Campaigning is the easy part

Scott Gordon

Around Town

Evanston’s Planning and Development Committee on Monday completed a meeting in an hour and a half.

This must be a landmark in the history of municipal zoning — the most elaborate game of cowboys and indians I’ve ever encountered.

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I used to go to school in Evanston; now I go to school in a damn shopping mall.

Sherman Avenue’s 1700 block will become more generic as a Cosi “bistro,” or whatever, replaces what used to be Sherman Restaurant.

I don’t know if Sherman Restaurant’s food was any good. I never even went in. I just liked it because its scrappy white-and-maroon awning offset the blandness of the nearby Starbucks, GAP and Einstein Bros.

What we need here is some good old-fasione rattiness.

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The owner of Infinite Light, Ltd., 525 Howard St., is clearing out. Ron Loczyk says the store is too great a financial burden. Loczyk has a full-time job at an electrical company, but runs Infinite Light, on his own time, in hopes that the books, candles and art he sells will help people find some encouragement, not conjure luck or divine intervention. His book selection ranges from cultish guidebooks to scholarly works on religion.

He hopes to leave Evanston in about six months. For now he’s having a discount sale. Infinite Light wasn’t making money in the first place.

The Evanston side of his block of Howard Street is a wreck. Three other storefronts are empty between Infinite Light and the El. I’ll bet that, depending on who buys Ron’s building, Infinite Light will give way either to impending worldwide Yuppiedom or the bombed-out boredom that already surrounds the place.

When I first saw the store, I laughed at its contradictory name, but I was grateful anyway to see a little pillar of character on Howard. Character is the only thing that can make Evanston, or any city, worth living in, and it’s disappearing.

IN OTHER PAPERS…

The Evanston Review made The Daily’s City Desk look good last week. Somebody had to.

Amid its coverage this week of the Evanston elections is a sprawling report, complete with timelines and close-up photos, on local back yards that “brim with wildlife.”

I’ll be much more excited now when I see the majestic groundhog, the elusive woodpecker or the regal bat about Evanston. In fact, maybe I’ll stop working altogether, shove this job and become a bird watcher. I’m glad The Daily’s city coverage hasn’t been reduced to this, even on the slowest news days.

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John Ambrosia, the editor in chief of Pioneer Press, the Review’s parent company, wants to revamp Pioneer papers’ coverage of business and regional issues, according to this week’s Chicago Reader.

One Pioneer reporter, who supports Ambrosia’s plan, told the Reader that Ambrosia wants to get away from “covering the same 12 village officials and quoting them week after week.”

Review reporters, and I’d imagine reporters at other Pioneer papers, have the advantage of longstanding chummy relationships with at least some city officials. This means city sources are usually less willing to talk to, say, Daily reporters.

Ambrosia is right — his reporters need to lay off the chumminess and look around a little more. If the Review had a wider scope, The Daily’s city reporters would better understand what it’s like to work at a real newspaper with real competition.

Scott Gordon is a Medill junior. He can be reached at

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