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DeKalb's Growth Summit

From: Mac McIntyre
Category: General Discussion
Date: 13 Nov 2002
Time: 07:45:20 -0500
Remote Name:


At the Nov. 12th meeting of the DeKalb City Council, Mayor Greg Sparrow and the City Council acted on a request by Plan Commission Chair Rich Fassig to have the City of DeKalb and DeKalb School District #428 meet to discuss growth issues. Sparrow and the City Council met and exceeded Fassig's request.

In what has been coined the "DeKalb Growth Summit," Mayor Sparrow is seeking to form a committee of representatives from the School District, the Sanitary District, the Park District and the Town of Cortland to discuss, in detail, the issues of growth in the community.

Public input will be sought on how much growth the community wants and at what pace.

A 'summit' such as this is long overdue. The public needs to examine the issue of growth through real, local facts and figures in order to give our representative units of government a clear direction on what we want our community to take.

This summit has the potential for disastrous failure, however. 5th Ward Alderman Pat Conboy suggested that the City ask the NIU Public Opinion Lab to conduct a survey of DeKalb residents, at a discounted rate, to determine what the public wants. A review of the School District's failed attempt at their $39.8 million dollar referendum, which was based largely on a paid NIU Public Opinion Poll,illuminates the glaring error of such a strategy.

The community deserves far better than a "hold your finger to the wind" strategy. It deserves far better than a philosophical debate between "experts" on both sides of the growth issue.

This is the Information Age. The public needs to become accurately informed about the issues we face. We need the actual facts and figures, revenues and expenses, of the participating local governmental units examined. We need to know what the costs and benefits of growth actually are. No short-cut answers. We need the truth.

There are those who are jumping on the failed referendum as an opportunity to shut down growth. They claim that the reason 55% of those who voted in last Tuesday's election rejected the referendum was because they wanted to put a stop to growth. I maintain that the overwhelming reason the majority voted against the referendum was because we've reached our limit on taxes. It is about time we examine why our taxes are so high and it is time we look for ways to reduce them.

Growth in DeKalb has become a partisan issue. It is not between Democrats and Republicans. It is between supporters and detractors of Mayor Greg Sparrow and his longtime rival former Mayor Bessie Chronopoulos. Its time for that nonsense to stop. The public deserves the truth not spin.

Above all the public MUST become involved. We simply cannot afford the consequences of having the future determined by those who cry loudest.

Last changed: 11/13/02

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