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January 20, 2019

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Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Nick Korzeniowski

A Word From Nicholas Korzeniowski
In the past weeks there has been an objection to my candidacy for the District 65 School Board as filed by current Board President, Mrs. Suni Kartha.
At two hearings I appeared at the County Clerk alongside Suni’s counsel, Mr. Scott Erdman. The objection, specifically, was that I had failed to completely and properly fill out the portion of a candidate’s filing that requires signatures from eligible voters to petition for a spot on the ballot.
Upon receiving the objection papers, my first reaction was incredulity. After all, I have been a candidate for this position before. Moreover, though it is certainly not the responsibility of these parties to do so, neither the notary I presented before made any mention, nor did the County Clerk I filed with, nor did the Board of Elections that had my name on their website by the time I got home from filing.
After review, though, it was absolutely the case that I made these mistakes.
As I attested under oath, I was present with the notary, and did sign other forms required for my filing.
My negligence to fill out lines on my petition forms was an honest mistake, and obviously so easy to make that two other candidates made similar mistakes as well. However, my mistakes are my own. There is a process, and rules in place, that must be honored and abided by. As such I made no efforts to strike the objection to my filing, nor did I make any statements in disagreement with Mr. Erdman.
I fully accept the consequences of my errors, and will unfortunately not be on the balot this April.
My family and I are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support we’ve received, and the understanding so many have shown.
My wife and I look forward to continuing each of our efforts to work towards helping better our beloved Evanston, be it improved schools, stewardship of our communities, supporting other young families, increasing public participation, and more.
Thank you all again, and from our family to yours, we wish you all a happy New Year.

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Sergio de los Reyes, AIA, LEED AP AIA, LEED AP

Mediocrity in Our Built Environment
Despite Evanston’s progressive tradition and architectural legacy, the modern commercial buildings that you see downtown are squat and banal they do not inspire confidence in architecture. Why is that?
It is very difficult to build an economically viable commercial building in Evanston by strictly following the zoning ordinance.
Thus, new projects are forced into the planned development process, in which the size of the new building is negotiated with the City and through public meetings.
Thus, the rules that govern a new building under that process are not transparent- in fact, they don’t exist at all.
In the planned-development process, the way in which the City and the public provide input into a project is not coordinated, so that the result is a bit like a cake baked by a committee: Add a bit of meringue here, take away some frosting there, not too many layers.
The result is a mediocrity that, when finally built, only confirms the public’s impression of the poverty of modern architecture.
This is dispiriting, and comes with actual economic and social costs: for example, Northlight Theater still does not have the home in Evanston it would like to have.
But these costs are largely opportunity costs and hard to see.
Why are we at this point?
The last comprehensive plan was adopted in 2000.
Since then there have been a succession of piecemeal plans, some adopted and some not: The North Downtown Plan, the West Evanston Master Plan, the Central Street Corridor Plan, the Chicago Avenue Corridor Plan, the Lakefront Master Plan, and the Design Guidelines for Planned Developments.
The zoning ordinance, which is supposed to implement the master plan, has been updated on a piecemeal basis also.
None of these efforts keeps up with the current economic and technological universe.
What is the alternative?
Widespread public input where it will have the most positive impact – an updated comprehensive plan that then flows into a comprehensively updated zoning ordinance.
The result of this process will be a set of rules transparent to the public, City staff, and developers, providing a framework within which all stakeholders can develop more creative solutions that will benefit the built environment and keep Evanston at the forefront

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Jim Morris

NU Should Reinstate Some Visitor Parking
I’m an Evanston resident with no other relationship to Northwestern.
While I realize the University owns the stretch of lakefront sometimes referred to as “the landfill” I have always felt it was the custodian for that part of the lakefront, and that making that area available to the general public was not just a generous gesture to the community, but sort of an obligation or commitment to the City of Evanston and its residents.
For as long as I can remember, the University had designated six or eight parking spaces on the upper deck of the parking structure closest to the landfill as visitor meter parking.
While I’ve always assumed “visitor” primarily referred to prospective students and their families, I also assumed that residents would also be considered visitors, at least in the sense that they were welcome to avail themselves of these spaces.
I confess I have always thought that this very modest allotment of metered spaces was rather stingy on the part of the University, I nevertheless appreciated having at least the possibility of parking in one of these spots, whenever one was available.
That location made for a great starting point if I wanted to walk along the landfill lakefront path or visit the Block Museum or box office.
This week, however, I discovered that the University had removed all but one of these meters.
There was no signage indicating what this meant. So I went to the University police station and inquired about this.
I was sent to the parking services office in the Visitor’s Center, where I asked what was going on with the visitors’ parking spaces.
The woman I spoke to, (who seemed uninterested in talking to me), said that, yes, those were no longer available to visitors unless the visitor purchased a one-day parking permit for $8.25.
I left the office feeling resentful, to say the least.
I realize we residents of Evanston aren’t entitled to any kind of treatment or consideration by the university. I also realize that there is street parking not too far away that is available to all.
However, there is a larger issue here regarding the relationship between the University and the City of Evanston and its residents.
Just as setting aside eight metered, 30-minute parking spaces for visitors is a gesture, so is deciding to deny visitors even this rather tiny gesture.
In the context of City/University relations, this withdrawal of access is quite minor.
But what it represents is not. There is always tension between any college or university and the town in which it resides.
It is often the accumulation of many small acts like this elimination of visitor parking spaces that creates and reinforces bad feelings, feelings of resentment toward the university by local residents. And there is a tacit assumption on the part of many Evanston residents that the University is a less than ideal citizen, taking advantage of the City’s services without appropriate compensation.
I honestly don’t know how fair and equitable this relationship is. I’m sure it’s a far more complicated question than I am capable of assessing.
But I do know this: While the university’s footprint in proximity to our lake is finite, and there are various demands on this space, denying visitors this tiny parking space is just plain WHAT?
For an institution that prides itself on being inclusionary, it sure feels like an exclusionary act.
Any good will that local residents like me might feel toward Northwestern for simple things like allotting these parking spaces for our use can easily turn to bad will, and bad will isn’t easy to reverse.
To put this whole matter more bluntly, would it really have killed you to leave the metered spaces alone?

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Becky Hyland

Priced Out of an Ice Rink?
The Friends of Robert Crown Center has zero business promising access to the ice sheets in exchange for “donations,” yet that is exactly what they are doing.
There are already rabid rumors that there will be no figure skating at the new Crown Center, and if there is, it will be at a $20 per hour freestyle session.
This is absurd every single figure skater from Crown will have no choice but to leave because they will be priced out. FRCC has never reached out to the figure skating community for help with donations, so of course they will say figure skating can take a back seat for ice time, if they get any at all.
Enjoy your new private hockey rink, E-Town.

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Virginia L. Beatty

Tendam’s Historic Ideas
Mark Tendam makes some great points in his letter suggesting more thinking on best use of the “Library Lot.”
The block the Library is on is probably the most historic block in Evanston. It certainly is in terms of Women’s History in Evanston, in Illinois and in the US.
This block could be the focal point in making Evanston a Destination Community.
Combining Evanston’s Women’s History with Evanston’s ease of access by public transportation could provide a train trip with introductions to fascinating moments in history.
For starters. How about Evanston Women and the passage of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
The WCTU, headquartered in Evanston, was given much credit in achieving ratification.
In fact, when Acting Secretary of State Philander C. Polk signed the proclamation declaring the ratification of the 18th Amendment on Jan. 16, 1919, he handed the sterling silver pen he had just used to Anna Gordon, President of the WCTU.
I first saw the pen when I toured the Willard House in 1964.
I also found out that the WCTU’s legislative office was probably the first permanent lobby in Washington, D.C., and that the 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors, but did not forbid the consumption and private possession of alcohol.
Also, the law did not go into effect for a whole year, so many individuals took the opportunity to stock up.
The next two years are filled with lots of EWHF (Evanston Woman History Facts).
Mr. Tendam’s letter really started me thinking.

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Debbie Hillman

New Governmental Structures Needed
On Dec. 10 the Evanston City Council voted 9-0 to honor the citizens’ referendum to save Harley Clarke by taking imminent demolition off the table. They did this by voting down an appeal of the Preservation Commission’s unanimous rejection of a certificate to demolish.
Watching the proceedings via live stream TV, I came away with a hopeful sense that voters and City officials may be ready for more meaningful collaboration, not only on the issue of Harley Clarke but on other City decisions.
If meaningful collaboration is going to become embedded in our civic culture, we will need to adopt and implement some meaningful rules and foundational principles for this new commitment. Here’s a short list of commitments that would go a long way in creating and maintaining a more collaborative, peer-to-peer atmosphere between voters and City officials.
Good Government Matters
It would be good if voters and officials both recognize that the Harley Clarke referendum vote (80% of votes in favor of “saving” Harley Clarke) was not just about a building. It was also about good government, due process, transparency and rich people having too much access to the decision-making table. I voted for the referendum –
to pull the emergency brake on the fast-tracking of a behind-the-scenes proposal bought-and-paid-for by a small group of people – even though I, too, was suffering from Harley fatigue.
Most of our 21st-century difficulties stem from outdated governmental documents, structures and processes, including the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions and local codes. These documents were written from a limited perspective – primarily white, male, European, Christian – without any major and inclusive updating since their original adoption.
Collaboration cannot be about simply changing personnel (“Vote them out of office” or “We don’t have time for everyone’s input”). It must address deeper design issues.
Behaviors that Inhibit and Promote a Collaborative Atmosphere
Looking at behaviors that inhibit and promote a collaborative atmosphere, I think it would be good if City voters could commit to:
• not bothering officials in non-official venues, such as their homes, on the street, in stores and not lecturing officials during official proceedings. It would also be good if City officials could commit to not referring to themselves as “those of us on the dais ”
• not addressing citizens by first name during official proceedings, such as citizen comment not lecturing citizens from the dais or during any official proceedings, including ward meetings, etc.
• not making private deals with rich and/or powerful people over, above and behind public process
• not identifying official City projects with an individual official (e.g., Mayor’s job fair)
• holding informal public meetings instead of scheduling private meetings on public issues (e.g., regular ward meetings in all wards).
Resources and Next Steps
Here are some ideas for education:
“What is Democracy?,” a new documentary by Astra Taylor, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Feb. 15-21
Examples of collaborative models: co-operatives participatory budgeting public banks food-and-farm policy councils funded sovereignty (a basic income for civic engagement) Constitutional conventions
Suggested action plans: climate, food-and-farm, etc. restorative justice action learning democracy groups such as the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, Deliberative Democracy Consortium, and the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement.
Next steps: Community meeting to design new collaborative structures.
Would an Evanston-based grassroots organization or coalition host a Citywide meeting to design new official structures of collaboration between voters and officials? Are there any “civic engagement” or “participatory democracy” commitments in the STAR Communities framework (for which Evanston can earn new points), the Climate Resilience plan, any other recently adopted City ordinance or City action?

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