Dec 272011
 

How many errors does a shortstop have to make before you consider moving him to a different position or moving him out of the organization? Maybe the team is better if they move him to third base (less fielding chances) or moving him the end of the bench (even less fielding chances). The main purpose of a shortstop is to cleanly field the ball and accurately throw it. If it is not happening, then it is time for a change. So wouldn’t the same hold true for a city manager. The purpose of a city manager is to manage the city by making sure what needs to done is being done. If its not being done then its time to find a new city manager who is up for the challenge and can get the job done. It’s as simple as that.

This could not be more evident than in the recent mismanagement by the city of Naperville with regard to the non-profit Naperville group Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry, when the city provided erroneous information in an untimely manner that resulted in the Department of Housing and Urban Development denying a request for grant funding to the tune of almost $150,000.

So what did the city of Naperville do to rectify the problem? Well first, the city admitted the mistake but this only came after it hit the airwaves and internet. So to admit the mistake is like the owner of the Titanic saying the ship sank a week after it hit the iceberg. Then the city apparently improved payroll expense by lowering the city staff headcount by one; possibly the one that was the HR sacrifice for Naperville’s mismanagement. Rather than calling the city manager on the carpet for the needless ‘screw up’, let’s ‘take out’ an hourly or lower level salaried city employee. Then the city decided to do what government considers the answer to all problems is, they threw money at the problem by approving a payment of  $148,627 of local funds (your tax dollars) to cover the loss of that amount from federal funds because someone was not overseeing the management of city business. The city is already looking at a projected fiscal year deficit of nearly $1 million and this adds another 15% of that to the deficit. When other cities such as Zion are looking for ways to save money such as selling their holiday displays for $5,000, the city of Naperville is adding tens of thousands of dollars to their (our) deficit because of city mismanagement.

Chances are if you talk to city manager Doug Krieger, he would deflect all responsibility and accountability for the error to someone or something else. Much as he will do when Smart Meters begin to have major problems. Prior to troubles surfacing, city manager Doug Krieger enjoys using the words ‘absolutely’ and ‘guarantee’ to express how confident he is that he is in absolute total control and can guarantee it,  and nothing could possibly go wrong; however after issues surface those words are absent from his vocabulary, and instead we hear something to the effect of ‘things happen’. Why the Naperville city council allows this to continue is a conundrum. Maybe it is a ‘good old boys’ mindset, maybe somebody has “something” on somebody, or maybe they just don’t have the courage to demonstrate strong leadership. Whatever the reason, the citizens of Naperville are again asked to carry a heavier financial burden due to incompetent and blatant mismanagement. City manager Doug Krieger’s mismanagement comes in the form of trusting without verifying. It’s good to trust only if one verifies.

Maybe Naperville needs a Theo Epstein to come in and clean house. Someone who can make sure that routine ground balls are fielded properly and that fans are getting their moneys-worth.

Dec 212011
 

December 19 marked the last Naperville city council meeting of the year, which means the council can’t do anything additional this year to intrude in citizens’ lives, and the fine citizens of Naperville can ‘ease up’ on the council until next year. Christmas and the holiday season give each side the opportunity to ‘give it a rest’; the ‘it’ being ‘muscle flexing’.

The interaction between the Naperville city council and the citizens of Naperville are similar to the game “Whack-a-mole” where a little cuddly animal pops up from a hole and then is hammered back down, only to pop up elsewhere. In this case, the little cuddly animal is a citizen of Naperville speaking to the Naperville city council, only to be hammered down, and then another citizen pops up and is hammered down.

In WWI on Christmas day in 1914, the German and British soldiers stopped fighting for the day on the Western front and talked, laughed, and sang Silent Night together. If that can happen, then the council and the citizens can also do the same….sort of for a while. At least until the next meeting on January 17 and then everybody can start ‘mixing it up’ again.

If you were to look at the Naperville city council Christmas wish list, you would see some of the following wants:

  • fewer presenters at Public forum
  • no citizen-sponsored referendum requests
  • no term limits
  • no districts
  • Smart meters on every home and business
  • No budget deficit
  • Ultimate transparence where no one can see anything
  • Fewer citizens attending council meetings
  • A compliant and docile constituency.
  • More ordinances to manipulate citizens
  • Higher taxes
  • Higher penalty fees for smart-meter dissidents.
  • Less citizen awareness

However, as the Rolling Stones said (maybe to the council) “You can’t always get what you want…..you get what you need.”

So for Christmas let’s look at what the Naperville city council may need as a group:

  • fewer ordinances
  • more budget constraint and expense awareness
  • more respect and courtesy extended to presenters
  • more honest communication with Naperville citizens
  • less intrusion in the lives of Naperville citizens

On an individual basis, each council member may need the following:

  • Mayor Pradel could use a ‘make over’ to look like someone else and finally get to ‘let loose’ in downtown Naperville. Acting mayoral does have its disadvantages.
  • Joe McElroy needs someone else on the council who is also open-minded so he can have someone to relate to.
  • Judy Brodhead needs saltshakers.
  • Bob Fieseler needs to read a book on how to look sincere.
  • Doug Krause needs to have his picture in GQ Magazine
  • Kenn Miller needs one more ‘n’
  • Grant Wehrli needs a good haircut and shave.
  • Paul Hinterlong needs a $100,000+ audio/visual council upgrade
  • Steve Chirico needs suit pants three inches longer

Hey, the British and Germans did it for a day on Christmas, so maybe the citizens of Naperville can get what they want and what they need.

Dec 172011
 

Imagine if we knew now, what we will know in the year 2033. That is only 22 years from now.  Maybe global warming would not be an issue now. Maybe we would know in which alternative fuel to invest. We would know which year the Cubs will win the World Series. We would know whether or not Smart Meters were smart or if it was one gigantic fraud perpetrated by the 2011 Naperville city council on citizens.

Chances are that the citizens of Naperville in 2033 might have no idea what transpired in 2011 with regard to Smart Meters. Most likely, they will have no idea who was on the city council and the name George Pradel might be the answer to a Naperville trivia game question. Who now can remember the names of the city council members and mayor’s name 22 years ago in 1989? All right, council member Doug Krause might remember since he was on the council in 1989, but you might be hard pressed to find a second person who could name the others.

Council members and mayors come and go, however the effects of their decisions linger. Without research, we do not remember who made the decisions or how they were made; we just know if the decisions were beneficial or classic examples of somebody’s poor judgment.

In the year 2033, if it turns out that the Smart Meter project worked, no one will really care who was responsible for making the project a reality. Sort of like the light switch; somebody invented it and all we care about is that the light goes on or off.  If Smart Meters turn out to be a colossal experiment in bad judgment, then those responsible for implementing the fiasco will most likely be long gone from the political scene and not held accountable for leading us in the wrong direction.

So where might be our nine council members in the year 2033 if a concerned citizen in the future wanted get some straight answers on the not-so Smart Meters? Let us look at our crystal ball powered by a smart meter.

Mayor George Pradel will be retired and enjoying life in a ‘smart meter free’ Naperville subdivision. It will be considered a ‘high rent’ area since most Naperville citizens would want to live there for health reasons….less RF.

Council member Bob Fieseler will be long gone from the council after being soundly defeated in a landslide vote to a write-in candidate from the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group. Unable to run for any other state office because he received no votes in the council election, he decides to cash-in his ‘Smart Meter’ company stock and move to Switzerland where he is no longer the punch line of local jokes. Having had his identity stolen, because of a breach of security with Smart Meter information, he strives to rebuild his reputation, only to find out that his reputation was not that good in the first place.

Council member Grant Wehrli will have had a successful political career after entering a 12-step recovery program to kick the habit of supporting smart meters. The voters based on his courage to admit publicly that he was wrong about smart meters will forgive him.  Once that monkey is off his back he wins the election for mayor of Naperville and serves for two weeks before realizing that because of the Smart Meter project, the city of Naperville is so deep in debt, that when the city finance director looks up, she is still looking down. He resigns as mayor and wins the election for governor of Illinois. He continues to reside in Naperville, but now living on Wehrli Road (a smart meter free road) and sets up his office at Wehrli Stadium at North Central College. His main goal is to change the name of North Central College to Wehrli University and he re-names the dorms Wehrli 1, Wehrli 2, and Wehrli 4. There is no Wehrli Dorm Three since it suffered water damage during a Smart Meter fire in the summer of 2030.

Council member Kenn Miller in an effort to distance himself from the Smart Meter debacle decides to change his name by adding one more ‘n’ to his first name and an additional ‘l’ to his last name thereby becoming Kennn Milller so when his name is goggled it won’t be associated with Smart Meters. His last official vote on the council is in favor of rezoning the southwest corner of Naper and 75th.  Upon leaving the Naperville city council and cashing in his smart meter portfolio, he opens a used-car lot on the southwest corner of Naper and 75th street (coincidence…not) and becomes the best used-car salesman in the Midwest.

Council member Doug Krause celebrates his 41st year on the Naperville city council. He is elected mayor of Naperville and serves one term. He finds out that following an icon (Mayor Pradel) is a miserable experience and decides not to run for re-election.  He returns to his position as council member and continues to be the best-dressed council member in Naperville.

Council member Steve Chirico losses his re-election bid, even though he runs unopposed.  He becomes the first public official ever to lose an election when unopposed. He decides to choose another career that he is totally unqualified for and become a ‘Sensitivity’ counselor. He then creates a start-up business called ‘Gavels ‘R Us’ and gets a patent for an unbreakable  fifteen pound gavel; no matter how hard someone pounds it, it doesn’t break.

Council member Brodhead decides to submit her resignation; however, it is not accepted because she does so about a month after she loses her re-election bid. She takes a position as a lobbyist for the National Salt Association.

Council member Hinterlong resigns from the Naperville city council because of the lack of respect he perceives from everyone he encounters. The tipping event comes when he shows up for a council meeting and his chair is gone.

His job search results in two opportunities; 1) fixing smart meters, or 2) going door-to-door and apologizing to everyone, he encounters for voting for smart meters. He burns out quickly and decides to open a liquor store in Naperville if he can get a liquor license from the city council. Public forum speaker time has been reduced from the 3-minute time limit, down to 10 seconds and he never gets beyond giving his name and address.

Council member Joe McElroy decides to not run for re-election; not because he cannot win, on the contrary he decides to leave because he can win. While waiting days to get his Smart Meter fixed by repair person Hinterlong, he has an epiphany, and decides he wants to get into an honest line of work. He opens a ‘philosophy shop’ in downtown Naperville. He dispenses bits of wisdom and common sense. On weekends he able to charge more. He gets the ‘charge-more-on-weekends’ idea from the Smart Meter project where rates are the highest on weekends, holidays and daylight hours.

No one really knows the where about of former Naperville city manager Doug Krieger. He quietly left town in the middle of the night when the Smart Meter grid collapsed and engulfed the city in total darkness. He thought it would be an ideal time to leave. Word has it that he moved to a small town in Montana and became a flashlight salesman.

In the year 2033, the citizens of Naperville have learned to navigate throughout town without the use of reliable electric. Naperville’s new claim to fame is that it is the largest producer of candles in the world. Additionally Naperville houses the Margaret Price National Smart Meter Museum; exhibitions show obsolete and useless not-so Smart Meters from the past that at the time seemed like a good idea. The museum is named in honor of Margaret Price…. Naperville’s mayor in 1989.

Dec 102011
 

The Starz network is currently running a popular series titled “Boss” staring Kelsey Grammar as the mayor Tom Kane of Chicago. Someone very familiar with the workings of Chicago politics must be the technical advisor, since it is considered ‘spot on’ with the backroom dealings and power plays of the politics in Chicago. In a recent episode it was mentioned that to be politically successful in Chicago you need three things; money, muscle and to neutralize the opposition. To a much lesser degree the Naperville city council tries to use the same trifecta; money (your tax dollars), muscle (the gavel along with armed police presence at meetings, and ordinances against citizens), and neutralizing the opposition (intimidation, ridicule, and keeping voters in the dark). There are two glaring differences between politics in Chicago and politics in Naperville; 1) Naperville council members are political lightweights compared to Chicago aldermen, and 2) Naperville citizens are determined, committed, persistent, not easy to push around, and intelligent. Consider the fact that the forewoman for Blagojevich’s retrial is from Naperville.

It’s not that unusual to hear the following terms at a Naperville city council meeting: “sticking it to us, system is fraught with error, our hands are tied, concerns about what the city is doing, that’s not fair, keep the heat on, why go further in the hole with the deficit, are there any safeguards in place that can guarantee that our funds are going to where they are supposed to go, and how do we go about safe-guarding misappropriation of our money”. In fact, these terms were used in last Tuesday night’s Naperville city council meeting. You would think those words were spoken by Naperville citizens about the Naperville city council (and usually they are), except this time it was the Naperville city council members speaking those words about Chicago politics with regard to Chicago’s new water user charges that suburbs will pass-on to their residents. So in essence, there are trust concerns from Naperville politicians towards Chicago politicians. Yet the Naperville city council cannot understand why the citizens of Naperville are not trusting of their own city council. It does not take a genius to see the commonality of money, muscle and neutralizing opposition.

Observe any Naperville city council meeting and the reasons for mistrust are glaring. It is actually surprising that the Naperville city council wanted to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their audio-visual quality. It is not surprising that they wanted to spend thousands of dollars; it is surprising that they wanted others to see and hear more clearly, what they are saying. It is clearly recorded for the world to see. You would think based on their comments and actions, they would be wiser to dim the lights and muffle the sound.

Listen and watch as council member Kenn Miller emphatically state that “it won’t happen” with regard to Smart Meters not being intrusive.

Then we have Naperville citizen Amber Schoedel asking a very valid question about who from the city will be responsible when things go wrong with the ‘Smart’ meters.

When is the last time you heard of a politician being speechless; not able to utter one word? How about 11 politicians and government “leaders” including eight council members, one mayor, one city manager and a city attorney unable or unwilling to answer a simple question. Watch and listen as Naperville citizen Jo Malik ‘freezes’ all 11 with one simple question.

And as citizen, Glen Mendoza presents a straightforward simple solution.

Finally, we have council member Kenn Miller again flaunting his close-mindedness; he appears determined not to let any facts alter his bureaucratic, monolith mindset. This is the same Kenn Miller who ran for mayor and likely will do so again, so keep this in mind the next time you vote.

The Naperville city council may have the money, and they may have some muscle, but they are definitely not neutralizing the opposition.

Dec 052011
 

It’s funny how Karma works. Whether you believe it exists or not, it can catch you by surprise; sort of like emphysema. Take for example Chevrolet’s recent announcement that if you are concerned that your new Chevrolet Volt will catch fire, they will go as far as to buy it back. This comes after safety investigations continue on the electric car, which has caught fire following test crashes. A buy-back seems rather drastic until you consider that GM has sold only about 6,000 Volts; that is nothing compared to the 52,000 Smart Meters that the Naperville city council will install in Naperville against the wishes of Naperville citizens.  GM executives continue to insist that the Volts are safe, very similar to the Naperville city council insisting that Smart Meters are safe.

GM spokesperson Greg Martin said that once GM’s engineering team and federal safety officials figure out the cause of the fires, they should be able to do something about it. In other words, they have no idea what the problem is. Very similar to Naperville city manager Doug Krieger having no idea that federal funds to help the needy in Naperville would be withheld due to lack of oversight by the person in charge of overseeing. The GM spokesperson went on to say that “Volt owners are the least likely people to complain about the car because they want this kind of technology; they’ve been waiting for it.” So let me get this straight; they want this technology so much that it’s OK if they catch fire. Again similar to the Naperville city council being hell-bent on installing Smart Meters and that citizen concerns are unimportant.

Now we are getting closer to the Karma piece. On October 11, Naperville Mayor George Pradel, on behalf of the city, enthusiastically accepted a Chevy Volt electric vehicle from a local dealer. Just like a kid with a new toy, he took a ceremonial drive around the Naperville Auto Test Track to publicly demonstrate how cool it was to have an electric car, very similar to Naperville city council members publicly demonstrating how safe Smart Meters are.  When they finally got him off the track, it was decided that the Mayor would drive the electric car for a period of time and then city council members would each tool around town for their fun time. It was considered a great way to bridge the coolness of electric cars and the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative (NSGI). Now comes the Karma, you have a group of clueless and tyrannical politicians, driving an electric car that occasionally catches fire promoting not-so Smart Meters; it is almost like a perfect storm.

Chances are if you see the city’s Volt parked in the lower level of the Municipal Center parking deck, you will know that somewhere near there will be a city council member dragging a fire extinguisher around when it is his or her turn to drive it for the day. Just as the city council is making it mandatory that citizens have Smart Meters attached to their homes, maybe the citizens of Naperville should make it mandatory that the council members be required to all pile into the volt (like a clown car) when going out to lunch together. The only question would be who is going to carry the extinguisher.

Dec 022011
 

“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny”

—–     Thomas Jefferson     —–

“All progress requires change, but not all change is progress.”

—–     Coach John Wooden, UCLA     —–

Combine those two quotes with efforts of Naperville citizens to stop the encroachment of  the Naperville city council’s mandate to install Smart Meters on residents homes and you have a classic example of tyranny vs liberty.  The following link provides more information.

http://patch.com/A-pgjn

 

Nov 302011
 

Times are tough and money is tight for many, and it is even more challenging for those who have less than most. Now the Naperville city government has made it even extra difficult for those with the most need. What makes this unfortunate is that it was unnecessary. It did not have to happen, if only those in charge would have followed due diligence and simply done their jobs properly.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, administered by Housing Urban Development (HUD) provides federal funding for affordable housing programs and varied service organizations to serve the underprivileged. The city of Naperville failed to produce a mandatory annual report on the use of funds for the years of 2009 and 2010; hence, the city was notified that funding for those programs would be frozen. HUD did further investigation and discovered additional ‘serious’ mistakes of non-compliance by the city of Naperville.

This affects over $430,000 in funds, which would have helped numerous non-profit organizations in Naperville, including Loaves and Fishes (a community pantry) which stands to lose almost $150,000. Keep in mind that this was caused by lack of city oversight resulting major inaccuracies.

So who is in charge of managing the city?  Unless his title is incorrect, that would be Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger. Krieger said the CDBG program is ‘very rule and timing-driven and we made some mistakes in processing grants’. That would qualify as an under statement. Apparently, the person in charge of the program is no longer employed by the city; however, the person in charge of managing the city (Doug Krieger) is still employed by the city. Krieger further mentioned that he was “not going to put blame on any single source, since it was really multiple sources.” Krieger went on to say that, he was not sure how the non-compliance and errors continued unchecked. Now here is the kicker-quote, “I don’t think I have a good answer”. Since Krieger  an is not sure how this happened and he doesn’t have any answers, this would be code for “I have no idea how to prevent this from happening in the future.  This comes from the very person who seems absolutely sure about almost absolutely everything including the Smart Meters. He is absolutely sure they are safe, absolutely sure the information will secure, absolutely sure wasting millions of taxpayer dollars was a wise investment, and absolutely sure the project will work. Based on that the citizens of Naperville might be absolutely in trouble with the council’s decision to implement the not-so Smart Meters .

It is the city manager’s responsibility to make sure things are done properly. If that is not the case, then his title should be Naperville City Bystander. The Naperville city council needs to hold the city manager accountable for his actions, decisions, and oversight of staff. In the famous words of Ronald Reagan, “trust but verify”. Krieger may have trusted but apparently, verification is not part of his management style.

At the last city council meeting, an agenda topic was being discussed and the term “Perfect is the enemy of the good”. Well to that I say, “If better is possible, then good is not enough.”  If Doug Krieger’s management style is considered ‘good’, then based on this loss of funding for the needy, “good is not enough because better is possible”. The citizens of Naperville deserve better.  It is as simple as that.

Nov 252011
 

The next general election for Naperville city council is about 16 months from now, however it is never too early to start evaluating those who profess to lead us, and which of those need to be replaced at the next election. Last year we graded each of the nine city council members and ranked them from best to worst,  and interestingly though not surprisingly, the two council members who were deemed to be the least effective are no longer on the city council. Whether or not this will repeat, remains to be seen since the election is more than a year away.

What we can appraise are mid-term performances for the council members based on the grades and comments you submitted. We asked that you keep your comments very brief (one, two, or three words) characterizing each council member and we appreciate your effort in doing so. Though we do not necessarily agree with each comment submitted, we respectfully acknowledge their right to respectfully comment. We averaged the grades and included some of the more common sentiments. We also included the final grade from last spring as a comparison to their grades now.

The mid-term grades at Watchdog University for each Naperville city council member in descending order are:

1) Doug Krause     [A]    Improved from (A-)

Considered as the ‘voice’ for Naperville citizens, council member Krause is time and again, voted down by his peers. It takes courage to be the lone dissenter and speak up for citizens, and this is exactly what Krause does. He admits when he is incorrect (his initial support of Smart Meters). Comments included: good communicator, good follow-up, active listener, balanced, experienced, values input, innovative, flexible, open-minded, seeks collaboration, seeks feedback, looks beyond the obvious, says what needs to be said, strong sense of passion, makes things happen, still the best dressed council member.

2) Joe McElroy      [B+] New to the council

The Watchdog did not originally endorse Joe’s candidacy, and we have learned by Joe’s presence on the council that we were wrong. Joe brings a calm demeanor to the dais, and though he is a person of few words, the words he speaks are meaningful. We get a sense he truly wants to make the right decisions and wants to understand all sides of an issue. Comments include: looks for ways around obstacles and road  blocks, anticipates consequences, sets appropriate priorities, identifies important objectives, cares for others, demonstrates compassion and respect, addresses conflict constructively, most relaxed person on council, comfortable in his own style, truly listens to others, willing to speak up for what’s right, excellent listener.

3) George Pradel    [B]   Improved from (B-)

Mayor Pradel declared this would be his last term in office. He has been an outstanding leader for the most part and a cheerful ambassador for our city. He does not need the gavel to earn the respect his position deserves. To be in office as long as he has been in office and earn a grade of ‘B’ is a major accomplishment since the position of Mayor is high profile. Comments include: friendly, likeable, welcoming, compassionate, approachable, rallies people to accomplish tasks, maximizes relationships, skating through his final term, gives recognition, popular spokes person for Naperville, quietly controlling,

4) Paul Hinterlong [C+] Declined from (A+)

Last year Paul rated # 1 and has slipped to # 4 this year. He has a lot to offer, but he doesn’t offer it. He needs to speak up. Unfortunately when he speaks up he slips up; most notably when he voted to improve the council’s audio system, he implied it was too much work for him to move towards the microphone, hence spending thousands of dollars on audio upgrades would address his concern. Typically, his plain speaking style is refreshing because he has the ability and potential to add much-needed common sense to issues.

Comments include: unsure, thoughtful, friendly, practical, amiable, self-conscious, respectful, quiet, humble, grateful, avoids risks, takes too long to deliver negative feedback, flashes of brilliance, needs to lead rather than follow, gets complacent,

5) Kenn Miller      [C-]   Declined from (C)

If you look up the word ‘average’ in the dictionary, most likely you will see a picture of Kenn Miller. In a two person Mayoral election, he would come in second; in a five-person race, he would come in fifth. The second ‘n’ in ‘Kenn’ is still silent.   Comments include:  unsure, cautious, confused, uncomfortable, suspicious, grim, just another ‘Cheerio in a bowl of Cheerios, analytical, formal, limits gestures, little variation if vocal intonation, trust issues, car salesman mentality, needs to loosen up, waits excessively for information, little if any passion, struggles with understanding concepts, too few leadership dimensions, doesn’t drive change, would be a good Chicago alderman, manages execution well, needs to demonstrate accountability.

6) Judy Brodhead [D+] No change

Judy is consistent in being below average, always meets expectations which unfortunately are low. However, she is still the most effective non-male member of the council. She has an unusual fixation on salt when discussing issues. If given the opportunity, she would be an outstanding kindergarten teacher; seems to relate well with ‘simple’. We get the feeling that Judy sees her involvement on the city council as a hobby. Comments include airy, talkative, happy, disconnected, friendly, non-entity, inconsequential, helpful, irrelevant, spectator, adds very little value if any. Having Judy Brodhead on the city council, is like going to the same average restaurant every day and having the same meal with extra salt.  Harmless but slightly boring.

7) Grant Wehrli     [D]    Declined from (B+)

Grant is one of those people you want to like, however he gives you so many reasons not to like him, which is unfair because he is a likeable person. You also get the feeling that when he was in grade school he probably got beat up quite often during recess. Seems to rely too heavily on his last name, and that can only take him so far. It might be intoxicating for him to see his name on streets and stadiums, which may account for his dismissiveness towards public forum presenters. Comments include: opinionated, voices unpopular positions on issues, demonstrates courage, action orientated, time disciplined, sense of humor, not open minded, assertive, hostile, belligerent, disrespectful towards citizens with opposing view points, arrogant, condescending. Appears to believe that ‘a penny saved’ is a city council oversight.

8  Steve Chirico    [F+]   New to the council

Steve was able to accomplish within just a few months of being on the council, what it takes most council members years to attain, and that is intense dislike from voters. His learning curve on the council has flat lined. He lost many points by gavel pounding a young woman out of a council meeting, and using armed police officers to escort her out of the building. If that meeting had been a hockey game, he would have admonished to the penalty box.  He followed that stunt, a few weeks later, by ridiculing and hurling a personal insult to another young woman who dared to respectfully oppose his viewpoint. He appears determined to be a one-term council member, and chances are that Naperville voters will help him accomplish his goal. Whatever his major malfunctions are could possibly be aided by an industrial strength dose of Fleets prior to meetings. Comments include: defensive, hostile, out-of-his comfort zone, overwhelmed, weak, up tight, inadequate, insecure, powerless, empty suit, testosterone-challenged, inflated hat size, needs an honest mentor, could learn much if he was willing to listen, has potential, analytical, past-oriented, strong willed, reactive, spends too much time looking in his rear view mirror vs. looking forward, slow on the uptake, looks at Naperville as the “Peoples Republic of Naperville”, his current leadership style would qualify him as the ‘tallest midget in town’. Has not performed as advertised in his campaign.

9) Bob Fieseler     [F]      Declined from (D)

Bob’s re-election in the last election apparently gave him a false sense of empowerment. If the election was ward or district based, chances are he would have been classified as a “former” council member. Council member grades were averaged, yet he still managed to earn a solid ‘F’. That is not easy to do. Even Chirico had a ‘+’ after his ‘F’. His ‘flag carrier’ position on the Smart Meter issue has been a major reason for his voter support to plummet. His shelf life is out dated. Comments include: disrespectful, arrogant, demeaning, hostile, whining and crying, condescending, bush-league, integrity-challenged, disingenuous, unreasonable, pandering, double-speak, insincere, evasive, trust issues; other than that Bob is O.K.

Overall two council members improved (Krause and Pradel), one had no change (Brodhead), two members are new (McElroy and Chirico), and unfortunately the performance of four Naperville city council members declined (Hinterlong, Miller, Wehrli, and Fieseler)

Unseating an incumbent is difficult; however, it is becoming easier now than before in large part due to the internet. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a posting or article along with video clip is worth exponentially more. The Watchdog website alone, in less than one year, has readers in 43 states and 29 countries. Naperville citizens are engaged and active in their communities, and very knowledgeable about what is happening in their hometown. Council members can browbeat, badger, ridicule, and intimidate citizens with penalty fees, ordinances, mandated 90-second public forum presentations, pounding gavels, tossing law-abiding citizens out of meetings, and armed police presence at council meetings, but citizens can boot those council members out of city hall at election time. It has been done, and it will be done at a quickening pace. If Naperville city council members cannot grasp that reality, then they too will be sitting on the citizen’s side of the dais requesting their 3 minutes to speak.

Under-performing council members are no longer acceptable. Council members who are disrespectful to the citizens of Naperville will no longer be tolerated. Council members who do not listen to their constituency will be replaced. And council members who waste the taxpayer’s money will be voted out of office. The best way to prevent George Orwell’s ‘1984’ is George Washington’s ‘1776’. As Occam would say, It’s as simple as that.

Nov 112011
 

Every now and then, a magical moment occurs on the council side of the  dais at a Naperville city council meeting. It happened at the November 1 meeting when the city council was debating whether to approve continued Red Light Camera enforcement to the tune of almost $350,000. The city council tends to spend our tax dollars as if we had a surplus.  We will look at this later, however let’s set the stage as to how the council created this magical moment and in so doing actually shocked themselves with their own vote.

When the Naperville city council decided to approve the ill-advised concept of Red Light Cameras, they said they did it to improve safety by reducing crashes and injuries, and that it had absolutely nothing to do with increased revenue for the city coffers. As always, the council made it sound as if it was in the best interests of the citizens. Even though cities, including Bolingbrook, and states around the country chose not to approve the use RLCs (Red Light Cameras), the Naperville city council pushed forward against the will of the citizens, much the same way that the council is now pushing forward with the Smart Meter fiasco, again against the will of the citizens of Naperville. It makes you wonder why our city council typically chooses to support the wrong side of an issue. What is it that other city councils know, that our council does not know. Are others smarter or wiser than our city council? And why is it that again the city council of Bolingbrook looks superior to ours with regard to common sense?

Watch and listen to council member Chirico openly admit that RLCs “effectively reduce crashes but it is now costing money” and for that reason he would vote not to approve the contract to continue using RLC’s. What happened to the argument of safety? Isn’t this exactly contrary to why the council approved the RLCs in the first place?

Watch and listen as council members Wehrli, Krause and Pradel state their positions on the topic.

Give credit to Krause and Pradel because they are consistent in their vote on the issue. Krause was not, and is not in favor of RLCs, while Pradel voted for RLCs the first time and this time, and as a former Naperville police officer, it is understandable.  In fact, the only two members of the city council who originally supported  RLCs and now voted not to approve RLCs are council members Wehrli and Fieseler. How can this be? They were proponents of the safety aspect of RLCs and stated that RLCs are not for the purposes of increasing revenue. Wehrli even stated “I’m all about safety”. Yet now when it appears safety has increased they decide that it is no longer important since revenues are negatively impacted. This is classic hypocrisy. Let’s make this perfectly clear; council members Grant Wehrli and Bob Fieseler are poster boys for the definition of ‘hypocrite’. They are not bad people, they are just not as advertised.

Now let’s get to that special magical moment when the Naperville city council voted on the issue. Note that four of the first five vote to approve the RLCs, then the final three vote not to approve RLCs hence causing a 4 to 4 tie vote (Hinterlong was absent), and the motion to continue RLCs was thereby not approved. Then listen closely as you can hear the council genuinely shocked that the motion was not approved. It takes them almost 20 seconds to regain their composure as if the wind had been knocked out of them collectively, which was a magical moment.

It is always magical when the citizens win, and even more magical when the Naperville city council inadvertently throws the decisive punch that causes the council to go down for the count of ten.

Nov 042011
 

If you have ever stepped on a wad of gum on a hot August day, then you know how the Naperville city council must feel with regard to increasing citizen opposition to the Smart Meter debacle that the city council is forcing upon its citizens. The issue just simply will not go away. Even though the city has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to a public relations firm trying to ‘happy talk’ citizens into believing the government has our best interests in mind and why Smart Meters are a good thing, it is not working. By a vote of 8-1 (Krause voted no) the Naperville city council decided to throw another $1.45 million to this PR company hoping to convince Naperville citizens that the council is doing the right thing. The council has already thrown away $3.65 million with not much to show for it; a couple of lobbyists presenting the council mantra during the Open Forum portion of two or three meetings, some impressive name tags for these folks, and some really cool shirts for them to wear during meetings. You’ve got to ‘tip your hat’ to this PR firm for selling their ‘package of snake oil’ to the city manager who in turn sold it to the council who in turn can’t seem to sell it to the citizens of Naperville. If only our local leadership was as smart as this PR company is.

Even the Bank of America decision-makers realized the folly of their ways when they had to drop the $5 monthly charge for debit card usage. Their executives realized very quickly it was not wise to push the issue, yet the Naperville city council (excluding Doug Krause) continues on their road to failure regarding the unnecessary cost of this project, the health and safety concerns, the security and privacy issues, and the rights of citizens.

Listen and watch as Naperville citizens Tom Glass, George Isaac and Kim Bendis present compelling arguments in opposition to the Smart Meters and their support of incorporating due diligence into discussions.

Las Vegas is not taking bets that the Naperville city council will come to their senses. That train has left the station and there are no brakes; only failure can stop that train.

So you ask, “What’s the purpose of the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group”? Well, maybe they think that if they are unable to help citizens in Naperville, they can help citizens and city councils in other cities throughout the country to not make the same mistakes the Naperville city council and city manager have made. You can be sure that others are watching, observing and learning from the ill-advised decisions of the Naperville city council. The internet can be a beautiful thing, and it definitely is in this case.

Let’s face it, if it was not for the money grab that the Naperville city council desperately jumped for, the council would not be acting this foolishly.

It’s all about the money; it’s as simple as that. And if you question if that could  be true, all you have to do is note that later in the city council meeting the city council voted not to approve the award of Option Year One (Red Light Cameras) though accidents have decreased at those RLC intersections. If you remember, the council said it was about safety and not about revenue. Looks like even though safety has increased, revenues have not been what were expected so they voted ‘no’ to RLCs.

Council member Doug Krause has been a staunch supporter of citizen’s rights. Listen and watch as Krause ‘goes to bat’ for the citizens of Naperville.

It takes courage on his part to defend the citizens of Naperville, especially when he is on the receiving end of ire from some of his peers including council members Wehrli, Miller and Chirico.

Game six of the World Series was memorable; 19 runs, 28 hits, 5 errors, about 4 hours to play, yet it came down to a couple of impact moments to say it all. The same happened at the Naperville council meeting. Watch and listen to council member Steve Chirico take just 9 seconds to profess he has the gift of knowledge and wisdom that Naperville citizens do not have.

And listen and watch council member Grant Wehrli take just 7 seconds to use the words ‘nefarious’ and ‘government in action’ in the same phrase.

Maybe because they are the same.