2017 Election 8th Ward Candidate Survey Responses
Candidates for Alderman, Ward 8
What have you done in your personal life to reduce your environmental impact?
Avid recycler, reduce waste to 1 bag per week, all LED lighting, beef 1 time per week – must have it! Reduced dairy 90%, reduce paper, normally run dishwasher 1 time per week, shut off power strips.
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?
Environmental issues are critical to the health and wellbeing of Evanston residents and visitors, and the city must do all it can protect the quality of the air we breathe, the land we inhabit, the cityscape we see, the sounds we hear and the water we drink and play in. Protection is often shared with the responsibilities of other governments at the federal, state and local level, and Evanston must be cooperative when appropriate. But, Evanston must lead when necessary to assure local issues are recognized as priorities and properly addressed.
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, only by setting ambitious goals and working harder will the city maintain its leadership in reducing GHG emissions. This is so much more important now with the current administration of our Nation’s government in denial and working to reverse past achievements. Strong and aggressive leadership at the local level is paramount.
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?
I see no alternative. The demand for renewable energy, led in large part by state and local government, is moving the Nation’s economy away from fossil fuels. The trend will continue and be led by Evanston and other like-minded communities. However, if the economics for Evanston residents and small businesses becomes a disadvantage, serious consideration must be given to finding a reasonable balance.
Would you support a local PACE or other financing initiative to fund energy efficiency and solar investments for Evanston homes and businesses?
I would support a serious look at the PACE model to determine if it is appropriate and workable for Evanston. I was not familiar with this until now and would benefit from an overview by Greener Evanston.
But I can say our financial resources have been strained for several years and there is new uncertainty of federal funding for progressive local governments over sanctuary cities, health care, help for needy families, social services and infrastructure. Establishing an added tax to fund energy efficiency improvements may not be doable in the near future, but a serious review by the Utilities Commission with input from CGE and other interested organizations would be in Evanston’s best interest.
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?
Evanston has an active program to protect and/or replace trees on public property. Funding is limiting a more aggressive program. For private property, funding limitations prevent adding arborists or hiring outside services to inspect trees and work with property owners. Fortunately, local volunteers, such as TreeKeepers and the Openlands Project, can provide assistance and the city can encourage private property owners to seek its help.
However, in 1997, I proposed Evanston’s first tree preservation ordinance which failed miserably but began the discussion of the importance of protecting our trees. http://www.cityofevanston.org/government/council/minutes/1997/09-Sep22cc.pdfhttp://www.cityofevanston.org/government/council/minutes/1997/09-Sep22cc.pdf
Would you push for local regulation of pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, and help Evanston pass an ordinance regulating them?
I support regulation that protects the health and wellbeing of Evanston residents and visitors. However, before we consider banning or endorsing pesticides by name, a product must be carefully vetted, perhaps by the Environment Board, with public and scientific input.
Unfortunately, the Illinois state legislature currently controls the regulation of pesticides under the Illinois Pesticide Act, 415 ILCS 60/1 et seq. and preempts local measures. Home rule municipalities such as Evanston should be able to add more restrictive pesticide regulations within their jurisdictions. The Evanston City Council by Resolution 13-R-17 – Advocating for the Repeal of Preemption of Local Government Regulation of Pesticides sets forth Evanston’s position and formally requests the Illinois General Assembly to reverse the state pre-emption of local government regulation contained in the Illinois Pesticide Act. (see council agenda 2/13/17)
Do you support the full implementation of the Evanston Bike Plan?
Elements of the plan that are independent of other capital improvement projects can and should be implemented with available city resources and staff. Those elements that involve infrastructure changes will be accommodated in the capital improvement plan and be implemented when funds are available.
Despite significant sewer improvements and drainage regulations, continued development and intensified 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?
Public education is needed to inform regarding practical and doable projects for residential and business properties. The city should seek assistance from outside organizations, such as, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, in implementing a public education program. Due to financial constraints, the city is not likely to offer funding for private property, but funding may be available from outside sources and the city can investigate these opportunities and promote them if they are feasible. For public property, the city has already obtained funding from the MWRD for a stormwater project and should pursue other projects in cooperation with the MWRD where needed, including alley, park and street improvements. The city can also join with the school districts in approaching the MWRD for projects on school property. MWRD has funded these types of projects on public schools in Chicago and could do so in Evanston to relieve stormwater surcharging in the combined sewer system.
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 promote the offerings of programs, such as, the Producemobile, and work with city staff to make city community centers open to host more similar activities and encourage cooperation through civic, religious and social organizations. These organizations are often more effective in reaching those in need who don’t have access to the city website and event announcements. Honestly, if I could promise to make certain that all the people in Evanston had enough food and enough healthy food to eat, I believe I would be a top contender for a MacArthur grant. But our churches, schools and city do a wonderful job in providing opportunities but do we reach everyone? Let that be the goal.
In your past experience, what have you done to support environmental justice? How might the City support promote environmental justice?
I have always worked hard to make Evanston, especially the Great Eight Ward, as a livable community for all. I’m committed to assist those most challenged to speak for themselves in obtaining essential city services and to be properly served by other governmental services. I believe that the city is committed to environmental justice and applies equal treatment to all. I have always advocated for and fought to obtain the best possible outcome when the city has litigated with private sector business on environmental issues including utilities, waste haulers or transit organizations. Most of my adult life has been committed to service to the people of the 8th ward and the City of Evanston.
RE TREE PRESERVATION
Ordinance 65-O-97 – Tree Preservation Ordinance – Consideration of proposed Ordinance 65-O-97, introduced September 8, 1997, whereby the City Council would establish criteria for the removal of trees having trunks larger than 8-inches in diameter, with the exception of the owner-occupant and historic trees, and for the trimming of trees along rights-of-way and easements. Alderman Rainey
Bob Wulkowicz of Chicago, arborist and electrician, urged Council to look at the proposed tree preservation ordinance on three levels: protecting the inherited beauty of Evanston; and accountability because currently anyone do anything with trees in Evanston. The ordinance will give the City the ability to track trees and help maintain heritage trees. The third issue is poor arborist practices that do a disservice to the customer and oftentime guarantee that trees will be hazardous and present problems later. He urged support of the ordinance calling it a visionary statement.
With respect to item 6 above, the city will be addressing the age and condition of street lighting infrastructure beginning later this year. Perhaps you have noticed, as have I, that Evanston side streets are well illuminated during the winter season when the parkway trees are leafless. However, during summer, there are many dark sections of these streets due to tree branches overhanging the street and blocking illumination of the pavement. Public input will be important as the city addresses the need for tree trimming to properly illuminate the street pavement. I will pay close attention to this matter to see that a reasonable balance is achieved between what appears to be competing interests.