Jan 292014
 

When you think of the Naperville city council, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is alcohol. When you watch and listen to Naperville council members it becomes quite apparent that they have a genuine alcohol problem. Given the opportunity to say ‘no’ to alcohol, they just can’t seem to do it. They say they are trying to keep a lid on the problem, but their actions show otherwise.

It happened again at the last Naperville city council meeting when representatives from AMC Theaters wanted council approval to establish a movie theater liquor license classification which would allow them to sell beer, wine, and an assortment of adult spirits. The director of food and beverage for AMC said the approval would help the company “bring back adult movie-goers” to theaters.

The council bantered back and forth and decided to vote on the topic at the next Naperville city council meeting on February 4th. A simple majority of 5 is needed for approval of more alcohol being available in Naperville, and it appears, that three council members are ready to vote ‘yes’ (Brodhead, McElroy, and Wentz) meaning only two ‘yes’ votes of the remaining six are needed for the liquor to start flowing in the theater.

That means when a family attends a theater in the ‘kid friendly’ city of Naperville, in addition to people talking in the theater, and cell phones ringing, and people texting, they can add alcohol to the mix and all bets are off considering what can happen. It was just last week that Naperville city officials were giving each other a ‘high-five’ for being 3% safer than Aurora, when another murder occurred the next day in town reducing that 3% gap with Aurora.

Since when is it the responsibility of Naperville city officials to prop up an already profitable business by adding alcohol to the equation. I haven’t seen an uprising of residents wanting more alcohol served in town. I haven’t seen a petition supporting the sale of alcohol in theaters. This is a perfect time for the council to say ‘no’, but they can’t do it; they truly have an alcohol problem. What’s next, throw in some slot machines near the popcorn concession. If city officials sign-off on “bringing back adult movie-goers to theaters” with alcohol , why not simply turn it into an adult- movie theater; that should bring them back.

 

 

Jan 262014
 

Chances are that members of the Naperville city council won’t get ‘burned’ from latest scandal regarding red light cameras (RLC’s), however they did make the decision to do business with the company at the center of the scandal, Redflex.

The Chicago Tribune reported (January 23, 2014)  “a fired executive of Chicago’s beleaguered red light camera company alleges in a lawsuit that Redflex Traffic Systems doled out bribes and gifts at ‘dozens of municipalities’ in 13 other states”.

This is the same company that the Naperville city council contracted to operate the Red Light Camera program in the city. Then in November of 2011, the city council voted not to extend the contract with Redflex, putting and end to the use of RLC’s in Naperville.

The vote to continue the use of RLC’s through Redflex required a simple majority (5) of the council, however the city council deadlocked 4-4 and the contract was not extended. Councilman Paul Hinterlong was absent from the vote.

Council members voting ‘No’ to the extension included Chirico, Fieseler, Krause and Wehrli. Current council members voting ‘Yes’ to extend the contract with Redflex included Judith Brodhead, Joe McElroy, and Mayor George Pradel, along with former councilman Kenn Miller.

Many municipalities decided not to utilize RLC technology, and many municipalities discontinued the use of those cameras very soon after implementing them. Naperville on the other hand was very slow to end the use of RLC’s even though problems began to surface throughout the country.

This is very similar to Naperville’s forced installation of Smart Meters on the homes and businesses of those who don’t want them. Even though problems with so-called Smart Meters have surfaced throughout the country, and many municipalities have decided not to install ‘Smart’ meters, or to reverse their decisions to do so, Naperville city officials are again slow to ‘do the right thing’ by dumping the Smart Meter fiasco as they ultimately did with RLC’s.

Naperville city council members along with city manager Doug Krieger can only hope that forced installation of Smart Meters doesn’t result in another scandal. It appears they haven’t learned about playing too close to the flame.

 

 

Jan 212014
 

 

Naperville city officials finally got around to recognizing an outstanding accomplishment by the Naperville Central Highschool Football team when the Redhawks won the 8A State Championship and brought the trophy home to Naperville.

Keep in mind that it took the Naperville city council 53 days to honor the school’s accomplishment. It happened last year (2013). This is 2014, we are half-way through basketball season, and the Naperville city council is just now getting around to proclaiming a day (January 21) for the team’s and school’s accomplishment. To make matters more insensitive, they made the announcement of proclaiming January 21 as Naperville Central Redhawk Day on January 21 during the city council meeting scheduled to start at 7pm, which means the day was already 80% gone before it was proclaimed.

To add further insensitivity, the Naperville city council was again late in starting the 7:00 meeting until 7:05pm which means almost another 2% of the remaining five hour portion of the day  was lost. By the time the meeting ended (10:00pm) there was only about 8% of the ‘Proclamation Day’ remaining to celebrate.

It’s interesting that when a city council member wins an election, they are quick to proclaim victory and getting the victory-party started immediately, but if it’s a win for the residents, then waiting 53 days is sufficient and acceptable to members of the Naperville city council. Is it any wonder when city officials can’t show respect to the residents of Naperville by starting city council meetings on time, it takes them 53 days to acknowledge a highschool football team’s accomplishment and do it when the official day is basically over.

This posting was published ten minutes after the meeting ended. No sense losing any more celebration time.

Jan 192014
 

Naperville city officials try to grab onto anything that might imply they are getting the job done. It’s clearly not an easy task, trying to make something positive out of negatives.When the city of Naperville’s website was hacked and down for a month, city officials celebrated that it was down for only a month.

Sometimes the good news and the bad news is the same thing. Take for example a recent study showing Naperville as the fourth safest mid-size city ( population between 126,000 and 210,000) in the country. That’s good news isn’t it. Until you realize that Aurora comes in as the eighth safest city in the same study. Another way of saying it is, Naperville is the safest mid-size city in the state of Illinois. More good news right? Until you realize that Aurora is the second safest city of its size in Illinois. Naperville city officials can’t seem to shake the close comparison to Aurora.

Let’s try this example to see if Naperville  can distance itself from Aurora. According the study, 1 out of 92 Naperville residents was be the victim of crime, while 1 out of 89 Aurora residents was victimized. Math was always my best subject, so I quickly calculated that Naperville is 3% safer than Aurora. It doesn’t look like such good news when you look at it that way; Naperville and Aurora being just about the same with regard to crime and safety for its residents. Common sense and logic for those who know Aurora, would say there is a digit (0) missing behind the ‘3’ and that Naperville should be 30% safer. But it’s only a meager 3% safer.

If it wasn’t for all the fisticuffs and mayhem fueled by over-served patrons  in the downtown area of Naperville, Aurora might be rated a distant second place, and Naperville city officials might finally be able to shake-off the close comparison to Aurora.

Jan 152014
 

Naperville city officials have had reservations about creating a welcome environment for martial arts competition (fighting) on the perimeter of the city, however they have had no such reservations about creating a welcome environment for street fighting in downtown Naperville. City officials would beg to differ, however they continue to increase the number of liquor licenses, while approving high density projects in the heart of Naperville. It stands to reason, that when the Naperville city council makes liquor more available, and more people are pouring (pun intended) into a confined area, problems are going to occur. And problems are exactly what Naperville has on weekend nights and now beginning to spill over (yes another pun) into week day nights.

A couple of weeks ago a total of 11 people were arrested for fighting with each other, bar security employees, and other patrons in six separate fights in the downtown Naperville area. It started late on Friday night, and rolled over to the early hours of Saturday morning. All the dust-ups occurred within a block of Washington Street on Jefferson and Chicago Avenues. The “Naperville 11” were charged with an assortment of unsportsmanlike behaviors including criminal trespass, battery, resisting a police officer, and so forth. Most likely there were more punches thrown in downtown Naperville that night, than any martial arts competition within miles of Naperville. City officials attributed the fisticuffs to “college kids being home for the holidays”. That’s a typical response from a city official, blame it on college kids. Those arrested ranged in age from 22 to 42, with an average age of 29; that seems like typical ages for college students doesn’t it.

The following weekend, five more were arrested for more unsportsmanlike activities including brandishing an ax handle while threatening guests at a party, DUI, resisting a police officer, public urination, criminal trespass, obstructing police, aggravated battery, disorderly conduct, breach of peach, fighting with downtown bar employees,  and generally not being very nice people. These folks ranged in age from 21 to 46, with the average age of 34. Apparently these must have been post-graduate students. Naperville city officials have a way of down-playing problems and surrounding themselves in denial. The person brandishing an ax handle, probably was just trying to open a bottle of Dom Perignon.

I’m guessing this last weekend saw an influx of doctorate degree students fighting their way through downtown Naperville.

 

 

 

Jan 122014
 

Late last year the city of Naperville’s website fell victim to a security breach, despite assurances from city officials that Naperville’s website was secure prior to the breach. After being down for about a month, the website gradually became usable. It didn’t really have that much impact on residents, other than  little annoyances and frustrations for some. It caused more mayhem for city employees and officials, as the breach was probably intended to do. So I suppose you could say ‘mission accomplished’ for those responsible. It may very well have simply been a practice session for the hackers to see if they do it. Whatever the purpose was, it did confirm to the residents of Naperville, that assurances from city officials carry very little weight, and for the most part city officials have no idea what they are up against in the future, when it comes to criminal cyber security intrusion.

City manager Doug Krieger has also given the residents of Naperville assurance that the unwanted and forced  installation of Smart Meters are as secure as, let’s say, the city of Naperville’s website. You have to think that hackers love the challenge of government officials assuring anything when it comes to the safety of personal data.

The fact of the matter is that if companies as large as the Target Corporation and Nieman Marcus can have their cyber-security compromised, then the city of Naperville’s so-called Smart Meters / Smart Grid is easy pickings. It’s not a question of ‘if’ security is breached, it’s a question of ‘when’.

When the city’s website was finally re-established after the security breach, the City of Naperville’s IT department was honored at a city council meeting. You can be sure that the IT departments at Nieman Marcus and Target didn’t get the same standing ovation. Chances are that the person in charge of printing new business cards  for new IT team members, replacing those who didn’t get the job done at those corporations, is quite busy printing new cards.

 

 

 

 

Jan 052014
 

Naperville city officials like it when Naperville is ranked #1. It doesn’t happen that much anymore. Recently it was reported that Naperville was ranked the #1 city in which to retire. The same report had Honolulu, Hawaii ranked as a less desirable place to retire. Naperville’s weather forecast this coming Monday shows (-7 degrees) as the high, with a wind chill of (-31 degrees) and blowing snow. Honolulu will be 79 degrees.

Being #1 isn’t always what it’s made out to be. Who wants to be # 1 on the FBI list, or the first kid on the block to use a new untested pogo stick.

Naperville did earn another #1 ranking. You won’t read about it on the City of Naperville’s website, and you won’t read about it in the local newspaper (Naperville Sun) which many consider as the ’10th council member’. But you will find it in the Chicago Tribune and it’s website for the week of January 2-8, 2014.

The title is “2013’s Most Popular Suburban TribLocal Stories on the Web”. The #1 most popular story was about two Naperville women (Jennifer Stahl and Kim Bendis) being handcuffed and arrested (with the blessing of city officials) for protecting their homes and families against the forced installation of so-called electric smart meters on their homes.

City officials including the Naperville city council and Mayor George Pradel, along with city manager Doug Krieger continue to drag these Naperville women through the court system and waste taxpayer’s dollars. Not one Naperville city official has stood ‘tall’ or taken a leadership role to end this needless drain of time and taxpayer dollars which could be used to help Naperville residents rather than to persecute them.

This story drew more attention than any of the other Top-10 Chicago-area stories which included three separate murder cases, an accidental death, a plane crash, and drug dealers being robbed among other stories.

Naperville city officials did something that even politicians in Chicago and Cicero couldn’t do. They ranked # 1 in egregious actions against their residents making it the #1 most popular local story. Maybe Honolulu, Hawaii would be a better place to retire.