Where Did the Tax Hike Go? Fact-Checking District 65 Finances

It’s a paradox of Evanston that fiscal hawks and taxpayer advocates focus on City finances, but it’s the two school districts that collect and spend most of our property tax dollars. Our K-8 system slips by with, generally, lack of attention, since at any given time most Evanston households don’t have kids in that system. Hot-button issues like redistricting or the closing or construction of a school draw a spotlight, but generally curriculum is too little discussed and school finances even less. If District 65 is getting a lot of attention it is usually because there is a problem.

District 65 is now getting a lot of attention and there is a problem. A couple big ones, actually.

Ward Candidate answers to CSNA Questionnaire 3/3/2021

Tomorrow is Election Day. So we compiled 6th and 7th Ward aldermanic candidate answers on their revenue ideas, costs savings ideas, and legislaitve plans into one easy chart. Click the image below to see the fullsize pdf. To review our entire aldermanic forum or the full questionnaires submitted by the candidates, click on the links in this sentence.

 

CSNA 2021 Aldermanic Forum Video

Evanston Smear PAC Thumbs Nose at Campaign Finance Law

As widely reported, Evanston's ongoing municipal elections have been disrupted by negative mailings from a new, mysterious political committee  ("PAC") called Evanston Together, attacking five  candidates -- four challengers and one incumbent alderman, Tom Suffredin (6th) -- with false accusations. The PAC falsely accused the five of wanting to "abolish" Evanston's 70-year-old managerial form of government, when no candidate had been campaigning on such a plank or said that. In the case of one candidate, Clare Kelly, running a strong First Ward campaign, the attacks slunk into sheer character assassination. Now it appears the group, a chief contributor of which is lame-duck mayor Steve Hagerty, has also been violating Illinois campaign finance law by concealing the contributions and expenditures until this very late date.

The D-2 form just filed by the PAC shows two contributions of $5,000, one by Hagerty and one by a Wilmette resident who reportedly co-owns Evanston property, and one contribution of $1,000, all dated 3/24, along with expenditures of ~$13,000, none earlier than 3/26. The contribution and expenditure dates raised my eyebrows because voters have been receiving these mailings since mid-March. However, even taking the dates reported at face value, it looks like violation of law.

 

 

CSNA District 65 Candidate Forum 3/17/2021

After you click on the video above you can click on YouTube logo at the bottom of the video frame to watch a larger easier to see version streamed directly from the YouTube site. There you can also select the full sctreen option.  Speakers names should be more visible in the lower-left corner of the larger format streamed from YouTube.

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