I attended the first candidates forum for DeKalb City Council
races last week with about 25 other citizens, most of whom are
regulars at city meetings and political gatherings.
Mike Embrey and his DeKalb County Online sponsored and
moderated the discussion. He posed several questions he knew
the candidates likely could not answer, so answered them himself.
But it did give those running some food for thought.
Unfortunately, only one seat is contested; candidates Carolyn
Morris, Scott McAdams and incumbent Tony Faivre are running unopposed.
Incumbent Kate Noreiko dropped out after the forum which she
was unable to attend.
A city the size of DeKalb should generate at least two
people for every race, whether it be county board, school board
or city offices. Apathy like this gives candidates a free ride
and they dont have to answer to their constituents or even
the news media if they decide not to.
Candidate Carolyn Morris as she appeared at council
I hope this is not the case and that they all continue to appear
at public forums council meetings and press interviews.
Some 20 years ago, I was an elected official when I ran
for a seat on a community college district board in the San Francisco
Bay Area. I was able to defeat the 20-year incumbent the first
time and won re-election for a second and third term. Then I
I believe in term limits for all levels of government
city, county, school districts and statewide offices. I found
that some others on the college board thought they should stay
on forever. It seems to me that the long-termers become so cozy
with management that they no longer represent the best interests
of the public, but just want to maintain the status quo.
Getting back to the local candidates night, it was a bit
disconcerting when the two contenders for the ward in which I
reside were asked to describe their geographical area and never
even mentioned the Oak Crest retirement community, which they
would be representing.
There are some 200 voters in this one location and they
turn out in big numbers since they reside in the same complex
where the polling place is located.
Listening to the candidates, I found one who will most
likely be climbing the political ladder in the years ahead. Carolyn
Morris, who ran unsuccessfully for county clerk on the Democrats
ticket last time, has her sights set on more than city council,
I would predict.
A career combat veteran in the Marine Corps, she has only
lived in DeKalb a short time while pursuing a degree at NIU,
but has jumped into politics very quickly.
It would be quite a lively race if she decides to run for
mayor in two years and might have to compete with Misty Haji-Sheikh,
if Misty decides to run again. But in any case, dont be
surprised if Morris seeks higher office in the state before too
Overall, the candidates seemed to agree on the issues raised
last week, so it will be interesting to see how they distinguish
themselves from each other when they appear at the DeKalb Chamber
forum March 19 at the Egyptian.
I certainly hope the turnout is much better as people need
to know how our elected officials plan to attract new business
and industry, spend our tax money wisely, decide on the value
of tax increment financing districts, and even how they would
do better at fixing potholes.
As a primer, I will share three tips for a successful campaign:
(1) visit the homes of as many voters in your ward as time allows
for one-on-one contact, raise enough money for newspaper ads
and a mailer, giving your background and goals; (3) show that
you are a serious candidate by attending all the council meetings
(for months before the election), studying the city budget, and
getting up to speed on other issues so you can answer legitimate
questions at forums and from reporters.