With the adoption of the Climate Action Plan, the City committed to a communitywide reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions of 13 percent by 2012. Citizens for a Greener Evanston surveyed aldermanic and mayoral candidates about their commitment to sustainability and the City’s climate action plan adopted last year by City Council. All four mayoral candidates and several aldermanic candidates responded; their complete answers appear in the RoundTable’s online election section, evanstonroundtable.com.

The survey contained four questions. The question “What do you see as the appropriate role for city government in reducing the greenhouse-gas emissions of the whole community? How would you use the resources of the city government and your office to promote implementation of the Climate Action Plan?” evoked the following responses:

Most candidates said they felt the City’s main role in sustainability efforts was education. A close second was “leading by example.”

Mayoral candidate Barnaby Dinges: The City can “emphasize the car-share programs, investigation of uses of renewable energy and improving recycling and waste reduction at homes and businesses. … I’d make it a priority to have large, wheeled bins serving every home as soon as possible.”

Mayoral candidate Jeanne Lindwall: “The City of Evanston should lead by example, provide information and support efforts to educate businesses and residents on available resources and programs to make operations more sustainable. The City should also work to assist business start-ups and encourage efforts to provide workforce training that will provide workers for green businesses.”

Mayoral candidate Stuart Opdycke: “City government is in a position to set an example for citizens to follow. If the City adopts conspicuous measures to conserve and to achieve some of the initiatives outlined in the Climate Action Plan, the rest of the community, in time, might be persuaded to follow. Achievements in these areas usually emerge through a slow process of education. In this regard, City government, including the Office of the Mayor, should endeavor to educate.

Mayoral candidate Elizabeth Tisdahl: “I believe that the City’s role falls into three broad categories: municipal conduct, legislation and community engagement. Experience shows that sustainable policies can save money, and common sense dictates that unsustainable short-term behavior will lead to long-term problems that are likely to be very costly to the City. … An approach to our budget crisis that ignores sustainability can be no more than a temporary Band-Aid.”

Several aldermanic candidates also responded to the survey.

First Ward aldermanic candidate Judy Fiske: City government and elected representatives should lead by example. We should be using efficient, well-maintained vehicles, … constructing healthy, well-insulated buildings [and] moving increasingly toward paperless communication and record-keeping.”

First Ward Alderman Cheryl Wollin (incumbent): “City leadership in government buildings should be a model of good practices. We have done this, and will continue do so.”

Fourth Ward aldermanic candidate Elliot Dudnik: “[T]he City must lead by example and implement as many of the strategies as it can afford throughout all buildings and operations. [It could] require dependence upon potential Federal funds that might now be forthcoming …”

Fourth Ward aldermanic candidate Don Wilson: “Community awareness should be promoted at every opportunity. I would encourage neighborhood groups and schools to partner in the City’s efforts by sponsoring community events that highlight the successes of [green] initiatives.”

Fifth Ward aldermanic candidate Delores Holmes: “I think the roles of educating and advocating are appropriate ones of the City.”

Sixth Ward aldermanic candidate Christopher Hart: “The City government must … immediately set targets, demand measurement and drive accountability.”

Sixth Ward aldermanic candidate Mark Sloane: “The City should be an advocate as well as a coordinator and implementer. … The City needs to act as a coordinator of communication, sharing new technology and efficiencies with its residents.”

Sixth Ward aldermanic candidate Mark Tendam: “The City should make every effort to facilitate the use of green practices in offices and homes. … The City has the responsibility to inform the public and create enthusiasm for all of the Plan’s recommendations.”

Seventh Ward aldermanic candidate Jane Grover: “The goal of reducing Evanston’s greenhouse gas emissions should be part of every decision made by the City’s elected officials and staff. … Evanston’s elected officials can play a significant role in educating and informing their constituencies, from insights into the development of sustainability policies to promoting and sponsoring community events.”

Seventh Ward aldermanic candidate Kevin O’Connor: “First and foremost the City can set the best example by having the City workers reduce car use, stop idling, encourage ride-sharing and continue to look for ways for the municipal fleet to uphold best practices with regard to the Plan.”
Seventh Ward aldermanic candidate John Zbesko: “First, I see City government as role model. The City should implement the recommendations that pertain to its operations and publicize its doing so. … The City government can also use its force of law to shape behavior.”

Ninth Ward aldermanic candidate Coleen Burrus: “The City of Evanston must lead by example.  Even though we face an enormous budget crisis, the Mayor, City Council, City Manager, and department heads can enact policies and procedures that all employees can meet.” 

Ninth Ward aldermanic candidate Michael Drennan: “I feel the City does more than simply advise its residents. It crafts and reviews zoning codes and building ordinances, defines standards, regulates industries and individuals for the common good, mandates policy change, and taxes to balance the public good with the public budget. In the end it defines the tone of an administration, and sets the parameters for City managers to take action.”

Ninth Ward aldermanic candidate Mimi Peterson: “

There are three areas of interest that are listed in the ECAP: improving energy efficiency in residential, commercial and industrial buildings; forestry, prairie and carbon offsets and extending the City’s Green Alley Program.
I will pursue [them] using the resources of the City government and the office of alderman to further promote/implement the ECAP.”

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...