Here is where Evanston’s 2nd Ward aldermanic candidates stand on the issues

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Photos courtesy of Peter Braithwaite and Darlene Cannon

Peter Braithwaite (left) and Darlene Cannon (right). The two will face off Tuesday in Evanston’s municipal elections, where both are running to represent the 2nd Ward.

Julia Richardson, Senior Staffer

Second Ward aldermanic candidates Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) and Darlene Cannon will face off in Evanston’s general election on Tuesday, April 6. In separate interviews with each candidate, The Daily Northwestern gathered their stances on key policy issues throughout the city, from affordable housing to policing. The candidates’ answers have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

On affordable housing

Braithwaite: “What’s important to me is that we continue to expand opportunities for all residents.”

Braithwaite emphasized the need to expand access to affordable housing and home ownership, as many of Evanston’s options are rental units. In the coming years, he said he plans to advocate for increased housing stock for younger families who have been priced out of Evanston.

Cannon: “I feel that often we allow developers to build what they want, instead of building what we need.”

While Evanston has affordable housing options for residents who fall into 80 percent to 120 percent Area Median Income, Cannon said she would like to see the city expand opportunities to those who fall into lower income brackets and purchase housing developments to preserve their affordability for longer periods of time.

On transparency in policing and reallocation of funds

Braithwaite: “I give a lot of credit to the Black Lives Matter movement and everything that we’re seeing on the national level and the group of students back in Evanston; it really raised that level of awareness.”

Braithwaite expressed support for the city clerk’s responsibility in releasing Freedom Of Information Act records to the public, including information pertaining to policing. However, he said the clerk’s office should clarify who is responsible for accepting and redacting information, especially more sensitive content.

Cannon: “The budget is a moral document and our budget right now does not reflect what we profess that we believe in.”

Cannon emphasized holding Evanston Police Department accountable and echoed Braithwaite’s opinion in favor of shifting FOIA responsibilities back to the city clerk. If elected, she said she also plans to push for the reallocation of funds away from EPD toward social services.

On reparations

Braithwaite: “The process has been clear and transparent… We’re just at the front; we’re at the first step of 1000.”

Braithwaite, who serves on the Reparations Subcommittee, said he encourages all residents who are critical of Evanston’s reparations plan to attend subcommittee meetings. Aside from housing, he said the committee is also pushing for economic development for Black residents, as well as retaining and expanding Black businesses.

Cannon: “Reparations is something that happens on the national level to repair for harm to people whose ancestors suffered through Jim Crow and slavery. What we’re doing here is repairing for redlining. ”

Cannon emphasized the importance of community involvement and transparency in the reparations process. She said she would like to see improved health care for Black residents, and is in favor of direct cash reparation payments.

On Evanston’s relationship with Northwestern

Braithwaite: “This is something that requires a collaborative approach, versus someone just shaking their fist and saying, ‘We have to tax them.’ It’s like recycling inefficiency.”

Braithwaite said he is both critical of Northwestern’s lack of payment to the city and in favor of a collaborative approach with the University. He hopes NU will expand its contributions, including increasing the Good Neighbor Racial Equity Fund.

Cannon: “When we look at other universities, they’re working towards payments in lieu of taxes. We can’t tax (NU), but there are other ways they can give more.”

Cannon expressed support for NU’s contribution to Evanston through the Good Neighbor Fund, but said she believes more should be done. She said she would like to see city staff hire specialists to collaborate with NU and work toward increasing clarity about how much the University owes.

On Ward-specific issues

Braithwaite: “We are the most racially and economically diverse ward. I tell people that the 2nd Ward represents the soul of our community.

Braithwaite said getting COVID-19 under control is his top priority, as well as increasing safety within the 2nd Ward and boosting economic development. He said he will also prioritize the needs of young adults and senior citizens.

Cannon: “Before a project begins, the residents who are impacted by it should be notified.”

Cannon said she will prioritize communication and transparency with 2nd Ward constituents, and would like to implement office hours during which residents can discuss their concerns. She also plans to examine traffic safety and parking tickets in the ward, which some residents have said is a concern.

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Twitter: @juliaa_grace

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