If you show a group picture of the Naperville city council members to residents of Naperville, they are hard-pressed to know who anybody is, other than Mayor Pradel. If you add city manager Doug Krieger, and city attorney Margo Ely to the picture, it gets even more confusing for residents. If it weren’t for Mayor Pradel, most folks would think the others were co-defendants in the Blagojevich trial.
Citizens can remember some council member names because of all the political yard signs at election time. Some of these signs are still there long after the election. In fact, in my neighborhood there was a campaign sign for “My man Mitch” who is the governor of Indiana.
It’s difficult to know who’s who on the council. At meetings, it’s challenging to see their nameplates beyond the first few rows of seats. Even if you could see the nameplates, you would see one for councilman Judy Brodhead, which means she could be a he, or he is like the Johnny Cash song ‘A Boy named Sue’. If you watch on line or local TV, you do not see the names plates, so how is a citizen to know which council members to vote for and not to vote for. This could be the strategy for the council members; keep the citizens guessing.
In an effort to help Naperville voters know who’s who on the Naperville city council, it may help to provide some tips, based on their seating from left to right:
Joe McElroy: Joe likes to look up at the lighting as if he is on the beach catching some rays. He usually listens to citizens unless they are asking him questions.
Judy Brodhead: her nameplate shows ‘Councilman’ and Mayor Pradel refers to her as Mrs. Brodhead. She has the unenviable seat next to council member Fieseler.
Robert Fieseler: also known as RF for radio frequency. He likes all kinds of RF and in fact, there is no such thing as too much RF for Bob. He’s never seen an RF that he didn’t like. He wants to be the first person to charge his electric car at the first electric charging station in downtown Naperville. He likes back-up plans since his initial plans usually don’t work. He’s in the market to obtain a 14,000-foot extension cord which can reach from Lisle to Naperville, so when the Smart Grid fails, his electric car will not need an electric tow truck.
Doug Krause: still the best-dressed council member in Naperville, and very possibly the entire state of Illinois. You have as much of a chance of finding a wrinkle on his clothes, as you would in finding another Naperville council member supporting his position on Smart Meters.
Doug Krieger (city manager): For Flash Gordon fans, three words cover it all for Doug Krieger “Ming the Merciless”
Mayor George Pradel: If there is one person on the city council who looks like he would not make your life like a ‘living hell’, it is Mayor Pradel (formerly Naperville’s Officer Friendly)
Margo Ely (city attorney): If there is one person who can make your life like a ‘living hell’ it is Margo Ely. In actuality, any attorney can do that. What makes Margo even more amazing is that she is so petite in stature, that on a bright sunny day she does not create a shadow. However, she can put you down for the ‘count of ten’ in no time at all.
Kenn Miller: every used-car dealership on Ogden Avenue has someone who looks exactly like Kenn. Out of a city of 140,000 people, Kenn Miller came in third place behind Pradel and Krause for the election of Mayor of Naperville; that’s not bad until you realize only three people ran for office.
Grant Wehrli: Grant is the one person who occasionally comes to city council meetings in disguise (well-groomed beard). However, he is not one to disguise his words or feelings. Some of his non-verbal communication towards others include the following: rolling his eyes which means ‘are you nuts’, leaning back and quietly laughing which means ‘are you nuts’, and giving a coy smirk which means ‘are you nuts’.
Paul Hinterlong: he is short for his height (yes, short for his height), but what he lacks in ‘dunking skills’ is more than covered by his likeability. You occasionally want to pick him up by his suit lapels and shake the words out of him. The ‘words’ are definitely in him, they just don’t line up in order when they are coming out.
Steve Chirico: You cannot miss Steve. He is a bit too tall for his suit pants, and his eyes light up the closer he gets to the Mayor’s gavel. You have heard about people who like to play the air drums, well Steve loves to pound the ‘air gavels’
Undoubtedly, the Naperville city council is an interesting bunch. Behind closed doors, they are probably a lot of laughs. However, for the citizens of Naperville the council is a lot of laughs for the wrong reasons at the wrong times.