The Daily Northwestern for Edward Tivador

The Daily Northwestern Editorial Board

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Evanston’s 1st Ward is arguably the most complex of the city’s nine wards. Any alderman who leads it faces the daunting challenge of representing three powerful constituencies — Northwestern, lakefront residents and downtown businesses. The ward needs someone who cannot only facilitate candid lines of communication among the three groups, but also proactively collaborate with them to avoid inevitable conflict. The alderman doesn’t just need to be listening — he or she needs to aggressively seek community input when no one’s talking. Edward Tivador recognizes this reality and for this reason, among several others, The Daily endorsed his candidacy for City Council.

The Daily’s editorial board sat down with Ald. Judy Fiske and Tivador separately over the weekend. Tivador set himself apart from the the incumbent when he expressed a desire to proactively reach out to student leaders and get a feel for the on-campus pulse. Throughout Tivador’s campaign — and during his interview with The Daily — it has been clear that he would treat students just like any other constituency. This is what students living in the 1st Ward desperately need: An alderman willing to treat their concerns with legitimacy.

Fiske told The Daily that she often did not know about student issues because students rarely contact her or attend ward meetings. The 1st Ward alderman, whomever that is, has a responsibility to visit campus and reach out to NU administrators and students in the ward. Alds. Delores Holmes (5th) and Jane Grover (7th), whose districts include Northwestern students, have held ward meetings on campus. Though Fiske’s meetings at the Evanston Public Library are not far from campus, her unwillingness to accommodate students that live in her ward is noticeable — and disappointing.

Tivador is equipped to further Evanston’s economic development. He is a shrewd superintendent for Northbrook/Glenview School District 30 and has proven his fiscal prowess by balancing the district’s multi-million dollar budget. Contrary to claims from his opponent, Tivador does know Evanston inside and out, and he is certainly in touch with the city’s economic situation. He has done his research and understands local complexities like the fiscal relationship between Evanston and Northwestern.  He recognizes the potential for Northwestern students to turn into permanent Evanston residents after graduation, embracing their connection to the city, as well as the boon they provide to the local economy.

Northwestern students rarely tune in to local Evanston politics. But on the issues that students do care about, Tivador has played his cards well. He promises to examine the so-called “brothel law,” an antiquated occupancy ordinance he called “ludicrous,” and has always maintained that familial relations have little to do with occupant safety. He has embraced the issue of increasing off-campus lighting in the 1st Ward — a problem flagged by students and administrators alike. While Fiske defended the level of lighting in the 1st Ward, Tivador admitted that some areas desperately needed improvements.

We respect Fiske’s love for and dedication to Evanston, a city where she has spent decades building relationships and working for “the neighbors,” as she endearingly puts it. All things considered, Fiske’s public caricature as an anti-Northwestern villain is far from reality. This narrative, peddled by a handful of students and University officials, only tells part of the story. It’s true that she opposed the new visitors center and sued the University after narrowly losing the 2005 aldermanic election, but she also negotiated a compromise regarding University tennis court scoreboards through the City Council. She is a strong advocate for the majority of her constituents — but this majority doesn’t include the thousands of students in her ward.