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Let’s listen and consult with small business owners before enacting measures that might undermine their success and even survival. As a city we need to get behind our small businesses and support them. I fully support the Legacy Business Program. As a city, we need to understand that these businesses go beyond the products they sell. They represent the city’s identity and culture and bring people to our city, creating significant foot traffic for all businesses. Currently the city cuts deals with large formula businesses giving them breaks and even for new businesses but has essentially ignored when it comes to money, the needs of our existing small businesses. We need to survey our small  businesses and find out what their needs are.

My Priorities:

Address punitive parking policies. We want to encourage people to come to our community.

Reign in escalating property taxes and fees that have an impact on our small businesses in renting or owning a property.


Look to other cities that have designed programs that support their small business community, through ARPA funds, using empty storefronts for events, pop-ups, consider a tax/fine/fee ordinance for empty storefront spaces that have remained vacant over a set period of time from property owners. 


Create a more transparent and equitable process by which Economic Development  distributes funds to Evanston businesses. 

Setting the stage for our lives.

The 2nd Ward has a rich history of affordability, but over the last two decades, homes for working-class and low-income families have significantly decreased. Subsequently, rents have surged, making it almost impossible for residents to become first-time home buyers. Real estate development and gentrification patterns threaten affordability, housing mobility, and racial justice. As elected alderwoman, Darlene commits to equity-focused community development that increases low-income and equitable housing resources. Through community collaboration, a needs-assessment data collection, and rigorous housing policy research, we can ensure the 2nd Ward is developed without displacement. Together we can transform housing opportunities to ensure progressive policies are rooted in racial and economical justice. 

         Click to learn about housing priorities and supporting policies:

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Nationally, political movements have exposed the systemic ways in which the lives of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) are under constant threat.

As we find ourselves closer to a post-COVID environment, and the looming recession, Darlene understands that these factors can contribute to to instability for people and that we need to address root causes 

This campaign is committed to understanding all the ways in which city policy, education and community oversight can enhance the way we build solidarity and strong neighborhoods.

Click to learn about creating safe communities:
We have to fight climate change through scientific information, community support, corporate accountability, and prioritizing those systematically most impacted by our current climate crisis. 
Climate change is not just an environmental issue; we must look at solutions through an equity lens. 
Ways to help create a greener Evanston:
  • Support Evanston’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP) which calls for zero carbon/zero waste by 2050
  • Prioritize the expansion of green initiatives through corporate tax
  • Create Alternate Retail Electric Supplier (ARES), a publicly owned energy utility 
  • Create high paying jobs that would result in a mass expansion of renewable energy (e.g., solar installation)
  • Ensure all existing city buildings meet high-performance renewable standards
  • Provide incentives for green community practices
  • Prioritize residential weatherization grants and training for low-income and minority families
Fair Share Northwestern Partnership
Evanston and Northwestern University have a historical and symbolic relationship. Evanston is proud to have the prestige of Northwestern; it's one of the best private higher Ed. institutions in the country, it's also one of the richest.  Northwestern has  an 14.4 billion dollar endowment, along with an operating budget of over 138 million dollars.
Nationally, college towns are looking to universities to step into financial positions to become fair share partners. But what does fair share does this look like?
This idea will builds on the previous efforts to ensure NU a fair share partner, and expand the number of similar legislation that exist across the country. 
Fair Share Quick Facts:
Northwestern Stance on Fair Share
In 2000, a referendum was passed that 83.5 percent of Evanston residents supported the City Council's advisory requesting Northwestern pay its "fair share of the cost of municipal services the city provides such as fire protection and response services."
Tax Exempt Universities and Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT)

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