The 4th Ward has gone for so long without honest, effective representation that it took me awhile to recognize — trust? — the change; but it’s becoming apparent now we have a winner in Brendon Gallagher. He does his homework, is loyal to his Ward, obviously learns something every meeting, and shows little sign of getting sucked into the ethically-challenged culture at city hall. Last night Gallagher showed true leadership in the discussion and vote on the question of rescinding the Target tax abatement agreement. He deserves our support. He has mine. Two thumbs up.
Highlights and lowlights after the jump.
Council meeting highlights:
–Mac McIntyre, who always represents us regular joes well, hit it out of the park last night. (Thanks Mac.) Link here. (Thanks Mark.)
–The rally and march drew about a dozen people to the corner of First and Lincoln, and a few more joined us outside the Muni Building and in the meetings. You may think 16 people don’t sound like much of a crowd, but remember: for a long time, McIntyre was the Lone Ranger. The group willing to come out for their principles is growing. I was delighted to meet a couple more bloggers in person, and to receive quiet support from an unexpected source. The Northern Star did a good job covering it, too. WREX-TV was out and recorded most of the meetings but I don’t know if they broadcast anything because Council didn’t adjourn until about 10:20 or so.
Council Meeting Lowlights:
–Alderman Simpson calling DeKalb “the promised land of good government.” Can there BE anyone more out of touch?
–Alderman Simpson failing to give a ward report during ward reports, instead choosing once again to lecture the citizen commenters on their comments at a time they have no opportunity to respond. This strikes me as inappropriate, somewhat cowardly and definitely blow-hardy.
–Alderman Simpson telling me I had no right to “question the veracity” of a former city employee because he’s no longer a part of city government. First of all, I didn’t question anybody’s veracity. I called out Paul Rasmussen because he did not disclose his interests in the downtown revitalization. He used to be Econ Dev Director and the downtown plan is at least partly his baby. He is also a member of the blogger-quashing Community Enhancement Commission, which, last I checked, is part of city government.
Mr. Simpson can bite me.
–Alderman Naylor saying that “it’s legal” for him to talk about pensions and post-employment health care even though he is a former employee and benefits from these things. Um, no, it isn’t. From Chapter 2.12 of the DeKalb Municipal Code (p. 2-6):
If a member has a direct financial interest, or is interested in a matter before the Council, the member shall not speak or address the Council or any other City body on that matter. He shall advise the Council that he has a direct financial interest in the matter prior to any other Council discussion or action on the matter.
I can understand an alderman not knowing about the “water only” rule at meetings, but not this. This is important. These failures reflect badly on Naylor and on the city’s legal counsel.
–The overall level of disrespect of the pro-revitalization crowd toward the people paying for revitalization was stunning. Most of the speakers pretended that only the downtown merchants are stakeholders, as if the rest of us don’t even exist. A couple of them were derisive. My personal fave was, “The public has no vision.”