally sustainable community?

I know we can always get better, but we are really good!I would require recycling of all commercial and residential units to which service is currently offered. Let’s debate this. Our recycling is down.

The City of Evanston was selected to represent the United States as the 2015 Earth Hour City Capital in World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Earth Hour City Challenge. The competition’s 11-member jury composed of renowned leaders in urban sustainability noted Evanston’s impressive commitment and demonstrable progress toward fighting climate change. WWF acknowledges that cities of all sizes can make important contributions to fighting climate change, and Evanston’s success makes for a wonderful role model.

Question: How can Evanston’s Cradle to Career initiative benefit the community?

Cradle to Career is an experimental program, and I look forward to giving it a chance.

According to their mission they are comprised of a broad and deep group of community organizations and individuals who have committed themselves to a bold vision: By the age of 23, all Evanston young adults will be leading productive lives, building on the resources education, and support that they are their families have had to help them grow into resilient, educated, healthy, self-sufficient, and socially responsible adults.

Question: How will you balance your constituents’ interests with the interests of the City of Evanston?

The city will reflect the interests of my constituents because I will be on the Evanston City Council representing their interests. The City of Evanston is a reflection of all the wards!







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