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EVANSTON, IL Pop-up Newsletter: City Manager search, new food project, library funding, Vogue Fabrics

Happy 2022, all. A reminder that this is an ELECTION YEAR and that the Illinois primary is later than it used to be: June 28, 2022 (instead of in spring). The filing deadline is March 14, 2022. The general election is Nov. 8, 2022. It looks like most of Evanston’s elected officials are running again (State Rep. Robyn Gabel, State Sen. Laura Fine, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Gov. J.B. Pritzker).

Whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen. I hope we have some robust discussions between now and June 28th. Personally, I’d like to see someone run on a “monetary reform” platform (see my Question #1 for City Manager Candidates).

To:
Evanston voters, media, political groups, businesses, activists, institutions
Residents in my neighborhood (Nichols Neighbors)
Some non-Evanston voters with Evanston connections & interests

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CONTENTS
A. City Manager search
B. New food security initiative
C. Library funding: New library association?
D. Vogue Fabrics article

A. CITY MANAGER SEARCH

1. Main City page & Finalists
• Michael Jasso, Assistant City Manager, City of Sacramento
• Daniel Ramos, Deputy City Administrator, City of Baltimore

2. Town Hall
Jan. 9, 2022
4:00 – 6:00 PM
Meeting link, ID, etc. 
Forum will be recorded.

3. Submit questions before Town Hall

4. My questions (3)
Also in a Twitter thread

QUESTION #1
As state government and local government finances worsen, are you familiar with any of the money & banking reforms being developed by grassroots groups in the U.S. (and internationally)? For example:
— public banking
— interest-free loans to state & local governments by the Fed (could be implemented immediately)
— funded sovereignty (guaranteed basic income for all voters)
— better economic metrics, e.g., Genuine Progress Indicator as an alternative to GDP
— participatory budgeting
— nationalizing the Federal Reserve
— prohibiting money creation by private entities (incl. banks and cryptocurrencies)

Have you taken any action vis-a-vis these reforms?
— studied?
— advocated for?
— implemented?
If so, can you share details?

QUESTION #2
Since the food & farm system as a whole produces almost HALF of our greenhouse gases and climate chaos, do you know of any urban community that has had success in addressing the TOTALITY of food systems emissions through its own climate plan? Includes production, distribution, processing, refrigeration, waste management. Any details?

QUESTION #3
Currently, Evanston’s City Code has no job description for City Council members. Duties & responsibilities are listed for (a) Mayor, (b) City Clerk, and (c) City Manager. But there are NO specifications for the representatives of the 9 wards.

Do you think this should be rectified?
How do we keep our alderpersons accountable if we don’t know what they’re supposed to do?

Also, the Mayor is described as a member of the City Council. Is this a usual practice in the City Manager form of government? Should this be investigated?

B. NEW FOOD SECURITY PROJECT LOOKING FOR INPUT
My suggestions

Thanks to Anne Sills for connecting some of Evanston food & farm folks with a new group wanting to increase food security in Evanston. The group consists of one of our local Rotary clubs and a cohort of Northwestern students in the Civic Engagement Certificate program at NU’s School of Education & Social Policy. I have sent them my suggestions.

Since my suggestions may be of interest to other Evanstonians as well, I have published them in my blog: Food Security in Evanston, IL: Ideas for 2022, for Illinois, & Beyond

C. LIBRARY FUNDING: Going upstream to reduce costs?

Tired of all the appeals for $$ from the library — without any acknowledgement that some of Evanston’s residents might be really struggling and that our entire economic system is screwed up? and has been since 1913 (creation of the Federal Reserve), not to mention 1619 and 1492?

(Yes, I’m pretty tired of all the appeals from all sorts of groups who don’t make that acknowledgement, but EPL has been the worst — 2-3/day sometimes, going back pre-COVID.)

Maybe it’s time to go “upstream” and deal with one of the causes for increased library expenses, for ALL libraries: Ebook publishers making it harder (more expensive, more time-consuming) for libraries to include ebooks and other digital materials.

Library Futures — new organization
Here’s a new organization that’s “championing the right to equitable access to knowledge.”Library Futures (based in Boston?) is only a year old, but their website is full of resources already, including monitoring various lawsuits in this arena. Here’s their first blogpost from Jan. 2021, Welcome.

They are a partner on an international campaign:
International Statement of Solidarity (sign as individual or organization) 
“The future of knowledge is digital, open, accessible, and culturally responsive. As information workers, we seek to steward this future through shared goals: Balancing copyright and an information ecosystem that meets the needs of communities globally.”

I know that the American Library Assn. is based in Chicago and that at least one Evanston resident (one of my neighbors) has worked there for a long time. Hopefully ALA and Library Futures are working together on this issue (and any other issues that will help libraries reduce costs and not be beholden to private corporations or private banks).

D. VOGUE FABRICS: Article in regional magazine

About a year ago I came across Belt Magazine, published in Cleveland, presumably covering the rust belt. I really enjoy getting their weekly newsletter and reading their in-depth (but not very long) articles, always with great photos and images. There have been a number of articles about Chicago, including this recent one about Vogue:
The Reinvention of Vogue Fabrics
Dec. 10, 2021
by Susie Pratt

Susannah Quern Pratt is an Evanston-based writer. Her forthcoming book, More or Less: Essays from a Year of No Buying will be available February 2022.