Debates between 1st Ward alderman candidates Fiske, Tivador focus on student concerns

Edward Tivador (left) and Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) sparred over key issues in the upcoming 1st Ward election at the Public Affairs Residential College on Wednesday night.

Melody Song/Daily Senior Staffer

Edward Tivador (left) and Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) sparred over key issues in the upcoming 1st Ward election at the Public Affairs Residential College on Wednesday night.

Cat Zakrzewski, Campus Editor

Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) and challenger Edward Tivador used a pair of on-campus forums Thursday night to spar over who is more in touch with Northwestern students.

In their first joint appearance since Tivador launched his campaign last month, the two candidates shared their platforms with audiences of fewer than two dozen students in separate debates at Allison Hall and Public Affairs Residential College.

Fiske spoke about how challenging it was to meet with “busy” student constituents and accused Tivador of swooping into the race without any real experience managing town-gown relations. She stood as she offered each of her answers, while he remained seated throughout the back-to-back forums, which were organized by Associated Student Government.

When Tivador argued the city needs to expand economic development to benefit the NU community, Fiske told him, “You haven’t been there for any of this.”

Tivador said he considers NU a “resident” and knows how to make sure everyone gets his or her share after balancing budgets as a superintendent.

He also said he hoped to encourage economic growth so the 1st Ward’s tax base expands.

“I’m so concerned that we aren’t doing enough to expand that economic development because that does bring revenue in,” he said.

Fiske denied this claim, arguing that because Tivador has only ever attended one ward meeting, he does not know about the “collaborative and cooperative” relationship between the city and NU.

Weinberg sophomore Wilson Shirley asked Fiske why she voted to block food trucks along the lakefront area in Evanston. Fiske said she decided to be the single vote against the food trucks in City Council’s 8-1 decision because she was concerned about existing lakefront concessions, which she said provide the city with revenue and are family-operated. She explained that council eventually decided to allow food trucks as long as they also had “brick and mortar” locations.

“They’re a small business,” said Fiske, who repeatedly emphasized that she owns a small pet store on Davis Street. “We have enough trouble attracting them anyway.”

Tivador responded by saying he believes in a “free market place.” He said the council needs to respond to issues based on the needs of all constituents, calling the 8-1 vote on food trucks a “problem.”

“No matter how much you support something, if you are the only vote and you hang on to that for the sake of it, you really don’t represent because you become marginalized,” he said. “That’s my concern in the 1st Ward.”

Most students at the debates were ASG members who had already made up their minds about the race.

Mark Silberg, ASG associate vice president of sustainability, said he supports Tivador “hands down” after watching the debates.

“Fiske’s track record shows she has not put students’ needs first,” Silberg added, noting he was speaking as a student, not an ASG representative.

The election is April 9. Students can vote on campus at Parkes Hall or Patten Gym.