Public officials’ ill-advised campaign contributions

We’ve talked about ethics issues and Bill Nicklas before, in the context of his outside employment, which — shamefully — the city council has so far failed to address. Now we see Mr. Nicklas, DeKalb city manager since the beginning of 2019, has been making political contributions to Illinois Representative Jeff Keicher. (“Report Received Date”…

A case for redistricting DeKalb from scratch

DeKalb’s recipe for seven wards and seven aldermen is not written in stone, and it hasn’t always looked like this. For example, the city used to have at-large aldermen. We can change it again if we assemble the political will. My aim here is to provoke thoughts about alternatives as DeKalb discusses redistricting work post-Census.…

DeKalb Township, that ship has sailed

DeKalb Township has begun posting its meetings on YouTube. In this video from Wednesday night, the township spends the first 20 minutes of its monthly meeting trying to put new township clerk Andrew Tillotson in his place for exercising his First Amendment rights. Trustees express concern about how the new township clerk’s public comments might…

Who gets my vote for mayor and why

Mayor Jerry Smith stood by while other city officials threatened, without cause, the imminent eviction of residents from their homes above Lord Stanley’s. Mayor Jerry Smith stood by as his city manager heaped insults and threats upon me and defamed me during council meetings. Mayor Jerry Smith has just endorsed Cohen Barnes for mayor. How…

Rockford aldermen promising to control themselves if voters give back home rule

***Update 3/21/2018: Home rule was rejected by nearly 54% of Rockford voters.*** Let’s start by reviewing what almost happened here a couple months ago. The city manager in DeKalb decided she wanted to raise the sales tax, claiming complete inability to balance a budget without it. Having the highest sales tax around is not the…

What we need in DeKalb is a new political party

Last year I looked into the type of municipal elections we have here in City of DeKalb, and learned that we technically have partisan elections, though we do not actually exercise the right to have parties and primaries. The idea’s been stuck in the back of my mind ever since. Now I’ve written about it,…

Contributions to Mayor Rey’s Campaign

A few weeks ago I argued that City of DeKalb will continue to fail at solving its problems until we elect leaders who understand and value public ethics. The apparent intertwining of city business with Mayor Rey’s campaign business reinforces my position. January 9: DeKalb city council approves the hiring of a consultant to help…

Cindy and Ed Must Be Part of Voters’ Conversations about County Tax Referendum

***Note: This was originally published in June 2016. I am posting an updated version today, since the referendum ended up on the April 4, 2017 ballot instead of last November’s.*** The DeKalb County Health Department is trying to persuade our county board to place a referendum on the November election ballot to begin levying a…