In my lifetime, I have seen four Illinois Governors (Koerner, Walker, Ryan, and Blagojevich) land in the Graybar Hotel for various indiscretions. Most recently and still a resident of the hotel is Blago(jevich). When politicians mix bad decisions with videos and tape recordings, it can result in a long reservation at the hotel. Blago’s smoking gun was a tape recording extolling his excitement when he said, “I got this thing and it’s f—— golden”, referring to the vacant Illinois senate seat resulting from Obama’s presidential election. Money and greed have a way of opening the door for problems.
The City of Naperville has it’s own ‘golden thing’, known as the SECA (Special Events Cultural and Amenities) Fund. What started out as a small source of revenue derived from a food and beverage tax, has morphed into a huge pile of money. Originally the purpose of the money was clearly defined, but as with most streams of government revenue, those clearly defined guidelines become blurry.
Fortunately for the residents and businesses of Naperville, city officials have been good stewards of those funds with checks and balances in place. The problem is that there was a time when Governors’ Koerner, Walker, Ryan and Blago were also walking the straight and narrow before veering off the road.
It’s tempting for city officials to use the SECA fund for something other than what it was intended for. The Naperville city council lives by the ‘golden rule’; he who has the gold makes the rules. In this case the ‘gold’ is the SECA fund, and the city council can and will change those rules any time they want.