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July 15, 2018

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Posted: Monday, July 9, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Bonnie James

On the Pumping Station: I am writing to correct the RoundTable’s reference to the City of Evanston’s claim of following “proper procedures for approving zoning.” The property on which the City approved the construction of the new pumping station is owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and proposed to be built and operated by the Morton Grove/Niles Water Commission.
None of the water is proposed for the benefit of Evanston residents.
The City’s development of a water system is a private enterprise and subject to its zoning law and process.
In this case the City did not go through zoning. No notices to any landowners adjacent or near the proposed pumping station were sent. The City Agenda merely referenced the agreement to sell water to Morton Grove/Niles.
As residents in this community how do you feel about your City thinking it has the power to exempt itself and others from its laws? How would you feel if the City changed the zoning from open land to a special use that requires state-level permitting, including for potential diesel engines that pollute the air with contaminates and noise?
Evanston exempted itself from laws and violated the rights of the nearby residents, most of whom are lower income and minority. Are these the elected officials we want in office, or do we want people who handle transactions with transparency and invite public input – particularly when it has a direct impact on your quality of life and value of your property?

Posted: Monday, July 9, 2018
Guestbook entry by: John Tuzon

Comment on Gun Violence Article: There will be no end to gun violence until people – all people – are willing to give up their guns. Most individuals in the United States own guns and don’t want to give them up they want others to give up their guns, not they.
This is a subconscious cultural thing and culture is very difficult to change. One hundred fifty years ago, in the Wild West, self-defense might have been a necessity, but not any more. Still, the gun culture persists. I bet, most people don’t really know why they own a gun. It is just a gut feeling. They rationalize and have all kinds of lame excuses. Why not own a gun?
Well, there is a very good reason why not. Until individuals, all individuals are willing to give up their guns, gun violence will remain.

Posted: Monday, July 9, 2018
Guestbook entry by: John T. Kessler, for the Evanston Sunrise Lions Club

Pill Bottle Project Continued
This letter is from the Evanston Sunrise Lions Club. We want to share with residents an update of our Pill Bottle Collection Project.
First and foremost: Wow! A huge thanks to all who have donated their pill bottles, cleaned the donated pill bottles, and/or acted as a collection site for the donated pill bottles.
The response has been super – almost overwhelming. More than 10,000 pill bottles have been donated – some by individuals and some by groups sending pill bottles by the hundreds. There are just too many to thank by name, but you know who you are: resident homes, churches, schools, banks, collectors, cleaners and of course individuals
The Lions wanted to continue the collection of pill bottles, both because people around the world need a safe container to take their meds home and because people here feel good when turning in their pill bottles to help others. Our club was delighted to help donors share with those who would benefit from the donations.
Nancy Troy, a Lion living at the Three Crowns, is a super-super pill-bottle washer. She has cleaned almost 1,000 pill bottles. Jane Roth decided that our project was a perfect one to ask others in the Mather Home to form a cleaning club, collecting and preparing the pill bottles to be sent to us so we could send them on to others.
The expense of sending the pill bottles overseas was quite high, but recently we found a wonderful solution to this difficulty. We learned of a stateside church in Cincinnati, Ohio, Matthew 25 Ministries, that has been and continues to accept pill bottles and sends them to areas around the world where they are needed.
So the tremendous news is that by the time of the printing of this letter 2,500 pill bottles will have been sent specifically to Haiti and 7,500 to Matthew 25 Ministries – that’s a total of 10,000 pill bottles sent from Evanston to those who can use them.
We plan to continue the project and would be grateful for additional pill bottles and donations of cash to cover transporting them.
Pill bottles can be dropped at any branch of the Evanston Bank and Trust or in the basket in front of 2333 Ridgeway Ave. Many retirement homes have collection boxes as well. Anyone who would like to have a collection box may call 847-492-1226.
The most usable pill bottles are those that have a label that can be peeled off cleanly.
Thanks again.

Posted: Saturday, June 30, 2018
Guestbook entry by: S. Thiebaud

Save Harley Clarke with a proposal to energize and represent every ward in Evanston.In my opinion, the best and most influential use for the Harley Clarke Mansion would be a Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Its prominent lakefront location would affirm Evanston's commitment to ending hatred, discrimination and prejudice in the 21st century and inspire communities throughout the nation to prioritize this civic goal. This Center, through education programs, community engagement, exhibitions, collections and forums could transform public understanding and be a true agent of social change. We have a magnificent property in our possession worthy of preservation - why not utilize it to cultivate trust, respect, empathy and collaboration in our city while impacting and potentially transforming every visitor, school group and conference participant? We can raise funding from municipal, state and federal sources, leaders and foundations, corporate sponsors and local donors. If you like this idea, contact your council member.

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Craig McClure

Move on, Demolish Harley Clarke
As an over-burdened property tax payer in Evanston, I am glad to see the City Council taking steps toward considering the demolition of the Harley Clarke mansion.
In economics, we learn that most decisions in life are “or” choices. The economics are about “guns or butter” not “guns and butter.” Many in Evanston don’t think the laws of economics apply. And while those folks are busy thinking of all kinds of new ways for the City to spend money, many people that I’ve come to know through living here have either quietly sold and moved out in order to escape the high taxes, or are contemplating doing so.
Evanston can’t do it all. The City is already taking on an enormous financial responsibility with the rebuild of the Robert Crown Center. And the City still has enormous pension liability issues. The list goes on and on of where the City has financial obligations, and we don’t need to add Harley Clarke to that list.
If the ELHG had been able to take full responsibility for the mansion – and that means everything – renovation, maintenance, utilities, and the cost of insuring it, then leasing the mansion to them might have been worth considering. But as it is, ELHG has been unable to raise the necessary funds, and wanted the City to indemnify it in the event of a major loss to the structure.
It’s time for the City to move on from this issue.

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Brad White

Where’s the Restoration Plan?
I attended the June 18 City Council meeting regarding the resolution to work with a group of residents to demolish the Harley Clarke Mansion and restore the Jens Jensen landscape.
I expected to hear about the plan, but there was no presentation about the plan. In fact, I am not sure a plan exists. Instead we heard that the building would be demolished, the natural landscape restored, the Jens Jensen landscape restored, and parking would be added.
But no plan was available to show the Council or the other residents in attendance how this would be done.
What would the finished product look like? How can the Jensen landscape be restored when Harley Clarke is an essential element of it? Where would the additional parking be located? And now, City staff has been directed to meet with this group to discuss moving forward.
Will a plan be revealed there? Behind closed doors?
Advocates for the demolition plan indicated it would come at no cost to the City. But that wasn’t even clear from the presentation. The only thing that was clear was that the group would pay for the demolition. While there appeared to be an overall budget, ranging from $400,000 to $600,000, how can it be accurate without a restoration plan?
What I witnessed last night was overwhelming and broad support for preservation and reuse of the Harley Clarke Mansion and an underwhelming response by the City Council and Mayor.
There has yet to be an explanation of how, if City staff members were negotiating in good faith with the Evanston Lakehouse and Gardens organization, City staff could negotiate a lease that was so totally unacceptable to the City Council.
That makes no sense at all. At the very least, City Council should have found that City staff misunderstood their directive and should go back to the negotiating table. While Evanston Lakehouse and Gardens has had a somewhat difficult time raising funds, it is primarily due to lack of support from the City. All the City has done is place roadblocks in their way.
It is time the City come out with a positive statement in support of preservation and reuse of Harley Clarke and give the Lakehouse and Gardens folks the runway they need to be successful. There is plenty of room for Harley Clarke and restoration of the surrounding landscape.

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