Jan 312012
 

The Smart Meter Awareness Group in Naperville calls on the city of Naperville to ‘come clean’ in its dealings with citizens specifically regarding a coordinated effort between city officials and a government contractor to stifle the voice of Naperville residents.  U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald recently advised Illinois citizens to either become part of the solution by speaking up, or part of the problem by remaining silent regarding political corruption in Illinois at both the state and local levels. At issue is the forced installation of Smart Meters on the homes and businesses of Naperville residents, and the fact that the city of Naperville denied the citizens of Naperville the opportunity to vote on a non-binding referendum though thousands of citizens signed a petition requesting a referendum to be placed on the March ballot.  As the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group points out, “the use of tax dollars for political advocacy and self-dealing should be a concern to every resident of Naperville”, and additionally to every citizen in Illinois, and our country.

Please note the press release dated January 27, 2012 on the following link:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120127005467/en/Naperville-Smart-Meter-Awareness-Calls-City-Naperville

 

Jan 272012
 

Have you ever watched or attended a Naperville city council meeting and said to yourself or someone else ‘Hey I could do that better than they can, I ought to run for council or mayor’.

Well who knows, maybe you could, but I know one thing for sure. I wouldn’t be able to do it, and even on the outside chance that I could, I wouldn’t want to do it. First, I could never be elected, and I know that even more now than I did a few weeks ago. I’d have to go out and get petitions signed in order to file as a candidate. So that in itself eliminates me, because based on what happened to the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group’s petitions, someone would object to my signed petitions. My guess he would be someone who is beholding to a council member.  Then I would have to go to city hall and meet with the Naperville Electoral Board. I would have to get an attorney, and even if he were as good as Perry Mason or Judge Judy, I wouldn’t stand a chance. I would lose the Mayors vote and since the city clerk is an appointed position somewhat beholding to the mayor or the council, that vote goes against me too. So that’s two out of three; unlike baseball, two strikes and I’m out.  Additionally the objector’s lawyer would want to subpoena all those who helped me distribute petitions, including my wife, my son and daughter, my pastor, my doctor, and the guy who repairs my shoes. So they would all be required to appear in person at a specified time and place under penalty. Now I know that wouldn’t go over very well with my family and friends. I mean, they offered to help me, not to go to the slammer on my behalf. The objector’s attorney would also require me to read all the signatures on the petition. That would knock me out of the box too, since I can’t read the doctor’s name signed on a prescription even when his name is printed on the top.

Even if I could overcome all the above, I still couldn’t get elected because once they started looking into my background glaring things from my past would surface like when I got fired from a job at the tender age of 16 for clocking-in too soon from lunch. I took a 25-minute lunch break rather than 30 minutes, which was against union rules. Then I’d be skewered for throwing at batters (occasionally) when I pitched semi-pro baseball back when dirt was new. My thought was, why waste four pitches by intentionally walking a batter, when I could simply clip the batter in the side on the first pitch.

Now let us suppose I could get by all those obstacles and actually get elected. I would have a choice; be a good council member, or be like the other 95%. I don’t think there is a playbook for being a good councilperson since all it takes is listening to the needs of the constituency and doing the right thing. That sounds simple, straightforward and Occam-like.

However you have to think there is a playbook for the other ‘nefarious’ Naperville council members. It’s probably like the Holy Grail, hidden and protected from public view.  It takes a special key held by the most nefarious council member (or city manager by proxy) of all; only he can unlock the Nefarious Naperville City Council Playbook, only he can initiate and present the Top-Ten most despicable, reprehensible, and disreputable tactics to a new council member. Knowing this information is as secure as a resident’s personal information in a Smart Meter, it would take a minute or two to hack the system, which could be accomplished by a high school student during a break from his Drum Show practice. And here is what the list would look like: “The Top-Ten ways to ‘Stick it’ to the citizens of Naperville”

1)     Pretend that you care and that you are listening during Public Forum, while actually dozing off with your eyes wide open.

2)     Tell the citizen that you will get back with an answer, and then see how fast you can forget their question.

3)     Over-promise and under-deliver

4)     Learn how to introduce yourself, example: “Hello, my name is Bob but you can call me Councilman Fieseler”

5)     Try to appear taller during council meetings by sitting on a book of Naperville Ordinances.

6)     Try not to ask for free stuff, but always walk around with your hands open and palms up.

7)     Try to be different by adding an ‘n’ to your first name

8)     Wear suit pants 3 inches too short so people know which one you are.

9)     Perfect the standing nap, so it looks like you’re working when you’re not.

10)Always look at a penny saved, as an oversight by city council.

Now that I think about it, the person that they would find to object to my signed petitions would be one of the batters I brushed back.

Jan 232012
 

You do not often hear someone say he wants to be like the Baltimore Raven field goal kicker who missed the tying field goal in the loss to the New England Patriots. Nor do you hear Illinois politicians say they want to be like  former governor Rod Blagojevich, or presidential candidates say they want to be like former President Jimmy Carter. If you did you would have to ask yourself, what in the world was that person thinking when he said that.

Yet that is the sentiment Naperville city council member Bob Fieseler expressed during the January 17 council meeting while the council was discussing and voting on the possible hiring of a new city employee to fill an open position. Watch and listen as council member Bob Fieseler says that in situations like this, he considers WWFD — What Would Furstenau Do?

He was referring to former council member Dick Furstenau who was soundly defeated in the last city council election. Fieseler said that Furstenau would have likely voted against the hiring of a new city employee, so he decided to vote against the hiring just as Furstenau would have done.

So let me get this straight; council member Bob Fieseler wants to vote the same as defeated and ex-council member Dick Furstenau would vote. Therefore, Fieseler wants to be like Furstenau, which in essence is voted out of office.  If that is the case, and apparently it is, there are at least 4,199 citizens of Naperville who would like to help Bob Fieseler achieve his goal of being voted out of office. These 4,199 citizens represent the number of citizens who signed a petition to get a Smart Meter non-binding referendum on the ballot and which the Naperville Electoral Board decided to deny those citizens the opportunity to vote.

Maybe council member Fieseler would serve himself better, and the citizens of Naperville if rather than wanting to emulate  ex-councilman Furstenau, he would look to his immediate left and vote like senior council member Doug Krause who is the longest tenured council member, and an advocate for the citizens of Naperville. You do not get to be a member of the Naperville city council for nearly a quarter of a century by disenfranchising the electorate and making foolish decisions. There is a reason why Dick Furstenau is an ex-council member, and that same reason applies to Bob Fieseler as he attempts to become an ex-council member. It finally sounds like the citizens of Naperville and council member Bob Fieseler have something on which to agree.

Jan 202012
 

Some topics seem to ignite members of the Naperville city council into action in unusual ways.  For example during last Tuesday’s Naperville city council meeting one of the agenda items was to consider “regulating fowl in residential districts and direct staff to amend Section 10-4-6’ of the Fowl and Livestock code. Simply stated, in this case, can residents have chickens and if so how many. It must be important because the council spent nearly one hour discussing the topic. Additionally it must be very important because only two residents (anti-chicken keepers) complained about one resident (pro-chicken keeper). All three are neighbors and apparently, the topic was presented to the local homeowners association and to the credit of that homeowners association, they deemed the topic not worthy of creating a rule or guideline. In other words, the homeowners association decided to not infringe or encroach in neighbor disagreements by imposing restrictions. The homeowners association agreed that the neighbors could work it out.

The first thought was how we could replace the Naperville city council with this group of citizens from this homeowners association. Imagine a group of people first considering if topics are worthy of intervention, and then deciding that restrictions, codes, ordinances, rules, infringement, and governing bodies are not necessary for the resolution of disagreement. If you can imagine that type of group, then you are definitely not thinking about the Naperville city council, since much of their action consists of squeezing citizens with restrictions and then forcing them into compliance.

What really is interesting is that the Naperville city council will consider the needs of one or two residents, while ignoring or insulting the wishes and desires of thousands of residents. This not only happened here with one chicken keeper, it also happened with one Smart Meter petition objector over the wishes and needs of over four-thousand petition signers. While the homeowners association decided to let the citizens work it out, the city of Naperville did the opposite; they did not allow the citizens to ‘work it out’ by denying the citizens the opportunity to vote on a non-binding referendum regarding Smart Meters. Not only were the citizens of Naperville not allowed the opportunity to vote, there was little if any compassion from most of the council including council member Fieseler to the citizens requesting that a vote be allowed.

Listen and watch as council member Bob Fieseler tries to convey concern and compassion for the plight of one citizen and council member Doug Krause’s spot-on reply to Fieseler’s comment.

The beauty of attending city council meetings rather than simply watching them on line is that you can see a panoramic view of the Naperville city council and their non-verbal communication. In this case, council member Fieseler responded non-verbally to Krause’s spot-on comment with irritation, as if he had taken a gulp of concentrated lemon juice or seen the Smart Meter referendum on the ballot. On occasion council member Fieseler appears to be insincere, however remember that beneath all that insincerity is more insincerity.

At times during Naperville city council meetings there are moments of absolute brilliance when council members such as Judy Brodhead are quoted with profound words of wisdom. Listen as watch as council member Judy Brodhead makes two  of her many reflective, philosophical and insightful observations.

It was actually refreshing to hear Brodhead  compare chickens to dogs, rather than Smart meters to salt. Now if someone can get that entire homeowners association board to run for city council, we might be on our way to getting the Smart Meter fiasco overturned.  Just make sure that each candidate has ten times as many petition signatures as necessary because  the city council has a petition objector lurking somewhere in the inky shadows of city hall.

Jan 132012
 

Did anyone really believe that the City of Naperville would allow citizens to vote on a non-binding referendum regarding the installation of so-called ‘Smart’ Meters. The Naperville city council would prefer that residents not be involved with concerns of the city council.  The most recent classic example occurred when citizens of Naperville voted on referendums to approve council member term limits and district representation. A landslide vote approved both referendums, to the embarrassment of the Naperville city council. Can you imagine the council members’ conversation after those referendums were successful? It probably went something like this, “How could you fools possibly allow this referendum to get on the ballot! What were you all thinking? We can never allow this to happen again. Never again can we let the voters vote on what they want.”

Based on that there was absolutely no way the council would allow citizens to vote even on a non-binding referendum. If by some miraculous intervention the referendum would have made it on the March ballot, the Naperville city council most likely would have had every registered voter in Naperville subpoenaed to appear in the city chambers on election day in order that no voter could get to the voting booth.

If you speak with Naperville electric public utility, they defer to the Naperville city council, which defers to the Naperville Electoral Board, which takes advice from the Naperville city attorney who also advises the Naperville city council, which composes the Naperville electric public utility. It’s mostly all the same people wearing different hats.  It sounds like controlled bureaucratic chaos, which defines the actions of the city council.

Very serious allegations are being made against the city of Naperville with regard to clear violations of right to privacy to the point of asking for an investigatory hearing to look into the scope of serious security breaches. Could it be that a member of the city council admitted to giving petition information to numerous people? Could it also be that a member of the city council hurled a public insult to a petition circulator during a public forum portion of a city council meeting?

This all stems around the central issue of ‘Smart’ meters.  Keep in mind that the Naperville city manager, Doug Krieger, has ‘guaranteed’ that ‘Smart’ meter information is secure. Well that is reassuring. If the city government says it is secure, it must be secure, right? How could anyone distrust what we are hearing from the city council and city manager?

The Naperville city council is similar to a bucking bronco (government out of control), and the good citizens of Naperville, along with the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group are on the back of that bronco attempting to tame it. With more and more exposure of this abuse of power to the ‘outside’ world, via the internet, and media, it is simply a matter of time before that bronco is either tamed or replaced. Some say that by denying the citizens the right to vote, the law was followed. Maybe so, maybe not, that remains to be seen.  There is a difference between the letter of the law, the spirit of the law, and justice. In O.J’s murder trial the letter of the law was applied, and he was free to go golfing. It was only later that justice prevailed and O.J’s fate was sealed.

In this case, the wish of one objector was granted, with the help of the Naperville Electoral Board, while the wishes of thousands of people were set aside. Alienating thousands of citizens by denying them the simple right to vote in a non-binding referendum appears unwise and unethical. Then again, we are talking about the Naperville city council, or is it the Naperville Electric Utility Board, or is it  the Naperville Electoral Board; it all seems to blend together.

Jan 122012
 

Imagine watching a baseball game and it is the bottom of the 9th inning and the game is tied; you have no idea who is going to win, but you definitely want to see who is going to prevail. Let’s say it’s the Eagles against the Vultures.

Furthermore imagine the Vultures have the umpires on their side, along with the official score keeper, and scoreboard operator, and the commissioner of baseball. That’s just about a no-win situation for the Eagles, however  the Eagles get what looks like a game winning hit (even against all that stacked opposition), and before the runner can score the winning run, a fan-supporter of the Vultures, yells out “stop the play, I object, the ball doesn’t look like it’s round” and play is stopped.

The Vulture-fan calls in a paid-for-hire pigeon to delay the outcome of the game. They subpoena the ball stitchers; the good folks who stitch the balls and work for free because they believe in the goodness of baseball. The Vultures hope that the game will be delayed long enough that it cannot be finished and the Vultures win by default.

Well that is exactly what is happening in Naperville, except rather than it being a game of baseball; it’s the citizens of Naperville who obtained over 4000 signatures trying to get a non-binding referendum on the spring ballot with regard to stopping the installation of so-called Smart Meters. The Naperville city council is hell-bent on getting the meters installed and welcomes every tactic possible to silence the citizens who oppose the meters. The Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group basis its opposition on the excessive expense that the city can’t afford, health concerns, along with security and privacy issues.

From a city of over 140,000 citizens, one person objected to the petitions submitted, and needless time and expense have been wasted looking for any reason possible to delay and stop the referendum from being placed on the spring ballot.

William C Dawe & Attorney Kevin McQuillan

The bottom line is that the city of Naperville does not want the non-binding referendum on the ballot. They learned the lesson of not underestimating the intelligence of Naperville voters when they allowed referendums for term limits and district representation to be allowed on ballot. The results of the vote came as a major surprise and huge embarrassment to the Naperville city council when citizens voted to approve term limits and district representation by a landslide.  The lesson learned was do not let residents vote for what residents want.  Based on that, is it any wonder why the city is fighting so ruthlessly to keep it off the ballot.

Listen and watch as attorney Doug Ibendahl (representing the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group) tries to present a legitimate question to petition-circulator Amber Schaedel who was subpoenaed to the hearing, however attorney Ibendahl is rudely interrupted by Naperville city attorney Margo Ely who does not want the question to be asked.

Now look at the following video during a Naperville city council meeting in November of 2010, and you will see why the city preferred that the question not be asked as council member Steve Chirico, “insults” citizen Amber Schaedel regarding her petition circulation endeavor.

In addition, how does petition-circulator and citizen Jerry Schilling feel about being subpoenaed for the Naperville Electoral Board hearing? Let’s watch and listen.

Here is a short list of how the city of Naperville has stacked the deck against the fine citizens who reside in Naperville:

  • it is a non-binding referendum, which means even if every voter in Naperville voted to stop the installation of meters, the city could still install them
  • the Naperville city council with a huge ‘money-grab’ from the Department of Energy made the decision to install the meters without regard for citizens concerns
  • The Naperville electric utility board is the Naperville city council.
  • The Naperville city council tells the electric utility board of Naperville what to do. (that’s like me telling me what to do)
  • The Naperville Electoral Board (the board hearing the objector’s objections) consists of three people two are on the Naperville city council, and the third person is the city clerk (an appointed position approved by the council) and is advised by the Naperville city attorney who also advises the Naperville city council along with the Naperville electric utility.

Can you see where we are going here? You would think we would be talking about 25 different people; however, it’s basically the same group comprised of Naperville city council members, the city attorney and the Mayor. The city of Cicero must admire how the city of Naperville ‘stacks the deck’.

Now for those of you thinking, “the heck with it, I think I’ll just open a bar in Naperville” then prepare to meet with the liquor board commissioner who just happens to be the Mayor of Naperville. You may have to wait though because he might be leading a city council meeting, or electric utility board meeting, or listening to frivolous petition objections from one lone objector.

Jan 072012
 

For anyone who wants to witness what can go wrong when government is blatantly out of control, all they need to do is observe the city of Naperville’s dealings with its residents. One example is how the city of Naperville is bullying the good citizens of Naperville with subpoenas and threatening the use of security guards (allegedly armed) when forcing residents to accept so-called Smart Meters that the citizens of Naperville clearly do not want. As mentioned in a previous posting, if ‘Jesus’ Himself were to appear in front of the city council and request the city to stop its Smart Meter bullying, the city would deny His request. Furthermore, it’s likely He would be asked to leave the meeting and be lead away and out of the building by police force. The city of Naperville truly has no shame. There appears to be absolutely nothing the city of Naperville will not do to silence citizen opposition.

Members of the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group circulated petitions requesting a non-binding referendum to be placed on the March ballot requesting in essence the city stop the installation of the meters and to dismantle the intrusive technology. In a very short period of time, about 30 petition circulators obtained more than 4,200 signatures supporting the referendum. Now keep in mind that it is simply a non-binding referendum which means even if every voter wanted to stop the installation, the city would not have to honor their vote and the city could continue on its merry-way and do what they want with total disregard for the residents; so the city can’t lose. If the referendum is voted down, then again the city wins. It is a no-lose situation for the city; however, this is not good enough for them. The bottom line is that the city does not want the residents to vote on the referendum because there is strong probability the installation will be voted down. They would still install them, but the Naperville city council would look even worse than they do now, which in itself is an amazing feat.

The last time the city of Naperville allowed its citizens to vote on referendums( 2010), the city council was shocked that the fine folks of Naperville voted by a landslide in favor of term limits and district representation. This is still causing the city council problems even with their delaying tactics.  Is it any surprise that the last thing the city wants is another citizen-opportunity to vote for what the citizens want?

The fewer the issues up for a vote, the better it is for the city council. Additionally the fewer the number of residents who vote, the better it is for the city council. Is it any wonder why the city wants to be totally transparent; with total transparency, the citizens can’t see anything.

With thousands of residents signing the petition for the referendum to be on the ballot and considering the council is not enthusiastic about citizens voting, the council ‘was ready’ to put it up for a vote, unless as a council member mentioned during the last council meeting, someone files an objection to the referendum. Miraculously one person a few days later files an objection to the referendum; what a stroke of luck for the city of Naperville, just what they needed, one person to trump the wishes of thousands. It just so happens that the objector is a member of a group (Naperville for Clean Energy and Conservation) that gets SECA funds ($1,856 citizen tax dollars) from the city, what a stroke of coincidence. What an astonishing stroke of good fortune for the city council.

The objection to the referendum is heard by the Naperville Electoral Board consisting of the Mayor of Naperville (supporter of Smart Meters, Council member Doug Krause (supporter of Naperville citizens), and the Naperville City Clerk, an appointed position), so that looks like a ‘stacked deck’ against the citizens. In fact, on Friday the ‘stacked’ Board approved granting requests to subpoena the circulators of the petitions; legal but shameful.  Let me repeat this….they want to subpoena the good folks who invested their time and effort by getting involved in civic responsibility; by doing a commendable action, they are being legally harassed for doing the right thing.  The definition of subpoena is a judicial writ requiring a person to appear at a specified time and place under penalty of law for default. It makes no difference if the petition circulator is in the hospital, on vacation, on a business trip, or doing a missionary trip the actions of one person supported by the Naperville Electoral Board will legally bully citizens into submission.

Is it any wonder why good folks distrust government, politicians, and especially the Naperville city council. If ever there was a more accurate word to associate with the Naperville city council, it was the word used by Council person Grant Wehrli when he used the word ‘nefarious’ when referring to actions in the council; ‘it’s how government works’.  Suggestion to parents: keep your children away from the Naperville city council.

How blessed are the members of Naperville city council that all this could happen. You would think they would give a collective ‘thank you’ to the very person they would throw out of the council chambers.

 

Jan 042012
 

Attending a Naperville city council meeting is better than watching reality T.V. At times, it is almost like watching a train wreck; you do not want to look but you feel compelled to look because you just cannot see things like this elsewhere. If you observe city councils in other affluent cities such as Hinsdale, Lake Forest, Barrington, and Geneva, you will notice competent council members and city leaders working with their constituency, not against them.  At times in Naperville, it is like reading a bad book because you know what is going to happen and it happens. It is almost embarrassing to think that if the nine members of the city council are the best we have to offer as a city, then we are all in trouble. I wouldn’t doubt that at times some members of the council are amazed that they are actually sitting at the dais.

From the ‘peanut gallery’ (those of us in the audience) looking at the council and listening to their endless banter you realize that the council is packed with a bunch of political lightweights; they would be eaten alive (politically speaking) outside of the city limits. In Naperville, they may qualify for free tickets to city events, but beyond the lot line, their title of councilperson will not buy a cup of coffee. Doug Krieger the Naperville city manager (a misnomer) is nothing more than an empty suit with the number 148,627 emblazoned on it, which represents the number of taxpayer dollars it cost Naperville citizens for mismanagement when requesting federal funds  from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry. Some people are fired for wasting paper clips, yet he is free to roam city hall. If the city is contractually committed to keeping him, they should give him an office with a fake window, a computer hooked-up to nowhere, and a phone connected to nothing. Let him think he is doing something worthwhile, and then cut him loose when his contract expires.

Lest you think the term ‘political lightweights’ is only a personal observation, you would be incorrect. This is the general feeling from two council members (one active and one retired) from two other cities. During the last year I have asked them to watch meetings on line and both even attended meetings (during the Furstenau/Boyajian regime) while visiting family in Naperville. It is very interesting listening to those who serve or have served on city councils elsewhere, since they know what goes on behind the scenes. That’s why you can ‘read our council’ like a bad book and know what is going to happen. The current maneuvers of the city council with regard to smart meters, fighting citizen petitions, blocking referendums, frivolous objections, procrastination, delay, and industrial-strength burdensome bureaucracy are commonplace for the Naperville city council. When city councils are unable to accomplish their objectives in a cooperative and wholesome manner with their constituency, they resort to silencing legitimate dissent, as council member Grant Wehrli would say, by “nefarious’ means.

This gets us to the rampant use of the ‘acknowledge, ignore, and deflect’ tactic that council members resort to when citizens such as Tom Glass corner them. Watch and listen, especially at the end of this video clip from the last city council meeting when Tom Glass asks legitimate and healthy questions (corners) the city attorney who chooses ‘not to speculate’ and Mayor Pradel who accuses citizen Glass of ‘interrogating’ the council.

Council members Fieseler, Chirico and city manager (misnomer) Doug Krieger are ‘artists’ at this tactic. They ‘acknowledge’ the citizen (appear to show sincerity), then they ignore the citizen (totally disregard the citizen’s concerns), and they finish it off by deflecting, sending the citizen elsewhere for answers that never come.

With all due respect to Mayor Pradel, he accuses Tom Glass of interrogation, but considering the mayor’s many years of fine service on the police force, it’s understandable that he may see all questioning as interrogation, so we have to cut him some slack on that one. I understand when a waiter at a restaurant asks Mayor Pradel if he wants rye or wheat bread, he also sees that as interrogation, so it is in his DNA. I respect his years of wisdom; however there is someone with even more knowledge and wisdom who might take Mayor Pradel by the ear out to the woodshed for a discussion or a tune-up and that would be Benjamin Franklin when he said, “The first responsibility of every citizen is to question authority”. I have the feeling that Ben Franklin would answer the question and not send the citizen elsewhere for non-existent answers.