To the editors:
Gary Rivlin’s otherwise commendable piece on the selection of Eugene Sawyer as mayor [“Seven Wretched Days,” December 25] contains one glaring and unfortunate error:
He replays the chatter of a gossip columnist and various opponents of Alderman Timothy Evans, alleging that Evans supported Jane Byrne over Harold Washington in the 1983 primary election.
This is false. Evans publicly supported Washington in that primary–shortly after Sawyer did, but relatively early in the campaign. I was a constituent of Evans’s at the time and watched him very closely.
What may have caused some confusion on the issue was that I also questioned why certain of Evans’s precinct captains were working for Byrne despite the fact that their committeeman had made an open declaration for Washington.
The obvious answer was that Evans could not control certain of them whose jobs were on the line.
Tim Evans came late to reform politics. I spent many years criticizing him in print, both in my own publication and in the Reader. Perhaps I had some effect, for he did ultimately convert.
But let’s not continue to bum-rap him unfairly in this matter; he was on the record for Washington long before the 1983 primary election.
Gary Rivlin replies: