Aldermen to keep reaching out the old fashioned way
Evanston aldermen this week voted to keep sending out post card reminders for ward meetings at a cost that could reach nearly $22,000 a year.
Despite objections from two aldermen about the cost, the council majority sided with City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz's argument that, despite the spread of much cheaper electronic forms of communication, the post cards still serve a valuable purpose.
Bobkiewicz said city staff members frequently hear from residents about the effectiveness of post cards.
"From our perspective twice a year is money well spent," Bobkiewicz said. "It attracts new people who may not have been plugged into things before."
Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, called the cost ridiculous. "I can't support this," Rainey said.
Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, the council's newest member, said he's received a lot of good feedback from residents about post card reminders sent about his ward meetings.
Not all aldermen have taken advantage of the post card program.
Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says she distributes monthly printed newsletters through a network of block clubs.
And Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said she used to pay to print fliers for meetings that were then distributed by community volunteers.
But Wynne said the fliers approach doesn't work well in trying to reach residents in apartment buildings.
"No faster would we tape a notice to a building door, than a janitor would remove it," Wynne said.
Wynne and Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, suggested that one postal mailing a year might be sufficient, but the aldermen in the Rules Committee meeting ultimately voted to go along with Bobkiewicz's plan authorizing two mailings per alderman per year.