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…

Brendon Gallagher is My Alderman

The 4th Ward has gone for so long without honest, effective representation that it took me awhile to recognize — trust? — the change; but it’s becoming apparent now we have a winner in Brendon Gallagher. He does his homework, is loyal to his Ward, obviously learns something every meeting, and shows little sign of getting sucked into the ethically-challenged culture at city hall. Last night Gallagher showed true leadership in the discussion and vote on the question of rescinding the Target tax abatement agreement. He deserves our support. He has mine. Two thumbs up.

Highlights and lowlights after the jump. Continue reading Brendon Gallagher is My Alderman

Is It Really Legal?

The agenda for the last meeting of the local chapter of Insomniacs Anonymous included a reading list. So, I’ve been perusing the Illinois Statutes (this one, this one, and this one). Each contains provisions allowing elected and appointed municipal officers to do business with their municipalities — but only under strict conditions. The following is from the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act (the above middle link).

(a) No person holding any office, either by election or appointment under the laws or Constitution of this State, may be in any manner financially interested directly in his own name or indirectly in the name of any other person, association, trust, or corporation, in any contract or the performance of any work in the making or letting of which such officer may be called upon to act or vote… Continue reading Is It Really Legal?

Flood-Prone Home Buyout Thread

Acceptance of a “pre-disaster mitigation grant” for buying more flood-prone homes is on the agenda for Monday (.pdf p. 33). Questions:

1) We’re broke, except for TIF. Where do we get the the $289,507.00 for our share?

2) What is the cutoff for number of years of home ownership required for a buyout? In other words how do we ensure the people helped are the long-term residents whose floodplain woes have made it demonstrably impossible to sell their homes?

3) Is there a requirement that the buyout homes be owner-occupied, primary residences?

4) The first round of buyouts included the home of a city employee, which was not disclosed publicly by city officials. What steps is the city willing to take in the interests of ethics, transparency and full disclosure, to eliminate the perception that “connected” people are unfairly benefitting from the buyouts? Continue reading Flood-Prone Home Buyout Thread

MICA

Tuesday night at the joint City Council–Financial Advisory Committee meeting, staff announced they had researched several providers of liability insurance and had made a decision on a favorite, an outfit called the Municipal Insurance Cooperative Agency (MICA). There were three red flags when the MICA plan was laid out. One was that we were not allowed to hear from any of the other contenders. A second was hearing that the risk pool is very small, 23 I think they said. The third is that the premium sounds too good to be true: a premium of $1 million per year offered to a city with, currently, a $790,000+ per year indemnity plus legal and administrative costs.

Tuesday night I didn’t know what the red flags meant, exactly, but on Wednesday an insurance expert (who would like to remain anonymous, though I’d be glad to give credit) called me up and clued me in. After digesting the information I crafted an e-mail to the Council, which follows… Continue reading MICA

The Return of Wogen Watch

The Wogen Watch blog is back in response to Alderman Victor Wogen’s arrest on domestic violence charges and to the question of where he is living.

So far, I’ve spoken at a Council meeting about the residency issue, blogged it and sent a letter to the editor. I hope I won’t be the Lone Ranger in this, because it’s just too easy to marginalize one old lady as hopelessly eccentric, or a former contender for office as Vendetta Queen. If you care that Wogen hasn’t been made to inform his constituents whether he has vacated the ward in which he was elected, or feel that Council is shirking its responsibilities to set deadlines for correcting his address of record and (if necessary) for his return to the ward, please help by writing your own letters to the editor and enlisting others’ participation as well.

My next step will be to return Wogen Watch to the CB blogroll.

Where’s Wogen?

Last night at the Council meeting I asked 3rd Ward Alderman Victor Wogen to state for the record where he is living now. This seems fair; after all, I had to submit my address to speak at the meeting. Astoundingly, instead of answering he looked to the attorney for help, and she said he didn’t have to answer.

From the City of DeKalb’s new website:

Bertrand Simpson
2570 Soros Ct.

Tom Teresinski
119 Ilehamwood Drive

Brendon Gallagher
423 S. Second Street

Ron Naylor
328 W. Sunset Place

Dave Baker
560 W. Lincoln Highway

Brent Keller
1212 Varsity Blvd. Apt 107

This is information freely given to all who seek it, except in the case of Third Ward Alderman Victor Wogen. He gets to live anywhere he wants, residency requirements be damned and how dare we ask! Thanks, Council. Lest we fool ourselves into thinking we have representation, you faithfully drag us back to the reality that you are out for none but yourselves. Continue reading Where’s Wogen?

Redistricting Open Thread

A couple people asked, “How do we get more of the community to attend these [redistricting] meetings?”

It’s a tall order in view of the recent past. For what it’s worth, though, I will tell people that the discussion so far appears to be generally open to input of all sorts and free of predetermined outcomes.

After dragging myself to half a year’s worth of Facilities Planning Committee (FPC) meetings in 2008, the atmos last night at the school board meeting was kind of a shock. Gone is the jubilation, the denial, even most of the smugness. This district is in deep doo-doo and knows it.

Reality, thy name is EAV.

Next meetings: September 21 and October 7, 6 p.m.

Link to Chronicle story