Q & A with the Watchdog (part 4)

  • With the departure of two council members and the addition of two new members, has the make-up of the city council improved?

(Jan J., Chicago)

Overall yes, however not as much as needed. Joe McElroy, who we did not endorse, has been a very pleasant, welcome, and refreshing addition. He has proven that we were wrong in not supporting his candidacy, and that the watchdog is open to learning. Steve Chirico has not delivered on his potential, indicating he may not have the potential to deliver what is necessary for Naperville citizens.


  • Do you think your postings regarding former council members Boyajian and Furstenau contributed in part to neither being re-elected?

(Jay L. Naperville)

Jim Boyajian chose to not run for re-election, so he was not defeated in the election. It is rather doubtful he could have been re-elected, which may have prompted him not to run. Dick Furstenau was soundly defeated in his run for re-election, however the reasons for his defeat were self-imposed and not from any one particular external force. It is difficult to unseat an incumbent, unless they themselves help in the process by their actions and decisions.


  • Why so much talk and emphasis on the Smart Meter issue?

(Alan S., Naperville)

It’s a classic example of “government gone wild” when elected officials get mesmerized with the opportunity of a ‘money grab’.

Basically, they made every wrong decision along the process. The Naperville city council was behind the steering wheel while the citizens of Naperville were (and still are) passengers in the ‘council bus’. We go where they take us, when in fact the bus should have been pulled over and the ‘drivers’ ticketed for DUI.


  • Considering that Naperville has a city manager type of government, who is making the decisions for the city; the manager, council, or mayor?

(Dave W., Kenilworth)

That is a good question Dave. In many ways, local leadership is a misnomer. The council needs to ‘rein in’ the city manager, but other than council members Krause and McElroy and occasionally Wehrli, the city manager is held unaccountable. It is almost as if they lack the courage to challenge his actions and decisions, while the city manager appears to lack the confidence to be open-minded. It would truly benefit the citizens of Naperville along with the council and even the city manager if he was challenged and held accountable.


  • Why haven’t we heard anything further about district representation and term limits?

(Debbie J.,  Naperville)

The Naperville city council is very comfortable letting this topic marinade as long as possible. If they can prolong it long enough, chances are no one will even remember that it was a referendum with landslide support from the citizens of Naperville. When referendums are voted in favor by 75% and 66% that is a ‘shout out’ from the citizens to the council that they want it to happen now and not later. Unfortunately, what the citizens want, and what the Naperville city council does are two different things.


  • California is the punch line of many jokes, yet many cities and towns in my state have halted or reversed the installation of Smart Meters. How is it that a decent-sized city in the Midwest cannot understand what we understand in California?

(Jim J.,  San Diego, Ca.)

We have three groups in Naperville. The largest group consists of citizens who do not understand or even know that an issue exists. This really is not surprising; in fact, it is this group that allows local government to run wild and unbridled in any community. The second group (Naperville Smart Meter Awareness) consists of a large group (and growing in numbers) of knowledgeable and engaged citizens who ‘get it’. The third group consists of nine council members, a group of lobbyists, an overpaid public relations company, and the partial financial backing by the Department of Energy. It is interesting that many communities nationwide have succeeded in stopping the not-so Smart Meter fiasco. Maybe those local officials are smarter than the Smart Meters.


  • I was born, raised in Naperville, and now live in Sydney. I enjoy keeping up with what’s going on back home and often watch the council meetings on line, and especially the Open Forum portion of the meetings. Is it my imagination, or have the councils become more combative with presenters?  Most council members seem to be unopened to differing points of view.

(Chelsea H.,  Sydney, Australia)

It’s not your imagination; we hear the same comments here. Things have improved since the last election; however, there still exists an aura of closed-mindedness among nearly half of the council members.


  • Whatever happened to the homeless guy?  Is the city council trying to ‘work this guy over’ or work with him?

(Joey H., Arlington Heights)

A little bit of both. He just lost a court battle, so it looks like he is heading to the “slammer” for a few months, but that’s not such a bad deal considering he will get some housing and food during the cold winter months. Naperville no longer has ‘homeless people’. They are now known as ‘street dwellers’. I guess that sounds better.


  • Why waste so much time fighting Smart Meters? As the saying goes, “you can’t fight city hall”, so what’s the purpose?

(Dick P., Naperville)

Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying. “The first responsibility of every citizen is to question authority.”

During the Revolutionary War, only 20% of the colonists favored splitting from the mother country of England. Approximately 20,000 colonists died fighting for our freedom.

And finally, “First they came…” is a famous statement attributed to pastor Martin Niemoller about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then the came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

‘Fighting’ for what’s right is the right thing to do.


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