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Wogen barely beats Kapitan

DeKalb 3rd Ward Alderman-elect Victor Wogen gets a congratulatory hug Tuesday night from DeKalb City Clerk Donna Johnson at KJ’s Bar and Grill. Chronicle photo CURTIS CLEGG
DeKalb 3rd Ward Alderman-elect Victor Wogen gets a congratulatory hug Tuesday night from DeKalb City Clerk Donna Johnson at KJ’s Bar and Grill. Chronicle photo CURTIS CLEGG

DeKALB - Four new aldermen with an array of backgrounds and fields of experience will be serving as elected officials for the first time on the DeKalb City Council in May. After three consecutive terms as 3rd Ward alderman, Steve Kapitan lost the election by 14 votes to Victor Wogen. Kapitan will look into the possibility of a recount with the DeKalb County Clerk's Office. &#8220I'm kind of skeptical that it'd make a difference,” Kapitan said. &#8220But we'll certainly find out.” Melinda Kay Shelton also ran unsuccessfully for the 3rd Ward seat. First Ward Alderman-elect Bertrand Simpson Jr. - whose original opponent, Scott Skarzynski, dropped out of the race - defeated write-in candidate Jackie Roache. He will be taking over for Karega Harris, who decided not to run for re-election. Simpson stressed the importance of sensible growth and good fiscal management. &#8220The downtown plan seems to want to recapture a historical feeling, and I don't know if the town can support such a concept,” he said. Ronald Naylor ran unopposed in the 5th Ward, and will be replacing longtime alderman Pat Conboy. Naylor has previously served as DeKalb's city engineer and its head of public works. Brent Keller, who also ran unopposed, will be taking over from James Barr as the 7th Ward alderman. Keller is a student at Northern Illinois University and serves as the head of mass transit with the Student Association there. In the 3rd Ward race, a mailer was delivered anonymously to homes on Monday in the ward in support of Victor Wogen. The mailer alleged Kapitan's home had numerous code violations. Wogen denies any involvement with the production and distribution of the mailing, and said he did not know who sent it out. &#8220There's no animosity between Steve and myself,” he said. &#8220I think he did a great job as alderman, but it was time for a change.” Kapitan said he spoke with a colleague familiar with postal regulations and was told codes that are usually found on mail and that can be used to track origins were taken off all the mailers. As far as the code violations on his home, Kapitan said he was working with the city to bring his house up to regulations. &#8220I had replaced the roof myself, but in doing so other problems were uncovered,” he said. &#8220Also, the picture on the flier shows a side of my house I had scraped off to repaint it, but it suddenly got cold again and I couldn't finish. It's possible this could have been a factor in this whole thing.” Kapitan plans to keep attending city meetings and voicing his opinion, which is what he said got him started in city politics before he was on council. Wogen was surprised to have defeated Kapitan, comparing it to beating Michael Jordan in a basketball game. &#8220He's still a very important part of the ward,” Wogen said. &#8220I hope I can pick his brain as much as he'll let me.” Wogen is seeking to establish volunteer groups to help fix people's homes and yards in the ward. He wants to offer businesses some incentives but thinks tax breaks should be cut from five years to three, and he also wants to direct funding and upgrading efforts toward DeKalb schools. Benji Feldheim can be reached at bfeldheim@daily-chronicle.com.

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