Wogen Watch Gets Results

Third Ward Alderman Victor Wogen came out both on the air and in print today to clear up a few things. The timing was no accident. Wogen had met with and made promises to a regular poster over at the Wogen Watch blog and, indeed, beat an October 5 deadline to follow through on them after they were posted.

I’m not going to go into the content of his message too much, but am glad he declared unambiguously that he is not anti-gay. Some people need to hear this from voices of authoritah at all levels.

Beyond that you must color me unmoved. Wogen asserts, for example, that he does not have any customers for architectural precast “within miles of here” but that is not the same as saying that his employer will not be involved in any downtown facade projects. What will count are his abstentions from any votes that involve his company when and if they come up at Council.

And on that note, let’s hoist a humpday toast to the health of the owner(s) of Wogen Watch.

6 thoughts on “Wogen Watch Gets Results”

  1. Love it! I think you pretty much summed it all up! I wasn’t all that moved by it either. I think he still has a long way to go! It is unfortunate that we can’t combine two of your recent articles into one… “Wogen is tasered into action by local citizens” (I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be legal or ethical), but it does seem like he needs a poke with a cattle prod to get anything done!

  2. I loved the phrase, “color me unmoved”. I admire the fact that he did what he said he would do, and I admire his stance on the whole gay/anti-gay issue.

    But he’s still supporting downtown, and, this is critical, his *first* reason was that the ball is already rolling on the plan. In other words, he’s not willing to step up and say, “Wait a minute … let’s re-think this … my residents tell me this is a bad idea … maybe we should re-think this.” He was willing to do that to temporarily repeal a smoking ban, which isn’t going to cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. Why not do that in this case?

    I think he took my advice to “choose which hill to die on” way too seriously, and still applied it incorrectly to the downtown issue, which is something he should be willing to stake reputation and votes on. But that’s just me … what do I know?

    Brien

  3. Now, now, Sarah. You know we can’t have you advocating Taser abuse…LOL…guess it depends on who’s holding it & who’s not, though.

    Brien, I see what you are saying about Wogen’s not taking into consideration the views of his ward but I want to point you another article–right here— that shows where the mandate comes from for all this activity.

    It’s clear that I support the revitalization plan and see it as an investment in our future. Although there are some risks, we have some super-sharp people working for the city who are capable not only of thinking in the long term but also have experience in making plans like these work.

    To me, the biggest danger of the plan and a reason for caution is that it could pick up so much momentum that we get carried away & start thinking that the ends justify any means imaginable. It is probably not in our overall best interests, for example, to have found ourselves without a guy who is openly critical of the plan itself (Wilson) and a guy who opposed some of the spending for the project (Kapitan) on the Council. We’d be better off with the watchdog of a lively and vocal minority, another reason to resent the election-time meddling.

  4. Of course, reasonable people can reasonably agree to disagree, yinn.

    I think the whole downtown plan is about 10 years too late, and is, right now, just baby white elephant. We’ve already been “soaked” for preliminary drawings, which we are now paying for again in the form of “official” drawings. That’s just bad negotiation on the part of the City.

    It’s this nickel-and-dime stuff that has me most concerned. How many more “developmental” items will we have to pay for before we turn even one shovel of dirt, or paint one window frame, or put up one facade? I fear this will be a “fools rush in” scenario where the city fathers are so wound up about getting this done that they end up getting taken advantage of by folks whose main interests lie, not in making DeKalb a better place to live, but in generating profits for their businesses.

    And I’m referring to the consulting, construction, painting, masonry contractors, et al … not the downtown businesses.

    Brien

  5. Yes, there’s no getting around our disagreement on the plan. But our concerns about it IMO are interrelated. You are talking about a feeding frenzy and I’m talking about setting up conditions for the frenzy whether the intentions are noble or more profit-driven.

    Et al = real estate people.

  6. Ah, yes, the “best intentions of mice and men” …

    I agree that, altruistically, everyone involved from the city’s point-of-view is going forward with the best of intentions. The reality (and I speak as a professional accountant who really understands the motives of business) is that no one else involved in the project is doing this with the same motivation.

    Consultants are motivated by their desire to provide direction to the directionless, but once their work is done, they take their fees and move on to the next consulting gig. Whether their plan fails or succeeds, they have their profits, and they’re nowhere to be found, nor to be held accountable for having given poor advice.

    All entities involved in construction are motivated by profit. Sure, they want to do a good job. And they want to be proud of their work. But, in the end, they really have no vested interest in whether the project fails or succeeds, either. Once they spackle the last wall, paint the last door, drive the last nail, they will collect their check, and move on. And, honestly, they won’t care one bit if their work improves anything in the City of DeKalb.

    And, finally, the real estate people … the ones who own the buildings and who will benefit most from the project. Yes, they can say they care deeply about DeKalb, and want the very best for all of us. But I’ve yet to meet a real estate mogul who cared more about the people than they cared about the property value.

    I’ll leave my comments at that. Again, I think we agree to disagree on a number of issues relating to the plan. And that’s absolutely fine by me, because that’s what America is all about … agreeing to disagree (although I wish our politicians lived that mantra more often).

    The reality in many cases, as Herb Rubin pointed out to me, is that we may find ourselves allies today, opponents tomorrow.

    Brien

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