Who is the Bucky Brandon of the Naperville city council?
Wherever you look there are lists ranking the best of everything from the best airports to the best zoos. Just a few years ago, the city of Naperville ranked as a best city in which to live in the entire United States. This was before the advent of the Smart Meter fiasco inflicted by the city of Naperville upon its citizens. Since that time, Naperville is no longer considered as a best city to live in, in fact, it is not even considered as the best city to live in within ten miles of city hall; smart-meter free Bolingbrook surpassed Naperville and now has that honor.
The thing about lists is that they always reflect one person’s or one group’s point of view or opinion, hence they are interesting and debatable. Every now and then whomever is ranked number one on a list is a given. The best movie of all time (Citizen Kane), or the best basketball player of all time (Michael Jordan), and the best racehorse of all time, Secretariat. Choosing the second best is much more difficult. When Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973, who was the second best? It could have been Sham since it came in second in each of the Triple Crown races; however, second bests are very debatable.
When we look at the Naperville city council, we have nine members including Mayor Pradel; however since he is the mayor, we will place him on his own list making him the best mayor currently serving Naperville. That leaves us with eight council members to consider for second best, including Brodhead, Chirico, Fieseler, Hinterlong, Krause, McElroy, Miller, and Wehrli.
In order to know whom the second best Naperville city council member is, number one needs to be selected. Applying Occam’s razor, a scientific and philosophic rule, which states that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex (which means keeping it simple) the best council member needs to be the one who represents the voice of Naperville citizens. Without a doubt that council member is Doug Krause, who best represents the needs and wishes of the citizens of our fine city. Three points support this: 1) he has been re-elected more times than any current city council member, 2) he has served on the council for nearly a quarter of century, and 3) he is probably the council member who is most respected and least liked by his peers. The other members of the Naperville city council tend to get irritated with Doug Krause because he doesn’t march in ‘lock-step’ with them as they trample on the rights of the citizens of Naperville.
Krause is similar to Philadelphia Phillies Hall-of-Fame pitcher Steve Carleton. In 1972, Carleton was undoubtedly the best pitcher in the National League and won the coveted Cy Young award. What makes that accomplishment even more amazing is that he won 27 games for a team that won only 59 games and was the worst team in the National League. The Phillies second best pitcher was Bucky Brandon who won only seven games. The difference between Krause and the rest of the city council is huge. Both Krause and Carleton excel at what they do, and play on bad teams surrounded mostly by incompetents.
So who is the ‘Bucky Brandon’ of the Naperville city council? If it was six months or a year from now, it very well could be Joe McElroy. He appears to be on the brink of breaking the chains that keep him in ‘lock-step’ with the others; he listens, he questions, he appears to be open-minded, fair, empathetic, and reasonable. However, he is still looking for the key to unlock those chains.
Many would say that there is no second best Naperville city council member, but as with Steve Carleton and Secretariat, somebody earns or defaults to that position.
Let’s consider the following:
• we only have six remaining to choose from, so someone has to be Bucky
• At least two council members need to be and will be voted out of office and their names rhyme with Chirico and Fieseler. When they are up for re-election they will start with at least 4,199 votes against them; those are the number of voters who signed the petitions to place the smart meter referendum on the ballot, which the city disallowed. That gets us down to four vying for second best.
• Two council members are probably very nice people, but very bland, and so transparent that it’s difficult to see them, Brodhead and Hinterlong. They do not add much, and when they are not at meetings, it isn’t noticed.
• That leaves two remaining; Miller and Wehrli. Miller is so average that if you Google the word ‘average’, Kenn Miller’s picture appears.
That leaves us with Grant (Bucky Brandon) Wehrli as the second best Naperville city council member. Consider the following:
• whether or not you agree with what he says or does, he has the courage to take a position and state it clearly and concisely
• he knows what he is doing and how to do it
• He did receive the most votes of all the candidates running for city council during the last election.
• he probably knows Robert’s Rules or Order better than anyone other than Naperville city attorney Margo Ely
• He communicates and responds to email, when others appear non-existent by evading and avoiding
• take him off the dais, and he is a genuine very likeable guy with a great sense of humor
• He is very active in the community with a strong focus on being a family man, and he truly believes in what he does and what he says.
• He can disagree without being disagreeable.
Now I know I will get feedback saying I have lost my mind about
Grant ‘BB’ Wehrli being second best council member and I get it.
I do not agree with council member Grant Wehrli on some issues, most notably, the installation of ‘smart’ meters, but I do respect his courage to deliver non-popular messages to his constituency. It is easy to be liked without being respected or respected without being liked, but to be both respected and liked is an art and he seems to be the closest to accomplishing that. He does not tell us what we want to hear, he tells us what he believes we need to hear. That takes courage.
So whatever happened to Bucky Brandon? He is currently selling insurance in Massachusetts. Chances are that a good number of voters would hope that Grant Wehrli would do the same. Bucky Brandon was not afraid to throw the ‘high and tight one’, neither is Grant Wehrli.