Chug-a-lug on housing policies proposal


Chug a lug choo choo art now on sale
I was forwarded as an “undisclosed recipient” the following email. It seems there are some residents concerned that the city council would meet three times in special session without a seat at the table for members of their own appointed task force or any public input to discuss housing issues.

The massive proposal includes recommendations made from the Safe and Quality Housing Task force as well as staff recommendations. Those recommendations do not always agree and that makes some worry that staff may have too much say on those differences on policy proposals aimed at housing.

Government policy that reaches inside property lines and into the home tend to make people nervous, I suppose. Mayor Povlsen has publicly emphasized that if the city council is unwilling to raise taxes or revenue to pay for the proposals then he, staff and his appointed tasked force members have wasted a lot of their time. That concerns a few folks, too.

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Additional dates for City Council special meetings on Task Force housing issues
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2012 19:32:43 +0000
From: Jacobson, Linda <>
To: Jacobson, Linda <>

Please see the dates listed below for Council’s next meetings on housing issues. The general public can attend and observe and is invited to sit in the audience area.  These are special meetings of the Council, not joint meetings of the Council/Task Force.


Wed, Aug 22 at 6p

Wed, Sept 19 at 6p

Wed, Oct 10, at 6p

Please note these dates on your calendars if you wish to attend the meetings.

Thank you

Linda Jacobson

Administrative Assistant

City of DeKalb Public Works

Phone:  815-748-2070

Fax:        815-748-2359

City of DeKalb Municipal Airport

Phone:  815-748-2020

Fax:        815-748-2022

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This is a transmission from the City of DeKalb and may contain information that is confidential and proprietary. If you are not the addressee, any disclosure, copying or distribution or use of the contents of this message is expressly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please destroy it and notify us immediately at the above telephone number.

CAUTION: Internet and e-mail communications are the City of DeKalb’s property and the City of DeKalb reserves the right to retrieve and read any message created, sent and received. The City of DeKalb reserves the right to monitor messages by authorized City employees at any time without any further consent.

As far as I know the council is not under any ex parte communications gag rule.

  • David Jacobson (1st Ward):
  • Tom Teresinski (2nd Ward):
  • Kristen Lash (3rd Ward):
  • Brendon Gallagher (4th Ward):
  • Ron Naylor (5th Ward):
  • Dave Baker (6th Ward):
  • Monica O’Leary (7th Ward):

Or to send an email to ALL council members including Mayor Kris Povlsen, CLICK THIS LINK.


  1. None of you pointed out what Mayor Povlsen said at the end of the most recent council meeting on July 9th. The mayor, city staff and the council were discussing possible upcoming dates for council meetings to act and discuss Housing matters. The topic of “public input” was briefly mentioned in the discussion. When it was was Mayor Povlsen made a mockery of citizen input by saying that he was sure it would be the “same people” who show up to comment anyway. In other words, he is just assuming that those citizens who regularly participate in council meetings will be the only ones who will comment. As we all know, Mayor Povlsen does not want to hear the comments of those (or us) “Same people”

    • I don’t believe you Mark, because at each TF meeting, when public input was allowed, a different person spoke. Never has the same person spoke more than once. I have direct knowledge that the first meeting WILL allow public comments to the council, and that such was the intention of Mayor Povlsen.

      • Edward-Its nice you have “direct knowledge” that public input will be allowed at these three meetings. But why does no one else have this knowledge, instead relying on an email you say was not intended for the general public and which I believe deters public comment?

        Again, why not use your “direct” path to city fathers and get them to publish a notice INVITING public participation at these housing meetings? That would clear up a lot of “misunderstanding”.

        • Or, Kerry, we can wait for the public announcement of the meetings. Since the first one won’t happen for another month, I think you are all getting a bit ahead of yourselves complaining about something that isn’t true. Let’s wait and see if there is a public announcement of the meeting inviting the public to comment. If there isn’t, then I’m sure there are plenty of people who are willing to get the word out and bring public participation to the meetings. There is, also, always an opportunity to make public comments on agenda items during the council meetings.

          • It should be noted that only the first meeting, on Aug 22nd, was designated as an opportunity for the public to make comments directly to the council on housing issues. But, as I said above, there is always time made during every council meeting to make comments on agenda items.

  2. I had a long talk yesterday with a member of the Task Force and dedicated community activist. I went away with the impression that this Task Force member cannot discern the current status of this important appointed committee and sub-unit of DeKalb city government. I also surmised the long and difficult but fruitful Task Force discussions, which resulted in consensus among landlords, renters, and other players in DeKalb/University housing have been tossed to the curb because city staff don’t like the consensus their own appointed committee came up with. Keep in mind, these guys were appointed by city fathers. They have been diligent to follow Open Meetings Act constraints. They are not acting as an advisory body only.

    If that’s how Biernacki and Povlsen treat their chosen messengers, helpers, and “friends”, one can only imagine how little regard they have for ordinary concerned citizens and taxpayers. It is then not surprising (but certainly not smart) for Task Force members to be denied a seat at the table during these three upcoming special meetings of city council.

    To the contrary, joint meetings of both city council and Task Force including time for citizen participation is exactly what is needed at this point. By refusing such a notion, we can all see the current City leadership grasping at straws, acting more and more like frustrated kings rather than elected and appointed representatives.

    • You are making a lot of assumptions here, Kerry. The Mayor was very clear that the joint meeting with the TF and Council would be the last meeting of the TF. Our work is done, we have made our recommendations, it is now time for the Council to act. No one has stated that TF recommendations have been “tossed to the curb”. The staff has made it’s recommendations, some of which agreed with the TF.

      • Yes, Edward, I included the word “surmise” in my opening comment. It is what I figure, based on an intelligent conversation with a Task Force member, and reading lots of input from others involved.

        I do find your comments here somewhat contradictory in that first you say public input is invited at the upcoming meetings (though not mentioned in the city emails), but lately you say the council must now act.

        Is it your opinion there is no need for further discussion between council and Task Force? You believe council has no need to ask further questions of the TF? What about discussion between council and the public at large? As a Task Force member are you happy in the way the TF and public is apparently being treated?

        • Kerry, my comments are not, at all, contradictory. It is my understanding that the next 3 meetings of the council are for gathering public input. I never said that the council ‘must now act’. I said that it is up to the council to accept or reject our recommendations. It is proper that they choose to do so only after hearing from the public. I would have preferred a larger role for the TF in the next step of the process, but I cannot say the TF has been treated badly by the Mayor, City Staff, or the Council. As a TF member and a citizen, I will be present at all future council meeting where TF recommendations are being discussed.

          On a different topic, it should be noted that I have requested permission from Lynn to post this same information on Citybarbs. She has chosen not to respond to my request. Makes one wonder if she is really interested in hearing a different opinion. At least Mac allows those who don’t always agree with him to post dissenting opinions.

          • Ok, Edward, I can accept that your comments may not be contradictory. Why don’t you now please use your influence at city hall to get them to re-release the email on those three dates, and rather than say the public can “attend and observe”, allow that the public can “participate by asking questions and making comments”. If such language came from city hall, then I would have less trouble seeing your comments as contradictory. As it stands now, it seems to me the email was intentionally worded to discourage public participation. Not to mention the Task Force will have no official presence at the meeting in order to respond to or clarify public questions for benefit of the council.

            How will the council know what to think? Seems to me they would do everyone a favor by calling a joint meeting of the Task Force (or at least a few reps of TF) and Council with public participation allowed.

    • We have already had a public joint meeting with the City Council. We have already passed along what we think with our recommendations to the City Council. It is op to the City Council to act or not act on those recommendations. If the Council, or the mayor, does not feel that further joint meetings would be productive, then there is nothing I can do about that. If the Council, or the mayor, does not feel that public input would be productive, then there is nothing I can do about that, but you can bet that I will be present at all 3 meetings to protect the integrity of the TF, and provide input if it is allowed. It is my understanding that input will be allowed at the meetings, and there is nothing in the email do make me believe otherwise. The email was simply letting us, as TF members, know when the meetings would be and that we would not be sitting in the hotseat with the council, but we were more than welcome to join the public. Remember, Kerry, that email was originally sent to the TF, not the public in general. We’ll see what the agendas state when they are released. If there is nothing on the agenda for public input, then you can get upset with the city.

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