In an effort to inform Evanston voters about candidates for the Second and Ninth wards, the RoundTable sent out a standard questionnaire to each person running for the council seat of either ward. Today, we are publishing responses from candidates, which you can find in one place here.

Early voting opened at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center on Monday, March 20, and Election Day is Tuesday, April 4.

Kathy Hayes

Kathy Hayes, Ninth Ward City Council candidate. Credit: Via

Provide your occupation (if you’re a consultant, please describe what type of consulting work you do), recent civic/volunteer activities, educational background, and time you have lived in Evanston.

I am a grandmother, mother and community volunteer proud to call Evanston home. I am a lifelong Evanston resident that was born and raised in the historic Fifth Ward. My professional background includes working 24 years in the Cook County government (Retired), working for the State’s Attorney’s Office and Cook County Health Systems. My education in human services and social services provided me with the opportunity to work with a variety of systems and clients. This has made me a strong advocate for the disenfranchised and underserved. I am a proud community advocate and public servant.

What do you see as the top three challenges facing the city of Evanston in the next few years, and how would you address them?

Communication: All voices in the Ninth Ward should be heard, acknowledged, and represented by the City Council because all voices matter. I will have no conflicts of interest and will not have to recuse myself from any votes before the City Council.

Economic development, which supports small business and provides opportunities for mentorship, training and employment for Evanston residents who are unemployed and underemployed. That encourages business to become environmentally sustainable.

Ensuring public safety, through comprehensive partnership programs including nonprofits, business, and government organizations.

Fighting to obtain affordable housing that is accessible to Evanston residents throughout all of Evanston. Multigeneration housing that will provide a wide range of community members.

Name one thing that you think the current council has done well and one thing that it could have done better in the last three years and provide your reasons.

Positive: Providing the city with a permanent chief of police. This provided confidence and insight into the process of hiring a major city administrator. The interview process gave residents an opportunity to gain insight on candidates and outlined what challenges an executive administrator such as the chief of police faces. The interview process was civil, informative and responsibly done. It was a conversation that all residents appreciated.

Needs improvement: The hiring of several HR contractors to hire a city manager, executive director. We have been through numerous interim city managers in two years. The City of Evanston pays a competitive salary for this position. Our city deserves an executive that provides stability, vision and a vested interest in the community and its public servants.

The council appears to have drawn a line against raising property taxes in favor of raising fees and fines, such as parking and waste disposal. Where do you stand on taxes vs. fees and fines?

All residents are affected by fees and fines in the same way that homeowners are affected by taxes. Taxes, fees, and fines must be explained clearly in the budget to give an understanding of how they will affect city services. We must scrutinize all spending, and the ways we decide to create revenue. We must protect those impacted the most by our decisions. The way our city funds its services reveals what our community values are. A budget is much more than a document; it is a guide for the entire community. We must always be fiscally responsible.

Where do you stand on the proposed fair work week ordinance and ban on cashless businesses?

Fair work week: It is important to me that workers’ rights are protected, and small local businesses supported. These two sectors form the backbone of our community’s economy. We should differentiate small local businesses and national chain stores. I believe sitting down with businesses and workers organizations to address the issues of equity and fairness in the workplace is the most respectful approach. As a result, the community will benefit from collaboration between both entities. Finally, many businesses already adhere to the practices. The city should be consistent with its industry exemptions.

Cashless ban: There is a need for more research on cashless businesses to provide better insight into the issue. It is my view that a cashless business might be penalizing unbanked customers. But the issue creates more questions than answers: Cashless businesses need clear definitions on how to proceed in order not to penalize unbanked customers. What are some ways we can incorporate this idea into our community with balance? How would the unbanked benefit?

The city continues to look at selling the Morton Civic Center and possibly moving city offices to the downtown area. Where do you think city offices should be located? What should be done with the 2100 Ridge Ave. property?

Before the Civic Center can be sold, it must be inventoried to determine its true value. You need to be clear on the assets you have, the debt that you can afford. The council and the residents need to see a cost-benefit analysis. The Civic Center is something that will have long-term monetary impact on the city, and a thorough cost-benefit analysis is needed for different options.

If the cost to modernize and maintain the Morton Civic Center is not cost effective, finding new office space should be a public discussion. New city offices should be able to meet the required needs for growth and governance of the city and community. In addition, any location must have free parking access and public transportation available for residents citywide.

The parkland is valuable and would be a central part of the discussion about saving or sales of the Civic Center. I hope if sold (that is a big if) that a new owner would be open to be a collaborative community partner and keep the park public.

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Manan Bhavnani

Prior to joining the RoundTable, Manan Bhavnani covered business and technology for the International Business Times, with a focus on mergers, earnings and governance. He is a double Medill graduate, with...

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