A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Proclamation


Among the presentations at Monday’s council meeting was a certificate of appreciation given to DeKalb’s team members in the America in Bloom beauty contest a couple weeks ago (see p. 5).

  • City of DeKalb Staff
  • Members of the Environmental Commission
  • Citizens’ Community Enhancement Commission
  • DeKalb Park District Staff
  • NIU Staff
  • DeKalb Public Library Staff
  • Ellwood House Staff
  • Master Gardeners
  • Proven Winners
  • With the exception of the Master Gardeners, the list represents a love-in between bureaucrats plus a business that has managed to get the city to advertise its brand and to make residents pay for that advertising.

    Yes, if the name Proven Winners sounds familiar, it’s because it’s plastered on those boxy plastic planters on the street corners. Last year, the company got City of DeKalb (via our old pal, the Community Enhancement Commission) and NIU to each kick in $10,000 for what were supposed to be reusable planters. Inclusion of the company’s name on them was justified by their having given us a discount. This year the city has so far paid more than $11,000 to Proven Winners and I suppose that’s because PW’s PR guy was getting us ready for the America in Bloom competition. That guy is Marshall Dirks. Dirks has served on the Community Enhancement Commission and they must still like him a lot. Nice gig, dude.

    But besides bringing you your daily whiff of ethical dubiousness in local government, I also want to point out that there’s an organization missing from the list, and that’s the DeKalb County Community Gardens.

    The omission was pointed out before the meeting and rectified, and I do not believe it was intentional. Still, I think it speaks volumes about how little the private club cares for anyone other than their own, especially as contrasted with Member Dirks’ success.

    I will definitely be writing more about DCCG, but in its own lovely post.