A number of times I have attended Naperville city council meetings wanting to find something good to write about, however there is just so much not to like that it always trumps everything else. However, I am determined to focus on the positive during the next council meeting October 18. It’s probably the ideal time to do it since in the very near future the council will be dealing with term limits and district representation and there will be much not to like about those proceedings. The Naperville city council has a way of falling on the wrong side of an issue, when it comes to benefiting the citizens of Naperville. We have just recently experienced this with the ‘not-so’ Smart Meter debacle. Now do not get me wrong, this fiasco is not finished yet, and it will not be for quite some time. The Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group is a determined and committed assemblage of citizens with a level of perseverance beyond that of any of the crowd on the city council. I would imagine city manager Doug Krieger and the entire Naperville city council (excluding Doug Krause) are already working on an exit strategy or litany of excuses when the not-so Smart Meter project begins to unravel and go bad. Some will have been voted out of office, others will decide to leave the council, and some retired, while others including Doug Krieger will have taken their ‘dog and pony’ show to some other unsuspecting city. Isn’t this how it usually turns out; the citizens are left ‘holding the bag’, trying to pick up the pieces created by bad decisions and poor judgment of local officials.
Again, this next meeting is the ideal opportunity to find something uplifting about each member of the council. Yes, that is a lofty challenge considering that the only council member speaking on behalf of the citizen is council member Doug Krause. It is almost as if all the others realize they cannot be the first best council member, so they might as well be the first worst of the rest; at least that way they can be first at something. There seems to be a direct correlation to the proximity to the gavel and the use of common sense. The closer a council member is to the gavel, the less common sense they use. Take for example former council member Richard Furstenau. Now that he is on the citizen side of the dais, he seems to be making much more sense than he did when he was a council member. The reverse holds true for council member Chirico. When he was running for office, he appeared to be a reasonable human being, but now that he is on the other side of the dais and closer to the gavel, he has become out-of-control and departed from using common sense. It might be wise for Mayor Pradel to attach the gavel to the table with a chain, much as a bank does with a pen at the teller’s window. It seems to work in Pradel’s hand in a way that it does not work in Chirico or Wehrli’s hands.
Additionally maybe our city council members need a catchy moniker; others in politics have them such as Blago (former Governor Blagojevich), Tricky Dick (Richard Nixon), and Fast Eddy (Alderman Ed Vrdolyak). Our Naperville city council from left to right would be:
- Joe ‘speak softly’ McElroy
- Judy ‘let’s talk salt’ Brodhead
- Bob ‘the meter czar’ Fieseler
- Doug ‘citizen’ Krause
- Mayor George ‘the circus master’ Pradel
- Kenn ‘let’s make a deal’ Miller
- Grant ‘dismiss the citizen’ Wehrli
- Paul ‘lean forward’ Hinterlong
- Steve ‘pound the gavel’ Chirico (also known as the Commandant)
And let’s not forget city manager Doug ‘I’m not making any sense’ Krieger.
So here is the opportunity….next Tuesday five council members will be recognized for doing something good, or kind, or with class, or witty, or using common sense, or creative, or expense conscious, or citizen-friendly, or courageous, or wise, or something you do not normally see a council member do. From that group of five, one will be selected as ‘Council Member most likely to be re-elected’. There has to be something positive that happens.