Public Library Accused of Promoting Tax Referendum

From the Buffalo Grove Patch publication:

[Activist and Buffalo Grove resident Rob] Sherman alleges that the [Indian Trails Public Library] illegally used tax revenue to promote the referendum. Voters on Tuesday will decide whether the library’s improvement plans warrant an increase in the district’s tax levy.

Governing bodies such as library and school districts can disseminate factual information about elections, but are prohibited from telling voters how to cast their ballots.

Library officials say that a successful referendum would not have a financial impact on taxpayers, as the increased levy would be adopted as bond debt is retired. Sherman said that the library’s recent mailing, which uses green text that proclaims “GROW YOUR LIBRARY … Not Your Tax Bill,” goes beyond providing the facts.

I’ve heard questionable statements made by units of government locally in these cases. For example, one or two City of DeKalb aldermen goofed when they tried to request residents get out and vote on the District 428 construction referendum two years ago and actually said to vote FOR it.

So maybe the only unit of government that should be disseminating information on ballot initiatives and other election issues is the Office of the County Clerk.

Sherman himself is running for Village Clerk. Here is his home page.

Here is the Indian Trails Public Library website.

Tips for Poll Watchers

Poll watching is a way to spend a couple of volunteer hours supporting a party, candidate, or ballot question. Usually, poll watching is a means to keep track of which voters have already cast their ballots, in order to focus get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts on those who haven’t. Some poll watchers will approach it as a more general watchdog function, too.

Several local candidates are putting out a call for poll watchers right now. This does not leave much time for training, so here are a few tips for staying on the right track come Election Day even if you are a rookie poll watcher. Continue reading Tips for Poll Watchers

Letter to the Chronicle

The letter to the editor published April 1 in the Daily Chronicle is here for the moment. What follows is the version I sent to the paper originally.

Cohen Barnes is a sharp cookie, a local success story and a civic Energizer Bunny. We need all three.

However, my aim with this letter is to counter the love fest that is the Cohen Barnes campaign for C.U.S.D. 428 School Board. He’s a bad fit. Here’s why. Continue reading Letter to the Chronicle

Comments on Wednesday’s Aldermanic Forum

Fifth Ward Alderman Ron Naylor seems very proud that the FY2011 budget is down $700,000 from FY2007.

I went through those budgets and counted more than 40 positions eliminated since FY2008 — but, assuming a little hiring has been done this past fiscal year, let’s say we’re down about three dozen.

There’s been virtually nothing spent on equipment, in fact personnel account for 89% of expenditures now, according to the FY2011 budget. And with the recent exception of fuel costs, commodities have been pretty stable for a couple years.

So: $700,000 is pretty measly in this context. Why hasn’t the budget been whittled down several million? Continue reading Comments on Wednesday’s Aldermanic Forum

ReNew Our Schools and Candidate Barnes

Below are listed the officers of ReNew Our Schools, the political action committee (PAC) set up to campaign for the $110 million District 428 construction referendum that passed in early 2008. One of the co-chairs of the PAC, Cohen Barnes, is currently running for a spot on the District 428 school board.

Renew Our Schools D1 page 2

In the comments section of an earlier, related post, District 428 & the Grassroots: Yeah, Right: Part 2, participants expressed dismay at ReNew Our Schools’ having accepted sizable donations from big firms that hoped to (and at least in one case, did) do business with the school district on the school construction projects resulting from the referendum. Continue reading ReNew Our Schools and Candidate Barnes

Candidate Outreach

Some of the local candidates have Facebook pages now. Here are the ones I’ve found so far. Feel free to point to other campaign pages and sites in the comments and I’ll add them.

It’s interesting how many ways one can use a Facebook campaign page. Some are newsy, some pep-talky. One has become an active tool for volunteer mobilization, another a veritable online shrine to achievements that nevertheless remain vague.

DeKalb City Council

Rob Fischer for 5th Ward Alderman

Kristen Lash for Alderman, DeKalb Ward 3

Monica O’Leary for DeKalb City Council Ward 7

Paulette Sherman for DeKalb Alderman and

Bertrand Joseph Simpson, Jr., Esq. for DeKalb Alderman (from 2007) or Bertrand Simpson for the City of DeKalb 1st Ward Alderman (also 2007).

Community Unit School District 428 School Board

Cohen Barnes for School Board

Statements of Economic Interest, 2011 District 428 School Board Candidates

There are 11 candidates in this race, and three of them listed something other than “none” or “NA” on their Statements of Economic Interest (SEI).

As is true of yesterday’s post about the City of DeKalb candidates’ SEIs, all items should be read as reports of what has occurred “in the preceding calendar year”; and again, I have shortened the descriptions in the table so have tucked a sample SEI in the post after the jump for clarification if needed.

[table id=10 /] Continue reading Statements of Economic Interest, 2011 District 428 School Board Candidates

Statements of Economic Interest, 2011 City of DeKalb Candidates

Five of the candidates for alderman had no disclosures to make (“N/A” for all items) on their Statements of Economic Interest (SEI). Three did, and the table lists them in the order they appear in a PDF file.

Because I’ve shortened both disclosure item descriptions and explanations in the table, a sample of an original SEI appears after the jump, and I will provide an e-mail copy of the full PDF to anyone who requests it.

Each SEI item is to be read as having occurred “in the preceding calendar year.”

[table id=9 /] Continue reading Statements of Economic Interest, 2011 City of DeKalb Candidates