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EVANSTON, IL: Elections Pop-up Newsletter (Jan. 8, 2021)

Local elections in Evanston, IL are on Feb. 23, 2021 (primary) and April 6, 2021 (general). This is a pop-up newsletter to provide practical information, to facilitate participation, and to highlight big picture issues by connecting our local issues with larger jurisdictions (county, state, regional, national, world).

Evanston voters 
Evanston candidates*
Evanston media
Evanston political groups
Evanston activists in my networks
Residents of my neighborhood (Nichols Neighbors)
Some non-Evanston voters with Evanston connections & interests
*Note re Evanston candidates: I do not have email addresses for all candidates. I’m happy to include any and all. Please forward this to your favorite candidate OR send me their campaign address to add to my list.

ABOUT this newsletter
Once or twice a month I try to put out an informal newsletter about current Evanston issues customized for people and groups in my networks. I try to:
—provide practical information to facilitate participation in our public processes
—connect local actions & issues to larger jurisdictions—county, state, regional (Midwest), national, world

Unsubscribe? Just let me know.
Share? Please do.

CONTENTS (Jan. 8, 2021)
1. CABG CONFERENCE CALL: shape platform for a “robust & equitable Evanston democracy”
2. KEEPING TRACK of Evanston election information
3. OUR EVANSTON BUBBLE: Not all Evanston issues can be solved in Evanston, by Evanstonians alone
4. ISSUE HIGHLIGHT: Public Banks (City of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois?)

NEXT NEWSLETTER: I will probably highlight LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS.
(It depends on what else is happening at the moment.)

Shape platform for a “robust & equitable Evanston democracy”


Thanks to CABG for putting this event together, to enable a city-wide conversation about
—a progressive platform
—progressive candidates

Hopefully, they will start the conversation with a DEFINITION of progressive. Too many candidates—in Evanston and elsewhere–run under that label without defining the term or without identifying 5-10 “non-negotiable” commitments.

Of related interest, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) in the U.S. House of Representatives just recently re-structured themselves to deal with this problem. InTheseTimes article (Dec. 29, 2020)

DETAILS from CABG “Join our Call to Conference to help shape a platform for a robust and equitable Evanston democracy. Learn how to get involved in supporting Aldermanic and Mayoral candidates who walk the progressive talk. Starts Friday, Jan. 8, from 7-8 PM and features former Gov. Pat Quinn, and continues Sat., Jan. 9, from 9 AM – 11 AM, via Zoom. Sponsored by the grassroots Evanston campaign, Community Alliance for Better Government. Zoom link will be provided prior to the event.”

Sign up for free ticket:

2. KEEPING TRACK of Evanston election information

With so many candidates for so many offices, it’s hard to keep track of all the basic information. I am still looking for a one-stop website that is covering:—all candidates—websites & social media of all candidates—events for all candidates (coffees, interviews, forums, debates, etc.)

a. Website
OPAL seems to have made a good start.
Is there any other website that is keeping track of this information in real time (more or less)?

b. Interviews
For interviews I recommend:
—Evanston Live TV Facebook videos
Meleika Gardner does really good interviews.
Relaxed but asks the tough questions. 
—Democratic Party of Evanston(DPOE) Twitter
I haven’t watched any DPOE interviews yet, but I’m sure they’ll cover the issues.
DPOE’s new leadership seems to be more grassroots & interactive.

Action suggestion
Any other good websites out there keeping updated information in a user-friendly format?

Not all Evanston issues can be solved in Evanston, by Evanstonians alone

EvanstonNow has been doing occasional election surveys. In response to the question about “other issues” not identified in their first survey, I responded with this:

Candidates need to keep voters informed as to what we can do alone as a City and where we have to work with others on common problems and projects. Includes working with other suburbs, other municipalities, other counties, other states, other countries.

Here are some details (expanded for this newsletter):
Candidates need to be clear that as a city, we cannot solve all our problems in our own little 7.8 square mile bubble, without addressing larger, systemic ones: 

(a) Cook County
–reduce property tax on primary residence & primary business
—affordable housing
–feasibility study for public bank 

(b) State of Illinois 
—losing population — why?
Hint: it’s not the weather, see on outmigration (Wilmette media outlet)
–establish a public bank
–support & enhance local food systems 

(c) regional — Midwest, Great Lakes
–reduce water pollution in lakes, Mississippi
–support regenerative agriculture 

(d) U.S. national 
–remove racism, sexism, white supremacy from U.S. Constitution
–add to Constitution: sunset clause, women’s public authority, rights of nature, funded sovereignty (basic income for all voters)
—stop using GDP as a metric for economic progress (alternatives: GPI — Genuine Progress Indicator, Social Wealth Index, etc.) 

Action suggestion:
Liz Tisdahl ran on this kind of collaboration when she first ran for mayor. I asked her a year or so later why there still wasn’t any noticeable collaboration. She said no one else was interested. Someone might want to ask her for more detail.

4. ISSUE HIGHLIGHT: Public Banking
Recent public bank proposals: City of Chicago, Cook County, or Illinois?

I have been an advocate of public banking since 2011.
Here’s some recent developments in Illinois:
a. Chicago
“Why Chicago should start public bank” (Dec. 2020)
Op-ed in Chicago Sun-Times promoting a public bank for the City of Chicago.

b. Cook County
A COOK COUNTY PUBLIC BANK FOR CHICAGO + 130 SUBURBS — best practical option for 2021? (Dec. 2020)
My letter-to-the-editor submitted to Chicago Sun-Times

c. Illinois
Growing Illinois coalition, looking for a lead organization, looking to hold a town hall meeting.
Contact Cimbria Badenhausen

Public Banking Institute has lots of good short videos, plus an informative newsletter. Check out PBI’s Advisory Board for Chicago connections: Ameya Pawar, Amara Enyia, Tom Tresser, Emma Chappell (although Ms. Chappell is based in Philadelphia, she has been a long-time associate of Rev. Jesse Jackson through Operation PUSH & the National Rainbow Coalition)


ABOUT ME I am 69 years old and have lived in the Nichols neighborhood of Evanston for 43+ years. I was a professional gardener for 25 years. Since 2005 I have worked on food & farm policy at all levels — local, metro, state, regional, national. I am pretty active on Twitter and am most interested in living in a REAL Democracy. See my webpage Real Democracy for a working definition, transitional structures, etc.