Welcome to 3rdWard.org, a website dedicated to communication and transparency between Des Plaines City Government and you. This website, maintained by 3rd Ward Alderman Denise Rodd, is designed to keep neighbors engaged in their community and informed about issues.

Thursday
Oct012009

City Council Meeting - 08/21/09

In preparation for a long and difficult budget season, most of the Council's noteworthy activity has taken place in executive sessions* before and after regularly scheduled council meetings.  Regarding Mayoral appointments to City Commissions....the Mayor makes the appointment and the City Council is asked to advise and consent.  Since taking office, I have constantly asked for notification on commission openings so you third ward residents can have a shot at an appointment.  (HERE is my latest posting on commission openings)  That said, I don't believe I should have to make a special request in order to get information out to my constituents.  The City should work to publicize openings, promote different opportunities, and encourage new blood to enter our City's government.

At both September meetings I pulled  appointments from the consent agenda.  In other words, I asked that we discuss the appointments of two individuals to the Des Plaines Public Library Board: an ex-wife of our mayor, and a daughter of an Alderman.  I did this after receiving a large number of phone calls from residents who expressed their disappointment (and some even anger) upon hearing the names being appointed to the Library Board.  I told the individuals on the phone and the folks at Council that I would not object to the Mayor's appointments.  He was elected by the voters just like I was, and the code gives him the power to appoint.  Both appointments were given to women who are leaders in public office and business, and capable residents.  Was I disappointed that new faces, names, and backgrounds individuals were not brought into our organization?...yes.  Do I think this sort of activity sends the wrong message to voters like you?....probably.   Will I work to make you aware of appointments as they come available?....absolutely!  The Mayor graciously agreed to provide the Aldermen with frequent lists of vacancies and the letters of those who seek appointments.  I appreciate that and look forward to approving new blood for City Commissions.

*These closed-door meetings are held when topics not suitable for open conversation are before the Council: litigation, personnel, etc. Minutes and tapes of these meetings are kept and released at a later date.  You'll hear Alderman Robinson, as chair of the Legal and Liscensing Committee, report out on the results from executive sessions during the general council meeting.

Sorry for the delay. It's been a busy couple of weeks!

Saturday
Sep122009

Ward Meeting Minutes - 09/09/09

Read the minutes taken by Denise Smith Rodd HERE.

Thursday
Sep102009

West Park Plans

You have likely heard that West Park is about to see some serious upgrades.  Residents along Greenview and Orchard have been asking about the drainage improvements.  I have this note from our Engineering Department regarding the drainage:

"The Utility Plan shows the catch basins that will be installed adjacent to the residential property south and west of the park to drain the low points adjacent to the park.  The Grading Plan confirms that the adjacent property will be drained into the park detention basins and, after detention, will be released to the Wolf Road storm sewer."

These images are a bit technical, but they make sense after a few minutes:

Site Location Map        Overall Grading Plan        Site Utility Plan

Tuesday
Sep082009

City Council Meeting - 09/08/09

Tonight's meeting focussed on two main issues: the levee 37 flood wall (or the hole in the flood wall to be more precise) and a State grant for streetscape improvement in downtown.  Pictured to the right is a section of levee 37 that will remain incomplete until a number of intergovernmental agreements are reached. Read this letter to the editor from Mayor Moylan to Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and lend us your voice.  Contact our Congresswoman:

Write an Email or call (847) 328-3409 

I raised a question regarding a consent agenda item (items that are of a non-controversial nature).  The grant in question was one where $800k of State money would be available should the City contribute $200k, with the total $1m being spent on streetscaping in our downtown.  I asked if this was the right time to spend money on streetscaping....could we hold off on a decision and still be eligible for the matching State grant?  The answer to this question was disappointing.  Delaying action on this item would have forfeited the State money.  With that detail in mind, I supported the measure.  If our downtown is to stay competitive (in attracting new business and maintaining the existing business) we need to take advantage of these State grants when they come available.

Tuesday
Sep082009

DP101: Infrastructure Reading

If you have a few minutes before Wednesday evening's meeting CLICK HERE TO READ.  These articles should provide some context for the presentation and conversation on city infrasructure. 

Wednesday
Sep022009

Intro to Infrastructure - 09/09/09

Do you know the difference between pervious and impervious pavement? Is your sewer combined? How long should streets last and how are they built? Where does that rainwater go? Our next ward meeting will be dedicated to understanding the piece of government you interact with every day: infrastructure. Our engineering staff will be on hand with an interesting presentation and a clipboard to record your infrastructure-specific concerns. Please tell your neighbors about this unique meeting. Every few months, we will have a new "Des Plaines 101" meeting to discuss an interesting topic in depth.

Wednesday, September 9th            7:00pm            Prairie Lakes

Wednesday
Aug262009

Sysco Noise Update

Read the update from Economic Development Director Mike Conlon HERE.

Wednesday
Aug262009

Des Plaines' Great Eats Map! 

Here is an interesting new resource which highlights all the local restaurants.
CLICK HERE
for a better view and detailed listing of local eateries.

Wednesday
Aug262009

City Commission Openings 

Presently, the Mayor's office is looking to fill nine vancancies on City Commissions:

2 - Zoning Board
7 - Youth Commission

Donna Catlett in the Mayor's Office will be your best resource to learn more about the specific workings of City Commissions.  She can be reached at: 847/391-5301

Here is the meeting schedule.

 

Wednesday
Aug262009

City Council Meeting - 08/17/09

Last week I asked you to give some thought to the issue of 4am liquor licenses.  Your responses to my question were much appreciated and taken into consideration. (read the discussion here)  As promised, I'm writing again to discuss the issue further. 

The Legal and Licensing committee considered a proposal to eliminate the possibility for future 4am bars.  That proposal failed in committee and was reported out to the full Council for discussion.  The motion on the floor was to eliminate all 4am liquor licenses (it is important to distinguish between the committee's failed proposal and the motion made on the floor)  Our future casino was discussed, with opponents of the 4am ban citing the possibility of lost revenue as a reason for their opposition.  I attempted to articulate an option where the casino and the surrounding area might have a unique liquor license where a 4am close time would be more appropriate.  In my opinion, this region of town will be off the beaten path, separate from places where non-drinkers or non-gamblers might choose to enjoy, and under the careful watch of private security and the Des Plaines Police.  As it became clear that the Council was not ready to distinguish the future casino area from the rest of the City, the question turned to the motion at hand: Do we eliminate all 4am licenses or do we maintain the status quo?

The owner and operator of the Rand Road House (a 4am establishment) gave a compelling presentation that caused me to reconsider the issue.  He discussed his midnight-4am crowd, the current economic climate, and his commendable stewardship of his clientele.  Standing right next to the Police Chief (who agreed with each thoughtful statement made by the bar owner), the gentlemen discussed his policy on drunk driving and the retainer he keeps with a local taxi company that he uses to send people home.  Will I support a future 4am liquor license? Likely not. But I was not about to take this local business man's livelihood away. I posit that we wouldn't be having such a heated discussion on the issue of 4am bars if all establishments had a track record like his.  

I'll have more on the topic when we discuss the casino corridor in the weeks and months to come.