Mayor Smith’s first year


Daily Chronicle offered a recap today of DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith’s first year as mayor. It’s refreshing to find myself in agreement with much of the assessment of the current situation, though I still have serious concerns.

“I think most citizens are pretty much aligned with what we as a council are trying to do by being the most efficient and frugal government we can,” Smith said. “I hope that nobody looks at my first year and thinks we aren’t responsive.”

In my opinion, we have the most responsive and inclusive city council this town has seen in years.

“I realize there’s still a sector of the community that doesn’t trust what goes on with the City Council, and in some cases that’s fairly and rightfully so,” [First Ward Alderman David] Jacobson said. “But based on the last few years, I believe this group we have now, including Jerry, not only care about the community but are willing to work collaboratively and focus on the issues to make some really positive headway.”

Yep. Overall, that’s how I see it, too.

That was put to the test when the city unexpectedly condemned Lord Stanley’s Bar and Annex, 142 E. Lincoln Highway, and Common Grounds, 150 E. Lincoln Highway, because of structural concerns in April.

Smith took responsibility for the actions that were taken and admitted that the situation was handled “very, very poorly.”

Here’s where they lose me.

It wasn’t just handled poorly, but wrongfully. Staff actually didn’t follow the procedures established in the Municipal Code. It was an abuse of power, a serious matter when you’re talking about the ability to create instant homelessness and threaten people’s livelihoods.

Such a betrayal of the public trust demands consequences. As of yet I haven’t seen any.

But let’s end this post on a positive note. The city’s closure of Common Grounds (which, by the way, earned a score of 100% from the county during its last food sanitation inspection) forced the coffee shop’s premature move to new digs, but with help from friends and fans, they hope to re-open in a couple of weeks. Please visit their Facebook page to volunteer manual labor or make a donation.