The Starz network is currently running a popular series titled “Boss” staring Kelsey Grammar as the mayor Tom Kane of Chicago. Someone very familiar with the workings of Chicago politics must be the technical advisor, since it is considered ‘spot on’ with the backroom dealings and power plays of the politics in Chicago. In a recent episode it was mentioned that to be politically successful in Chicago you need three things; money, muscle and to neutralize the opposition. To a much lesser degree the Naperville city council tries to use the same trifecta; money (your tax dollars), muscle (the gavel along with armed police presence at meetings, and ordinances against citizens), and neutralizing the opposition (intimidation, ridicule, and keeping voters in the dark). There are two glaring differences between politics in Chicago and politics in Naperville; 1) Naperville council members are political lightweights compared to Chicago aldermen, and 2) Naperville citizens are determined, committed, persistent, not easy to push around, and intelligent. Consider the fact that the forewoman for Blagojevich’s retrial is from Naperville.
It’s not that unusual to hear the following terms at a Naperville city council meeting: “sticking it to us, system is fraught with error, our hands are tied, concerns about what the city is doing, that’s not fair, keep the heat on, why go further in the hole with the deficit, are there any safeguards in place that can guarantee that our funds are going to where they are supposed to go, and how do we go about safe-guarding misappropriation of our money”. In fact, these terms were used in last Tuesday night’s Naperville city council meeting. You would think those words were spoken by Naperville citizens about the Naperville city council (and usually they are), except this time it was the Naperville city council members speaking those words about Chicago politics with regard to Chicago’s new water user charges that suburbs will pass-on to their residents. So in essence, there are trust concerns from Naperville politicians towards Chicago politicians. Yet the Naperville city council cannot understand why the citizens of Naperville are not trusting of their own city council. It does not take a genius to see the commonality of money, muscle and neutralizing opposition.
Observe any Naperville city council meeting and the reasons for mistrust are glaring. It is actually surprising that the Naperville city council wanted to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their audio-visual quality. It is not surprising that they wanted to spend thousands of dollars; it is surprising that they wanted others to see and hear more clearly, what they are saying. It is clearly recorded for the world to see. You would think based on their comments and actions, they would be wiser to dim the lights and muffle the sound.
Listen and watch as council member Kenn Miller emphatically state that “it won’t happen” with regard to Smart Meters not being intrusive.
Then we have Naperville citizen Amber Schoedel asking a very valid question about who from the city will be responsible when things go wrong with the ‘Smart’ meters.
When is the last time you heard of a politician being speechless; not able to utter one word? How about 11 politicians and government “leaders” including eight council members, one mayor, one city manager and a city attorney unable or unwilling to answer a simple question. Watch and listen as Naperville citizen Jo Malik ‘freezes’ all 11 with one simple question.
And as citizen, Glen Mendoza presents a straightforward simple solution.
Finally, we have council member Kenn Miller again flaunting his close-mindedness; he appears determined not to let any facts alter his bureaucratic, monolith mindset. This is the same Kenn Miller who ran for mayor and likely will do so again, so keep this in mind the next time you vote.
The Naperville city council may have the money, and they may have some muscle, but they are definitely not neutralizing the opposition.