Coleen Burrus Candidate for 9th Ward Alderman. Public policy attracted Coleen Burrus to the Chicago area. She came from Missouri, where she was a senior planner for St. Louis County, to work in public policy for the University of Chicago. She holds an M.A. in urban affairs and at present is director of corporate relations for Northwestern University. When Anjana Hansen, the present Ninth Ward alderman, decided to retire, she tapped Ms. Burrus to run for the position. Ms. Burrus names “fiscal management, economic development, affordable housing, parks and recreation and public safety” as some of her areas of experience in city government. A resident of Evanston for eight-and-a-half years, Ms. Burrus has served on the City’s Community Development Block Grant committee. She is a member of the City’s Plan Commission, a mayor-appointed citizen body that reviews development proposals for the City and makes recommendations about them to the City Council. One of the Plan Commission’s most recent undertakings was hearing testimony on, deliberating and revising the draft downtown plan now before City Council. “We worked really hard [on the plan,” she says, and, “we came to a consensus.” Asked whether she felt there would be a conflict for her as an alderman, given that she is employed by Northwestern University, she said she would recuse herself as needed but added that in the past year the issues regarding Northwestern were negligible – such as allowing parking for football games on the golf course – and she would have voted on that issue. Ms. Burrus sees her role as alderman, if she is elected, as being “a voice for the Ninth Ward, listening and learning and taking that back to the City. …It’s really a balancing act between listening to constituents and analyzing data and making what you believe is the best decision for the City.” Collaboration, forging partnerships and building community would be two focal points of Ms. Burrus’s tenure, she says. “[We have to] look at not-for-profits, government and business and how we can get them to work in the same direction. … Fiscal health and financial responsibility pose a daunting task. We need to look at tightening our belts, delivering services and not overtaxing the citizens.” Ms. Burrus has three proposals to help cut costs at the City: reducing paper, cutting the health care benefit for aldermen and reducing the number of consultants. One way of reducing paper-use, she suggests, is to promote even greater use of electronic files. Regarding health-care for aldermen, Ms. Burrus says, “How many part-time jobs have full-time health-care?” And for consultants, she says, “I don’t understand why we don’t do more in-house.” Asked whether she could fit an aldermanic job into her present lifestyle, which includes a full-time job as well as being a parent, Ms. Burrus said, “Community service is part of our life. I don’t ‘make time’; it’s my lifestyle.” Her favorite part of the Ninth Ward, she said, is “the people – they are fantastic.”Michael Drennan Candidate for 9th Ward Alderman. Michael Drennan is living la vida verde. He is chair of the Illinois chapter of the Green (political) Party; a member of Citizens for Greener Evanston, the group that helped craft Evanston’s Climate Action Plan, and a vegetarian. Except for the past few months, he says he has “been living car-free.” He serves on the solid waste recycling committee of CGE, which, he says is conducting a survey about the effectiveness of the City’s recent solid waste franchise agreement, under which Groot has an exclusive contract for refuse and recycling pickups from most Evanston businesses and large condominium buildings. In addition, he says he has also helped in the formation of the Business Alliance for a Sustainable Evanston (BASE). “We look for the triple bottom line – social success, profit and environmental responsibility,” he says. Mr. Drennan describes himself as an “issues-based guy.” Among the issues he says the City is facing are development, traffic and the environment.” He will kick off his campaign on Feb. 22. He is running for aldermen because “I felt strongly the need for political leadership to answer the civic demands for sustainability and civic responsibility. Politicians must stop showcasing for the environment, and like many of their neighbors roll up their sleeves and do something to benefit our grandchildren. This pursuit, of alternative energies, greater efficiencies, sustainable means of transport and better recycling will lead to more reasonable development downtown, a lower cost of doing business, and more affordable housing opportunities.” The role of alderman, as Mr. Drennan sees it, is to “set the tone, provide a larger view in terms of ideas, and, ideally, through robust dialogue and civil discourse, craft reasonable legislation that the City Manager can implement.” Nearly a life-long resident of Evanston, Mr. Drennan says the City has had “a long run of good City managers.” He says he sees the aldermen as “partnering with the management team [the City Manager and department heads], trusting each other and reviewing policy responsibly.” Two of the strengths Mr. Drennan says he would bring to the position of Ninth Ward alderman are optimism and consensus-building. “I’m willing to work with anybody. … In the Green Party we use what is called a ‘consensus process’ by which we take the broadest number of viewpoints [and use them] to identify the issue and craft a solution.” His favorite part of the Ninth Ward, he says, is Ridgeville Park. “It is a beautiful park system and they offer great classes.” Mimi Peterson Candidate for 9th Ward Alderman. As a life-long resident of Evanston she has nurtured her love for history. She adds, though, “Maybe because I live in Illinois, I think we need accountability, reform and transparency in Evanston government.” Ms. Peterson says that having grown up in the oldest house in Evanston makes her appreciate its history and historical associations, such as the Frances Willard Historical Association, of which she is now president; the Evanston History Center, where she conducted research for her recent book of historic postcards. Ms. Peterson has been involved in several grass-roots initiatives that, she says, have had positive results for her neighborhood and the Evanston community as a whole. Among her local efforts were lobbying to get enhanced police presence in the Crown Park neighborhood and the “cop in the corridor,” a patrol car for Dodge Avenue between Church and Howard streets. “The Crown Park Neighbors was the first neighborhood group to lobby the City to use Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to renovate a City playground in a school district, Washington School.” The City has since used CDBG funds to renovate playgrounds at other schools, Ms. Peterson said. She also spearheaded the “General Dawes Returns” movement last year, after the Charles Gates Dawes house, home of the Evanston History Center, was closed to the public. The GDR group hired a character actor and marched to the Northwestern campus to put pressure on the University to give the mansion to the citizens of Evanston. An earlier move to put pressure on the University was the Fair Share Action Committee, which placed a referendum question on the ballot asking whether the City should negotiate with Northwestern to have it contribute toward City services it receives. “It was passed by 83 percent of the voters,” Ms. Peterson said. “I got the City on a regular 6-year tree-trimming cycle, instead of the 30-year cycle it was on before,” she added. She also worked on saving the City’s elm trees from the ravages of Dutch elm disease, co-founding To Rescue Evanston’s Elms (TREE), which successfully lobbied the City to inject healthy elms with a fungicide to prevent the spread of the disease. “I’ve worked for more than a decade, working with neighbors and City staff [on many projects] … and “always with a true passion for what I think is right.” Ms. Peterson says the role of alderman is “having more than one hat to wear. … Residents across every ward are feeling a lot of frustration because they are not being listenwsd to. I can be an effective voice for the residents of the Ninth Ward. I will listen to my constituents. The biggest challenge is to work with the [other] aldermen for the good of the City.” Ms. Peterson sees her greatest strength is that she is a “grass-roots candidate with a long list of accomplishments and a proven record of leadership.” Mimi Peterson’s favorite part of the Ninth Ward is Ridgeville Park. “My family and I really enjoy … the art shows in the theater, the camp shows – picnicking under the shade of an historic Evanston elm.”