A meeting of residents called to gather input as to what the Seventh Ward is looking for in a new alderman brought out 60 to 70 people on Jan. 12 in the Parasol Room at the Civic Center. Eight of those have submitted their names to Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl to fill the Seventh Ward aldermanic vacancy.
Mayor Tisdahl said she expected within a week to name the replacement for departed former Alderman Jane Grover, who resigned at 2015 year-end to take a job with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. The forum allowed the candidates to introduce themselves to the residents, and the residents to let the Mayor know what they were looking for.
The candidates who spoke included Mary Rosinksi, a real estate broker and longtime community activist; John Zbesko, an aldermanic candidate in 2009 and member of the North Shore Mosquito Abatement board; Spencer Stern, a management consultant; Eleanor Revelle, former president of the Evanston League of Women Voters and of the Illinois League of Women Voters, a board member of the Evanston Community Foundation and a founding member of Citizens Greener Evanston; Lori Keenan, owner of a marketing firm and an activist who was prominent in library issues; Carl Bova, a civil engineer who frequently addresses Council on engineering and other issues; Tom Cushing, a candidate for judge recently; and Todd Kihm, a local renovator and contractor.
Mayor Tisdahl said there were two other candidates, making a total of 10, but they did not appear at the forum.
Residents asked for more communication, ward meetings, newsletters, and other methods of making sure they were aware of City issues and that they had the opportunity to express their concerns to the alderman. Two residents called for more focus on the part of the ward that lies south of Lincoln Street, “because this part of the ward has been ignored for years.”
Bob Danon, owner of the Danon Gallery on Central Street, said, “We need an alderman who will help us get the sidewalk fixed … a strong, tough alderman with direction.” He also mentioned parking issues, a theme referenced by several others as well.
Mayor Tisdahl was asked what she viewed as important issues to consider. “Diversity” is her top issue, she said, because keeping diversity in Evanston preserves one of the key reasons people choose to live here. Too many foreclosures and evictions, and an increasing cost of living, she said, should be the focus of each and every alderman.