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Evanston, IL POP-UP NEWSLETTER: New City Manager, GPI (economic metrics), Renewed U.S. Women’s Movement

A. New City Manager (with “local foods” bonus)
B. Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI): Better economic metric for Illinois?
C. Renewed U.S. women’s movement: National convention, webinars, women’s bill of rights

— 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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#EvanstonIL — not Evanston, Wyoming
#FundedSovereignty — Universal Basic Income as funding for voters
#WomensPublicAuthority — not equality, not separatism, but women’s group authority as women
#PhenologicalMoment — documenting natural events, mostly bloom times of plants, unusual weather events, wildlife appearances (mostly in my neighborhood, NicholsNeighbors)

A. NEW CITY MANAGER for Evanston
Plus a local foods bonus

Watching the City Council meeting last night (May 23, 2022), it was great to hear that our new city manager, John Fournier, was the unanimous choice of city staff (department heads and managers). I appreciated the enthusiastic comments by alderpeople, as well as the ongoing concerns about some aspects of Mr. Fournier’s record on equity and personnel. 

It was also a good sign that the Council chose to “vote” in public, especially since the final vote was not unanimous (1st Ward Ald. Kelly voted against Fournier). It was clear, however, that the vote had already been known because Mr. Fournier and his wife were in attendance. In fact, after the official vote, Mr. Fournier was invited to make some comments, which were appropriately brief. Mr. Fournier’s first day on the job will be July 18, 2022.

Local foods bonus! After the decision was finalized, I discovered that Mr. Fournier’s wife, Dr. Chelsea Wentworth, is an anthropologist with a heavy specialization in sustainable food systems. The details of her interests and research are quite interesting and are detailed on her current webpage at Michigan State University where she is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability, and other positions. She comes to local food systems from a feminist, climate, and medical perspective. 

Here’s hoping that Dr. Wentworth can help Evanston identify more actionable food & farm components to our emergency climate plan.

Better economic metric for Illinois

Over the last eleven years of my work on monetary and banking policy, I have come to see that our primary economic metric, GDP — Gross Domestic Product — is a problem. In fact, the designer of GDP, Simon Kuznets, never intended it to be the primary indicator of a nation’s economic progress. But the 1948 Bretton Woods conference enshrined GDP internationally and for 70+ years we’ve been stuck with an accounting mechanism that (a) incentivizes over-production, over-work, pollution, war, lies, and climate destruction, (b) is inaccurate as a measurement of overall economic and public health, and (c) is insulting to mothers and other volunteer caregivers (whose production and labor is not counted in the GDP). 

The good news is that more and more states have adopted or are looking to adopt GPI and that, in 2021, a GPI bill was introduced into Congress by U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN). Details of these efforts and the basics of GPI are detailed in my recent blog GPI compared to GDP: A more honest, inclusive, & healthier economic metric.

The really good news is that, when I proposed GPI to our State Rep. Robyn Gabel (now also Assistant Majority Leader in the Illinois House), she said she’d look at my materials over the summer (for possible introduction in Jan. 2023). 

If anyone supports GPI as a 21st century metric for Illinois, let Robyn know. Likewise, share my blog with State Sen. Laura Fine and Evanston’s other State Reps, Kelly Cassidy and Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz.

GPI is actually very easy to understand, easy to implement at the state level, and relatively low-cost (compared to other necessary system changes).

National convention, webinars, bill of rights

Speaking of mothers and other women, Evanston women might be interested in a variety of activities signaling a renewed U.S. women’s movement, now connected to a new global movement to support women’s sex-based rights and authority, as detailed in 2019 by UK-based Women’s Declaration International (WDI). There are chapters in many countries, including the U.S.

This time, looking at the nascent coalition of U.S. women’s groups (left, right, center?) coming together on Item #3 (women’s bill of rights), maybe this time we’ll get it right. Here’s three ways to get involved:

1. National political convention
Reigniting the Women’s Liberation Movement
Sept. 23-25, 2022
Washington, DC
Dupont Circle Hotel

A working agenda is already in place and registration is open.
The event is being organized by the U.S. chapter of WDI.

2. Living the Declaration webinars
Related webinars are being held monthly until the convention on each article of the Women’s Declaration.

The next webinar is on May 26, 2022 (6-7 PM Central)
Article 2: Motherhood is Exclusively Female
Details & registration

3. Women’s Bill of Rights
Introduced in both houses of U.S. Congress on May 19, 2022.
Technically this really isn’t a bill of rights so much as a list of definitions.

— Statement by Women’s Liberation Front 
Contains details of the initiative, including sponsors (House and Senate) and text of House resolution (no bill # yet) and 20-minute press conference outside the capitol. Press conference features Mary Miller, an Illinois Congresswoman. 

— The press release by the Republican Study Committee contains additional information, including a list of groups supporting the Women’s Bill of Rights. In alphabetical order, those groups are: American Principles Project, Concerned Women for America LAC, Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), Eagle Forum, Family Policy Alliance, Heritage Action for America, Independent Women’s Law Center, Independent Women’s Voice, Women’s Declaration International USA, Women’s Liberation Front.

— Additional media
May 19, 2022: Representatives from two organizations talked about this bipartisan initiative (45 seconds)
May 21, 2022: Feminist Question Time  WoLF’s Legal Director (Lauren Adams) talked about the Women’s Bill of Rights (3 mins)

— Sign on to Women’s Bill of Rights. 

— Follow these Twitter accounts:
Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF)  @WomensLibFront 
Independent Women’s Voice (IWV)  @IWV
Women’s Declaration USA  @WDI_USA