Jul 312014
 

Well I ordered my recycling cart this week. I chose the 64-gallon one, which is just big enough to store my birdseed, basketballs, and baseball bats. For a $36 investment, ($3 per month for 12 months), you can’t find a better cart at Home Depot or Menard’s to store stuff. It’s a steal. Now all I have to do is wait for the magical day sometime this fall when my beautiful, sturdy, blue cart arrives. The more I thought about the uselessness of recycling, the more I realized that city officials might be missing a golden opportunity.

Naperville city officials never think of creative ways to ‘earn’ money for the residents. How cool would it be, if city council members held a bake sale, or car wash to raise money to buy some recycling carts for those less fortunate residents who can’t afford a cart. That would make the front page of the local paper, and it might even appear on GMA (Good Morning America). That surely would help their re-election, though probably not enough to get re-elected.

However there is something that they could do to absolutely guarantee re-election. Heck, I’d even vote for each incumbent, including Wehrli, Fieseler, and Brodhead. Even if they’re not running, I’d vote for them as write-in candidates.

First, let’s look at why each incumbent has an uphill climb in this next election. This could take a long time, so in the interest of expediency, we can put it all under one umbrella….the Naperville city council as a whole, has lost credibility. Residents have lost faith and trust in city officials.  Most members of the city council, lead by the city manager, have lost the confidence and respect of knowledgeable residents.

The electric department borrows money from the water department, water borrows from electric, rates increase, 30-year contracts by city officials handcuff residents, downtown Naperville has become ‘fight night’ nearly every night, so-called Smart Meters are forced upon residents, who then get arrested, city hall is accused of being a ‘hostile’ work environment, the city manager is accused of behavior that he should have been guarding against,  and on and on.

So what can city officials do, that will make residents forget all of the above, and guarantee a standing ovation every time they enter a room, including a washroom.

The answer is the massive ‘appearance’ of recycling. Recycle everything from everybody (including me), from everywhere.

Let’s re-look at a video from Watchdog’s last posting to set the table.

That’s right. Order a half-million recycling carts so that every household has 9 recycling carts lined up along the curb. No need to bring them back into the garage, or along-side the house. Now charge each household $3 per month per cart ($27 per month) X 12 months X 52,270 households (according to Naperville’s website), that equals nearly $17 million yearly. Keep charging every month forever, or until the Cubs win the World Series (which is the same).

Here is the trade off that residents will love. No more electric bills for residents. So instead of paying an average electric bill of $100 per month, they are paying only $27 per month for the 9 carts. Two words, methane gas.

Let’s re-look at the following clip

That’s right, enough methane gas to provide electricity to 60,000 homes for 30 years.

So you ask, “Well how is that going to work? If you use a landfill, what’s the purpose of the recycling carts?” The answer is simple. You need the carts for the city to get the $17 million yearly, and the recycling carts make people ‘feel good’ about recycling. Then 9 different colored recycling trucks, gather the contents, and then dump the contents in the landfill. Who cares where it goes, as long as it’s making methane gas. Everybody wins. City officials get re-elected and standing ovations, residents get ‘free electric’, no more Smart Meters, no-more 30+ years of outrageous contract obligation, the cart manufacturer becomes a recycling cart-making machine, those who like to recycle can put lightly-soiled toilet paper in the brown container, and the multi-colored carts lining the streets of Naperville can help prevent the snow plows from knocking over mail boxes in the winter, saving even more money.

The Naperville city council, along with city manager Doug Krieger can finally do something to help residents, and restore city officials’ credibility. I’m ready to sign-up for the other 8 colors.

Recycling Bins

 

 

 

Jul 272014
 

I have five days remaining to choose which (if any) recycling cart I want, and I’m feeling the pressure. Should I recycle or not, and if so, which of the three carts should I use; the 32-gallon large cart, the 64-gallon industrial size cart, or the 96-gallon (big as a Buick) cart. Guilt tells me I should recycle, city officials tell me I should recycle, however common sense tells me if city officials think something is a good idea, it’s probably not, like so-called Smart Meters.

Naperville city officials want us to recycle because they accepted a $900,000 grant from the State of Illinois, (which is nearly bankrupt), to partially pay for a new recycling center being built in Naperville at a cost of $1.2 million. So city officials have to come up with about $300,000 (tax-payer dollars), hence city officials are “pushing” recycling. If I recycle, I become an enabler of the city and the state, by supporting the city council’s insatiable money-grab from the State , which doesn’t have the money. Dr. Phil would send me to rehab.

Naperville city officials are embarrassed that other communities recycle more than Naperville, and residents are recycling less and less. So basically city officials are asking us to recycle, before they ultimately and forcefully tell us that we ‘must’ recycle.

I needed to find out the truth about recycling, considering it wasn’t coming from city officials, and found it on a 30-minute segment from Showtime’s “Penn and Teller B.S” about recycling. I have included the link to the show . For those of you with less time for viewing, I have included the following embeds.

Watch and listen as professor and author Dan Benjamin, Clemson University, sets the table.

The following shows (with some spicy language) where recycling and Naperville’s city officials may be taking us.

Next we have a glimpse of city officials training residents.

So what about the idea of saving trees? Watch and listen.

What about recycling creating jobs?

How about other myths?

Is there no room left for trash?

Finally, the following is the answer to Naperville’s electric problem and doing away with the Smart Meter fiasco. It’s a win-win-win for city officials, the budget, and residents.

Is the Naperville city council comprised of environmental fascists?

I now have my answer about recycling? Naperville city officials say, ‘do it’, so I’m not doing it.

But now I have a new dilemma? What if they physically force a recycling cart onto my property like they did with armed police forcing a so-called Smart Meter on my home. Solution: I am going to get a recycling cart, and simply store ‘stuff’ in it, like tarps, drop cloths, bird feed,  footballs, basketballs, and baseball bats.

 

Jul 242014
 

Naperville city councilman Grant Wehrli will be taking his show on the road for this November’s election for Illinois’ 41st District, now represented by Naperville Republican Darlene Senger, who will be running for for the 11th Congressional District against democrat Bill Foster. Wehrli is slated to challenge Democrat Ed Agustin, also from Naperville in the state election.

Wehrli’s most formidable challenge, may in fact, be himself. So often, politicians say one thing, and then do something else, as is the case with councilman Wehrli, however Wehrli takes it a step further by saying one thing when the cameras are running, but then saying something else when the cameras are off.

Watch and listen to Wehrli as the camera rolls.

Sounds good doesn’t it. A politician who says he enjoys a lively discussion, even when there’s disagreement. However as more than one resident can attest to, councilman Wehrli’s definition of ‘discussion’ or ‘dialog’ is one-sided, with the ‘one side’ being his.

Wehrli’s response to one resident was, “I will move your emails directly to the trash”. Well, so much for a ‘lively discussion’. On another occasion, Wehrli responded to a resident by saying, “I’ll walk right past you without saying ‘hi’. ” Wow, Wehrli really knows how to devastate a resident. Councilman Grant Wehrli was also quoted as saying, “all your emails will go straight into the junk file”. I’m not exactly sure how he differentiates which emails go to the trash, and which go to the junk file. I wanted to email him for clarification, but thought that my email would also go into the trash, or the junk file.

One thing is for certain; Wehrli saves a lot of time by not responding or listening to residents.

Jul 202014
 

Typically the first and third Tuesdays of each month, the Naperville city council has a meeting, and typically I either attend the meeting or watch live via television. Last Tuesday, I did neither. However I did record the meeting and watched it after midnight. It was one of those long meetings which meant morning came quick.

The agenda for the meeting is usually available online about five days prior to the meeting, which allows me a chance to see what topics might be of more interest than others. This agenda looked a bit unremarkable, hence if I was going to find something of more interest, it would happen during public forum in the beginning, or during new business at the end. Most of the content of Watchdog postings comes directly from the ‘mouths’ of city officials, as again was the case last Tuesday.

During the public forum portion of the meeting, a very young 86-year experienced resident (Don Wehrli) wanted to share a bit of Naperville history with the council, residents, and those watching the meeting. He asked the mayor if it was OK to do so, and the mayor said ‘yes’. Mr. Don Wehrli wanted to share some history in order to make a point. Well that caught my attention. I like listening and learning, especially from someone who learned it from others long ago. It’s as if that person (Don Wehrli) is the bridge from those before him, to those of us now. Did I mention that Don Wehrli served on the Naperville city council about 30 years ago, and has been a life-long resident, so he knows of what he speaks.

Don Wehrli no sooner began to set the table to make his point, when he was interrupted by the official time keeper, who said, “Mr. mayor, the speaker’s time is up.” Then a few minutes later, Mayor Pradel interrupted the speaker. The interruptions (12 by the mayor) continued over the next four minutes.

At the 14th interruption, Mayor Pradel said, “Mr. Wehrli, you have to stop”. Don Wehrli said to the mayor, “Has it not been interesting?” Pradel responded, “Well, yes.” To which the speaker responded, “Then let me finish.”

Just as the speaker was about to make his point, who of all people jumped in to give Don Wehrli the ‘knock-out punch’, but councilman Grant Wehrli, when he requested a ten-minute break. As the camera faded out, Don Wehrli can be heard saying, “I’ll be back. I’m staying right here.”

Exactly ten minutes later (the council is not known for punctuality), the meeting reconvened and speaker Don Wehrli was nowhere to be seen. Now what happened during that ten minutes, I have no idea. Remember, I wasn’t there. It’s possible that some of ‘Naperville’s finest’ were called in to escort him out the building. The point is that we will never know what point speaker Don Wehrli was going to make. It was a lost opportunity for all of us.

Watch and listen as Don Wehrli tries to impart wisdom to all listening, only to be interrupted 14 times; 12 by the mayor and one each by the time keeper, and councilman Grant Wehrli.

It reminded Watchdog of the following:

It’s possible 30 years from now, one of today’s council members will try to enlighten the council at that time, only to be hustled out of the council meeting and building by someone who is now trying to learn how to tie his or her own shoe laces.

Jul 132014
 

I think I was the most average guy who ever graduated from college. My grade point was 2.2, and I was very proud of that .2, because if it was .3 less I would have spent my life making egg cartons. Not that there is anything wrong with making egg cartons, it’s just that I’d be working the third-shift right now.

I remember taking a business class in college, and the professor saying, “those who can’t do it, teach it”. I thought, ‘does he realize he’s talking about himself’. It also applies in baseball; if you can’t hit, field, or throw, you coach. It’s been said the same is true in government. If you can’t make it in the world (free market), you make a career in government.

In the business world, you’re held accountable for your actions. Not so with the City of Naperville, and specifically the position of city manager.

In some ways the City of Naperville is like a corporation. There is a board of directors (city council), and a CEO (Mayor Pradel), and a president (city manager Doug Krieger), and of course the stock holders (taxpayers). The board (council) can replace the president (Krieger), and board members (council members) can be voted off the board by the stock holders (tax payers). It works quite well in business, but not in Naperville politics.  When it comes to Naperville city officials, those who “screw-up”, stay, or are shifted from one department to another, or get promoted.

For example, when the position of city manager had a vacancy, the person who was selected, from the millions of people throughout the country was Naperville finance director Doug Krieger. What a stroke of luck, that the best candidate was just a short walk through the inky shadows of city hall, to his new office.

I did not know (again, I was a 2.2) that there is actually an association for city and county managers (ICMA) called the International City/County Management Association, and they have a ‘Code of Ethics’ with 12 Tenets (beating the Ten Commandments by two).

As I read through the ’12’ to see how Doug Krieger would ‘measure up’ to the code, I quickly realized he would fall short in 6 of the 12. They would include the following:

Tenet 2 “Affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by government and maintain a constructive, creative, and practical attitude toward local government affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a ‘trusted’ public servant.”

Doug could have scored a ‘Yes’ on this one, if it weren’t for the words, ‘constructive’, ‘creative’, ‘practical’ and ‘trusted’. Doug gets a major ‘No’ on this one.

Tenet 3 “Be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships in order that the member (Krieger) may merit the respect and confidence of the elected officials, of other officials and employees, and the public.”

His most recent scandal resulting in a ‘verbal reprimand’ for him, along with being ordered to participate in the city’s ‘harassment  prevention and diversity awareness’ training scores a big negative on this Tenet.

Tenet 4 “…serve the best interests of all people.”

When residents including women and mothers were handcuffed and arrested for protecting their homes in Naperville (under his direction) during the forced so-called Smart Meter installations on their homes, this made the national news. Another big negative for Krieger on this Tenet.

Tenet 5 “…provide elected officials with facts…”

Another ‘No’ on this one. Krieger didn’t warn the city council that the city-owned electric company was nearly broke until it had a negative cash balance of $22 million.

Tenet 8 “…develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques.”

A huge red ‘X’ on this one. Major leadership dimensions missing on this one including, demonstrating accountability, communicating effectively, managing performance, thinking critically, managing execution, and building trust.

Tenet 9 “Keep the community informed on local government affairs…emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public, and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.”

A solid ‘no’ on this one. The city manager is the captain of the ship, and when the ship is described as a ‘hostile work environment’, it’s time for the ship to have a new captain.

So Doug falls far short on six of twelve Tenets; that’s 50%. Even with a sliding scale, that’s a solid ‘F’ which is even less than my 2.2

Jul 102014
 

It looks like the City of Naperville will be postponing more projects that were scheduled for this year, because the city’s Transportation,Engineering, and Development department has several important job openings. According to Bill Novack, the department director, qualified candidates are in short supply, or maybe worse yet, nobody is interested. This seems a bit unusual for a city that prides itself in being a city of ‘destination’.

Open positions include two project engineers, a transportation team leader, a transportation project manager, a community block grant coordinator, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Things are so bad that Naperville’s Stormwater Team (not sure what softball league they play in) currently has close to 80 active requests, with more coming in every week. When residents contact the City of Naperville regarding water issues, they are told it will take between one and two months before someone from the city can address the issue. By that time, the water typically recedes, and the request is closed as ‘no problem’.

It works the same way with snow pile-up. By the time someone from the City of Naperville checks it out in June, the snow is just a memory and the issue is closed as resolved. That’s actually an effective strategy on the city’s part. Chances are, that the  city’s ‘problem resolver’ included that solution on his or her annual review, and received a hefty salary increase.

Here’s the ‘rub’. Apparently the City of Naperville has had a rash of employee departures, possibly for a less ‘hostile work environment’, leaving the city short-staffed. To add insult to injury, Department Head Bill Novack, sees that as a good thing because he thinks that’s an indicator, that the economy is getting better and unemployment is at a good point. I’m guessing that Novack thinks that the Cubs being in last place is a great thing, because no team is trying to overtake them in the standings.

The bottom line is that the City of Naperville was again unprepared for staffing issues; being proactive in hiring opportunities apparently is not a core value with the city.

So where does the ‘buck stop’ with this situation. Where else but the city manager Doug Krieger’s office, and the HR Department. The very ‘two’ involved in recent allegations of doing things they shouldn’t be doing, which ultimately effects the residents of Naperville in a negative manner.

In addition to Naperville city manager Doug Krieger being required to complete the city’s harassment prevention and diversity awareness training, he may want to attend leadership training focusing on demonstrating accountability, managing performance and execution, and thinking critically.

Naperville residents should not be waiting for water to recede and snow to melt, while Krieger is telling offensive jokes at the office.

 

Jul 062014
 

If ‘a picture is worth 1,000 words’, then a video is worth thousands of words. The following two videos do just that.

The elections may differ (Federal, State, or Municipal), and the cast of characters change, but the core values and freedoms intended for us from the founding fathers endure in the Constitution. When our freedoms and rights are compromised, as they have been at all levels of government, including the local level by Naperville city officials, it’s time for residents to be heard, and for residents to hold the line against intrusive government.

Within the last few years Naperville city officials have had to resort to oppressive measures in dealing with residents including the following:

  • The forced installation of so-called Smart Meters on the homes and businesses of those who did not want the installations.
  • The arrests and hand-cuffing of residents, including women and mothers, who chose to protect their homes and families from those forced installations.
  • Disallowing a petition signed by thousands of residents for a non-binding referendum regarding the installation of so-called smart meters.
  • The city council supported a do-over vote for at-large representation, after voters voted in favor of district representation by a landslide.
  • Residents voted in favor of term limits for council members by a landslide in 2010, but the city council said they needed five years in order to make it happen. It still hasn’t happened.
  • The Naperville city council lines the perimeter of council meetings with armed police officers, when city officials feel residents will show a sign of strength in numbers, when unfavorable topics are discussed.

Watchdog does not promote movies, however “America, The Movie” is not just a movie, it’s a call to ‘hold the line’. Watch and listen to the following ‘trailer’:

If residents can’t be ‘heard’ at city council meetings, and if residents can’t be ‘heard’ with petitions and referendums and landslide votes, then it’s time to be heard next April when all nine Naperville city council member positions will be up for a vote. Our Founding Fathers intended for us to have that freedom.

Jul 022014
 

Since the turn of the century, Naperville has been awarded ‘Top Transparency Website’ once, (as in one time), and that was in 2013. The City of Naperville will not be recognized this year for ‘website transparency’, for primarily one reason; the website, along with the City of Naperville is not transparent.

The ‘Sunny Award”, was awarded by the Sunshine Review which was a website prior to becoming its own non-profit organization. As of December 2013, the non-profit will not be releasing Sunny Awards on an annual basis. So though they have been doing it for just a few years, they pulled the plug, for whatever reason, and will now only review city websites and local governments “when requested, pending staff resources and availability of time”. That sounds like it wasn’t profitable. That also implies that if a city (Naperville) wanted to float a ‘few’ dollars towards the non-profit, they would be happy to pump out another ‘Sunny Award’ certificate for the City of Naperville to hoist during a public ceremony for city officials to sing and dance around. So even the award for ‘transparency’ isn’t really transparent. Basically the city is creating their own award. That’s brilliant.

Redacted DocumentThat’s like the City of Naperville policing itself, to see if they’ve been involved in any wrong-doing, only to determine, that they didn’t do anything wrong. Regarding the allegations of bullying, derogatory language being used, and drugs being taken at work conferences, chances are this is what the final report will look like when the City of Naperville gets done investigating themselves.

Another classic example of transparency by Naperville city officials.

If you look at the City of Naperville’s website, you won’t find anything about ‘forced’ installation of so-called Smart Meters on the homes of residents who didn’t want the ‘untested’ meters. You won’t find anything on the city’s website about Naperville women and home makers being hand-cuffed and arrested, under the direction of Naperville city officials, for protecting their homes against intrusion by the City of Naperville.

If you go to the city’s website, you can’t find out if Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger has completed the city’s harassment prevention and diversity awareness training following remarks that were made in January and involved an “off-color joke,” as reported by the Chicago Tribune. It cost Naperville residents $5,000 (about 4-cents each) for this transparent transgression, and I still haven’t received my 4-cents worth, by at least hearing Krieger’s ‘punchline’. Now that’s not transparent.

For the ‘love of Naperville’, Mr. Krieger, please let us know if you have satisfied this training, or if one of the city officials simply filled out a form ‘saying’ that you ‘completed’ the training. Wink wink.