LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
Serving the people of Evanston & Skokie, Illinois, since 1922.
League of Women Voters of Evanston
2100 Ridge Avenue, Room 1030 • Evanston, IL 60201
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Outcomes of LWVE Program for 2016-2017
At the April 2, 2016, Program Planning Meeting held at the home of Betty Brugger, the fifteen LWVE members in attendance reached consensus on the following Local Program for the 2016-2017 League year. What follows are the outcomes of what was done by LWVE to accomplish those goals:
- Through referenda and/or other actions, support state-wide efforts of the League of Women Voters of Illinois to improve political and fiscal accountability in Illinois government or budget, focusing on redistricting, budget priorities, failure to adopt a budget, and/or tax policy. Design strategies for mobilizing LWVE members to effect change.
- Many LWVE members collected signatures for the Independent Map campaign and submitted them to the Independent Maps coalition. However, the effort ultimately failed when on July 18, 2016 Cook County Circuit Court Judge, Diane Larsen, handed down a ruling that the Independent Map Amendment to the Illinois Constitution is unconstitutional. Independent Maps filed an appeal directly to the Illinois Supreme Court.
- On July 28th LWVIL as part of a diverse coalition of two dozen business, consumer and public interest organizations filed an amicus with the Illinois Supreme Court urging it “to allow democracy to prevail and to let the people have their vote” on the Independent Map amendment in the November election.
- The Independent Maps campaign activated hundreds of thousands of voters and became only one of two citizen initiatives in over 30 years to collect enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. Because of member action, the initiative received near unanimous editorial support across the state. Polling showed that 70% of voters were prepared to vote “yes” on redistricting reform.
- For a complete statement of the position on redistricting of LWV Illinois, and therefore also LWVE, go to http://www.lwvil.org/redistricting.html .
- Graduate Rate Income tax reform did not mount an effort in 2016 so there was no action by members of LWVE. To see the full LWV Illinois position go to http://www.lwvil.org/graduated-rate-income-tax.html.
- No specific strategies were devised to mobilize members to effect change – a challenge still to be met.
- Support the Evanston Livability Plan’s goal of continued reduction of Evanston carbon emissions. Suggested steps include becoming members of groups/organizations already working in this area; holding public meetings on a climate-related topic; and publishing at least one educational article in the Intercom.
- Catherine Hurley, Sustainability Manager for the City of Evanston spoke at a luncheon meeting about the approach the City has taken to make Evanston more liveable. To achieve the City’s goals, it has, inter alia, collaborated with community groups, such as Citizens Greener Evanston. An article covering key aspects of the City’s work, including its carbon emissions reduction efforts was published in the Intercom.
- Promote expansion of affordable housing and enforcement of fair housing laws in Evanston by working with a coalition of like-minded organizations seeking to influence the City to increase its impact; develop strategies to generate greater visibility and public understanding of these issues.
- Presented statement at City Council meeting June 2015 supporting Inclusionary Housing ordinance amendment; passed November 2015
- Held two “salons” (January & February 2016); drew 15 interested individuals, researched and reviewed data, developed list of challenges and potential actions
- Participated in Earth Day Event April 24, 2016 – Raised awareness by presenting “Framing the issues” around fair and affordable housing, developed and provided a fact sheet, facilitated break-out session
- November 12, 2015 luncheon on affordable housing featured Sarah Flax, Housing and Grants Administrator, City of Evanston, and Amy Kaufman, Director of Community Relations for Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH). LWV member Sue Calder, who is vice chair of the City of Evanston Housing & Homeless Commission, served as moderator
- Developed questions related to fair and affordable housing for candidate forums
- Provided information to LWVCC for interest group on “Housing Affordability and Residential Desegregation”
- Current: exploring partnership with “Joining Forces”, a group of Evanston community-based organizations with an interest in advocating foraffordable housing
- Develop a clearer understanding of the City’s decision-making process as it relates to public initiatives and capital projects, in order to suggest an improved process by which City staff and City Council will more effectively identify and collaborate with major stake-holders from the public and from City Boards, Committees, and Commissions.
- We observed 72 regular meetings, Administration and Public Works; Planning and Development; City Council; Economic Development; Mental Health Board; Rules; Human Services. We also attended special meetings, i.e., budget, etc.. Observer Reports are posted on the LWVE website. There is evidence that these postings have attracted many viewings from non-LWV members.
- Our focus for the year was following and understanding the City's effort to restructuring of Boards, Commissions and Committees (BCCs) with its aim to reducing the number of BCCs. The current number of active BCCs is 36. Nineteen are listed as inactive, completed or dissolved committees or task forces.
- LocGov (Local Government a group of observers who meet monthly) continued to express the League's interest in and encouragement for more and earlier inclusion of the public voice in planning for new programs and projects. There have been several instances during the year that demonstrated the City staff was making progress toward this goal. However, this continues to be on LocGov's radar.