2017 Election Mayoral (Primary) Survey Reponses

Candidates for Mayor

Gary Gaspard

Steve Hagerty

Brian Miller

Jeff Smith

Mark Tendam

return to main election survey page

Gary Gaspard

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

In the effort to increase efficiency and sustainability, as well as reducing environmental impact, I conduct a certain behavior at home. Every day, I keep my electricity and water off as much as I can to conserve energy. I also do recycle by putting the papers, plastic, glass, and aluminium containers for renewable use.

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:

Environmental issues are extremely important, because it deals with public heath. For instance, some issues were raised regarding the water quality in the James Park neighborhood, which created a huge concern about the health of the residents who live in that area. As a resident of the 8th Ward, I, too, was very concerned about the quality of the water. It’s great to hear a few week ago the EPA confirms our water was safe for use.

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, I support the community aggregation program to continue to reduce Evanston’s greenhouse gas emission.

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:

Yes, I would support a local property-assessed clean energy program model with other energy efficiency programs to continue to make improvement in reducing environmental impact.

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?

No

Please explain:

The abundance of trees that we have in the city makes Evanston unique. While I’d like to support an ordinance that protects trees in a manner comparable to our neighboring communities, I’m not sure if this can happen because we have to look into the ordinance of private property rights in our municipality. Nevertheless, research shows that trees improve air and water quality, human health benefits, as well as increasing property values. And as mayor, I would always welcome the input of the constituents before taking action for an ordinance.

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

No

Please explain:

No, I would never push for local regulation of pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, and help Evanston pass an ordinance regulating them. We need to continue to protect pollinators from neonicotinoids .

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

Yes

Please explain:

Studies show bicycling has an overwhelming positive benefits for public health. It helps bicyclists stay in shape.

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?

We can adopt the City of Chicago’s green permit program, which offers a permit process and a possible reduction of permit fees to permit applications for commercial buildings that include green technologies.

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?

Produce mobile program creates safety net. One of the incentives to combat the shortened food to give tax break to organic grocery stores, in hopes of bringing the high cost down.

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

The best way to fight the struggle of environmental justice is through economic development. High employment helps improve and maintain a clean and healthful environment. People have a tendency to behave differently based on their economic status. That’s why the afffluent communities maintain clean almost at all time.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

I have no comments at this time.

Back to candidate list

Steve Hagerty

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

I grew up on a small farm in Attleboro, MA, and we were organic before “organic” was cool. We composted and fed our animals food waste (pigs weren’t fond of citrus rinds). We canned vegetables. My two younger brothers and I sold produce to more than two dozen neighbors as my first foray into entrepreneurship. In my adult life, my family and I try our best to be a good steward of the environment. I bike or walk to my office in downtown Evanston whenever possible. We drive a hybrid automobile. We heat and cool our house using a geothermal system. We carefully and consciously recycle.

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:

I would say that environmental issues are very important in this community, especially now, as climate-change deniers and polluters gain more influence in Washington due to the change in Administrations. As I’ve said in public forums repeatedly, we can’t embrace ‘Alternative Facts.’ One of the truths of this day and age is the impact humans are having on the environment, and we need to be good stewards of our earth for the generations to follow. Due to the grassroots work of so many environmentalists in Evanston, who asked themselves, “What can we do from where we stand to address climate change?” Evanston has become a leader in terms of what a community can do to do become more sustainable. Our efforts to develop, implement, and exceed targets set in our Climate Action Plan are a testament to the power of problem solving, effective organization, and political persuasion. I want to see us continue to be leaders in the area of environmental stewardship.

Given the progress we have made as leading environmental stewards and the need to focus intently on economic development in all neighborhoods, affordability, and maintaining our diversity through stable property taxes, I would rate environmental issues, relative to other issues, a 2 on a scale of 1-5.

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 think we need to work effectively with groups such as CGE and other community environmental experts to ensure that when we renew our energy, we do so in a way that rightly balances our fiscal and environmental responsibilities. Would I love for our city to remain 100% renewable? Yes, of course, but I don’t want that to come at the expense of burdening our residents with significantly higher energy bills. If we were going to have to pay considerably more for 100% renewable energy, we would need to have a serious and transparent conversation with all stakeholders in the community about a smart path forward. That said, I hope we can continue to have 100% renewable energy as it seems like the best way to strive toward our Evanston Climate Action Plan goals.

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:

I think that PACE financing is a good idea in that it empowers homeowners to pursue sustainable projects on their homes and can make homes and Evanston, in general, more environmentally sound. I think we also need to realize that there are drawbacks—such as the major lenders that choose not to finance properties that have PACE loans. As with everything, we need to look at this issue with a balanced perspective and make sure all parties are heard when it comes to a decision.

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:

Except for extenuating circumstances such as disease or danger to persons, I believe we should protect and preserve the city’s trees. The trees contribute significantly to our sustainability. Nonetheless, when it comes to City ordinances I would like to understand the benefits, costs, and administrative burden any ordinance places on residents, homeowners, and businesses before making a final decision.

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

Yes

Please explain:

Yes, I believe the city itself has already taken measures to mitigate the use of pesticides. If there are non-toxic and effective alternatives that are cost neutral or only marginally more expensive, then I would consider such an ordinance.

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

Yes

Please explain:

Yes, but once again, I think we need to have a transparent, community conversation about the bike plan, make sure that all stakeholders are informed, involved, and heard, and ensure that the plan itself is thoughtful and comprehensive. Many know that what happened on Dodge Avenue with the bike lane has been a source of consternation and worry for neighbors, bike riders, drivers, and emergency vehicles. We need to make plans that take into account not only the needs of bike riders but the rest of the people who are affected by the plan, including neighbors, drivers, and emergency responders. We also need to have more enforcement of riding paths to ensure that they are used correctly and safely by everyone.

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?

I think we need to work to develop creative city incentives that promote and engage active citizenry around sustainability and resiliency. Direct financial incentives are one way of doing this. However, I think we need to look at other incentives—such as a break on property taxes, etc—that would encourage sustainable measures that benefit the city at large. I think the city should be on the forefront of sustainability by showing what’s possible with infrastructure improvements.

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 think there’s an opportunity to gain more efficiency and effectiveness by better integrating all of the programs / services we offer through various channels – the schools, the City, the non-profit community, the business sector. No one sector owns this problem around food scarcity, yet we need to work more closely to better identify and meet these basic life needs. I also think that those programs or organizations that are most mission focused and effective ought to be the ones we invest in and support.

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

Professionally, I help communities around the country prepare for and recover from disasters. In the course of doing that work, I have played a role in successfully arguing for federal grants to address environmental justice issues. After 9/11, there was a concern expressed by residents and business owners about toxins on buildings in lower Manhattan. Working with the Federal Recovery Officer, I helped make the case that this work was eliminating an immediate threat to health, life, and safety. I then helped process a ~$90M transfer of FEMA funds to the EPA to monitor the cleaning of buildings in Lower Manhattan. After Katrina, we worked closely with FEMA to transfer people out of travel trailers as quickly as possible when it was found that some trailers had abnormally high levels of formaldehyde.

As someone who has spent 24 consecutive years working with Federal, State, and Local Governments, I have an appreciation for the expertise of Federal authorities. Therefore, I will look at established benchmarks set by the Federal government to ensure that our level of toxins in our drinking water or at our transfer station do not exceed federal standards. Should that be the case, I would insist that immediate action be taken.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

I feel strongly that it is our responsibility to transmit this city, not only not less, but greater, better, and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us (part of the Oath of the Athenian Citizen). We are but stewards of the earth, and I don’t want my life to pass and to think that I, and we, did not do our part to make this a planet that is habitable for generations to come. I am proud to live in a City that is a national example of what a City/Town can do to be more sustainable, and I would be delighted to work with our environmental leaders to continue to set the bar for environmental stewardship. I am proud that many environmentalists are supporters of my campaign, including Alderman Eleanor Revelle and Dick Peach.

Two other areas not mentioned in the survey that I would focus on are (1) increasing our level of community recycling, as I understand it has actually decreased in recent years, and (2) working with the City Manager to ensure that we hire a new Sustainability Coordinator for the City who has the experience, vision, and track record to help us continue to progress as a national leader in environmental stewardship.

Back to candidate list

Brian Miller

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

1. I commute into Chicago using public transportation for my job.
2. I drink water using refillable containers.
3. I recycle.
4. I watch my utility usage to keep it low (i.e., thermostat at 68 degrees in winter, cold water washing, short showers, etc.)
5. In my previous home (we have moved), we had an energy efficiency audit conducted and implemented the recommendations.
6. I try to eat as little meat as possible (this is admittedly hard).
7. My electricity is from sustainable sources.
8. I maintain my car to ensure the highest miles per gallon (i.e., keep tires full, remove excess weight, etc).

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:

Environmental issues are extremely important in Evanston. My current top two priorities are reducing gun violence and ensuring our police are accountable for their actions. Those are the two most pressing issues facing the city and need immediate attention.

My third top priority is creating a capital improvement plan for our parks and facilities. I believe improving our parks is the best thing we can do to impact the local environment. In a recent system-wide evaluation, the average grade of our parks was a “”C.”” As alderman, I have fought for our parks and I will continue to do so as Mayor.

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 support community aggregation with 100% renewable energy, especially since almost 75% of our residents support the program. Our contract with Homefield Energy expires this July, but we should continue to ensure that community aggregation is our policy. If necessary, we should work with surrounding communities to ensure that our energy price is the cheapest with 100% renewable energy. If necessary, we should work with surrounding communities to form cooperative agreements to drive down the price of sustainable sources for our residents.

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:

I have long stated that Evanston should be a national leader in progressive causes. Since there are no PACE’s currently in Illinois, we should lead the way by establishing the first PACE in Illinois. If necessary, we should provide City resources to spur the implementation of the program. We could allocate capital or community development block grant dollars to begin the revolving fund for the PACE, in a manner similar to our allocation of alley or sidewalk repair funds. It’s an exciting idea and one we should explore.

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:

Given Evanston’s Tree City USA status, I think our City’s identity is wrapped up in its trees. We should have an ordinance to protect our trees. I am not aware of what other municipalities on the North Shore have in their ordinances, but we should craft an ordinance that strongly protects our trees as one of our greatest resources and key factors in our identity.

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

Yes

Please explain:

I would strongly support Evanston’s lobbying for the overturning of the preemption of local control of pesticides. We should introduce and pass a resolution in opposition to state preemption.

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

No

Please explain:

I do not support the FULL implementation of the Evanston Bike Plan. While I support bike lanes, I think we need more time to examine the effects of bike paths on the surrounding neighborhoods. As the Ninth Ward Alderman, I have seen the effect that the bike lanes on Dodge Avenue have had on the surrounding neighborhood and recognize that we need a balance with our bike lanes. For example, there are significant traffic delays, blockage of buses and hindrance of emergency vehicles. I believe that if we had a protected bike path on one side of Dodge, going one direction (i.e., North or South) and a second path on another street (for example, Asbury, going the opposite direction), we could have allayed many of these problems. We need to examine the full effects of our bike lane program to ensure that it is properly balanced with all of the needs of the community. I support a “complete streets” policy, but it needs to be a balance between all forms of transportation (bikes, cars, mass, pedestrian, etc.) to ensure that one method is not overwhelming the others. I think the system on Church and Davis’ streets is excellent and we should strive to have that level of success with all of our lanes.

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?

Prior to issuing a permit for new construction or rehabilitation, the City of Evanston shall require incorporation of green elements. The City Council should set a minimal standard for green elements (for example, requiring minimum levels of permeable surfaces for new construction, removal of restrictions for LEED certification, etc.). There should be baseline standards for green aspects that all buildings must attain, but those that exceed those baselines should receive incentives. For example, denser, transit-friendly construction should be able to have height and/or parking restrictions lessened. Permitting should also be prioritized for projects that are “greener,” allowing them to be more quickly and efficiently processed. Furthermore, green projects should also have a reduced or refunded filing fee for permits

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 should go hungry in Evanston. The most important thing we can do to make our residents food secure is to make their living situation secure. We should target the 14% that are insecure and connect them with the General Assistance program of Evanston. That program provides assistance with rent, utilities, transportation, etc. Food is often one of the first expenses that people cut when in a financial crisis. Furthermore, unhealthy food is often cheaper. By providing assistance with other financial needs, the City can ensure that people will have enough healthy food.

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

I have worked on two major initiatives in my career as an Alderman to support environmental justice. My major success was working with Ozinga Concrete to change their manufacturing process in my ward. Their previous use of a portable concrete manufacturing site caused noise and particulate pollution for nearby residents. I worked with Ozinga to enclose fully their production facility, leading to far less pollution. I was also a supporter of the fight to regulate the trash transfer station in the fifth ward of Evanston. The City can promote environmental justice by pressuring Skokie to address the noxious pollutants present in the Orange Crush plant, just west of James Park. We should do all we can to address that issue.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

I have a long history protecting and preserving openlands. When I graduated from ETHS, I entered the Americorps National Civilian Community Corps, where I did environmental remediation efforts in our national parks. In my day job, I work to protect the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and ensure that cutting edge conservation efforts are conducted. As an Alderman, I have fought for sound environmental policies and to protect our parks. I believe that I have been the greatest champion of parks on our council, as I have been the sole voice against the sale of any park facilities. I have also pushed hard for an evaluation of our parks and for increased capital spending to improve them. I truly believe that maintaining our parks is one of the most important activities of the city and vital to the local environment. As Mayor, I will prioritize the revitalization of our parks and create a long term plan to properly fund that effort.

Back to candidate list

Jeff Smith

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

  • have lived within 2 miles of workplace since 1991 and have avoided thousands of miles of car use by bicycling as transportation; did not have car from 2013-2015 in Springfield, typically biked 3.5 mi. 2x/day; overwhelmingly take train to downtown Chicago; thousands of miles on Amtrak instead of flying/driving
  • winter thermostat 68° days, 62-64° eves; in summer typically use natural (evening) whole-house cooling, and can limit AC to ~5-21 days/year; EnergyStar water heater; put on small addition that lowered energy consumption; overall low energy and natural gas consumption
  • rain barrel harvester for many years; have gone years without watering lawn; early adopter of low-flow showers and toilets
  • composting and recycling for over 30 years
  • nonconsumptive lifestyle; inclined to repair rather than replace; many items bought used/repurposed; typically fill less than 1/3 garbage bin/week
  • maintenance of over 15 trees; have planted at least one tree for every one felled
  • only native plants planted for last 15-20 years; have ~100 native plant and tree species onsite, >75 specimens/25 species in “”pocket prairie””
  • home lot certified as wildlife habitat by NWF and as a Monarch butterfly waystation
  • most light bulbs replaced w/ CFC and now LEDs
  • have not purchased firewood in 25 years; exclusively using wood from property; installed energy-saving fireplace door unit
  • makeover of front sidewalk used repurposed countertop granite as pavers instead of cement
  • increased purchase of organic, local, and/or fair trade food, beer; no bottled water
  • “”staycations””
  • recycled paper for printing for over 10 years; recycle toner and ink cartridges

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:

Environmental issues are foundational. The environment supports all life. The lake is an important part of why Evanston is even here.

Evanston itself – near water, with its own water supply, in a temperate zone, relatively remote from polluting industry — does not face what some areas will face sooner as environmental threat. However, environmental issues are the most important issue of our time; only the threat of catastrophic war or the danger to democracy from extreme inequality (and the current federal government) come close as overall concerns. Other issues may seem more immediate but, comparatively, put bandaids on cuts on a patient having a heart attack. In fact, the constant distraction by much smaller but closer or more immediately distracting news is part of the cumulative national/global problem. Sensational events or hot-button wedge issues that in reality little affect daily lives or have little statistical risk of repetition receive enormous coverage while climate change marches on, species vanish, fisheries shrink, and news of “”hottest year on record”” (again) is consigned to a squib on page 10. This will never change (until catastrophe strikes) if the environmental movement does not take politics more seriously, if those who care about our planet do not carry that consciousness into the polling place, and so long as politicians do not take environmentalists seriously (which they do not, because of the movement’s temerity, electoral aversion, and acceptance of afterthought status).

The consciousness of Evanston – the fact that the populace would be supportive — gives a duty to take a leadership role – not so much for Evanston itself but for the greater good.

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:

Preface to this question says it all. See also Q.#2. I would like to see Evanston aim for carbon neutrality and it’d be difficult to achieve that without continued 100% renewable electricity. I would support direct purchase from, and a stakeholder share in, one or more renewable sources, instead of aggregated purchase via 3rd party if possible.

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:

I would prefer a statewide program but also support localized initiative (whether county or municipal); such installs are greatly incentivized by programs that let the investment not be borne solely by owner, who may not get benefit of payback.

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 protection pertains only to new public and commercial developments. No reason for Evanston to be least progressive here amongst neighboring suburbs. I have worked, within available time, with Evanstonians making progress on this issue, and have also supported the Treekeepers. Such an ordinance recognizes that the urban forest, while largely privately maintained, is something more than the owner has a stake in. May also reduce some neighbor tensions. Note, may require additional staffing to implement any inspection/permitting program; also will require sensitive and strategic rollout.

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

Yes

Please explain:

Science of neonics and negative impacts on esp. bees is pretty well accepted in Europe but resisted here because of chemical and ag industry clout; need leadership. This should be done at state or at least county level; if someone can just go to Wilmette or Lincolnwood and still buy, or order online, an Evanston ordinance would have limited impact; still, the “push” itself may help spur change.

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

Yes

Please explain:

I actually don’t see the Bike Plan as final but as a good product of a lot of hard work by many, that even only a few years later may not be as ambitious as is possible, given the growth of interest in bicycling. I see biking as not just a nice feature but as a large part of Evanston’s future, and urban future generally. Evanston should brand itself as a bike hub for green reasons, for health reasons, and also for economic development reasons.

Some of the aspects of the plan could be better integrated. I would prefer greater separation of lanes; there are problems with execution esp. downtown, or where lanes/routes suddenly end. Some routes could be better integrated with destination locations, e.g., Central Street.

In a larger sense, I would like to see a re-thinking of Evanston’s entire traffic plan. Such reimagination would integrate bicycling from ground-up rather than having to patch onto an existing quilt of ad hoc controls and barriers.

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?

Private land: New development must be required to take measures to prevent impact (as already required somewhat by County ordinance); that externality needs to be captured instead of passed on to the neighborhood (or to the Lake when locks are opened). A grant program representing the savings from incremental cost of sewer construction/maintenance could be instituted, and/or combined with a tax on non-green roofing, impermeable pavement and patios, etc. The City could also actually enforce its yard drainage rules. Note there is state legislation introduced which would grant a property tax credit for some features like this; that would be ideal. Local tax tweak is trickier: adding a surcharge/credit to the transfer tax is an opportunity. The City could supply riprap or waste material from deconstruction as material for soakaways from French drains. “”Soft”” incentives such as contests and recognition for greening property are another tool.

  • Public land: should be at minimum flooding-neutral. All city projects should be green, period. A comprehensive bioswale program (that also uses native plants and local labor) should be undertaken.

    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?

    There are numerous groups working on hunger in Evanston, but perhaps not in integrated fashion. The principal role of the City should be to help coordinate efforts and share information, and build awareness of resources, including both private and public programs. Among first efforts, I would like to study the extent of the problem; the link above is to a news item 4-1/2 years old citing a study some tme eariier. The figure may also include many residents who are low-income but generally not food-insecure (students, nursing home residents, group home residents). This is not to minimize the problem, only to say that data may be sketchy.

  • The City has ability to contribute one of the most difficult elements for nonprofits to achieve, namely, awareness of resources via web presence. Projects such as the Campus Kitchens Project at Northwestern can be expanded. The many restaurants of Evanston stand out as possible source of food; waste may be cumulatively significant.
  • I would encourage the use of vacant or non-used land, and suitable empty commercial/industrial space, for food production. Example: there is space between teebox and street at several of the holes on the Canal Shores course. More community gardens will facilitate some healthier local food. Perhaps a vacant storefront can accommodate some indoor growing projects in a high-visibility location, or a downtown decorative flowerbed converted to food production as a statement.
  • Rather than simply tolerate, license, and restrict, the City should encourage more local food production, including honey and eggs. Other animals besides chickens can be considered for husbandry.
  • A program of encouraging more vegetable growth, citywide, even in small quantities (such as windowbox herbs), can have a cumulatively large impact. I would utilize the schools: parents can often learn from their children, and the schools can be instrumental in educating about local produce, the importance of vegetables, where to buy them.

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

    Much environmental work not so labeled has, inherently, an environmental justice aspect because if the environmental crises we face are not addressed, as with war the least well-off will suffer first, and most, from disruption and dislocation. It is also the status quo, and acceptance of an agenda of consolidation, mechanization, and outsourcing that disproportionately benefits the few, that will deprive millions of the dignity and benefit of honest work.

  • Movement toward true sustainability – which also includes a sustainable economy – will put more money in average folks’ pockets and create far more jobs than current trends.
  • My advocacy for mass transit, and for increased awareness of and opportunities for bicycling as transportation, has been with the acute knowledge that the lower VMTs of urban areas is due in large part not so much to ideological or consumer choice not to drive but to the fact that to a far greater degree, the low-income population is the least likely to own a car and has litte other option but active transportation.
  • I have supported for years groups that have been attempting to forge coalitions with communities not historically associated with the environmental movement, such as the Sierra Club’s Blue-Green coalition with labor. I trained with advocates and traveled to Washington, DC for volunteer citizen lobbying of Illinois’s congressional delegation in support of actions to create and sustain good green jobs. I have spent several Earth Days as a citizen volunteer, traveling and staying at personal expense, lobbying in Springfield on, primarily, clean energy jobs. I have invested many hours researching and presenting on the actual and potential jobs impact of wind energy development.
  • I worked with advocates and participated in some actions re the MidGen coal plants in Chicago that impacted primarily Little Village and neighboring communities.
  • Internally at IDNR, and since, I have advocated for a public health assessment before fracking begins in southern Illinois, and that regulators take into account the socioeconomic impacts on especially the lesser-advantaged, and those not receiving benefits from leases, in affected areas.
  • Also while at IDNR I worked on the options for containing/removing petcoke piles on the southeast side of Chicago; I also helped initiate investigation of pollution of Wolf Lake, used by low-income Illinoisans for subsistence fishing, and worked for placement of signage, including in Spanish and Polish, that would warn anglers of consumption hazards.
  • I have worked to educate largely urban, more affluent non-hunters on the degree to which game, especially, deer, is consumed by a largely rural community; IDNR operated a program by which tons of venison was donated to Illinois food pantries.
    In hiring contractors for naturalizing or tree maintenance work on my own property I have sought out local and small contractors. City efforts to naturalize via landscape should be locally sourced.
  • I have advocated for parks and public places, and other aspects of the commons, in part because such spaces provide disproportionately greater value to low-income households and individuals.<
  • In two semesters during 2016 I taught Enviromental Law at Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability, and within the course framework assigned readings on and taught environmental justice as one of four basic lenses through which problems and policy options can be viewed.

The City, especially in cooperation with the schools, can do more to engage communities not historically forefronting environmental issues. A longterm plan for reducing the impact of the waste transfer stationshould be ongoing; part of this should be a plan for reducing waste production in Evanston, period.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Environmental and sustainability issues have been a driving force in my civic activism throughout my adult life, and have been part of every political campaign I have run. I have specifically sought to use the political process to raise awareness of these issues, even though repeatedly counseled by conventional wisdom that that has limited political benefit and that other messaging has greater payback. I am doing so in this campaign because of my belief in the paramount importance of these challenges to our future.

  • I ask CGE friends and readers to please review my website, http://jeff4evanston.org, which has separate Issue sections outlining a vision for a deeper green Evanston, protection of the lakefront, and revival of the Harley Clarke house, and which incorporates green aspects issues in discussion of economic development and traffic; a transportation discussion will also soon be forthcoming.
  • I also ask those concerned about the planet to consider my position on “”growth”” of Evanston, answered on the EvanstonNow site, and which I may re-post on the campaign website. I urge a more intersectional and holistic approach than is common in politics, and have been the only candidate in this race to express the idea that our future economic growth must be more qualitative than quantitative.
  • Noise pollution, light pollution, and wildlife are not asked about here but should not be ignored. Noise and light are particularly within local governmental purview. Policymakers and environmentalists should be looking at all aspects of the human (and nonhuman) environment. Naturalizing (and unnaturalizing) impacts public health (especially through stress), education, and even violence.
  • Although sustainability was one of the three things mentioned by Mayor Tisdahl when asked what she saw as important for Evanston and the next mayor, no other candidate for mayor includes this as part of his stock speech or reason for running. Three of the candidates for mayor have no environmental issue content, let alone highlighted, on their websites. Perhaps reflecting the dearth of interest by candidates, other than a question at the Central Street Neighbors forum where the moderator, a Parks & Rec Board member, asked a question about Evanston parks, there have been no environmental questions asked at any of the more than half-dozen forums to date. The Roundtable asked every candidate about sustainability – but then did not publish the answers.
  • I am running in no small part because the ascent of climate deniers to the White House creates an imperative for environmental leaders at every level of government. It falls to those who understand these issues’ seriousness to make them touchstones of decision.

    Back to candidate list

    Mark Tendam

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

    We purchased a house built in 1929 that was included as a historical landmark. We immediately began restoration with extensive upgrades of utilities and weatherization. We created zones for HVAC and installed a higher efficiency hot water heater.

    Seven years later we built an addition with even greater energy efficiency. The interior and exterior lighting is largely LED. In the exterior nearly all impermeable surface was removed. The driveway and a significant portion of the back yard is gravel and the remaining portion of the yard is flat rock and gardens. Along the back part of the lot we installed a rain garden.

    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 and we have had significant success in achieving our goals — even exceeding them in some ways. As with all things Evanston, we don’t rest on our success — we build on them. We must maintain our position as a leader in environmental issues.

    That said, there are other issues we face that have not been fully addressed or have had little success.

    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:

    As a member of council for 7+ years, I was an enthusiastic supporter of electric utility aggregation. Our collective bargaining provided a reasonable and secure purchase of electrical power for several years.

    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:

    Introducing a program like PACE could prove to be very successful in many ways. Especially in those ways that help property owners make money-saving improvements while paying it back over time. And while the energy efficiency is important and the focus of this survey, the use of a program like PACE could help us develop good paying jobs in a field of green work that has a solid future.

    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?

    No

    Please explain:

    North Shore communities have had inconsistent policies for protecting trees — often the result of having some extra money in the budget or not. We’ve seen Northbrook and Wilmette react to the devastation of ash borer with co-op programs that require residents to share the cost of replacing parkway trees.

    Evanston has had a consistent policy of treating parkway elm trees and all public elms of an appropriate age for the last 7 years. And there is more we can do. We offer tree removal insurance for elms on private property but we could encourage treatment of trees on private property by a collective purchase of prevention treatments.

    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 eliminated the use of most pesticides in parks and public grounds. We can continue the example of regulating pesticides in two ways. First, a public education program can help create a better understanding of what is at stake by the continued use of pesticides — especially neonicotinoids. Second, an aggressive lobbying effort, partnering with likeminded communities, could strengthen the efforts demanding that the State of Illinois allow local regulation of pesticides to be governed by home rule.

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

    No

    Please explain:

    I support making Evanston as bike friendly as possible. However, I think we should have a review of the Evanston Bike Plan. Recent additions of bike lanes along Dodge Avenue were ill-conceived, causing difficulties for people with mobility issues and city emergency vehicles. A misguided extension of a bike path through the city’s only arboretum provides no reasonable access at GreenBay Road.

    I am encouraged by the comprehensive plan for bike lanes along Sheridan Road as I believe it includes safety measures for pedestrians as well.

    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?

    I am very comfortable advancing ideas like private rain gardens, green roofs, porous pavement and others since we have implemented those features on our own property in the 6th Ward.

    While the deep sewer tunnel has proved effective quite often, it was never intended to protect us from the big 100-year storm. However, since that storm seems to come annually, we need to implement better ways of getting water into the ground.

    As alderman, I initiated the rain garden program sponsored by the city. Accessing appropriate plants at wholesale prices and offering garden planning services at no charge is a good start to creating public awareness that there is so much more we can do to reduce the impact of rain water. Much of the 6th Ward has a clay base immediately under the topsoil. That condition reduces the success of permeable surfaces and increases the importance of native rain garden plants to get the water deep into the ground.

    Different parts of Evanston will require an understanding of what might be the best combination of services the city can support for property owners as well as implement on public property.

    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?

    Access to healthy, plentiful food is not that much different than access to good housing and other necessities of life. Good jobs with a livable wage provide that access and should always be our priority.

    The city can help bring good food to underserved neighborhoods. Council’s support of Valle Foods at Dempster and Dodge is a good example of economic development that directly benefits the neighborhood. Sponsoring farmers markets and community gardens can also bring good, healthy food to various neighborhoods.

    Our city’s health department has provided numerous programs and events over the past few years to build awareness for healthy food choices. One such program focused on the excess of sugar in our diets — especially beverages.

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

    Demands and regulations for green living cannot be a burden on people struggling to maintain a safe and healthy home in Evanston. That’s why programs like weatherization, which will help residents save money on utilities, are so appropriate. Training our youth in green technologies can provide good paying jobs in a community dedicated to reducing its negative environmental impacts.

    I have advocated for all-around efficiency in affordable housing. Affording the rent or mortgage will be of little use if residents can’t afford utilities.

    ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

    In the past 7+ years, I have been part of a group of civic leaders dedicated to environmental issues. I am proud of our city’s certification as a STAR community and the second highest rating of four stars. It has helped us identify sustainability strengths and areas for improvement. As mayor, I would help us reach that last star. I have no doubt this city can do it.

Back to candidate list