Miller urges a more effective city government in campaign kick-off


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Ald. Brian Miller (9th) speaks at an event. Miller responded to the petition urging city officials to lower the speed limit on Sheridan Road by saying it could inadvertently create more traffic and fail to increase safety.

Nora Shelly, City Editor

Evanston’s government needs to be more open, transparent and effective, said mayoral candidate Ald. Brian Miller (9th).

Miller announced his candidacy last week and shared his ideas for reform in Evanston at his campaign kick-off event on Thursday at Little Beans Cafe, 430 Asbury Ave.

“Evanston is great, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do things better,” Miller told The Daily.

Miller, who is an ETHS graduate, said deciding to run for mayor was a “daunting” task, but that his experience in government, both as alderman, his day job as chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin and his legal training in state and local governments make him ready to do the job.

As mayor, Miller says he would try to get back to the “fundamentals” of governing.

“Our parks are crumbling,” said Miller during the event. “I want to return to good government and what we’re supposed to be doing.”

The planned renovations for Robert Crown Center are long overdue, Miller said, and the miles of Evanston lakefront could be better utilized.

Apart from park infrastructure, Miller said the city needs to do more to stop gun violence among young people. As a teenager, Miller worked as a camp counselor and says it was there he met another Brian — one of his camp-goers who had been adopted from Chicago, where he had been starting on the path to gang involvement.

Miller says he slowly lost touch with Brian after camp ended, and eventually learned he had reverted back to gang involvement and violence. Similar things, Miller said, are happening to some Evanston youth.

“It’s not enough to say we’re doing best practices — we should be doing better than best practices,” he said. “That’s what I want to do as mayor, do everything I can so we don’t lose another one of these kids.”

More than 50 friends, family and community members attended the event.

Evanston resident Roberta Hudson said she came to learn more information about his campaign.

“He’s got the right perspective,” she said.

Hudson added she was concerned with the amount of development in the city that may have come at the expense of people, saying, “This city needs a change.”

Echoing Miller’s call for transparency, Rob Pressoir, who was raised in Evanston, said he came to support Miller, who he’s worked with in the past on council matters.

Miller was always transparent about what was going on, Pressoir said.

“You don’t always get that type of feel from other council folks,” Pressoir said. “I’ve seen him at council meetings, I’ve seen him challenged … and he’s consistent.”

Miller is joined in the mayoral race by businessman Steve Hagerty. Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl announced she was not running for reelection in July.

Miller says he’s running for mayor now because he’d like to set the city’s agenda for the next four years.

“I credit Evanston with who I am,” he said. “I owe Evanston.”

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Twitter: @noracshelly