When you find yourself digging a hole and you’re in it, the first thing most people would do is stop digging, but that’s not Naperville councilman Bob Fieseler did at the most recent Naperville city council meeting. In fact, he kept digging until he was so deep that when he looked up, he was still looking down.
Let me set the stage and then you can listen and watch councilman Fieseler in his own words as he does the unthinkable; he makes public what most politicians keep quiet or distance themselves from…he implies that for a little extra ‘gold’ from the McDonald Golden Arches he might reconsider his position.
McDonald’s is seeking council approval to build a restaurant in Naperville just south of the downtown area on the southeast corner of Washington and Hillside. The initial vote by the council was unanimous (9-0) in rejecting the request. McDonald’s attorney Henry Stillwell came to the next meeting and asked the council for a chance to revise the plans and present it at the next council meeting (August 21). He was simply asking the council for the opportunity to examine potential solutions to the issue by addressing their concerns.
The council voted in favor of granting the request to revisit the issue, however councilman Bob Fieseler was not open-minded to listening to a solution that would benefit the city of Naperville. He based his close-mindedness on three concerns: 1) 24-hour drive thru, 2) limited parking, and 3) traffic flow. He considers those issues to be non-negotiable, however listen as councilman Fieseler is willing to throw those concerns ‘under the bus’ if McDonald’s is willing to ‘sweeten the pot’ by throwing some dollars towards the River walk. In other words, resident’s concerns about an all-night drive thru restaurant, limited parking, and traffic flow are for sale if McDonald’s satisfies Fieseler’s request. If enough dollars flow towards councilman Bob Fieseler and the River walk, then all of sudden lack of parking and congested traffic flow are O.K. Watch and listen to councilman Fieseler as he grabs the shovel in front of the entire world and starts digging.
Who knows what councilman Fieseler was thinking when he started digging another hole for all to see and hear. Maybe he had no idea what he was saying or doing. But is this what we want from a council member?
One comment from a reader that was posted stated:
“As a businessman doing business in the city of Chicago, I’m all too familiar with the sound of a shakedown. Councilman Fieseler’s comments, in my opinion, have the same ring as the inspector who offers to ‘help you out’ in return for ‘some consideration’. At least the shakedowns in Chicago happen in secluded locations, not boldly in the council chamber!”
It’s very possible that Naperville councilman Bob Fieseler feels that by improving the River walk with some ‘gold’ it might alleviate parking and traffic flow concerns, and make the residents in the area of Hillside and Washington support McDonald’s request. However, it’s also possible that at the next city council meeting when this issue is revisited, councilman Fieseler might offer an apology to Naperville residents, McDonald’s Corporation, and his fellow council members, for his ill-advised comments; or he might at least clarify his comments and let us all know ‘What was he thinking!”