Bouquet It's often difficult to take a stand for something you care greatly about. Such was the case Monday night when protesters followed the city's suit and carried on with business as usual before the City Council meeting. At the risk of public chastisement, DeKalb landlords and renters stood up in opposition to proposed inspections of the city's rental properties. Mayor Frank Van Buer, his family and all the work he has put into DeKalb warrant utmost respect in his passing, but DeKalb's city staff and citizens must foot the responsibility of continuing and maintaining a public discourse that best serves our community's interests. These protesters weren't disrespecting the mayor; they were fulfilling the difficult roles of active and engaged citizens - an example all too many people could afford to take note of. Barb Second Ward Alderman Kris Povlsen was among four city council members who tentatively agreed to support a property tax increase in order to help fund the construction of a new police department. This is a bit unsettling, given his comments on the matter just after the meeting. “The property tax concept is good for bonding,” Povlsen was quoted as saying in a Wednesday Daily Chronicle article. “But we need to look at creative ways to use existing dollars and create other revenue for this project.” If that's how he feels, then why would he be ready to agree to a tax raise? The DeKalb Police do need a new facility, but other possible revenue sources should be further examined before the city council is ready to tinker with taxes again. Other possibilities are there, and DeKalb citizens deserve a government that is willing and prepared to explore them. Bouquet Rich Fioretto didn't hesitate when he saw his neighbor's garage on fire Tuesday in Cortland. Fioretto, a volunteer with the Cortland Fire Department, immediately called 911 but went further and called firefighters on duty directly to keep them informed on what was happening. The garage was completely engulfed in flames and any hesitation would've meant more damage to nearby homes. While Fioretto is out on injury leave from the fire department, he still went into the home and let out dogs belonging to the home owners. People who are quick to step in and notify emergency departments can save lives and great costs to others. Barb DeKalb City Council members who attended Tuesday night's meeting about building a new police facility neglected to discuss a major facet of the property tax increase mechanism to fund the project - a sunset clause. A clause eliminating tax increases to fund the facility is written in a city staff memo dated July 23, but in the midst of discussing the facility, no mention was made of it Tuesday night. DeKalb does need a new police facility with a growing population and a growing number of violent crimes per year. The argument for building now even in the midst of economic turmoil may have some validity, especially if costs are greater down the line. But city council needs to include a way to end the tax before it becomes a permanent funding mechanism. Several veteran aldermen have lambasted the sales tax increase in 2003 when talk of including a sunset clause was never followed through with action. The council should not repeat past mistakes. Bouquet Count how many plastic bags you currently have in your home. If you're like most Americans, it might not be unlikely for you to have hundreds laying around - stuffed under sinks in cabinets, stuffed inside one another to be stowed away in pantries and anywhere else out of sight and mind. Stores that take steps to counteract our country's gratuitous plastic bag usage deserve great credit. Lots of people realize how easy it is to cut back on the number of plastic bags they use when they go to the store. But lots of people don't, and stores like Aldi and Ben Franklin Craft Store in DeKalb are doing a service to the community and the earth by either cutting out plastic bag usage entirely or by charging a per-bag fee at the register. Many more stores in DeKalb sell reusable cloth grocery bags also, and this too is a positive step forward in the process of “going green” as a community. Having to bring one's own bags to a store or purchase them for minimal prices once there is not the end of the world. Bouquet A small crowd of supporters gathered Wednesday at the Sycamore Public Library as 16th Congressional District Democratic candidate Robert Abboud rallied for the November general election. The current mayor of Barrington Hills, Abboud spent the two-hour town hall meeting discussing what he feels are the most dire concerns in DeKalb County, Illinois and the United States: gas prices, energy sources, a struggling economy and foreign policy. Abboud is challenging 16th Congressional District incumbent Don Manzullo, R-Egan, in the Nov. 4 general election. “Why am I doing this?” Abboud said to the group 10 people who came to the meeting. “What it comes down to is the future of not just my own life, but the future of our community and the future of our country. If we are going to make the right change in our country ... we need to reach back into the towns and the communities and we need to network.” Not only did Abboud clearly discuss where his priorities lie, but arrived early and lingered after the meeting to mingle with those who attended. The environment was casual and unintimidating, which often allowed for open discussion. Whether you agree with his stance on political issues or not, Abboud was successful in informing voters and welcoming all.