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The Field of Broken Dreams | Episode 5: The Money

Note: This podcast is designed to be heard. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio if you are able, which includes emotion and emphasis that’s not on the page.

Mack Jones The St. Louis Rams played against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football on Dec. 17, 2015, in their last game. 

They were on national television, keeping with the nationally televised battle over a stadium that escalated into more heartbreak than watching the Rams miss the playoffs for the eleventh consecutive season.

The franchise wasn’t ending, but it might as well have been dead to fans after owner Stan Kroenke returned the team to Los Angeles. The endless fights between Kroenke and the City of St. Louis left fans out of the discussion despite both parties being equally invested in the team. To the fans, it was more than just a business.  

The then-called Edward Jones Dome rang out with 50,000 fans making one last effort to keep the Rams in St. Louis. The crowd wasn’t at capacity, but with how much noise fans made, it might as well have been. They weren’t just cheering for the Rams; they were cheering against Kroenke. 

Rams fans Keep the Rams! Keep the Rams! Keep the Rams!

Mack Jones It’s hard to blame them. St. Louis had gone seven years without professional football when the Rams moved from LA in 1995. The now-Arizona Cardinals ditched the city for similar reasons the Rams eventually would. That departure stung, but at least St. Louis had the Rams. 

When the team moved to Missouri, then-owner Georgia Frontiere wanted a world-class stadium and constructed a $280 million field called the Trans World Dome, which eventually became the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams entered a 30-year lease with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission for the stadium. 

There was a clause in the contract with the condition that if the stadium was not among the top eight NFL stadiums by 2015, the Rams could renovate the existing stadium, build a new one or leave the city. 

This is Neil deMause, co-author of the Field of Schemes book about how sports teams get their way with stadiums.

Neil deMause I talked to somebody who was actually on the negotiating team. He told me that he kept coming back to his boss and saying, ‘Are you sure we should ask for all these things? We’re asking for an awful lot.’ And his boss was like, ‘You know what? The worst they can do is say no.’

Mack Jones The city did not say no. In fact, they agreed to most things Frontiere and the Rams were trying to do, but the one clause about the stadium’s condition had the most impact because of the NFL’s fast-paced growth. 19 new NFL stadiums opened between 1995 and 2015, rendering the Rams’ dome obsolete. 

Kroenke purchased the team in 2010 and first hinted at moving the franchise in 2012. He brought up the clause, so the Convention and Visitors Commission offered a renovation, and then the team made a counteroffer. Kroenke wanted a $700 million renovation – more than the stadium cost initially, even adjusted for inflation. The city balked at the high price, especially since much of it would be public money. 

Neil deMause The City of St. Louis, you know, just didn’t realize what they’re getting themselves into.

Mack Jones The team suffered through bad seasons and low attendance, and that only furthered Kroenke’s push to move back to LA. The fans never stopped caring. They just didn’t want to go to a bad stadium to watch an even worse team. 

The Rams won the last game in St. Louis, 31-23, but many fans hardly noticed the score. They were desperately protesting the move with signs and chants, to no avail. All they wanted for Christmas was a new owner. 

An era of frustration ended with the color-rush jerseys of the Rams and Bucs clashing almost as much as the franchise and the city. Some members of the “Greatest Show on Turf” were honored at halftime, but to many, it was an empty gesture. 

Once the game was over, Kroenke and the Rams filed the relocation paperwork, paid the franchise relocation fee of $550 million to the NFL and went to build a stadium in Inglewood. NFL owners approved the move on Jan. 12, 2016, in a 30-2 vote. 

The same day the news came out that the Rams were officially moving, St. Louis Blues fans jeered Kroenke at a game against New Jersey. 

Blues fans Kroenke sucks! Kroenke sucks! Kroenke sucks!

Mack Jones I’m Mack Jones, and this is The Field of Broken Dreams.

(Music)

Mack Jones Realistically, Northwestern football would be lucky to get on national television. Most Wildcat games start in the 11 a.m. kickoff slot since NU’s never that good. Ryan Field only seats 47,000, but the current ‘Cats would be lucky to come close to filling that. 

The stadium is on its last legs. Concessions and seating are terrible, and the building is considered by many to be an eyesore. It frustrates fans of the stadium, residents around it and many people at Northwestern, so it wasn’t shocking when the university announced a renovation. 

It’s more of a rebuild than a renovation, though. The current structure is being torn down and replaced with a modernized stadium and some of the best amenities in college football. Northwestern says the new stadium will bring massive economic benefits to the city, but exactly how much has been a point of contention. 

A point in Northwestern’s favor is that the university doesn’t plan to use public money to build Ryan Field. But there is a danger that Evanston increases the intensity of the conflict by giving NU too little or too much of what they want, and deMause knows that firsthand.

Neil deMause That’s kind of the in a nutshell, you know, how things usually go, and I have cast myself the responsibility of trying to shed light on this stuff.

Mack Jones deMause has worked on stories similar to Northwestern’s since he and Joanna Cagan wrote an article about stadiums for the Yankees and Browns in 1995. They released the Field of Schemes book in 1998, with an updated edition in 2008. 

Neil deMause It starts with a, you know, some sort of Team wanting, you know, team owner wanting a new home. Usually, because they figured, you know, a new one will make them more money, especially if they don’t have to pay all the costs of it.

Mack Jones Many teams will cover the stadium’s cost with public funding while privatizing much of the profit. Lucia Dunn, a Sports and Society Research Professor of Economics at The Ohio State University, has seen more than her fair share of that.

Lucia Dunn I think the Buckeyes could get away with anything they wanted to do. If they wanted to take over 100 more acres from the city on the side or the other side of the stadium, they would get it.

Mack Jones According to Dunn, the city is so focused on the Buckeyes that they kept out MLB and NFL teams that wanted to move to Columbus. There is a soccer team, the Columbus Crew, and a hockey team, the Blue Jackets, but getting the NHL into Ohio’s capital was a massive battle.

Lucia Dunn There’s always a fuss raised when you want to build a new stadium, and the stadium, people almost always win out. When it’s public money, they do a lot of lobbying. And the other people don’t have the kind of, you know, funds to lobby like these sports.

Mack Jones The Blue Jackets wanted to build a new stadium when they formed in 2000, and the building cost of Nationwide Arena was cheap compared to modern standards; it was only around $314 million in today’s dollars. But Columbus had a public referendum, and residents voted down building the arena. 

Lucia Dunn A couple of big supporters and investors came forward and cut a deal with the city that the city would give them this kind of easement, and, you know, free, and, you know, essentially gave them the property it was going to be put on it this that the law, they would let it go through. 

So they got the stadium, and a lot of public money went into it, but through these back-door deals that they made with the promoters who were gonna own the sports team. At that point, we were going to be the only major city in the country that voted down one of these things, but they got around it anyway.

Mack Jones Northwestern is not using public money. They’re committed to using private funds and can do so because of the Ryan family’s massive $480 million donation. Therefore, there is no public referendum to see if they can build the stadium. 

The vote is up to the Evanston City Council, and as Dunn puts it…

Lucia Dunn The money always talks.

Mack Jones It can’t speak for itself, though. That’s why Northwestern commissioned an economic impact study through Tripp Umbach. The study is a comprehensive look at the stadium’s impact on Evanston as is currently and what it could be if the University’s plans come to fruition. 

Some things that went into the 20-page report include capital expenditures, employment figures and certain tax information. Tripp Umbach says the study is intentionally conservative with its estimates, but the numbers they came up with are still huge. 

Key findings include claims that Ryan Field will generate $1.3 billion in economic impact in Cook and Lake counties, that the total economic impact on the City of Evanston will grow from $50.4 million in 2021 to $65 million by 2031 and that the addition of special events held at Ryan Field will contribute another $35 million in new annual economic impact to the City of Evanston, raising the 2031 total to around $100 million added every year.

The methodology seems sound. Here’s Evanston’s Economic Development Manager, Paul Zalmezak.

Paul Zalmezak On the surface, it looks like a standard economic index study, they use a program called IMPLAN, which is, you know, it’s a it’s a multiplier analysis tool, where you plug in numbers, plugins, zip codes, and it pulls up a series of data points from which you, you, you project economic impact.

Mack Jones Even if the procedure is accurate, there is still reason to doubt some of the report’s findings. Most economists say that numbers in similar studies are inflated through multipliers and other means, contradicting what Tripp Umbach said about conservative estimates. 

Allen Sanderson I teach more students than anybody, university at anytime, in its history, do a lot of research on the economics of sports.

Mack Jones This is Allen Sanderson, a Senior Instructional Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. When we talked in February, I was in school and he was at school, and the audio quality isn’t very good. 

But Sanderson was instrumental in working with the City of Boston to determine that it would not be financially viable for them to host the 2024 Olympics.

Allen Sanderson In most cases, the economic impacts, I think, are a lot smaller than the event promoters would suggest. I generally say take whatever number the promoter sponsors give you and move the decimal point one to the left, and you’re probably pretty close.

Mack Jones That sentiment is echoed by many in the Evanston community and the City Council. For example, Seventh Ward Alderperson Eleanor Revelle, whose ward includes Ryan Field, pushed the city to do an economic impact report.

Eleanor Revelle It projects, just millions and billions of dollars of wonderful new things for the city. And I just don’t believe those numbers. So once I see, you know, just what, what, what is going to be the economic impact for the city and for the community is, is it so amazing that it outweighs my concerns for my residents? Or is it not?

Mack Jones The council tasked Zalmezak with finding a firm to conduct a study, and they approved a contract award to C.H. Johnson Consulting on May 8. 

Paul Zalmezak If the university is going to have a series of concerts of events into the football, the City Council wants to understand what kind of economic impact that will have for the city in order to understand if that’s worth the trade-off of all the noise and traffic generated by those events.

Mack Jones The city released its report on Sept. 15 after a little less than half a year of work by Johnson Consulting.

The report claimed that the historical economic impact of Ryan Field was around $47.2 million, but with three or six concerts, that number would have increased to $66.7 million and $77.8 million respectively.

The three-scaled discrepancy with concerts between Northwestern’s report and the city’s likely came from the number of events. As Johnson Consulting worked on the report, the number of concerts Northwestern requested decreased substantially. Adjusted for that, the numbers are similar, although the Tripp Umbach report still has a higher increase in economic impact from for-profit events.

Both studies, while differing on the minutia, agree the stadium will positively impact the city economically, specifically local businesses. Dunn and deMause disagree with that conclusion. 

Lucia Dunn It’s highly dependent on what type of an industry or business retail business you’re talking about.

Neil deMause I kind of get back talking to a guy who ran a restaurant in St. Louis, near the Rams’ Stadium. Like, ‘What will it mean to you when the Rams leave?’ He was like, ‘I don’t care. I actually close on game day. Because it’s like this firehose of people coming past, and I can’t, you know, seat that many people for a meal all at once, right? So I’m not going to make that much money on it.’ It has some upsides, but there are downsides as well.

Mack Jones Even if some businesses around the area need to close because they can’t handle the increased crowds, others around Evanston benefit massively from having Northwestern in such proximity. Core & Rind Hospitality is one of those businesses. 

There’s Taco Diablo, a Mexican restaurant; Five & Dime, a rooftop bar and patio; the Blue Horse Tavern, a classic American kitchen; and LuLu’s, a virtual restaurant using the same space as the other three.

Daniel Kelch owns the four restaurants, all operating under one roof two miles south of Ryan Field near downtown Evanston. 

Daniel Kelch When we first opened here 31 years ago, the reason we were running a restaurant in the city, reason we came to Evanston, was because of Northwestern. Over the years, we’ve reinvested and expanded multiple times. And all of that is based on the fact that Northwestern is here, each and every one of those expanded investments.

Mack Jones People have expressed concern over how far-reaching the economic effects of Ryan Field are, but Kelch is certain any benefit will at least make it to his area of Evanston. Core & Rind’s busiest days connect to a Northwestern event like homecoming or move-in week. 

Daniel Kelch Football games are our biggest. If they’re going to be doing things that are going to bring 1000s of people to central street, those people because they run shuttles back and forth, you know, people talking and complained about that. But you know, they’re very good about letting shuttles and those shuttles are dropping people off and literally, across the street from us, picking them up and dropping them off. So we we benefit from that in a major, major way.

Mack Jones Visiting schools come to play Northwestern and take over not only the stadium but the city, too. Cheer squads, mascots and fans go to Kelch’s restaurants on gamedays and increase the profits by a substantial margin. When Wisconsin comes to play, Taco Diablo, Five & Dime and the Blue Horse Tavern all fill with red and white jerseys.

Daniel Kelch All those people, they’ll sell out the whole upstairs up here. It’s hundreds of people. And that’s huge. Graduation weekend, it’s not just those few days. I mean, it’s literally two weeks leading into graduation are the two busiest weeks we have here. Flat out, outright, without exception. Always. I’ve seen people question, and I was just thinking, well, they obviously don’t run a business. They don’t know what they’re talking about.

Mack Jones Kelch is well-prepared to reap the benefits of college football gamedays. However, Core & Rind can’t take advantage of every opportunity Northwestern presents. Concessions are an issue at the current Ryan Field, and there has been discussion about implementing local businesses into the stadium to improve them. 

Daniel Kelch They’ve approached us about, you know, would you like to vent over there? It makes sense that they would do that it’s just not something that I’ve necessarily wanted to do because that’s an off-site catering thing that we’re not necessarily well-equipped to handle. So it’s not something I’ve necessarily pursued doing, but if I wanted to, I’m sure I can make the phone call and have that conversation. They have always been very responsive to putting in local businesses, that concessions over there.

Mack Jones Many Evanston businesses share the connection between Kelch and Northwestern. 

Daniel Kelch I know an awful lot of business. I’ve yet to encounter someone that is not supportive of it, highly supportive.

Mack Jones Everything Kelch is saying backs up Northwestern’s economic impact study. The Tripp Umbach report often references tax revenue generated from the stadium, which is ironic since Northwestern, as a non-profit, doesn’t pay property taxes. The survey references other taxes that benefit Evanston, but it’s still unfortunate. 

And Northwestern only kind of pays a payment in lieu of taxes or PILOT. There seems to be confusion between Eighth Ward Alderman Devon Reid and Alderperson Revelle.

Devon Reid Northwestern pays about a million dollars a year to the Good Neighbor fund. And so, you know, for folks saying that Northwestern isn’t paying their fair share in property taxes. Sure, but they just about are by giving the million dollars a year in the Good Neighbor fund.

Eleanor Revelle They don’t pay PILOT. No, they absolutely do not pay that.

Mack Jones The confusion surrounds the Good Neighbor Fund, an agreement between former Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. Under that agreement, the university donated $1 million annually to the City of Evanston’s “Good Neighbor Fund” for five years, starting in 2015. Proceeds could go to capital improvements for the city, support for existing city services and more. 

Some believe this was a fair substitute for property taxes, while others, such as Sixth Ward Alderman Tom Suffredin, believe Northwestern should still pay a more traditional PILOT. 

Tom Suffredin Your private universities located in various cities across the country, those institutions make a payment in lieu of taxes. And we can’t impose that on them. They have to agree to it. And, you know, I think this is a time to come to the table and discuss that. If they want to be a hard no on that that’s fine. But I think it’s in their best interests to entertain that discussion.

Mack Jones It’s a balancing act for Northwestern. As much as the university can do to benefit Evanston and its businesses, it also needs to keep its interests at heart. With the renovation, it’s possible to strike that balance since the stadium benefits Northwestern and places like Edzo’s Burger Shop, owned by Eddie Lakin. 

Eddie Lakin We get a lot of the out-of-town football fans, so they stay downtown in the hotels, and they come and eat or depending on when the game is. So that really helps make us busier on those game days.

Mack Jones Lakin has experienced a similar phenomenon to Kelch when the opposing team’s fans come into the city and turn the colors away from the purple of Northwestern. It may frustrate Wildcat fans that their rival fans have that much impact, but it helps businesses like Edzo’s stay open.

Eddie Lakin I would say we’re at least 50% busier on a gameday Saturday than we are on a regular Saturday.

Mack Jones Lakin has been a Northwestern fan since he was a kid and understands the team’s value to the city as much as anyone.

Eddie Lakin My dad went to Northwestern. And he used to take us to the games. And that was back when they had the infamous. Like, I think it was five or six seasons in a row where they didn’t win a game. They were like the infamous like worst football team in one football for a long time. And they were fun games. And you know, I always loved the kind of the traditional, like big 10 football fall day kind of atmosphere.

Mack Jones In some ways, the numbers from the economic impact reports don’t need to speak when so many business owners will vouch for the impact on gameday. And there is the potential that gamedays will no longer be the only days with that impact.

Eddie Lakin The added bonus for me is all the concerts. There’s going to do a bunch of concerts there. And that’ll definitely bring more activity to Evanston overall. Central street will get a lot of the business. We’ll definitely feel it too.

Mack Jones If Northwestern does decide to involve local businesses in concessions, there are plenty of options. There could be a Mustard’s Last Stand satellite location, an Edzo’s stand or a Taco Diablo vendor.

Eddie Lakin It all depends on how they set it up. A lot of times the stadium concessions, they just build a blank kitchen canvas. And then they can plug in different concepts as you know, things become popular or as the need arises or whatever. 

So I imagine they could do like a rotating cast of restaurants or maybe they could have a permanent a bunch of permanent ones and then maybe a couple like you know, local representation pop-ups, you know, where people, local ones get to sell them for, you know, a couple games. But we would definitely be interested if they asked us.

Mack Jones The United Center has a similar model to Lakin’s idea and has community staples as concessions. It works well in a city with as much culinary history as Chicago, and Evanston has plenty of options, too. Overall, the Rebuild Ryan Field project only brings advantages to Lakin.

Eddie Lakin I’m generally not a big fan of public financing of this kind of stadium project. So if they were going to use like, taxpayer dollars to fund it, or something, I would, it would kind of maybe rub you the wrong way, but I don’t think the City of Evanston is, is putting anything towards it. So I can’t even see why there would be any hesitation.

Mack Jones Lakin can’t see any hesitation, and, according to deMause, it might not matter even if there is.

Neil deMause It’s just a matter of negotiating the terms. And unfortunately, you know, the typically, teams have better lawyers than, you know, whoever, whatever city lawyers happen to be on the case. Lawyers who know the ins and outs of the sports business better. The reason why the Rams were able to get out of that lease in St. Louis, and moved back to LA, is because they had people on their side negotiating the deal.

Mack Jones There is so much money invested in stadiums that those involved are willing to fight tooth and nail to be positive it happens. 

Estimates vary on the chances of Northwestern’s success. Some at Northwestern predict 80:20 odds in their favor, while Revelle and some on the City Council see those numbers differently.

Eleanor Revelle I’d say it’s more 50:50.

Mack Jones Things can change quickly as new information comes out about the history of the stadium and Northwestern’s plans for the future. Zalmezak had the task of finding the consulting firm for the city’s economic impact report and had to deal with the changing demands of the council, so he is very well aware of that.

Paul Zalmezak It’s important that we try to remain open-minded. Democracy is messy, right? Let’s find a middle ground, a compromise that works for all parties involved because a brand new 800 million to a billion dollar construction project is going to have a positive economic impact on the community. 

Let’s figure out a way that we can bring that project forward, but mitigate all of the concerns. Let’s figure out a plan that works for everybody. Let’s not always assume that you know that the university is intending harm or is bad in some way. Let’s figure out a way to work together.

Mack Jones Northwestern and the city are often against each other, but the university is still Evanston’s biggest employer. They’re still a massive economic boost, even if they don’t pay property taxes. There is a way to work together and have a harmonious town-and-gown relationship, with a place for the financers and promoters of the stadium to fit in as well, even if Dunn, Sanderson and other economists think of them as only in it for themselves.

Lucia Dunn It’s a redistribution of public money from poor people for your richer people. It’s a shift of money to billionaire sports team owners and millionaire professional athletes.

Allen Sanderson Well, one would tend to think that, and again, I don’t know, dollar figures, probably lucrative, otherwise promoters wouldn’t do it.

Mack Jones The rich will get richer with Ryan Field. They will likely be the ones to benefit the most monetarily. But the community benefits even more. No business or restaurant illustrates that better than Mustard’s Last Stand. 

Mustard’s is a hot dog place right next to Ryan Field, and it moves outdoors on gamedays to the west parking lot to serve freshly made food at an old-fashioned hot dog stand. People flock to manager Samuel Licea’s high-quality food, as it’s far better than most nourishment available at tailgates. 

Samuel Licea Mustard’s was started in 1969 by Jerry and a couple other partners, and then originally, it’s supposed to be a pizza place and then transferred up. I guess the hot dog business went so well that it just stayed as a hot dog place. 

I came in 2007. I came in just with the mentality of a quick little job that I can make some money with. And I came around here and I think I just like, the place and like the people that I work with, like the ownership, and I actually made a career out of it.

Mack Jones Mustard’s is a fast food restaurant, but it’s nothing like larger chains such as McDonald’s or Burger King. The prices are comparable, but the atmosphere is much more familial. 

Samuel Licea There’s a lot of students that are like not from the United States that are at Northwestern and then they get to come to Mustard’s. When their families are here, they bring them here so we get people from all over.

Mack Jones Northwestern has had a huge impact on Mustard’s, similar to Lakin and Kelch, but with Ryan Field neighboring the stand, the difference on gameday is even bigger.

Samuel Licea I think they’re pretty big because on some of the slower times of the year when we’re trying to maintain, I think by having them right next door, and it just gives us that a little extra edge. Anything to do with any of the sporting events that draw a group of people from out of town or anything like that. We always get that.

Mack Jones Ryan Field is essential to Mustard’s Last Stand, and Mustard’s Last Stand is essential to the community.

Samuel Licea We have all kinds of stories from people having a bad day. For example, when people have some family member that is really sick, just by giving them some kind words that maybe like, a little bit more on their face, or like the sending out shake to their loved one or something. You start building a connection.

Mack Jones The new stadium will be valuable to Mustard’s in numerous ways. Gamedays are already big, but the potential addition of other events can make the restaurant even more successful. The closest place to grab lunch during construction is Mustard’s. That’ll be another benefit. And even though the stadium will be important for the stand, Licea remains open-minded and understanding as to why some people are against it. 

Samuel Licea I know some neighbors that are opposed to it because they have more details than I do. They get affected more directly because they live here. They are gonna lose some of their parking, and they know how many concerts they’re planning on doing. 

I don’t have the exact information and stuff like that. Like I said, I’m not an Evanston resident, and I’m in Skokie. So in terms of like, being around the area, I don’t get affected by it. I think there’s a benefit to the business itself, but in terms of the neighborhood, I don’t know. much info on how they will be affected. There’s some against it and all that.

Mack Jones Many people on either side of the discussion around Ryan Field don’t share Licea’s understanding mindset. There’s frustration and disagreements, and people aren’t listening to each other. 

***

Mack Jones In the wake of the Rams’ departure from St. Louis, the city sued the team and the NFL in a lawsuit that sought over $1 billion in lost revenue to St. Louis. The suit claimed Kroenke and the Rams never intended to stay in the city and used all the drama to fuel the exit and that the NFL ignored its own relocation guidelines to allow the move. 

City officials – still incensed by Kroenke’s 29-page relocation application that trashed all of St. Louis – refused to back down. It took four and a half years to reach a settlement of $790 million, a few months before the scheduled trial. 

The NFL forced Kroenke to pay around three-fourths of the cost, with the rest coming from the other 31 teams. The NFL and Kroenke still deny any wrongdoing despite agreeing to the settlement. 

St Louis, meanwhile, has opened the conversation to the public on how to spend the money with a survey. The options are limitless with the amount of money paid to the city, and residents can’t agree on what to do with it. But however St. Louis divides it, the money’ll go a long way.

At least, instead of millionaires and billionaires deciding what to do, the public’s voices could be heard. That’s next time on the Field of Broken Dreams.

(Music)

Mack Jones The Field of Broken Dreams is a podcast from The Evanstonian, the student newspaper at Evanston Township High School. It’s advised by John Phillips with executive editors Jilian Denlow, Clara Gustafson and Sophia Sherman. The Field of Broken Dreams is reported and produced by me, Mack Jones, with help from Isaac Suarez Flint. Our theme music is by Sam Persell. 

The final mix of this episode was done by me. 

We have five more episodes coming. You’ll be able to find them all on our website, evanstonian.net, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can find more stories about Northwestern and other events pertaining to Evanston there, too. Again, it’s evanstonian.net. 

Special thanks to everyone interviewed, FOX 2 Now and Brian King.

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Mack Jones
Mack Jones, Opinion Editor, Digital Content Editor
Hi! My name is Mack Jones, and I’m the Opinion and Co-Digital Editor on The Evanstonian. This is my second year on staff; last year, I was a staff writer, primarily for News. Outside of the paper, I play tennis, guitar and piano and referee for AYSO.
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