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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Clash of the candidates in debates

Aldermanic candidates in four races continued debates Thursday that will be aired on Evanston local access channels in March, focusing much of their discussion on Evanston-Northwestern relations.

The First Ward debate matched Judy Fiske and Cheryl Wollin, both vying to take over current Ald. Arthur Newman’s position.

Fiske’s primary concerns included zoning and the preservation of the historic district, whereas Wollin did not support the city’s review of changes to property in the ward.

“I feel that there are appropriate zoning ordinances for neighborhoods,” Wollin said.

Wollin expressed concerns about NU property zoned as a part of the historic district and said that there should be a way to protect neighborhood unity while allowing NU to control its own property.

But Fiske said zoning would maintain the character of the neighborhoods surrounding NU, adding that she believes the university has expansion possibilities in the Northwestern University/Evanston Research Park.

Another major concern involved NU’s purchase of 1800 Sherman Ave., an action Fiske said upset everyone.

“I don’t have a problem with Northwestern purchasing the building,” Fiske said. “Taking it off the tax rolls, however, was devastating.”

Both agreed that more effective communication and a stronger relationship between NU and Evanston is necessary.

Virginia Mann, Marty Norkett and Mark Tendam matched wits with Sixth Ward incumbent Ald. Edmund Moran, attacking his leadership and communication with constituents.

The “canyonization” of Central Street also sparked discussion from the candidates.

Moran emphasized a recent grant for Central Street planning, a project Tendam said has “a long way to go.”

“The first story of these buildings aren’t shops — they’re vertical blinds with logos,” Tendam said. “We need to find ways to make it a neighborhood-friendly street.”

Moran questioned a conflict of interest between Norkett and Lawrence Widmayer, chairman of the Evanston Plan Commission, in relation to Norkett’s business activities.

Norkett denied the accusation, stating that the required full disclosure policy prevented a conflict. Norkett countered that the council would benefit from a better communicator.

During the Ninth Ward debate, candidates Mimi Peterson and Anjana Hansen agreed on general ideas such as improving communication and efficiency in city government and creating a more constructive relationship with NU. But they clashed on other issues, such as the best way to inoculate elm trees and how exactly the city should treat NU.

Hansen said city attorney Jack Siegel’s letter to the university concerning its purchase of 1800 Sherman was a proactive and beneficial way of dealing with the NU. But Peterson disagreed.

“What (the letter) is saying is we’re getting ready to sue you,” Peterson said. “I don’t think it’s constructive or productive.”

In the Second Ward debate, incumbent Ald. Lionel Jean-Baptiste faced off against Christopher Stewart.

Jean-Baptiste said that he would overcome the difficulties of being a write-in candidate.

Both candidates agreed that issues would determine the election, not technicalities.

Jean-Baptiste said Stewart’s two-year residence in the city left him with a purely academic understanding of Evanston.

“What about the response to life? It’s not just about studying,” Jean-Baptiste said.

Stewart said his commitment to Evanston’s future mattered more than his tenure in the city.

“It’s about how long I’m going to be here,” he said.

Both considered NU’s purchase of 1800 Sherman a serious economic problem, though Stewart argued that NU brought more to the community than Jean-Baptiste would admit.

The Daily’s Elizabeth Gibson and Greg Hafkin contributed to this report.

Reach Laura Olson at [email protected].

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Clash of the candidates in debates