Archive for the ‘ Site News ’ Category

City Barbs Turned 8 this Month

That’s probably, what, 24 in blog years?

The actual anniversary date was November 6 but I’ve been distracted by other business. Luckily it’s Friday so I can hoist one to celebrate Joe’s creation and the work of the original Internet Research Commandos. Hope you will, too.

I’ve also cleaned house a bit. (Yes, sadly, that’s my current idea of a good time.) Among other things I’ve developed a Policies page and have eliminated links to blogs that haven’t provided new content for a year or more.

If you have a blog you’d like to link under Local Voices or you’d like to blog here, use the contact form below. Read the rest of this entry

Justice is Served in Bell

We return our attention to Bell, California. Administrators and council members there paid themselves exorbitant salaries while cutting city services, overcharging taxes and fees, and creating a major municipal revenue source out of a vehicle impounding program.

This and more was accomplished in a roughly DeKalb-sized town with per capita income of $24,000.

Now, today I was sent a link (thanks!) to an article with this beautiful headline: Bell Council Members Guilty of Multiple Corruption Counts.

Five former council members were found guilty of stealing public money. Two former city administrators are still awaiting trial.

Key factors in the corruption seem to include a lack of oversight — Bell does not have its own newspaper — an aggressive city manager “mastermind,” and Bell’s status as a charter city, which allows its government to ignore state limits on salaries and other spending.

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Site news: Posting is sure to remain very light through the rest of March and into April as the write-in campaign for city clerk continues. One way to be notified when I’ve posted is to visit or ask to join the City Barbs Facebook group if you use FB a lot.

There is no “r” in Fazekas

I want to offer a few words on my write-in candidacy for DeKalb City Clerk so it doesn’t get weird between us. I filed last Thursday, aware by that point of one other person who might be running and found out later that we are four.

A public statement of candidacy and a Facebook page are planned, and I’ll let you know when they are available.

Outside of those things I am still working out what’s fair to post here during the campaign. Of course I have opinions, strong ones, on the so-called “neutering” of the city clerk’s position, on Kapitan’s candidacy and about the mayoral candidates, but I don’t know that City Barbs will cover any of these topics directly between now and April 9.

One matter we will explore soon for sure is the City of DeKalb’s improved website. You may be aware that the City of DeKalb recently passed, in the “B” range, the Illinois Policy Institute’s transparency test for its online postings even though it’s gotten an “F” from me on the same test in the past. The good folks at IPI are waiting for me to rate the site again; it will be a good test not only of the site but of the IPI scoring system as well. The matter is on my list in ink and I hope to get to it sometime this week.

First off, I want to follow up on the question of repealing home rule in Mt. Vernon. Voters defeated the challenge, meaning home rule is retained. High profile business backers, a core group of “Vote No” volunteers plus use of social media are credited with the success.

While the Mt. Vernon pro-home rule group won with 57% of the vote, there was a veritable smackdown by 70% of voters of the proposition to make the city clerk’s office in DeKalb an appointed one. It’s difficult not to look at this as a referendum on city administration, and on the performance of city manager Mark Biernacki in particular. Let him laugh at the suggestion that the ballot question was an attempted power grab — that doesn’t make it untrue.

With the retention of an elected city clerk, congenitally optimistic residents like me can hope for a real watchdog in the position.

Lastly, I’d like to note that City Barbs is now seven years old.

Treat this as an open thread if you like. Name yer topic.

We’re doing a brisk business today in searches for Corn Fest postings, particularly financial reports. Hitting the Corn Fest tag will present them in a pleasing reverse chronology for you. Enjoy!

Posts Temporarily Pulled

Two popular recent posts, “DeKalb’s Pension Funding Progress” and “Updated Year-Over-Year Revenue Tracking” have been pulled from the lineup because they’ve been messing up a blog feed. Once I figure out the problem and fix it, I’ll republish them.

New Threads at the FB Page

A couple of members of the City Barbs Blog Facebook Page have begun new threads this week, so if you haven’t visited in awhile…

Consider this space an open thread for comments also, particularly if you have story ideas.

City Barbs Facebook Page

You’ve probably noticed I’ve added a Twitter feed to the blog. I’ve also begun a City Barbs Blog Facebook Group. The timing turned out to be pretty good because people want to talk about the Kapitan resignation and the mysterious circumstances surrounding it.

I’ve added the link to “Local Voices.”

I am playing with a new (for me) chart plug-in. (Thanks Mac.)

dyerware.com


Related posts:

City of DeKalb Revenue Projections

Public Safety Costs & DeKalb’s Financial Health

One potential cause of a drop in unemployment is a declining labor force. In this case women are dropping out of the labor force in significant numbers — and not household “second earners,” either.

I quite recently discovered CEPR Blog and am getting a lot out of it, so have added it to the Public Policy blogroll.