2017 Election 1st Ward Candidate Survey Responses

Candidates for Alderman, Ward 1

Lee Cabot

Judy Fiske

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Lee Cabot

1. What have you done inwith my coll your personal life to reduce your environmental impact?

In my personal life, I continually seek ways to reduce my personal impact on the environment, and that of my friends, family, and co-workers.  My efforts thus far  I have categorized using the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle model.

Reduce

  1. At work, I  manage catering for 3 events for 45 people twice a week.  About 5 years ago, I recommended and implemented a change from bottled water to  a large water pitcher, thereby eliminating about 3600 plastic bottles per year.  Similarly, I am looking now at switching from soda cans to large containers of lemonade and iced tea.  Once implemented, we will eliminate approximately 1800 soda cans per year.
  2. When preparing our showers, my son and I use the cold water that comes before the heated water for humidifiers, yard and plant watering, etc.
  3. In the kitchen, I keep a container in the sink to reuse water wherever possible.
  4. In the summer, water I remove from the dehumidifier is stored and used for outdoor watering
  5. All lights are turned off whenever possible.
  6. Home thermostat is kept at 65 in the winter, and the air conditioning is not put on until it is above 90 degrees.
  7. I bought a front loading washing machine to reduce water usage.
  8. I drink all water and coffee from reusable containers.
  9. I pack my lunch in reusable containers.
  10. I make food lists and plan meals to try to avoid purchasing more food than is needed.
  11. I try very hard to use the food in the refrigerator or freeze it before it goes bad.  I often make soups from vegetables that are starting to loose their freshness.
  12. On line recipe searches are a great resource to find recipes for the items already in the cabinets.

Reuse

  1. About 10 years ago, I started using reusable shopping bags for groceries, clothing, and items wherever possible.
  2. All plastic bags from newspapers are reused for pet waste.
  3. I reuse shipping boxes and packing material both at home and at work wherever possible.
  4. Household items, children’s toys and bikes, clothing and books are donated wherever possible.
  5. I often buy vintage household products and lighting fixtures.
  6. I buy recycled paper whenever possible.

Recycle

  1. All allowable items are faithfully recycled weekly in the Evanston recycling program.
  2. All electronics are brought to the electronics recycling event hosted by the City.

I remain committed to finding more ways to reduce my impact and of those around me.

2. With “1” being most important and “5” least important, how important are environmental issues relative to the many other issues faced by the City of Evanston?

2

Please explain:

Environmental issues are very important to the City of Evanston, even in the face of other concerns, such as fiscal pressures, the relationship between the police and the community, and public safety.  In fact, the importance of environmental issues must be kept in the forefront because often their dire (and delayed) consequences are not.  It is also a cornerstone of a well functioning community that all residents have access to clean air and water, provided safely by local government.  Finally, at the local level, we can address the void caused by Federal and State inaction on, or even recognition of, climate change.  In the process, we address a real threat to the health, and perhaps survival of, our grandchildren.

It is important to remember that addressing environmental issues is not just avoidance of ill effects, but an opportunity to seize real benefits.  A city with strong environmental stewardship will attract businesses, jobs and workers.  It will bring a vibrancy to its community and an expansion of its economy.  Evanston has, and can continue to, set an example as an environmental leader, and make an impact nationally.

Given the long reaching impact of the issues to address and the opportunities to seize, I rate environmental issues a “”2″”.

3. Evanston is on track for 20% greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction from 2005 to 2016. Would you support revising the Evanston Climate Action Plan to reflect the Compact of Mayors target of 27% by 2020?

Yes

4. Community Aggregation with 100% renewable energy has been the biggest single factor in reducing Evanston’s greenhouse gas emissions. Do you support continuing this program?

Yes

Please explain:

Community Aggregation has been very successful in many ways. It’s been a major component in the City’s efforts toward achieving goals established in ECAP. It has brought consumers and small businesses into those efforts while reducing their costs for electricity. Aggregation has lowered the cost of using renewable energy to a point where it is affordable to our citizens. I see the program as another example of Evanston’s leadership in implementing effective plans for reducing its citizens’ environmental impact. The program has been well received enough to have the contract term extended from 12 months to three years. It’s a classic win-win for the community and for the environment.

5. Would you support a local PACE or other financing initiative to fund energy efficiency and solar investments for Evanston homes and businesses?

Yes

Please explain:

Evanston has a large stock of older, energy inefficient buildings. PACE or a similar financing program would be a good addition to Evanston’s toolkit for promoting energy-related renovation of existing buildings. It’s not alway easy for homeowners and businesses to find the cash for improvements to make their property more energy efficient, especially when the payback takes years. PACE would amortize those costs over 20 years and repay them through adding them to the building’s property taxes. It’s a program that might overcome financial objections for those who feel they can’t afford the improvements.

Illinois has passed legislation approving PACE programs, but there are none yet operating in the state. Establishing a PACE program here would be a chance for Evanston to set an example in this field and to encourage other communities to take the plunge. And it obviously creates more jobs and business in the community.

6. Most North Shore communities protect trees on both public and private property.  Would you support an Evanston ordinance that would protect trees in a manner comparable to these other communities?

Yes

Please explain:

Evanston’s trees are one of the city’s greatest natural resources and should be protected for the enjoyment of future generations. Now more that ever they are under attack from climate change and invasive species. Our city has already received the Tree City USA designation for meeting core principles of forestry management, but there is more we can do.

Evanston is fortunate to have a large stock of irreplaceable older trees, some of which are more than a century old. Several other North Shore communities have a Landmark designation for older trees, an idea we could explore for our city. Looking to the future, native trees showing resistance to drought and disease should be given preference for new plantings in public places. I would also support raising public awareness of the signs of disease and predatory pests in our trees on private land, so that the appropriate action can be taken to protect surrounding tree stock.

7. Would you push for local regulation of pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, and help Evanston pass an ordinance regulating them?

Yes

Please explain:

Evanston has been actively restricting the use of pesticides in its public parks and other public areas for some time but is pre-empted from regulating pesticides on a wider basis by the Illinois Pesticide Act, which prevents municipalities with populations under 2,000,000 from enacting pesticide regulations. It is in Evanston’s best interests to be allowed to make its own pesticide decisions, especially now that we cannot be sure which way the wind blows at Federal and State governmental levels. I would support investigating ways to challenge the Act as well as looking into parallel efforts to explore alternative approaches to pesticides.

8. Do you support the full implementation of the Evanston Bike Plan?

Yes

Please explain:

Safety should be our top priority for Evanston bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians and I think the Evanston Bike Plan has been constructed with that in mind. I support it and would also encourage the city to monitor metrics as it is implemented. Moving forward, I would like see us continue to benchmark other bike-friendly cities that are best of class—Davis, CA; Boulder, CO. Public feedback is important to help us understand where bottlenecks and safety issues might arise. Ultimately, we want to keep all constituents safe and happy—bicyclists, motorists, pedestrians and the public.

9. Despite significant sewer improvements and drainage regulations, continued development and unpredictable rainfall patterns are expected to intensify future flooding. What city incentives do you recommend to promote private rain gardens, green roofs, porous pavement, and other such steps? How should the city proceed to implement such steps on public land?

Water conservation and management is an issue that isn’t going away. Even with sewer and drainage improvements there will always be more to do. Many major U.S. cities are working on different types of incentives and there’s a lot we can learn from looking at their efforts. Seattle, Washington D.C., Austin, Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Chicago and many other cities have tried rebates, tax credit programs and grants for homeowners and the commercial sector. I would urge our city to examine what is working for those cities and look at the costs associated with the programs. Which programs are least costly but most effective in motivating people and businesses to install private rain gardens, porous pavement and other groundwater management solutions? That’s what we want to find out and then apply to our community.

10. The Evanston Producemobile program suggests that as many as 14% of Evanston residents may be food insecure.  What will you do to be sure all people in Evanston have enough food, and healthy food, to eat?

No one in Evanston should have to face insecurities over where their next meal will come from, nor should they be faced with the prospect of having limited access to healthy food. The Evanston Producemobile has been filling that need for the last three years, but more can be done. At a most fundamental level, part of the solution is to generate jobs and provide training programs, and I will be working hard toward that goal. But there is also a role for government in promoting ways to connect lower income individuals and families with fresh sustainable food sources, through more accessible community gardens, food distribution programs and healthy food options in public schools.

11. In your past experience, what have you done to support environmental justice? How might the City promote environmental justice?

To date, the focus of my efforts for justice hasn’t been on environmental justice but on educational justice. I have always felt strongly that there must be full access to educational opportunities for all Evanstonians and have worked hard as President of Foundation 65 to bring about positive change. I also recognize that there are many types of justice that need to be achieved to make Evanston and the entire United States a better home to all people.

If given the opportunity to become alderman of the First Ward, I will bring that same passion to working to right environmental injustices within disadvantaged neighborhoods and areas in Evanston. We as a community should be committed to environmental safety for all residents in all neighborhoods.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Before concluding, I’d like to add an extra response to Question 3 regarding the Compact of Mayors. Revising the Evanston Climate Action Plan to reflect the Compact of Mayors target is a good idea for a number of reasons. Evanston is one of the few cities in the U.S. with a solid track record of achieving aggressive goals for reducing greenhouse emissions. This success has established the city’s leadership on a national level in environmental issues. The Compact of Mayors target would increase those goals to a level on par with major international cities who share Evanston’s commitment to combating climate change. I believe our community should step up to those more difficult targets and that changing the Evanston Climate Action Plan is a logical follow through to Mayor Tisdahl’s commitment to the Compact of Mayors.

I’d like to thank Citizens’ Greener Evanston for posing such thoughtful and thorough questions and for your commitment to the environment. This questionnaire has encouraged me to focus my broad support of environmental issues down into specific areas of actionable objectives. I certainly hope I will be given the opportunity as alderman to work within the city framework toward our mutual environmental goals and to advance Evanston’s leadership in environment stewardship.

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Judy Fiske

1. What have you done in your personal life to reduce your environmental impact?

Where do I start? I have been an environmental activist all my life and am
very aware that decisions I make can have on the environment, I have a special
interest in various issues that include recycling, habitat restoration &
renewal, wildlife rehabilitation, reforestation, water quality,dark sky,
combating light pollution, and more.

2. With “1” being most important and “5” least important, how important are environmental issues relative to the many other issues faced by the City of Evanston?

1

Please explain:

Although I say my three primary goals are balanced development, economic growth and lakefront protection, the environment is factored into every decision I make as alderman, including LEED certification, renewable energy and, of course, preserving our most precious natural resource, the lakefront. Evanston as a whole is very aware of the need to be environmentally active, especially when compared with other cities. With the current administration in Washington, Evanston must step up to be much more vocal and supportive of environmental education and legislation.  

3. Evanston is on track for 20% greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction from 2005 to 2016. Would you support revising the Evanston Climate Action Plan to reflect the Compact of Mayors target of 27% by 2020?

Yes.

4. Community Aggregation with 100% renewable energy has been the biggest single factor in reducing Evanston’s greenhouse gas emissions. Do you support continuing this program?

Yes.

Please explain:

I’m not sure what there is to explain here. Renewable energy and a healthy ecosystem are essential to our long-term economic viability — and human survival.

5. Would you support a local PACE or other financing initiative to fund energy efficiency and solar investments for Evanston homes and businesses?

Yes

Please explain:

See reply above.

6. Most North Shore communities protect trees on both public and private property.  Would you support an Evanston ordinance that would protect trees in a manner comparable to these other communities?

Yes

Please explain:

See reply above.

7. Would you push for local regulation of pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, and help Evanston pass an ordinance regulating them?

Yes

Please explain:

See reply above.

8. Do you support the full implementation of the Evanston Bike Plan?

Yes

Please explain:

I have worked diligently to implement and expand the Evanston Bike Plan to make sure that it is sensible and safe, and I will continue to do so.

9. Despite significant sewer improvements and drainage regulations, continued development and unpredictable rainfall patterns are expected to intensify future flooding. What city incentives do you recommend to promote private rain gardens, green roofs, porous pavement, and other such steps? How should the city proceed to implement such steps on public land?

In most cases, we already incorporate rain gardens, green roofs, porous pavement and other installations on our streets, parks and public land. Those should and will continue to be funded by the Evanston City Council. Regarding private development, we need to make sure that developers incorporate these steps into their projects and not claim that it is too expensive to do so. Too often we let developers off the hook, although I have had some success with expanding their use on projects in my ward, specifically the Kendall Place development, streetscape improvements in the Downtown and the planned renovation of Fountain Square scheduled for this year.

10. The Evanston Producemobile program suggests that as many as 14% of Evanston residents may be food insecure.  What will you do to be sure all people in Evanston have enough food, and healthy food, to eat?

I will work with my colleagues on the Human Services Committee and at Council to ensure that we identify and fund programs to ensure a healthy and fresh food supply is available to all who need it. I will continue to work with Northwestern University, our restaurants and our food services to make certain that any fresh food that might reach a hungry mouth will indeed do so.

11. In your past experience, what have you done to support environmental justice? How might the City promote environmental justice?

I have joined my colleagues on the City Council in enforcing and financing cleanup of contaminated sites in wards across the city. I would refer you to the Council’s action supporting litigation at the Church Street Waste Transfer Station, formerly Veolia, as a major example, but cleanup of neighborhood gas stations, the remediation next to Gordon Food Service, abandoned utilities on Dodge Avenue, and low interest loans to allow replacement of lead water supply lines to homes in Evanston are others.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Thank you for this opportunity to
participate in your Candidate Survey, and thank you also for the important work
you do on behalf of the community we love.

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