Sep 272011

So often over the last year, some members of the Naperville city council have been disrespectful to Naperville citizens who address the city council during the Public Forum portion of the city council meeting.  Fortunately with the departure of two council members we have seen this occur less frequently, however it still occurs more often than it should, and frankly it should never occur. There is absolutely no reason why any citizen-speaker needs to be addressed disrespectfully or in a condescending manner by a member of the Naperville city council.

The more you observe the Naperville city council meetings, and specifically the actions and behaviors of individual council members, the more you see a pattern of which council members genuinely show respect to speakers. They exhibit this respect by:

  • truly listening to the comments of the speakers
  • Providing good eye contact with speakers rather than shuffling papers.
  • Responding to speakers comments and questions
  • Avoiding non-verbal negative communication
  • Allowing speakers to conclude their presentation within reason
  • Thanking speakers for presenting their comments
  • Appropriately apologizing to a speaker when necessary

Two members of the Naperville city council who  continuously show respect to speakers who address the council are Paul Hinterlong and Joe McElroy. They do it effortlessly (it must be in their DNA), whereas some other council members really strain to refrain from overtly showing disrespect or displeasure.

A genuine ‘thank you’ or apology goes a long way when connecting with citizens and voters. Being humble is not often a characteristic seen in politics, however when it does appear it is a very endearing human trait. Maybe because it happens so infrequently is what makes it most noticeable.

Listen and watch the following two video segments from the last city council meeting when citizen Amanda Rykov mentions she emailed three simple questions to all members of the city council without getting a response from anyone, and then councilman Paul Hinterlong directly apologizing to her on behalf of all the council members for not responding to her in a more timely manner.

Council member Paul Hinterlong did not have to do this, however it was the right thing to do. In the heat of differing opinions and opposing points of view, it is refreshing to see a council member connecting with citizens in a heart-felt manner.

Sep 232011

How much does it take to own the Naperville city council? If you are talking in terms of Smart Meters, it takes about $11 million. When the Department of Energy offered the Naperville city council a money grab, the Naperville city council grabbed it like a swarm of sharks going after a cargo of filets.

It was at that exact moment that all common sense and rational thinking vacated all the council members except for council member Doug Krause. He is the one and only council member who truly represented the best interests of the citizens of Naperville. The remaining eight council members morphed into a group of empty suits. Just as the Federal and State governments control the Naperville city council with money grabs, so is it that the Naperville city council attempts to control the citizens of Naperville with punitive fees for retaining their current non-wireless electric meters.

It’s getting down to crunch time with the final vote by the Naperville city council on the installation of the not-so Smart Meters. That vote most likely  will occur at the next Naperville city council meeting Tuesday October 4th. The final vote is no secret; in fact, I will give it to you towards the end of this posting.

Most all of the members of the city council are probably good people trying to do a good job, and they might even be fun having as a neighbor or going with to dinner. However ‘sometimes something somewhat sinister’ happens when you take a good person and give them a title and some power to control and regulate; and when the federal government entices them with a money grab they lose the ability to reason.

It could also be compared to a little kid who wants his way and he is going to hold his breath and turn blue until he gets what he wants. However in the case of Naperville city council and the not-so Smart Meters, they use more sophisticated techniques to get what they want and grind down the opposition  as happened in last Tuesday’s meeting such as:

  • pushing the topic on the agenda to the next to last item to discuss
  • then changing it during the meeting to the last item to discuss
  • then to taking a recess just prior to discussing the topic
  • then lowering  the room temperature from real cool to almost cold
  • then dimming the lights over the dais making it more challenging to see the council members
  • placing the Ambassador (lobbyists) directly in camera view all night with some showing childish behavior (laughing, waving papers, and shrugging shoulders) when citizens spoke during the Public Forum

I suppose all of the above could be considered coincidence, I mean I’m sure government wouldn’t do any of that, and their over priced PR firm hired to reinforce the council’s will and whims wouldn’t recommend something like that would they. Of course not. In fact, they even told us that you could trust government. And that must be true because the Naperville city council told the citizens of Naperville the same thing.

Let’s look at the following cuts of video from the September 20 council meeting. You will see some of the best of Naperville, and some of the worst. The best comes to you from Naperville citizens addressing the city council, while the worst comes to you from some of your elected Naperville city council members responding to citizens just like you.

First, we have citizen Amanda Rykov and at the end, she asks, “Can anyone answer my questions?” And Mayor Pradel says, “NO, your time is up.”

The arrogance of the city council rears its ugly head when the Mayor and council refuse to answer her three simple questions. Yes another classic example of disrespect from the Naperville city council to the citizens of Naperville.

Next, we have newly elected council member Chirico showing his complete naivety by not understanding why anyone would want to hack into Smart Meters and have access to the personal information of over 57,000 citizens including their social security numbers. Council member Chirico exhibits his inability to grasp reality.

Then we have citizen Joanne St. Yves again speaking the ‘foreign language’ of common sense, reason, and logic to the Naperville city council and they don’t get it.

Next we have councilman Wehrli being offended and defensive that any citizen would question his integrity, I mean come on folks, if he knocked on your door at dinner time and said, “Hello, I’m with the government and I’m here to help you” it must be true……right?

Then we have council member Fieseler who has the genius to tell us within 14 seconds that he is completely closed-minded.

And then we finish it off with citizen Jennifer Stahl who also speaks in the language of common sense and reason that no council member can comprehend other than council member Doug Krause.

The Naperville city council cannot wait for this topic to come to a vote at the next meeting and be done with it. They have gone up against a formidable opponent… intelligent, informed, and engaged group of Naperville  citizens who were committed to doing the right thing for Naperville. This group of citizens with the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group had nothing but determination and perseverance on their side. They did not quit and they did not give up. The Naperville city council had citizen tax dollars to fight the citizens of Naperville, they had an over-priced PR firm to manipulate information, they had lobbyists, they had federal support  dollars to do a beat-down on the ‘little guys’, they had their own specially picked experts to package mis-information to the citizens of Naperville, they had staff and legal council, they had the police to disperse citizens who were getting petitions signed, and they still could not silence this dedicated group of committed citizens.

You have to ask yourself, “How confident is the city council that they are right?” Is city manager Doug Krieger, along with council members Fieseler and Wehrli willing to link their reputation on the Smart Meters working?

Are they willing to lay it on the line that security will not be breached? Are they willing to attach their legacy to the idea that this was  a wise and prudent  financial decision? If it came down to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would they say ‘yes’?  Well Doug, Bob, and Grant, do you have the courage to say ‘yes’?

So how does this story end?  It ends just like “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” with a final vote of 8-1 in favor of the Naperville city council over the citizens of Naperville. The deck was stacked right from the beginning.

Sep 192011

Here is your brainteaser for the day. How many times do you have to ask the same question to Naperville city manager (Doug Krieger) within a six-minute period, during the last city council meeting before you get an answer? If you said once, then you probably don’t know who he is. If you said ten times, then chance is you know him well. If you said, ‘three times’ then you are correct.

Basically the question asked once by Councilman Doug Krause and twice by Smart Meter Awareness Group member Joann St. Ives is can the water meter reader also read the electric meter for those who wish to ‘opt out’ of the installation wireless electric meters on their homes and thereby avoid the $24.95 penalty, punishment fee.

Take a look at the following video clips, and note that city manager Doug Krieger either A) can’t remember the question being asked, B) doesn’t care to answer the question, or C) doesn’t want to answer the question, D) is an elected official. This is a trick question since the answers are both B and C, though it could be A. One thing we know for sure is that the answer is not D.

Which brings us to an interesting insight; since the city manager is not an elected official, he is not accountable to the citizens of Naperville as are the members of the city council including the mayor. If the citizens are unhappy with the shenanigans of a council member, he or she can be voted out of office (does the name Furstenau ring a bell). However, the city manager has free reign to run roughshod over running the city. Technically the city council can take the bridle and corral him a bit, but for whatever reason they allow him to run unchecked. You have to think that either Krieger is a genius with some of the unwise ideas he hatches and his ability to get ‘buy-in’ from council members, or that the city council is either clueless or lacks the courage to hold him accountable. Or could it be that they all cover for each other?

If you look at the official website for the city council, it provides a short bio and many personal fun facts for each member of the Naperville city council, however other than a picture of Krieger (a smile would have been nice),  there is absolutely nothing about Naperville city manager Doug Krieger. We called city hall to see if they could tell us how he got the job, and where he came from, and what he did prior to becoming the city manager. Nobody could tell us anything, other than one person who said she was restricted from providing any information unless we filed a FOIA form on line, which we did. We decided to go to the downtown Naperville area and ask 20 Naperville residents, “Do you know the name of the Naperville city manager? Three people correctly said ‘Doug Krieger’, while twice as many (six) said ‘Mayor Pradel’, and one said ‘Doug Krause’ and the other ten had no idea. We decided to go to city hall and ask 20 people the same question. This time 11 people knew the name, however five of those thought he was a member of the city council. Then we asked 10 people at city hall and 10 in the downtown area if they “knew who Doug Krieger is and what he does?” Only three could answer correctly; 13 didn’t have the foggiest idea who he is or what he does. The other four answers included, ‘I think he owns a dry cleaning business in town’, ‘he’s an author who wrote about the Antichrist’, ‘that’s my uncle’s name in Houston’, and ‘I think he played third base for the Cleveland Indians back in the 60’s’

So not many people know who he is, and fewer yet know what he does. Maybe that’s the purpose of the FOIA….keep a low profile and don’t let people know what your up to; if they knew they might start asking some questions. How many times would they have to ask the same question before he answered?

Sep 102011

With the departure of two Naperville city council members at the last election, you would think there would be much less to write about and talk about,  considering that those two council members were lightening rods in the ‘How not to do it manual’ for new council members. However, the exact opposite is true. In fact, it is like a three-ring circus.

The Naperville Smart Grid Initiative and specifically the not-so smart meters continue to take center stage for topics. You have three groups; 1) the city council along with the government-trained lobbyist ambassadors, 2) the knowledgeable and numerous Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group who oppose the bulldozing efforts of city council’s bullying, and 3) those who have no idea the NSGI will be imposed upon their daily lives in a negative manner.

On one side stage, the Naperville city council is dilly-dallying around with implementing term limits and creating districts for representation. In fact, it appears the Naperville city council wants to make a mockery of the citizens vote to approve the referendum in last year’s election by directing the city’s legal department to find a way to wiggle out of the binding referendum; in other words undo the election results. Let’s face it folks, even the Chicago city council does not resort to this despicable ploy. Look at the article from the Chicago Trib local:

Trib Local – Council Member Looks For Ways To Reverse Referendum Results

The other side stage is a potpourri of decisions gone badly, and ‘money grabs’ by the Naperville city council from the Dupage and Will County state’s attorney’s offices. The city council voted unanimously and without comment to do away with a public intoxication ordinance; obviously an ordinance written incorrectly by the city’s legal department, and approved incorrectly by the Naperville city council. This comes during the same week that the Naperville police responded to four reports of fighting at downtown Naperville bars on one night, which was reported as ‘not out of the ordinary.’

The city council also voted unanimously and more importantly without discussion to adopt an ordinance making the city’s legal department responsible for prosecuting cases of theft involving less than $500. What this means is that the city of Naperville, rather than Will County and Dupage County, will be getting the dollars from the fines assessed. This is not about law or justice; it’s about a ‘money grab’ by the city council. This reminds me of the Naperville city council doing a ‘money grab’ from the Department of Energy so they can inflict ‘not-so smart meters’ on the citizenry of Naperville.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how many words is a video worth? Look at this video with former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams who is running for congress on an anti-government platform (including local government).  He is exactly like a citizen of Naperville trying to address or deal with the Naperville city council…the members of the Naperville city council simply do not listen.