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October 22, 2019

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Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Ed Bryant

Evanston Does Not Need to Be in Crisis Mode
Your editorial of Sept 19 casting a jaundiced eye on the pending proposal to have two armed private police guards at the Civic Center all the time at an annual cost of $113,000 was right on target.
People seem to have short memories when it comes to municipal expenditures. Evanston spent over two years involving citizens and consultants and committees to prioritize what needed to be supported and what was not as important for the purposes of the annual City budget.
Nowhere on that list of needs was a pair of armed guards at the Civic Center. Now, apparently because of the growing number of copycat loner domestic terrorism shootings, everyone where a group of people gather is presumed to require armed guards in crisis mode.
Respectfully, we are not there.
The several inexpensive suggestions you made as alternatives to the armed guards are very reasonable. Lock all but one well-lit entrance after dark (leaving inside-out exits for fire safety) and install a good camera monitoring system. Put up signs warning all who enter about the security cameras.
I’d go a step further and have occasional armed Evanston police officers cover the Civic Center hall in the evenings so that anyone planning mayhem will not know whether the police will be there. Utilize on-the-ground police intelligence to discern just when it makes sense to bolster security rather than to treat our Civic Center hall as if it were Lollapalooza every day. That’s what police departments are for.
Keep up your campaign for reasonable programs and a balanced municipal budget. Evanston is so fortunate to have The RoundTable as a conscientious watchdog, doing what local journalists are supposed to do on the public’s behalf.

Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Sally Wildman

Provide Ping Pong Tables at Robert Crown
Evanston residents would welcome a new sport activity for Robert Crown Center – ping pong. What a wonderful sport in winter months for folks of all ages.
This sport requires only a moderately enclosed space, a quality table with related net and equipment. There is no ping pong [table tennis] facility available to Evanston residents.
If this new activity can be added to the new community center, it will draw in residents who may not otherwise use this expanded facility, both young and senior. Some Evanston residents may establish competitive ping pong teams. We ask City officials to expand use of new Robert Crown community center for yet another winter sport, ping pong.

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Nancy Sreenan

Harley Clarke is open once more in October for the public to visit. It’s open 7 am. to 3 pm. Oct 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. If you have missed it, see here why Blair Kamin of the Chicago tribune observed “Evanston, you’ve got a treasure on your hands!”:
Evanston Community LakeHouse & Gardens (ECLG), a 501c3, is hard at work to ensure this lakefront mansion is dedicated to our community. Imagine a place to gather, listen, learn, create, dine, work, perform, celebrate, and play--on our lakefront!

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Camille Blachowicz, Ph.D.

‘Outstanding’ Article on Redlining
The article on redlining was outstanding. Thank you so much for
such a clear historical perspective and kudos also to Dino Robinson.
The RoundTable is a terrific community resource.
Thanks for the work you do.

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Leslie McMillian and Mary R Mary Rosinski

Neighborhoods vs. Northwestern Profits
Northwestern is lobbying Evanston to be able to host for-profit concerts/professional sporting events and to sell alcohol in the U2 zoning district, their stadium/arena complex. In the past, Evanston stood with residents and fought against this change. From roughly 1970 until 1978, Northwestern repeatedly held illegal events in the stadium and sued Evanston over attempts to stop them. In 1978, the Illinois Supreme Court sided with Evanston and its residents. Evanston denied a subsequent attempt by Northwestern to host such events in 1996.
Northwestern’s renewed request to host for-profit events occurs at a time of heightened concern about Evanston’s budget. The amount of money that these currently banned events will raise for Evanston is small. Moreover, it is extremely cynical of Northwestern to use Evanston’s budget problems to try to trample on the long-settled rights of Evanston’s tax-paying property owners.
Why is it cynical? Northwestern’s history of not making financial contributions to Evanston speaks for itself. If past is prologue, Northwestern asks Evanston for preferential changes while simultaneously working to minimize their payments to Evanston. Northwestern is worth over $12 billion and is one of the wealthiest universities in the world. As a nonprofit, they pay effectively no local taxes (of note, Northwestern won this benefit by suing Evanston all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court). Northwestern’s sports programs generated $92 million in revenue in 2017. Most of that revenue is tax exempt, so Evanston’s share was roughly $1.5 million in ticket taxes. In comparison, the Evanston homes around the stadium pay roughly $7.1 million in taxes to Evanston.
Evanston estimated that Northwestern avoided roughly $28 million in property taxes in 2017. Updating for this year’s property tax increases, Northwestern could now be dodging $56 million in property taxes. Because most other Universities are nonprofits, they are also exempt from property taxes. But many Universities make “Payments In Lieu of Taxes.” Northwestern’s student magazine notes that Northwestern’s donations to Evanston are stingier than the donations of effectively all of Northwestern’s peer universities to their surrounding communities (including Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, Cornell and Boston University).
I hope Evanston will reaffirm their past decision to stand up for local property taxpayers and maintain the ban on for-profit events and the sale of alcohol on Northwestern’s stadium complex. For those looking for a brief history of Northwestern’s financial relationship with Evanston, I suggest this article by Northwestern’s student magazine:

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Lewis Walker

Ways to Think About Reparations
Addressing reparations in this country leads participants in problematic directions. The practical details of reparations as a nationally administered program elicit numerous thorny questions about their application on a grand scale.
While local impacts of slavery should ideally take into account national factors, a program that addresses reparations at a local level makes more sense, especially when local history has been documented.
Apart from the preceding is the fundamental statement made when deciding to press the subject in the first place. Dramatically differing results may be reached when reparations are viewed in the context of a business or a family.
A “business model” would assess impacts over time in a fashion that could resemble actuarial accountings. The result would be a bill for damage done and for services not rendered, both intentionally and due to neglect.
Family relationships that go awry and wreak deep damage do end up in court, where a business model gets applied. But in other instances, very non-business methods result in amelioration of debts and, in extreme cases, in forgiveness of them in toto.
Have there been positive interracial dynamics in Evanston’s past? If significantly so, while that wouldn’t necessarily impact the process, the weight a non-business accounting of them might merit could come into play.
But I think it is a fair and, for the moment, an open question.

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