If you are ever interested in going on a roller coaster ride without going to a theme park, or dabbling in virtual reality, all you have to do is venture into the world of local government bureaucracy. It is like being a pinball in a pinball machine where you are bounced and paddled around. When you enter the world of ordinances, codes, forms, phone calls, discussions, mixed messages, approvals, disapprovals, re-approvals, reversed decisions, ambiguities, uncertainty, haziness, and vagueness, you know you are dealing in the twilight zone otherwise known as the Naperville city government.
One of the more recent examples of this was showcased during the February 21 city council meeting when one of the items on the Consent Agenda portion of the meeting involved Naperville citizen Lisa Groskopf who had been issued a permit to build a fence, but later the permit was placed on hold, and she was required to go back to square one and start over. At this point, she had incurred considerable expense. Naperville city staff was leaning in one direction, while the Naperville Planning and Zoning Commission was leaning in a different direction. In the mean time Lisa and her family were left leaning.
Watch and listen as Lisa Groskopf addresses the city council.
Now watch and listen as Naperville council member Doug Krause showcases the issue and again is the lone voice of reason supporting a citizen of Naperville.
It seems like some issues, including this one, should never get to the point of being presented ‘on stage’ in front of the council. Granted, it’s difficult to create a policy of one-size fits all, so there are situations where alterations, adjustments, and variances need to apply. However, to make citizens run through the gauntlet is not citizen friendly, especially in a city whose mayor was Officer Friendly,
What is of even more concern is the perception that if someone is in the favor of the city, they get preferential treatment on issues versus someone who might be considered a ‘fly in the city’s ointment’. It is unfortunate that view exists, but that is how government can work; Case in point is Naperville citizen Tom Glass who is now considered a ‘frequent FOIAer’ because he had so many FOIAs denied. Since his questions went unanswered, it necessitated him to ask for more information. He is an outstanding citizen of Naperville who is actively involved in Naperville, yet because he is considered ‘too’ interested in his city, he is now being punished because the city can take 21 business days to respond to his requests rather than five. In essence, he has become a fly in the city’s ointment, and the Naperville city council makes him run through the city gauntlet.
So what is a Naperville citizen to do? Do as Lisa Groskopf did and that is to persevere. And do as Tom Glass does and keep asking questions.