Newman nixes plans for April re-election

Breanne Gilpatrick

The Evanston City Council will lose a second long-time alderman in April with another announcement that one of the city’s nine aldermen will not seek re-election.

Ald. Arthur Newman (1st) announced last month that he will not run again in the April 5 municipal election.

He said he wants to devote more time to his family and his law practice. Newman was elected in 1991 and his ward includes much of the downtown area and the part of the Evanston Campus west of Sheridan Road except for Jones Residential College and 1835 Hinman.

Ald. Elizabeth Tisdahl (7th), whose ward includes the rest of the campus, said she agrees with Newman’s decision.

“He’s served a long time and worked terribly hard at it, and his family and his law practice deserve some more time,” Tisdahl said. “I think he’s got good priorities.”

Newman’s decision follows an announcement last May by Ald. Gene Feldman (9th) that he plans to retire at the end of his current term.

Ald. Steven Bernstein (4th) said the loss of Newman and Feldman — combined with the rumors he has heard that Ald. Joseph Kent (5th) may not run — will greatly impact the City Council.

“With Newman gone and with Feldman gone and with Joe Kent gone, that’s a lot of years of experience gone,” he said.

Bernstein said he knows people are divided in their views of Newman — most people either love him or hate him.

“Ald. Newman is an individual about whom there is no middle ground,” Bernstein said. “Some people will probably have a parade, and some people will probably have a funeral.”

Newman said he made the decision not to run a long time ago. Bernstein said he had heard Newman mention not running about six to 10 months but didn’t give the comment much thought at the time.

Newman’s decision has generated more interest in the race for First Ward alderman. Community activist Judy Fiske has picked up an election packet for the ward and said she definitely plans to run. She said she is now collecting the signatures she needs for her petition.

Fiske said she decided she would make a good candidate when neighbors started talking about possible replacements.

“I’ve done a lot of civic work over the past couple of years,” Fiske said. “I think it’s nice to have a fresh start for the First Ward.”

Gregory Sultan also has picked up a packet since Newman’s announcement, according to a list obtained Monday from the city clerk’s office. Sultan could not be reached for comment Monday.

Former Seventh Ward alderman Cheryl Wollin, who now lives in the First Ward, said in November that she plans to run for alderman. Wollin picked up a packet before Newman’s announcement.

Newman said he does not plan to help any of the First Ward candidates campaign.

The council will definitely be different without Newman, and his departure will be a great loss for the city, Bernstein said.

“There is no one who does his homework better,” Bernstein said. “Even though I don’t always agree with him, I think his understanding of any issue is complete.”

Reach Breanne Gilpatrick at [email protected].