2017 Election 4th Ward Candidate Survey Responses

Alderman, Ward 4

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Donald Wilson

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

Perhaps of most significance, attempting to teach and educate my kids on the importance of doing so. I feel that much of what we do or should do needs to be embedded in our day to day experience. In other words, taking public transporation when possible, using a bike if it’s an option, minimizing water use, taking advantage of technology to monitor energy use (NEST themostates) and minimizing waste and making choices in what we consume to also minimize waste or adverse impact.

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:

Nothing is more important than having clean, safe air, water and shelter. Environmental impacts should be taken into consideration in everything we do, whether it is choosing products or setting policy.

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:

Yes, but I have a big asterisk by this one. While using renewable energy credits serves a useful economic purpose, it is not the same as actually making a change to the affect the actual impact.

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

No

Please explain:

While I answered “no”, I am open to considering such a program. My primary reservation comes from the risk that a home owner may face in the event the actual work is not correctly performed. The property assessment would be, in effect, a lien on the property for a long time and I would have to convinced that the net impact on the consumer would not have a net adverse consequence.

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:

Yes, but with limitations. Property owners should be responsible for the costs of their own trees and their care.

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

Yes

Please explain:

Pesticide use should be closely monitored and use should be minimized and eliminated when possible. Special attention should be paid to chemicals and treatments which “build-up” in the ground or water supply. We live in a complex ecosystem that relies on many components. Unintended consequences, such as harm to the bee and pollenating insect populations, have a tremendous cost.

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

Yes

Please explain:

In addition, I would like to further encourage the schools include cycling and pedestrian safety in their curriculum, as well as seeking to have the State of Illinois modify the vehicle code further with provisions such as the “Idaho Stop” laws, with inclusion of those updates in driver’s education programs.

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?

Thoughtful application (and modification) of building code requirements should be utilized to facilitate such steps. I generally do not support cash or tax credit assistance for such items. The City should continue with its’ efforts to address drainage and water pollution and this should be taken into account in the design and construction of public facilities and public spaces.

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?

The Producemobile is a great program and I would like to see it expanded. In addition to existing food programs (summer lunch, etc.), I would like the City to seek additional community partnerships to make healthy food available.

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

I think that the City should be mindful of impacts beyond it’s borders. It is easy to suggest the relocation of “bad” or environmentally unfriendly features to an offsite location that is outside our field of vision, but putting it in someone else’s yard is not a solution. Elimination and mitigation should start at home, and within the City limits. I feel that this is an area that is often ignored and should have more attention. The City has hired an Equity and Inclusion specialist and looking at the impacts of decisions will be a part of that job. Actions or policies that will result in environmental impacts that disproportionately affect any part of our community should be reconsidered.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Thank you for putting this information together for our voters and our community.

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