Keep Branch Libraries Open


We thought the citizen involvement in the budget process was to result in focusing on demonstrated citizen concerns.  In recent months we have more than demonstrated the importance with which we regard our branch libraries. 

We have raised funds for their support and motivated many to come forward and speak on their behalf.  The Library Board stepped up to assert our needs and support the branches. But in the end our City Manager individually decides that it is in our best interests to fund only one facility, dropping funding for both branches.

We want the branches.  We need the branches.  If the Library Board had exerted their full funding rights now instead of deferring until the following budget, they would not be threatened.  If we lose the branches for the next budget year, they will be forever gone.  If we keep them until the Library Fund takes over under the Library Board, they have a chance at further life.

 The City Manager speaks of collection development needs.  We have all long recognized our suboptimal collection.  The collection can be developed slowly over time.  The branches need to be in place so they can be strengthened.  They are existing as being much-loved, highly functional “outreach.”  We don’t need to reinvent them except to add more of them or to recreate the branch we lost some years ago.

Please hear the voice of the people and keep our branch libraries open.

–Barb & Jerry Zapszalka

Pat Quinn


Politics seem about who you know

With under-the-table swap bestow.

Some current disasters

Show who one master is

Renaming a saying: Quinn pro quo.

— Robert Bagby

Vote for Biss


 All other things being equal, there is one overwhelming reason to vote for Daniel Biss for state rep in the 17th District: the brazen declaration by opponent Hamilton Chang that he would only devote part of his time to the office.

 It’s right there on Chang’s website. He says he would continue his present job as a financial advisor because “the job [of state rep] was designed to be part-time.”

 I said all other things being equal, but they’re not. Among the many other reasons to vote for Biss:

 •As a professor of mathematics, he is familiar with numbers and knows our state budget is out of whack.

 •He would create jobs by giving small businesses a tax credit for new hires, exploring new markets, modernizing transportation and other measures.

 •Biss has won the endorsements of the Sun-Times, Pioneer Press, the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen.

 The biggest inequality is between the two candidates, with Biss the clear best choice. He deserves to win a resounding victory on Nov. 2.

— Gary Wisby

City Blowing in the Wind


After seeing the subject article by Shawn Jones in Oct. 13 RoundTable, I express my opposition to the wind turbines as I did in the May 12 RoundTable.

The City received proposals from two companies, neither of which has working turbines. One “system” will be mag-lev, using rare earth magnets. The other would be “traditional.” But there’s no reference to placing over water. Then there’s the talk about a $1.8 million feasibility study, a 40 percent increase in electric rates, unions  rebuilding “EL” bridges at great savings and a new engineering and science lab at Evanston Township High School.

With my 50 years of engineering experience, this sounds like the 21st-century version of the 19th-century snake oil salesman. Any contract prepared by me for a project of this size would prohibit the use of one-offs or prototypes as represented here. A working installation for “x” number of years would be required. Evanston and Lake Michigan will not be used as a testing ground.

The naiveté of the Council, City Boards, CGE, etc., is astounding. To even consider entering into any agreement with either one of these fledgling organizations is ludicrous. What type of guarantees can be offered? And at what exorbitant cost to the taxpayer? What should be asked by those who preside in the Morton Civic Center is why Siemens, a company that  builds turbines and has many installations over water in Europe, hasn’t submitted a proposal.

–Fred J. Wittenberg

Evanston’s Political Scene


Thank you so much for continuing to publish the insightful (and often superbly clever, e.g. “Tilting Toward Windmills?”) reports by Shawn Jones on the Evanston political scene.  I am sure he has his detractors – and that means he’s doing his job.

–John Hendricks (former Northwestern employee) San Francisco, Cal

At Stake: Our Children’s Futures


Thank you for the very insightful articles on District 65 and its student evaluation methodologies and outcomes.  Having children at both 65 and 202, the difference is quite apparent on a number of different levels, not just testing methodologies.  It would seem that the superintendent and his staff are more concerned with preserving their positions than actually providing better educational value. 

It is unfortunate that there is not more discussion of ending the duplication of two School districts and combining 65 and 202.  Since the boundaries are virtually the same, it would result in savings in the millions, given the salaries and benefits awarded the superintendent and his staff, not to mention the building cost and office space they seem to need, and increase the needed focus on better educating the children.

–Kim Bryan

Stepping Out and Up For King Lab


 The King Lab PTA would like to thank a whole community of supporters who helped us Step Up for our school on October 6th. Step Up For King Lab was our first all-school dance and fundraiser, and it was a huge success, with more than $27,000 raised. That money will help pay for many of our major projects: The King Day assemblies to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, drama classes, professional dance residencies, author and artist visits, concerts, plays, and the middle school musical. It will also underwrite often-overlooked expenses, like snacks for students taking the ISATs, and scholarships for kids who might not otherwise go on field trips.

We thank Urban Beat Dance of Skokie, for lending us their amazing hip hop instructors to lead the dancing, and donating prizes.  We are grateful to other local businesses for donating incentives: Abt, Andy’s Frozen Custard, Cinemark, Great Harvest, Lifetouch School Photographers, Lulu’s, Mark Vend Co., Noodles & Company, Paper Source, Pony Shop, Pop and Go Nuts, Skatium Ice Arena, Skokie Exploritorium, Whole Foods, and the McGaw YMCA.

Credit is due to our wonderful teachers, staff and volunteers. Thanks also to the parents, family members, and friends who helped support King Lab with their generous donations. And of course, we tip our hats to our students for representing their school with spirit and style. We only wish we could keep up with their moves on the dance floor!

–King Lab PTA , Sharon Mitzen, Gauri Mohnalkar, and Lauren Krepsik,


Thank You, RoundTable


Thanks for the good work you do every week.

–Mary Dixon

D65 Board Should Establish Clear Goals


I applaud the RoundTable for continuing to spotlight this critical lapse. While Tracy Quattrocki’s request for data regarding where we stand is outstanding, the Board should then promptly move to establishing, and declaring to the community, specific, numeric, goals.

–Carolyn Laughlin

Numbers Do Not Lie


Yes, Mr. Brinson, the difference is real. I applaud Larry Gavin and the RoundTable for this excellent, factual article that exposes D65 for being selective about statistics and progress reporting. The differences are real and they are significant. The RoundTable has no ulterior motive to show that the district is telling its own truth – but it does shine light on how broken the system is. If Mr. Brinson and Dr. Murphy are not willing to see that things are worse than they show with their numbers, they are probably not willing to make changes that might help to correct the problems in the District. These statistics are alarming and should be a call for change, not another denial.

–Julie Cowan