Oct 262011
 
  • 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.

 

Oct 202011
 

The Naperville city council takes a lot of ‘heat’ and rightfully so, however they are citizens as are the rest of us. The only two differences are that they sit on the elected side of the dais, while the ‘common folk’ sit on the other side, and they have the absolute power to make our lives more pleasant or more miserable with the decisions they make. No matter what decisions they make, there will be some unhappy people; they can’t keep everybody happy and frankly, that’s not what they were elected to do. Their basic job is to make Naperville a better place to live for its residents.

They take a lot of criticism from all areas including citizens of Naperville, local newspapers, and even occasionally from the City Council Watchdog…..well, OK maybe more than occasionally. Yet to their credit, not one council member has ever disrespectfully criticized me. I have briefly chatted with all but two, and emails have been exchanged between most council members and me. There obviously has been disagreement, but none has been disagreeable. In fact, one council member (Grant Wehrli) has been quite humorous, at times, in his disagreement with me. He doesn’t hold any punches, he tells it as he sees it and I respect that. He also has a very real and personable side, which you don’t necessarily see at council meetings. He’s not there to win friends, he’s there to get the job done and how can you not respect that commitment.

Most if not all have full time jobs and other than the mayor, the council members receive a part-time salary and some perks for their efforts. How many of us would really want to sit on their side of the dais and deal with what they have to deal with; apparently not many considering that out of a city population of about 141,000 only three ran for mayor, and 12 ran for the three open council seats. You look at the nine council members and ask yourself is this the best that Naperville can do, and the answer is apparently yes. Getting elected to the council is not an easy task, especially if you’re not an incumbent, yet this is exactly what Joe McElroy and Steve Chirico did, so that’s a major accomplishment.

The Naperville city council has to deal with many boring issues including the following at the last city council meeting:

  • Valet parking transfer zones
  • Sign compliance
  • Amplifier permit for the Turkey Trot
  • Storm water variance
  • 30-foot building setback line
  • Electronic message boards
  • How many live chickens can a resident have running around his yard

In addition, of course there are some high-energy issues such as:

  • Smart meters
  • Emergency radio systems
  • Term limits
  • District representation

Those always elevate the adrenalin, and liven-up an audience.

Some of the better moments during council meetings occur during the Public Forum portion of the meeting. This is when residents get to march up to the podium and express their feelings and thoughts for three minutes. Now that may not seem like enough time, however let’s face it, the council has to draw a line, otherwise most residents could talk for 30 minutes and we’d never get done with the meeting. A few months ago, one resident was upset because he saw a fire truck idling at local grocery store while a couple of firefighters were quickly gathering groceries for the fire station; he thought that was a waste of taxpayer money. The council politely listened, while I’m thinking ‘give me a break, it’s less than a mile from the station to the store, they need to have nourishment at the station, they risk their lives for us, it’s cool seeing a fire truck, and it gives residents a chance to say ‘thank you’ to the firefighters while they shop….what’s the harm’. Then the council has to listen to the same resident complain about a motorcycle cop, parking his cycle on the sidewalk while he uses his radar looking for speeders. Again the council respectfully listens and thanks the speaker for his comments, rather than saying what I would say which is “Don’t speed and you won’t get a ticket, and what do you want, the police officer to park his bike in the street and risk an accident….give me a break” That’s why I would not make a good council member. I’m sure members of our council often times want to make blunt comments, but usually choose to take the high road, so you have to give them credit for that.

As promised in last week’s posting we wanted to focus on what council members were doing right during this week’s meeting by selecting the top five and then choosing the council member most likely to be re-elected based on Tuesday’s ‘doing-it-right’ results. The nine-member council made this more challenging to do since three of the nine (Fieseler, Hinterlong, and Miller) were not present for the meeting, though council member Miller did appear near the conclusion.

 

  • Hence, Hinterlong did not make the Top-Five; so we missed his typical common-sense approach to issues and his friendly calm demeanor.
  • Miller also missed out, however the fact that he came to the meeting after attending a business meeting is commendable. Many elected officials would not have even bothered to show-up but Miller did. In addition, he looked refreshed and apologized for being late. Even after a full day, he looked energized and ready to rock-‘n-roll. Council member Kenn Miller has his critics, as we all do, however he really does try to do the right thing, and represents Naperville in a positive manner.
  • Council member Brodhead missed the Top-Five, though she did add some good humor to the evening with her comments.
  • Chirico also did not crack the Top-Five list, however his wife attended and he always seems to be more ‘user friendly’ in her presence. So kudos for Chirico showing his ‘approachable’ style.

Now for the Top-Five:

# 5    Council member Grant Wehrli did not want to delay a resolution approving employee benefit changes; he wanted to “move it along”. Like it or not, he is an ‘action’ type of leader and he wants to make things happen.

# 4    Council member Bob Fieseler. He was not at the meeting, and that is exactly why he made the Top-Five list. Sometimes less is better, and in this case, a no-show is a good-show. (Again, I am looking for the positives)

# 3   Council member Doug Krause. If there is one person who really speaks for the citizens of Naperville by his actions on the council, it is Doug Krause. It takes courage to be the lone voice on the council supporting citizen issues and he occasionally takes ‘heat’ from other council members for doing so. Tuesday evening he supported the citizen-side of the Smart Meter issue, he favored a signage issue for a business in these difficult economic times, he voted ‘No’ on the AT&T wireless issue, and with regard to the ‘chicken’ issue, he supported ‘doing nothing’ which is sometimes better than ‘doing something’ with regards to additional citizen regulation.

# 2   Council member Joe McElroy speaks softly, using few words, makes a lot of sense, is always respectful, and you feel compelled to listen to him for those reasons. Regarding a signage ordinance variance, he said ‘you either have the ordinance, or you don’t’. He also voted ‘no’ to the AT&T request to install wireless equipment, and he asked the speakers which cities did not approve the AT&T request.

# 1 is Mayor Pradel. He started the meeting on time, and he displays empathy, care, and concern for the citizens of Naperville. He attempts to keep the meeting moving, and seldom uses the gavel. He truly is the face of Naperville and treats people at all socio-economic levels with respect and courtesy. To be a police officer for so many years, including being Officer Friendly means he had to maintain law and order in a dangerous profession, while still being a genuine nice guy.

The goal was to select the council member most likely to be re-elected, and considering Mayor Pradel has indicated he will not run for re-election, that means council member Joe McElroy is the one most likely to be re-elected.

How does Mayor Krause sound?

Oct 132011
 

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.

Oct 052011
 

The Tuesday night Naperville city council meeting proved again how inept they are as a governing body. Mayor Pradel displayed his wisdom by not attending the meeting. Chances are when he does attend a meeting, he looks to his left, and then he looks to his right and he must wonder how did these people get elected to office. Other than Councilman Doug Krause who is a strong voice for the citizens of Naperville, and councilman Joe McElroy who demonstrates a real sense of sincerity, the rest of them are a very sorry bunch. I would imagine any political science class in the county would benefit immensely from having a course focusing on the incompetent useless, bungling, heavy-handedness of the Naperville city council.

Tonight’s meeting drew a large group of law abiding, engaged, concerned and knowledgeable citizens. This is the very type of people that the city council does not want to see or hear. This was quite evident by the fact that the Naperville city council had armed police officers at each entry/exit door with police patrol cars stationed outside in no parking zones.  The reason for the large turnout of informed and involved citizens was the following agenda item:

“Pass the ordinance amending Title 8 (Public Utilities), Chapter 1 (electricity), Article A (General Provisions and Article C (Electric Services Rates) of the Naperville Municipal Code establishing a Non-wireless Meter Alternative (NWMA) option under the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative (NSGI). (First reading 9/21/11, N2)”

Simply stated, this is nothing more than a ‘smart meter’ ‘work-around’ so the Naperville city council can punish citizens by inflicting an exorbitant financial penalty on those who do not want wireless not-so-smart meters.

The Naperville city council violated one of its own ordinances regarding public urination. Basically, the Naperville city council urinated on the citizens of Naperville and then told the citizens it was raining. The vote was a given; seven in favor of ‘sticking it’ to the citizens, one in favor of the citizens (Krause), and one wisely elsewhere for the evening. From the day the Naperville city council did a money grab from the Department of Energy, the passage of the ordinance was inevitable. Warning: never get between a Naperville city council member and any type of dollar-entitlement”

Only two things could have prevented the passage of this ordinance; 1) having a city council election this week, and 2) The Department of Common Sense offering a larger ‘money grab’ to the council. Even if Jesus Christ had spoken to the Naperville city council tonight, it would not have made a difference.

Seventeen speakers ‘tried’ to address the council tonight in opposition to the (not-so) smart meter ordinance. Typically, speakers are allowed 3 minutes to speak, however tonight the council tried to limit it to 90 seconds. That did not go over very well. The council realizing it would not look good on Youtube decided to allow 3 minutes. That was big of them. All of the speakers did a good job making their points, however you could feel 7 members of the council along with city manager Doug Krieger praying for it to come to an end. Watch and listen to two speakers (Jennifer Stahl and Dave Bendis) drive home their points.

Council member Steve Chirico must have drawn the short straw because he had to cover for an absent Mayor Pradel. It’s interesting how a council member sits in for the mayor and then gets fixated on the gavel. In fact, Chirico was so fixated on the gavel that on two separate instances he had young women “kicked out” of the meeting by armed police. You could actually see Chirico beaming with pleasure with his newfound power through the gavel. The last time we saw ‘gavel mania’ was when council member Wehrli covered for the mayor and did the gavel-pounding thing. Threatening citizens with expulsion must truly be a council member’s dream.

It’s a shame that citizens do not have the same opportunity to gavel council members out of the meeting. There would have been plenty of opportunities for that to happen Tuesday night. By the time the meeting was over there would have been only two council members at the dais; Krause and McElroy.

Let’s look at how each of the other six council members along with city manager Doug Krieger would have been escorted out of the building.

Krieger would have been gaveled out by using the word ‘absolutely’ too often, as when he is absolutely positive he is right about everything.

Wehrli would be escorted out by one of Naperville’s finest for being arrogant and dismissive of citizens.

Hinterlong would be removed by three officers; one for not knowing that generally the cost-of-living in New England is more than in Naperville, one for supporting a $190,000 expense for audio / visual upgrade for city council chambers so he doesn’t have to be inconvenienced by leaning forward towards the microphone, and one for wanting the city council shenanigans to be seen and heard better by others throughout the world on the internet. You would think the council would want as few people as possible to see and hear what they do. This is the goal of their transparency.

Brodhead would be kicked out immediately after reading another proclamation, since that seems to be her only reason for appearing at meetings. Her council seat would be better served if it were empty during meetings; we are tired about hearing how salt and smart meters are comparable.

Fieseler would be swiftly escorted out of the chambers for too much tap-dancing without a violin.

Chirico would have to be physically removed by two officers; one for losing control of the meeting tonight and broadcasting his lack of leadership skills, and the other for patronizing citizens by telling them ‘it was good to hear from them’ after kicking a couple of law-abiding well-intentioned citizens out of the meeting. Have you noticed how he is heavy-handed against the female gender, yet shortens in stature when dealing with those of his own gender?

Miller would be briskly taken away for expressing too many non-truths. You can always tell when council member Miller is speaking non-truths…his lips are moving. We may be wrong on this one; however, we know how unlikely that is.

The bottom line is that the Naperville city council won the vote on this one over the citizens of Naperville. However, when the real vote comes at election time, the citizens of Naperville will prevail, and those council members will be sitting with us on our side of the dais. Just ask ex-councilman Furstenau. I wonder if they will be given 90 seconds to talk.

Oct 012011
 

Just three nights ago, (Wednesday) baseball had what many consider the most exciting evening of baseball ever. The entire regular season came down to crunch time; two games were decided in the final three minutes when Boston lost to Baltimore, while Tampa Bay bested the New York Yankees.  That’s saying a lot since they have been playing baseball for over 130 years and more than 200,000 games have been played.

This coming Tuesday night (October 4 at 7pm) it’s crunch time again, except this time the crunching will occur during the city council meeting at City Hall (400 S. Eagle St. in Naperville). This is when a council meeting agenda item will focus on the $24.95/month penalty (punishment) for a “work around” “smart” meter.

Over the last many months, more citizens have spoken to oppose the installation of smart meters, than have been in favor of the installation. As more and more citizens learn more and more about the “not-so” smart meters the greater the opposition has become. Theoretically, if 50,004 people opposed the meters (or penalty fees) and five were in favor of installing the meters, or punishment fees, they would be installed against the will of the majority and penalty fees would apply. The reason being that all the council needs are five votes of nine to approve it. And from the moment the city council did a money grab from the Department of Energy to finance half the expense of the ‘smart’ meter project, 8 members (not including Doug Krause) of the city council have been close-minded and in a frantic rush to push the project through. This is a further validation how eight seemingly rational council members can become mere puppets of the Federal Government when the puppet strings are made of dollars. Naperville city council’s version of “Dancing with the Stars” is called “Dancing for Dollars”, and wow can they dance. City manager Doug Krieger and council members Fieseler, Wehrli and Brodhead provide some of the ‘finer’ dance moves.

We encourage you to attend the meeting to let your presence be seen, and your words be heard. As you enter city hall, if you should hear the sound of tap-dancing shoes moving fast and loud, you will know that city manager Krieger and councilman Fieseler are in the building.

For more information on ‘smart’ meters, you can refer to the links below.

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…..an 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.

Aug 262011
 

Recently, I sat down with Kevin Oliver who is the owner of a designated driving service called Booze Crews.  Below are the highlights of our conversation.

Q:  Why a designated driving service?

A:  When I looked around at my hometown I was seeking to start a service that Naperville needed.  I recently moved near the downtown Naperville area and I saw that there was a strong police presence during the nighttime hours.  I approached a few officers who explained that due to the large concentration of bars, there sometimes are “problems” and their presence reduces “incidents”.  After going home and doing some research, I found that Naperville ranked #2 for D.U.I. arrests in the state of Illinois.  I had lost a friend from high school when an intoxicated driver crashed into his car when he was on his way back from college.  I decided that I would start a designated driving service for the city of Naperville.

Q:  Why start the business in Naperville?

A:  Naperville is my hometown.  I graduated from Naperville Central high school and I have been involved with non-profit organizations based in Naperville since 2005.  I felt that I could provide a worthwhile and needed service to my community.   I created the motto “Saving Lives One Car At A Time” and I know this is exactly what Booze Crews offers.

Q:  How does the service work?

A:  I have a collapsible scooter that is no larger than a set of golf clubs when folded.  I meet the client at their vehicle, place the folded scooter in the trunk of their car, drive them and their car home and then I use the scooter as my transportation back.  Essentially the service works like a chauffeur for hire since it is the customer’s car being used as the transportation vehicle.  It is a bit difficult to explain, but the concept was featured on CBS 2 Chicago.  There is video available on you tube showing the concept.

Q:  What has the response been to the company and the concept?

A:  The response from citizens and police has been phenomenal.  When I park the scooter in Naperville, I am typically approached about the strange looking vehicle and I take the opportunity to inform people about the service.  I was told by a couple that they appreciate that this service is something offered in Naperville.  I have also been told by motorcyclists that the service bridges the gap between drivers and riders.  Even a Naperville police officer approached me and said he was waiting for they day that they can tell Police Chief Dial that the reason they didn’t have a D.U.I. arrest or a car accident involving alcohol or even a death was because of the designated driving service Booze Crews.  I have been interviewed about Booze Crews on tv on CBS 2 Chicago.  On the radio, I was interviewed on WLS 890 AM Chicago, WGN 720 AM Chicago and on the Dwyer and Michaels show out of Davenport, Iowa on 97X FM.  The business has also been featured in the Naperville Sun and the Chicago Sun Times.  I did present the concept to Mayor A. George Pradel in his office and he invited me to a liquor commission meeting.  It was at that meeting that I realized that my designated driver concept was not wanted.

Q:  What happened at the liquor commission meeting?

A:  The meeting took place on August 6th 2009 and I walked into a room of police, council members, local bar owners and the mayor.  I presented the concept to the group and even brought the scooter into the meeting room.  After my presentation concluded, I was recognized by my former wrestling coach at Naperville Central Bill Young who gave me a thumbs up and said I was doing a good thing.  Riff Menza, of the Restaurant Association of Naperville, told me “No one is over-served in Naperville”.  It was after Mr. Menza’s statement that I began to receive what seemed like strange questions from the rest of the committee.  Some of the questions I received were, “How much does the scooter cost”, “How many rides have you given before bringing this to our attention”, “How do you get someone to sign your waiver when they are intoxicated” and even “What if a young lady says that you raped her”.  I answered as honestly and professionally as I could.  I was in shock that people who represent Naperville and have control over its liquor licenses would be treating a voting citizen in such a way.  It was at the end of the meeting when Mayor Pradel’s said “I’m not sure if council would allow something like this to happen in Naperville”.

Q:  Is there a transcript of the liquor commission meeting and all that you were put through?

A:  Yes there is a copy of the meeting minutes.  Not everything was caught in the meeting minutes, but is clear by reading the meeting minutes now that Booze Crews is not welcome in Naperville.

Q: After the liquor commission meeting what happened then?

A: I attempted to move the concept forward and try to satisfy the city of Naperville’s requirements, but I quickly realized I was caught in an endless sea of bureaucracy. The city did not know how to categorize Booze Crews for regulation so they said I was a solicitor, which clearly the service is not. I got a permit for solicitation to satisfy their demand. Then they began to inflict other limits and regulations including obtaining insurance far and above what is necessary. It was apparent that I was getting regulated and ‘taxed’ out of business.

Q: Why do you think the city of Naperville did not feel your service was good for the city?

A: Since a comment was made that Naperville establishments do not over serve, it is possible that by approving my business it is an admission that a need exists. Additionally a unique and successful designated driving service cuts into the profits of many other businesses including the city itself. That may seem strange but in the world of D.U.I. many entities rely on a stream of revenue generated from folks who are over served. As sad as that is, it’s true.

Q:  Is your business still in operation?

A:  We do still have the same phone number and I do receive phone calls as late as 3AM on weekends asking for the service.  If I am available, I will assist the customer in any way possible.  I will offer to call them a taxi and to call the non-emergency police phone number to report that their car will be parked overnight.  Booze Crews has been requested in some instances to operate special events?

Q:  What type of events?

A:  We have been asked to assist with the Midwest Brewers Fest in Plainfield, IL in the instance that one of their patron’s does not feel comfortable driving home.  Booze Crews will be providing exclusive services to the Midwest Brewers Fest on August 27th 2011.

Q:  How can people contact Booze Crews?

A:  We can be reached by visiting www.BoozeCrews.com or via email Kevin.Oliver@AdsOnUs.biz