In Response to DeKalb Chronicle Article Dated 2/24/11 Regarding My Residency….
Earlier this week, when the reporter from the DeKalb Chronicle, Caitlin, stopped by, I was under the impression that the tone of the story was to be presented negatively and with bias, as written. Being proactive, I made myself regularly available to Caitlin and hoped that she would have taken more time to gather the facts regarding this issue and present them accordingly. I feel that there were several INTENTIONAL omissions in the article which could lead to some misconceptions.
I would like to take a moment to clear some of these misconceptions up…
As I explained to Caitlin-
My Drivers License, Passport, City Licensing (Rooming House), License Plate Registration, Income Taxes, Voter Registration, and Credit Card Bill all clearly state my residence as the Greenbrier (1st Ward) property and have for several years. I have, since the day I purchased the building, maintained a room within it, exclusively for my use.
When I purchased the property within the 2nd ward, it was more of an accident than anything else. I originally stopped at the auction to buy some of the personal property within the building, and ended up leaving as the owner of the property itself. At the time I purchased the building, it was ALWAYS considered to be an investment. The large garage has ample storage space (and if you know me, you understand why I was to excited to finally have a place to house all of my “stuff”), the building contains a small office, and being in my line of work, I always seem to know SOMEONE looking for a place to stay. I considered, for a short time, moving in to the Sunnymeade property “full time” and giving up my room within the Greenbrier property. Luckily, I had already made the commitment for a room at Greenbrier, as I soon realized, throughout and especially at the end of the first academic year following my purchase of Sunnymeade, that my heart, mind, and vast bulk of my time were all committed to the property in the first ward and the group housed within it. Once I took into account the fact that I was spending 6-7 nights a week at the Greenbrier (1st ward) property every week, I realized it would never make sense to call my 2nd ward property “Home.”
It was at that point, that I seriously contemplated selling the 2nd ward property all together. Unfortunately, however, due to the 1-2 punch of the current economic times, I found, I’d be lucky to just break even on the sale, even though I had purchased the property at a STEEP discount. With the home price plummeting, taxes somehow rising significantly, and the burden of two taxable lots at that property, I couldn’t imagine my property could do any better than the several other properties in the neighborhood (many of which have been for sale for months or even years!). With utilities, insurance, and taxes skyrocketing in our neighborhoods, I have been forced to take a loss on the property, even after taking into account the rental of the bedrooms, in hopes that eventually, it will turn out to be a decent investment. As such, I felt it wise, as a frugal consumer, to get the most use out of the property as possible. Unlike the path our City Government regularly takes- spending unnecessarily and beyond their means. I have been forced, as many of our local residents have, to evaluate the logic in spending each dollar that comes in. In doing so, It made the most sense for me to use the 2nd ward property as my personal office space and now, as my campaign headquarters, rather than renting space elsewhere.
I was open and gladly willing to speak to Caitlin regarding my time spent at the 2nd ward property and, as she mentioned, I informed her that I am at the property “regularly.” With the campaign revving up and seeing that I consider the property my office, this would only make sense. As I further mentioned to Caitlin, (and which was obviously intentionally left out of the article). I am a 3rd shifter. While my days, of recent, have regularly become 20 hour+ days of hard work, (with managing the campaign, doing voter registration drives, planning and strategy, creating a website, blogging, and continuing my roles as landlord and advisor to the fraternity) I am well known amongst friends and colleagues for being a night owl. Generally speaking, being so involved in the Greek (Fraternity) world often tends to lead to the keeping of odd hours. My day often begins when most are just starting theirs. I often remark that I see more Sunrises than Sunsets many times during the year. As such, it would make sense for the neighbors to see my car at the property during these hours, and without realizing that I am up working, that it would lead to some confusion. At these times of night (I often take a “lunch break” around 2 or 3 in the morning) it also remains difficult (and expensive) to have food delivered. For this reason, I recently purchased by first load of “groceries” in several months (as I have Catering available to me each day at my first ward residence). An assorted mix of “Hot Pockets”, Soup, Ramen Bowls, and Soda were purchased to help get me through those long evenings. While obviously not the best tasting or nutritious food, they seem to do the trick at 3 am and are, in terms of comparison to delivery, a much more economical option. I had hoped, in a standard of “fairness and balance” that Caitlin would have included this information into the article. By intentionally omitting it, the article seemed to only lend to further confusion and misconceptions.
The article seems to further hint that I was clearly trying to deceive voters. This was obviously not the case, as if it was, I surely could have transferred the properties from my name to separate corporations. I could have hidden the address from my City licensing paperwork and generally disguised my ownership of one or both properties. I could have even hidden my car within my garage, rather than parking it on the driveway, while I’m present within the 2nd ward property. All would have been wholly unnecessary, as I have nothing to hide… I have not denied at any point that I do, in fact, own and operate both properties, and both properties are clearly listed as owned by me on the public record (tax roles). This fact does not make me less qualified or less responsible to voters in the first ward, it actually makes me MORE SO tied to the City Council and it’s decisions (especially when discussing increasing fess and taxes).
When Caitlin brought the article to my attention, I immediately let her know I was surprised it was “news-worthy.” She assured me that a “neighbor” (who in actuality, lives SEVERAL houses down the block from the property) had made some comments regarding my regular appearances on the block. While I can see where they may have been SOME confusion, I am still surprised at the lack of actual hard “facts” being overlooked before the article went to print. It actually worries me, to a point, that the Chronicle would risk printing such an article when so many important articles with documented factual information (many of which were provided by the “watch dogs” and commentators here and on other local websites) have gone unwritten. It continues to confound me that the DeKalb Chronicle would embarrass itself by allowing its staff journalists to pander to the the sensationalism of a clearly “politically motivated” piece, without regard to getting the full story and based solely on the word of a distant neighbor to the property. SHAME ON YOU DC!
I invite each of you to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns you may have via email at DJacobson@niusam.org. In the coming days I will have my campaign website up and running- I invite each of the DCO readers to visit! Also, on the site, I will be posting my upcoming “Meet the Candidate” Events in which I welcome all residents of the City of DeKalb, in person, to ask any questions they may have!
I’d like to thank each of you, in advance, for reading this here- It will also be posted on the DeKalb Chronicle website (in the comment section under the article) as well as on my web page! I will be submitting this article to the DC for print, but now that I have seem their journalistic integrity first hand, I wont hold my breath…
David M. Jacobson
Aldermanic Candidate- 1st Ward
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