DeKalb Mayoral Candidates Questions


    dekalbnextmayorThe City of DeKalb will have a new mayor in less than three months. There are four candidates on the ballot for DeKalb Mayor in the 2013 Consolidated Election on April 9th, 2013. Democracy is better served when the public has a choice in elections, so those who care about local politics are happy about this development. Now we each have to decide who better represents our views of what is important for the future of DeKalb.

    We welcome press releases from the candidates at DeKalb County Online. It helps us know what’s important to them. Over the next few months we will also be asking some questions of the candidates to help our readers decide between them. Below are the first set of questions, offered up by some of our readers. To answer each one of these questions might take the candidates the whole three months.

    Let’s try to cut it down to the first five questions or so, readers. From this list, give us your top 5 questions you’d like asked of the DeKalb Mayoral Candidates and feel free to tell us why in the comments. Please refrain from suggesting others if possible at this point. But, if you must thrown in another, please remember, same rule applies here as at the debates, all questions must be applicable to everyone (no question can be directed at any one person running).

    1.  What should be done about the pension gap in the budget?
    2. How are you going to improve the east and south corridors of our city?
    3. Do you support the new housing regulations? Why or why not?
    4. What is your proposal for stopping DeKalb’s population loss?
    5. Will you support retention of the city manager if you are elected? Why or why not?
    6. What should be done to prevent businesses (e.g., Mooney) from moving out of DeKalb?
    7. Are you for or against more TIFs in the city?
    8. Should we change how we use CDBG? If so, how?
    9. What budget cuts do you support to fix the structural budget problem?
    10. Where does you stand on the Megadump issue? The land swap issue? Other local, grassroots efforts?
    11. Do you believe that public employees have the right to collective bargaining?
    12. Do you think that one council has the authority to enter into collective bargaining agreements that extend beyond their term of office? I.E agree to benefit increases then leave it to someone else to find a way to pay for it.
    13. Do you think that one council has the authority to enter into long term debt without voter approval. I E. The present council authorized building a new police station and did not pay one penny for it. The council for the next 19 years has to find the money to pay for it.
    14. Would you consider revoking a city license or permit to a business if it is found to employ undocumented workers?
    15. Do you favor hospital based EMS service or Fire Department based EMS service?
    16. Do you think the NIU is paying its fair share for city services. Does the Fire Contract need to be renegotiated?
    17. Do you consider a city employee to be the city’s biggest asset or biggest expense? Explain.


    1. Well it appears that we have one candidate with what Mac stated “Why that would require… bravery, leadership and transparency.” in Ms Groce’s answering these questions. Since she is the first to step forward and answer a qustion that would classify her as the leader. If others choose to answer and follow her lead that would make them “followers”. Since we are electing a person to lead DeKalb that is a point in her favor.

          • The idea never should have made it to a council vote in the first place. As head cheerleader Ms. Groce has earned the title — which, by the way, is not my invention — and as a candidate she should have to answer for it.

            Likewise I hope she will have to answer for her part in making downtown DeKalb more difficult for people with mobility difficulties to navigate, for the failure to improve downtown parking as promised, and for the other major shortcomings of the downtown “renewal.”

            That others share the responsibility is not in dispute. However, as far as I know none of the other culprits are running for mayor.

      • Nice looking website, Jennifer. I remember a time not that long ago when all the website designer reindeer used to laugh and point and call me names because I was using WordPress for my clients. Your site is well planned, simple to navigate and easy to use. I like your questions and input section.

        I will ask this Tough Question here and on your website and I look forward to your answer. Thanks for participating. I hope other candidates follow your lead.

        Are there circumstances that could arise should you be elected Mayor that would present a conflict of interest with your fulltime job with the NIU Center for Government Studies? What are those circumstances and how would you address it?

    2. I see no reason to limit the questions at all. Several questions to all the candidates have been posted for a few weeks now and not one candidate has answered even one question. Come on candidates answer a question for all of us. JUst one for starters from those presented

      • Mac, have you sent out the invitation to the candidates to address these questions, by email perhaps?

        By the wording of the story, the candidates are probably not aware whether the questions here are a work in progress, or the ‘official’ questions that will be asked of them. Personally, I thought the questions here were a work in progress, but if no one has additional suggestions or comments about the nature of the questions, then call it official.

        Also, are we going to allow comments from the public for each of the candidates answers? I would rather see more organization with each candidate having their own space, rather than have a free for all mixing of all 4 candidates answers and public comments.

        The candidates are also likely working out answers in the meantime. I think some clarification on the intent of this story is in order.

      • My suggestion would be to start an article for each candidate. “Ok, Dekalb Mayoral Candidates, it’s official, here are the questions our readers have presented to us in helping them decide who to vote for next mayor of Dekalb. We have given each candidate a space to answer the questions and talk about the issues with our readers. What you see here will probably be the bulk of the questions that will be asked. Feel free to answer the questions presented here over a period of time, or all at once in one post.”

        Put up a picture of each candidate, links to their websites, perhaps a little history.

        “To Our Readers: If you have additional questions not listed here that you would like to ask of the candidates, please submit the questions here(with a link to this article). We will review your questions, and if appropriate add the questions to each candidates list. No personal questions, try not to repeat the same questions, …”

        This type of setup would give us a clear picture of each candidates answers, and allow readers to get updates over a period of time about the candidates’ responses, without having to dig through the answers and comments relating to the other candidates.

        • Hi David S.,
          Thanks for your many suggestions 😉
          We hope that all candidates know that they are always welcome to send us press releases. In fact, a couple even announced their candidacy on DeKalbCountyOnline this year because they knew that they could get their press releases published exactly as written that way.
          We too, have spoken with several of the candidates since publishing this list and they are preparing answers, for both ours, and for their own websites.
          Also, it’s important to us that we are DeKalb COUNTY Online and so we want to be inclusive of and hear from candidates from races all over the county.

          • Why yes, equal opportunity for all public officials to put their campaign promises and position statements in writing.

            The main reservation I have is the potential for public comments to become a burden on the candidates or to stray off topic. All we really want is for the candidates to answer the questions and possibly clarify a certain issue. So if comments are allowed, the candidates might need the ability to moderate the comments they wish to respond to. We’ll have to see.

            In any case, it should be a win-win for both candidate and citizen. We want to save the candidate time from having to repeatedly answer the same questions from the public, and create real accountability in the elections process.

    3. My #1 would be the city manager question. Answering the city manager question would tell us whether someone wants to see DeKalb head into a new direction or if s/he is content with the status quo.

      #2 would be the population question because it relates to several other questions of revenue, economic vitality, city hires and more.

      For #3 I think a question about the direction of the police department under the new police chief would be relevant and timely.

      I understand the prohibition against questions for individuals but it sure would be fun to, say, ask John Rey if he’s thanked a certain former Ward 5 candidate for not objecting to Rey’s mayoral nominating petitions; but I will behave myself. 😉

    4. Sorry guys, but I don’t think limiting the number of questions is a good idea, as long as they are relevant and not repetitive. Indeed, many of these questions could be answered with a simple yes or no, and I don’t think it would take much time to answer the others, assuming the candidates are up to speed on current affairs.

      As I have mentioned previously, the candidates should welcome this type of questioning with open arms, since they can avoid repeatedly answering the same questions to the public.

      The line of questioning for each topic should probably start by using a general overview type question to encourage the candidates to speak freely on the subject, i.e. “Do you support the new housing regulations?”, and then lead to more specific questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no, with an option to add more information on the specifics if desired.

      I’m still not sure if it would be a good idea to let people comment on each answer provided by the candidates. It could be informative, or turn into a mess. In any case, they should not feel obligated to address every little detail that might be asked of them.

      Hope this helps.

    5. Would you consider the use of eminent domain to address the problem of foreclosed and abandoned homes blighting neighborhoods?

      Do you support establishing a public bank to fund community development projects versus the current TIF/Renew tax and spend model?

      Do you think the proposal by city management to conduct internal inspections of rental properties without probable cause or a search warrant is attempting to circumvent the constitutional and legal rights of our citizens?

      Do you support a new K-9 drug sniff unit, mass arrest vehicle, tattletale squad, and other soon to be listed police state measures being proposed by city management?

      Do you support establishing a ‘community standards office’ modeled on the one used by N.I.U. to address the victimless crime of drug possession that is driving the jail overcrowding problem?