DeKalb aldermen can’t get items placed on their own city council agendas

Sixth Ward Alderman Mike Verbic has attempted to get items included on DeKalb city council agendas for nearly a year, but the city manager has yet to comply. Emails from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show that Alderman Mike Verbic began requesting items be placed on city council agendas in March 2023, and…

5 issues ignored so far in City of DeKalb’s budget plans

Need for a finance director. DeKalb’s finance director left this year and it looks like there’s no plan to replace her. That’s too bad. Besides the risk of returning to subpar audits, a qualified finance director could fill in for the city manager if needed, which is particularly important since the assistant city manager’s position…

“A way to harass poor people”

I’ve been talking to people familiar with DeKalb’s administrative hearing system to try to understand the point of it all. (One of the responses became the title for this piece.) At heart it’s theater, but hardly entertaining. What’s collected probably doesn’t cover the costs of putting on the show, and the performance contains the threat…

DeKalb’s plans for a new fire station don’t make sense

Management staff at City of DeKalb are proposing to build a fourth fire station on South Malta Road, next to the property housing Schnucks. Here are three reasons to question the plan. Let’s expand on that last thought because it’s extra bizarre. The area of greatest demand is the northwest quadrant, but management doesn’t want…

Put Mayor Barnes’ financial interests front and center in the eminent domain discussions

Mayor Cohen Barnes owns two parcels of property in downtown DeKalb as Bandits Castle, LLC. One of them should occupy the center of attention as the city council contemplates authorizing the condemnation and acquisition of the building owned by D-N-J Properties at 128-140 South Second Street via eminent domain proceedings. During Monday evening’s council meeting,…

DeKalb’s crime-free housing program was a mess when they passed new rules in the fall

This is a follow-up to last week’s post, “DeKalb’s not following its own rules for training landlords.” I’ve received feedback since posting it that the training has been hit-or-miss for several years. Also it turns out the landlord education fails are the tip of the iceberg. When new Crime Free Housing Bureau director Bob Redel…

DeKalb’s not following its own rules for training landlords

DeKalb landlords, property managers, and other registered contact persons for rental properties are required to take an initial landlord education course provided by the city, with annual refresher training after that. But according to a response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted earlier this month: [P]rior to the appointment of the current Crime…

Three reasons District 428 should abandon plans to dodge a referendum by buying NIU’s School of Nursing

District 428 needs a new elementary school, and has decided on a so-called “rent to own” deal for NIU’s School of Nursing to get it. This is based on a reading of state law that says a school district can do renovations on a building without a referendum if leasing it. Here are three reasons…

DeKalb’s commuter rail roadmap, ignored

City of DeKalb is spending $98,000 on a study of the feasibility of bringing commuter rail service to our city. But the information is already available. DeKalb County examined feasibility at the end of 2015. Led by then-county board chair Mark Pietrowski, an informal meeting of the Metra Rail Exploratory Committee included representatives from DeKalb,…

Scott McAdams showed us who he is three years ago

Truly, a thousand words here. If Scott McAdams’ recent behavior shocks you, it might be you’re unaware of the extent of a run-in the alderman had with a towing company three years ago that resulted in a police investigation into possible official misconduct. Here’s the setup: DeKalb Police (DPD) receive a courtesy call from the…