Rank ‘Em and Tank ‘Em:

Financial Decision Time


The tight-budget-versus-revenues situation is not likely to improve over the next few years, especially with the benefits the City has promised employees, and the amount of taxes the City can collect from residents without them moving.

It is therefore important that the City start making some tough decisions.

For example, why do we have a mayor, a city manager [at a salary hard to comprehend for most residents and whose function is a mystery to most] and a city council that seems to make all the financial decisions anyway — from commissioning schlock art, “gifts” to businesses they have ordained “winners,” special studies and consultants [many from out of the City] for items they will ignore or continue to debate for years?

Citizens, if not the Council, need to set and rank a list of reasonable priorities and stick to them.  No more funding for everything that comes along just because they don’t want to lose votes or make tough decisions.   Despite the Council’s fantasy that money grows on trees and that funding will appear deus ex machina, its members are leading us down a path we see in California.

Here are a few things to rank, here in no particular order:

Schools, parks, festivals, community centers, art displays.  Actual Library needs, instead of keeping branches so a few residents are happy.  Maintain snow-plowing and street-cleaning; fix street-lighting and traffic signals or cut back on how often they are fixed.  Pave streets as needed, close cul-de-sacs to reduce wear. Support more public transportation; CTA has over the years proposed closing one or more stations.

Maintain City property, regulate and review zoning and construction. 

Review policy — laws, extended reviews and so on — that keeps new business, taxes that force business out or make them not want to even come.  Encourage businesses, rather than “picking winners” and doling money out to them, so residents shop in Evanston instead of Chicago or suburban malls.

Maintain or build new governmental office space versus examining whether current space is really needed by a lean government.

Examine City employment levels to see what is needed or what bloat has been brought in and needs to be scaled back.

Develop  an integrated (not in name only) community, keep a senior community, young professionals’ community, serve the middle and low-income community, retain college students after graduation.  Develop a better relationship with Northwestern University rather than blame and harass them with petty ordinances.

Provide assistance to those in need — food, medical, housing, drug prevention/counseling, etc.

–John Fuqua



Safety Town Needs Its Signs


Evanston Safety Town is losing signs from front yards. We put out 24 and three
are reported missing. These were expensive, a cost we accepted, expecting
to be able to use the signs for several years. At $25 each, they are a
terrific hit to our budget and a loss that means the scholarship requests
we are getting are taking a hit too.

To the perpetrators, please return the signs to

2006 Central St.

or 730

–Emily Guthrie Chair,

Evanston Safety Town


Inclusion, Yes, But It Must Be Done Right, Says CASE


District 65 has decided to embark on a new kind of programming for children with special needs.  It is called “inclusion.”  The basic intent is to “include” children with special needs in general education classrooms to receive instruction and social interaction around “typical learners.” 

This is not a new idea.  Special education law (IDEA) actually requires that children with disabilities be educated “to the maximum extent appropriate” with their non-disabled peers.  However, this can be a tall order for schools without extensive staff training and preparation.  In addition, the entire school community must develop a “culture” that is ready to support and embrace children with disabilities in the general social mix.

Unfortunately, the D65 Administration has forged ahead with their plan without making sure that staff and parents were informed and ready.  Parents have organized out of concern for their children and are trying to engage the administration in a discussion.

“Including” children with disabilities in all aspects of school life enhances the developmental experience of all children.  But it must be done the right way to be successful.

 If you want to learn more about what this means for your child, contact Evanston Citizens for Appropriate Special Education (CASE) at 847-556-8676.

— Cari Levin, LCSW,

Founding Director, Evanston CASE,



Streetlights by Moonlight,

Or Some Light on Streetlights


Thought you might like to see three of the four streetlight types under test on

Green Bay Road

(attached). I couldn’t find #4. The place where it should be, north of Central, appears to have standard fixtures. North and south of Jenks are two sets, and south of Central is another.

My opinion is based on lighting alone, don’t know how they would compare on power consumption, of course.

1. an LED fixture, I think is the best –  very bright and even lighting below, but almost none in the eyes of approaching drivers.

2. an LED fixture –  uneven light pattern thrown on the street and dimmest of all, good for the eyes of oncoming drivers, though. Casts strange linear shadows.

3. a fluorescent fixture –  brightest of all and a full blast of light to the street below –  worst for oncoming drivers, no real improvement over current lights in that regard.

Most of all, I like the blue-white light of all three. I hate those awful yellow-orange sodium vapor lamps that have destroyed the night in cities for so many years now. Good riddance to them, the sooner the better. At least blue-white light is somewhat like moonlight and in that way appears more natural.

–Clif Brown