Through it all, accountability front and center.
Right up front: this is a puff piece, just like the post on nice guy AVM Mike Baker. Lest you think standing up and pointing out the need to follow rules that make sense is a recent phenomenon, here’s three guys that everyone in DG should know, and say thank you to. They’ve been walking the walk, looking out for residents, and speaking truth to power for decades.
Frank had a long career as an architect. He knows good design when he sees it, he knows bad design when he sees it. When he sees bad design he calls attention to it. He’s been talking and writing about handrail and stair safety, and how the village ignores it for many years. He’s still at it. An easy going guy until you try and run some BS by him. Doggedly refuses any attempt to derail the discussion:
I have been a Licensed Architect for more than 55 years and take exception to the statement that the handrails at Fire Station 3 met the existing building code when the building was constructed. The 1955 National Building Code, the oldest I have, requires handrails on both sides of all stairs equal to or more than 44 inches in width and one (1) on stairs less than 44 inches. I am sure this code predates the station construction.
A staunch R, Andy is a classic Dirksen Rebublican: the best government is a small one, it’s okay to have compassion, but not an endlessly open wallet, and just because you say so, doesn’t mean it is so.
Why is Acadia-On-The-Green allowed to build a wooden structure instead of using safer steel and concrete construction which would be much more fire proof and quieter for residents so they won’t have to listen to their neighbors?
The above, written in January of 2007, accurately predicted the noise problem between the post office and AOTG. Being a life long accredited professional engineer has something to do with it. He also called attention to the downtown street crossing brick disaster as it was being built, and wrote a follow up explaining how to fix it this year. Public Works came to the same conclusion, later.
Speaking of calling disasters before they happen, when our downtown street roadbeds begin failing 30 years too early, go ahead and ask Pete Hultman why that is. He has all the photgraphs showing required mandatory construction safety laws being ignored, and of specified requirements like clean fill under the streets for proper pavement support being completely ignored as the construction company simply back filled old debris under the streets and sidewalks. When he saw how sloppy the work was progressing, he was not surprised at all when mistakes caused flooding in many of the basements along downtown Main Street.
Pete was the lead engineer when Good Sam was first built. He knows how to build things that last, and he knows our downtown streets aren’t it. He has shown council and the mayors his photos of the blatant rip-off of public trust and public money, and has been ignored. He still has all those photos, and will walk you through what needed to be, and what did not happen.
Three old codgers or three wise old owls?
Now, you might think, yeah a couple cranky old men. Well, they do suffer the wisdom of experience, something nowadays sometimes in short supply. You will be hard pressed to find three guys with better attitudes and brighter dispositions, all three with an easy smile and a self depreciating demeanor. There never is any personal ego gratification in their efforts, just a dogged pursuit of common sense and a determination to follow the rules for building things safely and correctly. They just want things done right. Say you’re going to do something, then do that thing; don’t do something else, do what you said.
So they say their say, have thick skin about retorts from the less informed or from those with an agenda that conflicts, they remain polite and congenial, and insist that things go like they’re supposed to, not how is most convenient.
It’s no coincidence these three are stalwarts of The Downers Grove Watch, the original and seminal citizen advocates for responsible local government, founded in 2001. They continue to stay involved, and they continue to hold local government responsible for their actions; responsible to all residents.