Imagine the game is over, the points have been tallied, and the losing team has been trounced by a two-to-one or three-to-one ratio. Then about a year and a half later, the losing team begins to rumble that they might want to replay that game. We all know that’s ludicrous, unless of course, it’s the city of Naperville and the game that was played was the November 2010 referendum on the creation of districts.
If it sounds impossible, it is not. The Naperville city council knows it made a huge mistake by allowing this referendum on the ballot. Not only this referendum, but also the referendum calling for term limits, which was also approved by the voters in a landslide.
Almost 75% of the voters voted for term limits. That’s a 3 to 1 ratio. That’s a landslide, not even close. In addition, the vote to approve district representation won by a 2 to 1 ratio; 28,236 votes in favor of district representation and only 14,593 against it. Game over. In every other realm of life it would be, but not necessarily in Naperville politics.
What makes this possibility especially egregious, is the fact that even though the vote occurred in November of 2010, the city of Naperville has been able to legally delay the implementation of districts until 2015; that five years after the fact.
Even more egregious is the fact that the city can choose which referendums to support, regardless of crystal-clear citizen mandates. Example: over 4,000 citizens clearly supported, via petition, a non-binding referendum regarding the elimination of Smart Meter installations. Magically one person objects to the referendum, and the city supports that one person over the wishes of thousands. The city was not about to make another huge mistake by allowing citizens to vote on the issue of Smart Meters. If the city had done this regarding districts and term limits, neither of those referendums would have ever seen the light of day on a ballot.
Now we are beginning to see and hear rumbling about putting this non-issue back on the ballot next fall. The belief is that voters (all 28,236) had no understanding or idea what they were voting for. If that’s the case then we also need to have a do-over vote for the four council members (Wehrli, Chirico, Fieseler, and McElroy,) none of whom had more than 11,000 votes. If you believe we need to re-do the vote for districts, then we need to re-do the vote for council members. It makes just as much sense, which is no sense at all.
The other argument to re-do the vote in favor of districts is the concept that districts are too difficult to implement. So now the whining and crying begins that it’s just too much work, too confusing to set-up the framework of districts. Imagine if the Founding Fathers of our country felt the same way, we would still be under the rule of the British Empire. They created a country, a nation, and we cannot figure out how to put into operation a structure for districts.
Maybe what we really need to re-do, is finding resourceful, innovative, and energetic people to create a districting structure that works for the citizens of Naperville.