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Not every City Council Meeting features a quotation from noted socialist and perennial early 20th-century presidential candidate Eugene Debs, but the one on Nov. 28 did. Speaking on behalf of Occupy Evanston, Tristan Sloughter included the famous Debs “That is the demand” speech to shouts of approval from parts of the crowd gathered for the NSP2 and marijuana law discussions to follow.
Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, reported findings from the City Ethics Board that exonerated her for actions taken regarding the Kendall Property re-subdivision.
Building permits will soon come with an expiration date. Council introduced legislation that would make permits automatically expire six months after issuance if work has not started, and six months after work is suspended for any reason. Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, called the measure “long overdue.”
Phase 1 of the Emerson Square project, part of the NSP2 project, was given the green light. Brinshore Development has secured funding and plans to break ground in 2012.
The contract for parking ticket management and payment processing, something nearly everyone who drives in Evanston has encountered, was renewed. The City expects to pay about $450,000 in commission to Duncan Solutions.
The garbage police will soon have something else to watch for and issue citations about. Council introduced an ordinance requiring the recycling of all electronic products. Things like computer mice, keyboards, CD players, computer parts and other similar equipment will be prohibited in City garbage cans. If the City finds something, a $25 minimum fee may be issued. The City no longer collects garbage, however, making enforcement possibly tricky.
Citizens can take electronic equipment to the SWANCC facility in Glenview or wait for the twice-a-year collection event in Evanston. Director of Public Works Suzette Robinson said people can also find out when and where neighboring communities are having collection events. Those without transport can arrange for special pick-up – and pay the $25 fee.
It feels like we have heard this one before, but the City is spending another $50,000 to match a Nation Endowment for the Arts grant to study potential sites for performing arts venues in downtown Evanston. The money will fund a consultant, to be selected pursuant to a RFP by February, to study venues in downtown. The consultant will follow on the heels of work done by the Community Land Use Economics Group whose feasibility study in late summer praised the space vacated by Gus Giordano studios over the former Varsity Theatre site.
The Lakefront Committee officially rejected the suggested lakefront marina and convention center project proposed by local architect Mike Vasilko. The project continues to migrate northward, though, and the report by the lakefront committee encourages Mr. Vasilko to continue discussing the project with Northwestern University.
At the Human Services Committee on Dec. 5, efforts by the Parks and Recreation Board to require the City to replace any park land sold with substantially similar park space met another roadblock. Larry Raffle of the Park Board brought the measure to the Committee for the third time, and was rebuffed for the third time. This time the rejection was more unequivocal, as four of the five committee members said they could not support it. They would consider, however, a resolution saying the same thing. Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, summed up Committee sentiment, saying that he did not want to “tie Council’s hands.”
The Committee met an interesting dilemma in processing Township bills. The bills included a legal invoice of over $2,000 to Greg Polini, brought to a Town Board meeting by Township Assessor Bonnie Wilson to argue against Township dissolution. The Committee specifically excluded that bill but passed the remainder. It is unclear who will be paying Mr. Polini.