We’ve got it. No question. Undeniable. The best television show on cable TV is filmed live right here at City Hall in DeKalb.
Saturday Night Live couldn’t hold a candle to Live From City Hall Every Other Monday Night on Cable 14. Last night’s episode was hilarious if not for the fact that the City of DeKalb could be facing a $2 million deficit in its FY10 operating budget.
My choice for Best Supporting Actor would hands down go to Tom Teresinski (2nd Ward) for his outstanding work in the role of straight man to the comedic gadfly, Bertrand Simpson (1st). Teresinski’s expression never changes as the alderman to his right goes from one awful routine to one that is worse.
Take this example. (paraphrasing)
“Popular Mechanics says that electricity generated wirelessly is just around the corner,” said Simpson, on the discussion regarding whether or not to spend additional monies on wiring for tree lights along Locust and Lincoln Highway. “But having said that I support the expenditure.”
While certainly not as exciting as the NFC championship game between the Vikings and the Saints the DeKalb City Council has its own version of Brett Favre.
It’s Dave Baker, gunslinging QB, sure to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
After declaring his motive for voting against the Locust/Lincoln Street project was to put it off for a year (to buy DeKalb businesses some time to recover) Baker ends up with the deciding vote on the measure.
Clerk, call the roll please.
“Alderman Keller? ‘No.'”
“Alderman Simpson? ‘Yes.'”
“Alderman Teresinski? ‘Yes.'”
“Alderman Verbic? ‘No.'”
“Alderman Gallagher? ‘No.'”
“Alderman Naylor? ‘Yes.'”
“Alderman Baker? ‘No, but I just want to make sure the new member on the council knows how she is voting.'”
Victory for Baker? Reprieve for DeKalb businesses here at last? Not so fast. At least not as fast as Baker made a motion to reconsider.
Had the original vote stood the project would have been delayed a year. INTERCEPTION!
Cable 14 is priceless and not only for its entertainment value. It has brought on a new transparency to DeKalb government never before witnessed, live on TV.
Baker’s motion to reconsider was seconded by Ron Naylor, who asked Baker to make the motion to reconsider. Naylor couldn’t make such a motion that would be against the rules. So in full transparency the audience watched the rules get bent.
And then, while the motion to reconsider was being discussed, there’s City Clerk Steve Kapitan in plain view having a private conversation with Brent Keller who then made a complicated split question motion that saved the day or at least made it some $60,000 better for Hitchcock Designs.
You can’t touch this.
Full disclosure: I applied for the 3rd vacancy created by Victor Wogen’s resignation. Obviously, I was not selected. Nor was I interviewed. Some might suggest that I have sour grapes. I would argue that if I did not criticize city business that would be sour grapes. Besides, this was just too easy. Too. Easy.
PS: A warm welcome to Pam Verbic who I thank for her vote, and it was contrary to Mayor Povlsen’s position, on the Lincoln/Locust project. It was not a vote against the project. It was a vote based on answers to her questions and it was a vote this 3rd ward constituent appreciated.
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Based on Mayor Povlsen's comments about the city making a commitment to the downtown businesses for this and obviously money doesn't mean much now that the commitment has been made, why are we even voting on anything anymore if he continues to bring this up? It's called checks and balances mayor.
The utilities especially Verizon and Comcast have a very very deep dislikening between their companies. It is next to impossible to get them together on anything. I said this much earlier when this all came up.
What is DeKalb running a gang of conduit for? Mr. Mauer said that they would probably gang as many as three pipes together then mentioned Verizion, NICOR, and Comcast would be laid in next to the conduit with 12" spacing. Why then are we paying for a gang of three separated conduits?
I would use Com Ed's engineering for the project since money has been given to them already for the purpose of design. I would then put the gang of conduit in it and tell Verizon and Comcast that if they wish to participate they must make this ditch work.
It doesn't matter if the city takes over the project or not. The utility companies have their priorities and will do what they want when they can.
You know after watching that, I now understand why the City of DeKalb's financial affairs are they way they are.
Could you or I just have run up to the podium and blurted off like Renews Jennifer Groce did? Could I have just run up there critizing the fact that they never finished the first vote and Baker just started babbling about whether the newcomer Verbic understood her vote? Did he understand what he was voting on? Obviously not! Is every motion and vote after that moment even legal?
Is a sidebar as seen by Keller and Clerk Kapitan even allowable during an active meeting? How come the mayor didn't question what was being said? Many teachers I had would have made me stand up and make it public, what happened here?
Is the mayor afraid to make a comment or tell Alderman Simpson to shut up? Why would he allow him or any alderman to spout off continuously like he does?
This mayor has no control of his council.
You can see the Keller / Kapitan Sidebar Here at about (5:50 into the clip): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyJXes_t2Uk
I am disgusted by the fact that it now appears that any city employee (in this case Jennifer Groce) can BUTT-in after an unfavorable vote to lobby the aldermen to reconsider. What would happen if a member of the public did the same thing? Mayor Kris Povlsen has lost control of his ability to properly run a city council meeting.
The Chronology of this silliness can be seen here:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP9WG379dxU
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyJXes_t2Uk
Ed… I like your idea. We need to go back to pre-boom budget and 5 year plans as opposed to trying to raise "revenue" to try to keep boom time expenditures flowing. So we might go a year or two back from FY05 even.
Mac. How about this idea. Once the city is able to establish what the true revenue is then they go back to prior budgets and match that revenue with what the revenue was for that particular year. Lets just say the FY 2010 actual revenue matched that of the FY 2005 budget year. You then adjust expenses to the that prior year levels to balance the budget. IE if revenues are at FY 2005 levels than match yor expenses to the 2005 levels. I realize that this may involve pay reductions and benefit reductions but at least we would be returning to matching expenses to revenues
I could not get to the council meeting, but watched Charvat's YouTube clips. What can I say? I just shook my head, dumbfounded. How is it that government in DeKalb has been reduced to this? I know there are more competent people in this town. Why are they not in charge of proceedings? It must be incredibly difficult for those few who have their act mostly together, to be dragged down by the theatrics and poor decisions of the majority. The next election for DeKalb mayor and aldermen will likely be the most important event in this town for the foreseeable future.