Below are Mark’s full responses to the survey put out by the Democratic Party of Evanston for their endorsement session at 4 pm on Sunday, February 19th at the Unitarian Church of Evanston (1330 Ridge Ave.).
Why are you seeking this office?
When I first came to Evanston, I found a community that made me feel welcome and let me be myself in a way that I’d never experienced before. I first ran for office when funding was cut for Better Existence with HIV (BEHIV), an organization I worked with for many years. I lost, but got involved with a number of community organizations and was elected successfully as 6th Ward Alderman in 2009. I feel that I’ve done a lot of good work on the City Council and am proud of all that we’ve accomplished, but I’d like to return to serving the entire city. My work with BEHIV took me into every corner of Evanston, and I want to make sure that everyone, newcomers and lifelong Evanstonians alike, feel as welcome here as I did when I first came.
Are you a democrat? Liberal? Progressive?
Yes, I am a lifelong Democrat. I served on the Board of the Democratic Party of Evanston from 2005 to 2009, and chaired the Communications Committee. I define myself as a progressive, liberal Democrat, because the most important issue to me has always been civil rights, and I feel that my role as an elected official is to protect civil rights above all else.
Why should the Democratic Party of Evanston endorse you?
I have been very involved with the DPOE over the years. In addition to being on the Board for four years, my husband, Neal Moglin, and I have hosted events for Democratic officials in and out of our district and volunteered for the Democratic Party. Additionally, in my race for alderman I was endorsed by every single one of our local Democratic representatives. I have always put community first and advocated for civil rights, and I believe the duty of government, whether local, state, or federal, is to advocate for inclusivity and equity. I believe that these values represent the Democratic Party. In 2012, The DPOE honored Neal and me with the Evanston Community Service Award.
How many doors did you knock on this week? What are voters telling you?
My campaign team and I knocked on almost a thousand doors this weekend, and the voters we reached are, more than anything else, troubled by what they’ve seen on the national scene and are looking to our local government for reassurance. In times like these, it is more important than ever to establish strong local ordinances that will protect those whom our federal government puts at risk.
List five key endorsements you have received?
Jan Schakowsky, U. S. Congresswoman (IL-9)
Debra Shore, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner
Evanston Firefighters Association Local 742
Gerri Sizemore, Evanston/North Shore NAACP board member
Richard Rykhus, former D65 School Board member
Describe one innovative progressive/liberal initiative you will pursue if elected?
I plan to advocate for and raise awareness about physical and mental disabilities and the daily troubles our citizens face when caring for themselves and the ones they love. In Evanston, there are a lot of barriers to accessing our services, and not all of our services work for the people they are intended to help. I will work hard to make our parks, playgrounds, summer programs, and beaches more inclusive and to partner with our schools in their efforts to bring much-needed services to children with disabilities and their families. Additionally, I want to ensure that our seniors can live out their lives in Evanston, either at home or in one of our many senior care facilities by implementing the recommendations set fourth by the Age Friendly Task Force. I also hope, that by raising awareness, we can erase some of the stigma surrounding mental illness, and substance abuse, and raise the quality of life for all Evanstonians.
Evanston is a sanctuary city. What should the City do if the federal government begins cutting funding because it does not cooperate in immigration enforcement?
We must fight to resist any policies that don’t reflect the values of our community. There is no choice here: Evanston cannot bow to intimidation tactics or bullying from the federal government. I feel we are most likely at risk for losing funding for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and HUD/Home funds, but we are prepared for that. As a result of our amended Affordable Housing Ordinance, we are generating increased contributions to our Affordable Housing Fund, and that revenue should make up for potential losses in funding.
Please address the video of Lawrence Crosby’s arrest on October 10, 2015, and the City’s response to his arrest?
The Crosby arrest video prompted City officials, including myself, to take action with required training for police officers, particularly in the areas of de-escalation and better communication procedures from dispatch to arrest. More recently, a long list of changes in policy and procedure was presented to the Council as guidelines for our police force going forward, which helped address other recent incidents, such as the arrest of Devon Reid in November 2016. As Chair of the Human Services Committee, I can attest that the changes will provide greater interaction between police and citizens, including providing more evidence regarding complaints and making the complaint procedure more accessible.
Is there inequality in Evanston, for example in policing, housing, education, access to services, or jobs? If so, what are the causes and what do you intend to do to address inequality?
Certainly, inequality exists in Evanston. Inequality is ingrained in our culture, and we will not make any progress in addressing it by denying that it exists. I believe in Evanston because we never stop trying to address inequalities and diminish them wherever possible. I believe that the solution lies in stepping past our fears and our social boundaries to engage in frank, honest dialogue. We need to begin with objective listening, in order to include and promote the voices of those most marginalized in our communities.
Do you oppose each of the proposals set for the in Governor Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda (see www.illinois.gov/gov/Documents/CompiledPacket.pdf)? Be specific as to any you support. Why?
On the surface, I believe Governor Rauner and I agree in identifying the biggest concerns for our state. However, we disagree completely on how those things must be accomplished. Governor Rauner’s uncompromising stance on leading Illinois out of its current debt crisis has left us with little hope of the possibility of working together. I believe his policies only benefit people in the very highest income level. If we agree that sacrifices may need to be made, we cannot favor any one group and instead must approach reform in such a way that we don’t disadvantage our most vulnerable.
What should be the minimum wage? Should workers be able to earn paid sick leave? What is the City’s role on these issues?
I firmly believe in at least $15 an hour, but would like to see minimum wage go even higher than that, because even $15 per hour is not a livable wage. I believe the key to this is creating better jobs, ones that will provide a career instead of just a paycheck. We as a Council have worked to discourage fast food jobs from coming into Evanston, because those aren’t the kind of jobs we need here. I also firmly believe in paid sick leave. People get sick, and no one should be penalized for that. All jobs should provide earned benefits, including minimum wage jobs.
What will you do to promote economic development? What about small businesses?
Of our City departments, Economic Development has been transformed the most over the last eight years. I joined the Council right after the recession hit, and we were able to rise out of the recession relatively quickly and make Evanston one of the most attractive places for business — nationwide. We were able to develop restaurants and retail businesses to get people to come to our neighborhood shopping districts, while also building our downtown through events sponsored by the city, Downtown Evanston, and the North Shore Visitors and Convention Bureau. We continue to reap the benefits of our TIFs (Tax Increment Financing) districts, which bring income and infrastructure to our city.
Describe how the City should interact with its public employee unions?
Thus far our City Manager and our CFO (Chief Financial Officer), along with our Human Resources staff have worked hard to reach agreements in a fair and relatively quick manner. I believe that continuing to cooperate fully with our police, firefighters, AFSME, and other unions will continue to yield productive results.
Do you consider department-staffing levels (including for the fire department) a mandatory subject of collective bargaining?
Yes, directors, staff, and other leaders know the needs of their departments very well. Council members rely on the information provided by these departments to make decisions. It is in our best interests to make sure that we know as much as possible about our departments as they strive to bring the best services possible to all who live, work, learn, and play in Evanston.
What will you do to make our Evanston more environmentally sustainable?
We’ve taken care of our own house: the Civic Center, city vehicles, and other city buildings are more efficient now than ever before. And, we’ve taken the time to make sure that we’re operating on a sustainable system. The time has come to turn outward and implement the same policies city-wide. These investments will save us money in the long run by conserving energy and preserving Evanston for those to come, but it will also help save money in the short term, by cutting back utility costs. Through our new initiative in benchmarking, we will have information from larger commercial and residential building owners that will help us set additional, realistic goals.
What will you do to combat gun violence?
Overwhelmingly, what I’ve heard from communities affected by gun violence is that we need to invest more in affordable housing and better jobs. We should, of course, do everything we can to assist and train police officers — especially in ways that reduce access to guns. But we also need to look at the big picture and invest in long-term solutions. These issues are intersectional: addressing economic development and providing better treatment for mental illness and substance abuse will also lead to a reduction in violence.