Tuesday was Home Rule day for me. So here’s a diary of sorts… (reprinted from DeKalb County Online)
8:30am-11:30am ReNew DeKalb Board of Directors Meeting at the Ellwood House
Jennifer Groce, executive director of ReNew DeKalb invited me to attend this meeting. She said it was a neutral meeting for information gathering purposes. When she told me that NIU’s own Dr. James Banovetz was to be the keynote speaker I told her that I thought of Dr. Banovetz as sort of the Father of Home Rule in Illinois and did not think the meeting would be neutral but I would attend. She reminded me that the meeting would not be a debate — if I wanted to offer information to the contrary of what was being presented I could ask to attend a future meeting.
Just before the meeting began came the announcement that Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested at his home. It was not surprising news. Sickening. That’s it.
In attendance (from memory): Jennifer Groce, Mark Biernacki, Kris Povlsen, Steve Milner, John and Nancy Castle, Bob Higgerson, Rosa Balli, Tim Lehan, Mike Verbic, Lisa Small, Herb Rubin, Alice Freier, Frank Roberts, Mike Mooney, Brian Scholle, Mike Larson, Ken Andersen, John Launer and Lindsey Engelsman.
Dr. Banovetz began his presentation by pointing out that “some” local bloggers were erroneously promoting that he was the Father of Home Rule in Illinois. Ummm… that would be me. There is a difference between being talked at and about and not being talked to. But then again, who am I?
Technically speaking it would be more accurate to say the Fathers of Home Rule were the delegates to the Sixth Illinois Constiution Convention (1970) and perhaps most notably the late David C. Baum, professor of law at the University of Illinois. But I’ll stick with my assessment that Dr. Banovetz is the new dad, now, and that’s based on the number of Illinois communities that have hired his services.
Dr. Banovetz is Illinois’ recognized leading academic authority on local government home rule, and has lectured in local communities throughout the state. Professor Banovetz has authored and edited six of ICMA’s green books, dealing with the practice of the local government management profession.
In his retirement, Professor Banovetz has stayed active lecturing and writing. He holds an appointment as a senior research scholar in the Center for Governmental Studies, which he founded in 1970, where he edits the center’s Policy Profiles.
ILLINOIS HOME RULE: ITS USE AND EXPERIENCE
Home Rule: City of Geneva, Illinois
Home Rule – McLean County – University of Illinois Extension
Home Rule Information
His presentation was not neutral but it was informative. Just a guess but I think most in attendance completely agreed with his positions, even before he spoke. Mayor Povlsen asked if I was willing to meet with him. I am.
Noon Meeting of the Barb City Tea Company
The Barb City Tea Company meets every Tuesday at noon in my office. It’s a loose knit group of people of diverse opinions and political persuasions who share a common concern with the City of DeKalb’s propensity to increase taxes and incur debt.
The petition, which requires signatures from 10% of the City’s registered voters from the last election, was distributed. It was agreed to circulate the petition responsibly and to make no promises regarding the lowering of taxes. Should Home Rule be repealed the City’s ability to go further into debt without voter approval would be limited as would their ability to create new taxes.
The Blagojevich calamity was the overriding conversation.
Home Rule Petition Open House 6pm-8pm
The event was lightly attended due to the winter storm. But it was a productive meeting. Elena Grimm, a reporter from the Daily Chronicle, attended and asked a lot of questions. Her coverage can be read here.
We talked about the Blagojevich fiasco, a lot.
Those interested in helping to circulate the petition should visit the Barb City Tea Company website or send me an email at mmcintyre[at]eworldlinx[dot]com.
More Open Houses are being scheduled. Watch for them.