Alderman Marquardt is so very tired of you spoiled NIU students

Monday night, DeKalb’s city council members wrestled with proposed parking restrictions in neighorhoods adjacent to campus. Except for Ald. Mike Marquardt, who lost a wrestling match with his tongue.

At a local town hall meeting a few years ago, an audience member who pays attention to such things said the DeKalb-NIU relationship might be a “communiversity” but could fairly be considered a “commuterversity” as well.

Many of the “spoiled” students drive in from other neighborhoods and communities every day to attend NIU.

Many of the “spoiled” students have to go to work before and/or after class.

Many of the “spoiled” students drive because it keeps them safer from assault or worse.

And while I’m at it: These days, some students live in their cars.

Next time that little voice tells you to hold your tongue, Ald. Marquardt, perhaps you should listen, even if you have to bite it.

DeKalb playing favorites with the bandit in the castle

Cohen Barnes owns a building in downtown DeKalb under the name “The Bandit’s Castle, LLC.”

So he’s a bandit who bought a castle. Is this like the tv shows where the psychos leave little clues of their crimes? The imagination runs wild.

The thing with bandits is that, by definition, they belong to gangs. This is more or less what we saw last night, with City of DeKalb enabling Mr. Barnes to return to council to grab more TIF money since his rehab job on the Castle, for which he obtained a development incentive of $400,000 last spring, has hit a snag.

What’s the snag? Nobody anticipated that a 100-year-old building could have water damage and asbestos. No inspection was done, and no money for contingencies was set aside. It’s municipal malpractice, is what it is.

But due diligence doesn’t matter, because the city checkbook is simply always open for Mr. Barnes.

Many thanks go out to Aldermen David Jacobson and Mike Verbic, who voted against the double dipping. (Alderman Pat Fagan recused himself.)

Y’all folks in the Third, Fifth, and Seventh wards have a year to find replacements.

Town Hall Next Week at Conexion Comunidad

Third Ward Alderman Kristen Lash will hold a town hall meeting next Wednesday, August 31.

So far, participants are:

Kristen Lash, 3rd Ward Alderman
Jim Luebke, DeKalb Township Trustee
Paul Stoddard, County Board, District 9
Julia Fauci, County Board, District 9

Alderman Lash hopes also to include a representative of the District 428 school board.

The town hall will begin with each official giving a brief update of the happenings at his/her unit of government. A public question-and-comment period follows, during which audience members may address an individual or the entire panel.

Conexion Comunidad is at 637 N. 11th Street. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Third Ward Town Hall

[Addition 6/2: DeKalb Township trustee Jim Luebke will also attend. Sorry for the oversight.]

The first DeKalb Third Ward town hall meeting is Thursday, June 2, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Fourth and Locust at 6 p.m.

Illinois Representative Bob Pritchard, DeKalb County Board members Paul Stoddard and Julia Fauci, and District 428 School Board member Jessica Lyons are expected to attend along with the initiator, Third Ward alderman Kristen Lash.

The town hall-style meeting fulfills a campaign promise made by Lash.

Advice & Consent

From Chapter 2 of the DeKalb Municipal Code (PDF p. 2):

a) Pursuant to Article VII, Section 6 (f) of the Constitution of the State of Illinois (1970) and a Referendum Election held pursuant to Illinois Compiled Statutes, (65 ILCS 5/28-4), when vacancies in the office of alderman are occasioned by reason of resignation, failure to elect or qualify, death, permanent physical or mental disability, conviction of a disqualifying crime, abandonment of office or removal from office or of residency from ward, the City Council shall call a special election to fill said vacancy if at the occurrence of said vacancy, the unexpired term was more than eighteen (18) months in length; and if the unexpired term is eighteen (18) months or less in length, the Mayor may, with the advice and consent of the City Council, appoint a person to serve as alderman in the vacancy until the next general election.

By contacting the remaining aldermen to build a pre-meeting consensus, the mayor cheated us out of hearing and responding to the advice of Council members in the matter of the Third Ward aldermanic appointment. He is set to do so again in the case of the newly-vacated Seventh Ward. Continue reading Advice & Consent

Streetscape Subcontractors 2009

It has come to my attention that folks are asking whether former alderman Victor Wogen, as himself or as Masonry Works, LLC, landed city projects beyond the six post-demolition masonry repair projects of 2008. The answer is yes. In the fall of 2008, the 2009 “streetscape” project was approved, with Elliott & Wood as the contractor. Then-acting mayor Kris Povlsen and then-city clerk Donna Johnson signed the Acceptance of Proposal on September 24, 2008, which authorized payments for the work specified in the proposal. On the accompanying Material Sources and/or Sub-Contracted Work Form are listed the following:

Cast-in-Place Concrete………………DeKalb Walker Construction
Pre-cast Concrete………………………Masonry Works
Electrical……………………………………..Virgil Cook & Son
Water/Storm/Sanitary Utilities…..Elliott & Wood
Concrete Paving………………………..DeKalb Walker Construction
Unit Paving………………………………..Midwest Brick Paving, Inc.
Landscape…………………………………Dreamscapes by Dennis

Word of the Day: Patronage

patronage [pey-truh-nij]

3. the control of or power to make appointments to government jobs or the power to grant other political favors.

4. Offices, jobs, or other favors so controlled.

5. the distribution of jobs and favors on a political basis, as to those who have supported one’s party or political campaign: DeKalb became notorious for patronage in Illinois, ranking just behind Chicago and Cicero.

6. a condescending manner or attitude in granting favors, in dealing with people, etc., condescension: city officials cultivated an air of patronage toward politically unconnected residents. [examples added]

Tomorrow’s word: Nepotism.

You May Raise My Taxes When…

Is it wrong to prefer a Council meeting without Wogen and Simpson? I’ve decided there’s no immediate need to get rid of Wogen unless he starts showing up again, or if the 3rd Ward wants the mayor to appoint somebody to the spot. And Simpson can take as much time off as he likes unless the 1st puts up a fuss.

Four hundred ninety-six days and counting

In other news, I’ve decided it’s A-OK with me for Council to raise my taxes — as soon as the following conditions are met: Continue reading You May Raise My Taxes When…

Blast from the Past: Wogen

Third Ward Alderman Victor Wogen’s letter to the editor published October 4, 2007:

Next, there’s a perception that I have been bought and paid for by builders and developers. This is far from the truth. The majority of my supporters don’t have anything to do with construction. Yes, I do sell architectural precast. But I don’t have any customers within miles of here. [emphasis added.]

This was three months before Masonry Works, LLC, filed Articles of Organization with the Illinois Secretary of State. A few months after that, he began picking up post-demolition masonry repair jobs for the City of DeKalb. There is no record I can find of his telling his constituents that the situation had changed.