Oct 292012

You have to give the Naperville city council along with city officials a lot of credit. It’s not easy trying to push a product or service on residents, when the residents don’t want it. Take for example Smart Meters. Against all logic, reason, and common sense, the Naperville city council will use whatever intimidation and force they think they have to attach these unwanted devices on the homes and businesses of Naperville residents and business owners. Would they go as far as turning off the electric to citizens? That very well could happen. What about residents on oxygen? Naperville has a population of 142,773, down from 144,560 in 2008; that’s a drop of about two families per week over the last four years. So if the city pulls the plug on power and loses a few residents here and there, it would be considered acceptable residual loss, almost as if city officials were at war with residents.

Another ‘service’ the city of Naperville is pushing is electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations. The city can’t seem to give them away. People are not buying EV’s. Has anyone seen a Naperville city council member driving a EV that they actually own. We’ve asked to be notified of a sighting, but nothing yet. It looks like the city is on the wrong side of ‘right’ on this issue too. Toyota has trashed plans for widespread sales of their new EV mini-car, saying it has ‘misread the market and the ability of battery technology’ to meet consumer needs. Major EV issues continue to exist including excessive vehicle cost, restricted battery life, and travel range.

The Naperville city council could definitely use the wisdom of Toyota executives or that of nationally syndicated talk-show host Mark Levin regarding EV’s. Imagine a conversation between Mark Levin and council member Bob Fieseler or city manager Doug Krieger. It might go something like this.

City manager Doug Krieger and Naperville city council members can’t seem to get it right. They don’t have it all figured it out yet. They continue to go the wrong way down a one-way street, and force residents to be passengers in their EV. We can only hope that their battery life results in a short travel range.

Oct 222012

Other than Saturday Night Live, some of the best political comedy can be seen at Naperville city council meetings as presented by Naperville city council members and city officials. Unfortunately for Naperville residents it’s not so funny since it directly impacts their daily lives. It’s also not so funny for Naperville council members who hope to be re-elected. It’s difficult to understand how some council members were elected in the first place considering their solutions for dealing with issues.

Take for example Naperville city council member Judy Brodhead’s solution for reducing the expense of building a home in Naperville. It came during a discussion for adopting the 2012 International Building Code, and specifically dealing with the electrical code. Without getting into the boring details of arc fault protection receptacles in this posting, council member Brodhead took the minority position supporting the increased and needless expense of creating code ahead of technology. Her position was in opposition to a home builder’s association viewpoint that adding additional expense to build a home in Naperville was unnecessary.

Watch and listen to Brodhead’s solution, which is simply for residents to build smaller homes if they want to save money.

This is the type of logic and mindset that Naperville residents are up against when dealing with the Naperville city council and specifically council member Judy Brodhead. We can only imagine that her solution for dealing with issue of the homeless and the hungry, would be to feed the homeless to the hungry.

Oct 172012

The Naperville city website has been down since October 2, 2012. I thought it would be helpful to mention the year, since city officials have no idea how long it will remain down; it may be weeks, months or even years….who knows. Originally the thought was a simple virus, however Naperville’s internet security system isn’t as effective as advertised by city officials. The fact that city manager Doug Krieger assured Naperville residents that Napeville’s website was absolutely safe and secure to the point of guaranteeing it, may have invited someone to challenge his foolish assumption. If I had to bet my favorite Clint Eastwood poster against Krieger’s shoes on whether or not some high school drop out could hack Naperville’s website while ‘herbing up’ in the basement of his folk’s home, I’d make that bet, and I would have won and been the proud owner of a pair of Krieger’s mismatched shoes.

What’s alarming for Naperville residents is that Doug Krieger’s boastful confidence in the ‘inhackability of the city’s website, is only exceeded by his boastful bragging about the ‘inhackability’ of Naperville’s foolish Smart Meters. Imagine Naperville’s absurd Smart Meter electric grid being down for days, weeks, or months; it doesn’t seem so ‘Smart’ now does it.

When all this ‘went down’ (pun intended), Naperville city manager wasn’t to be found. He was apparently out of town, and why shouldn’t he be…..what could possibly go wrong in his absence. His second in command (Marcie Schatz) a very competent city employee still in her learning curve, was left to try a keep the ship afloat, and she did an outstanding job. If you think about it, Krieger has a bang-up job. He’s not really accountable to anyone; it’s not an elected position, it’s appointed. The Naperville city council gives him free reign…almost like a ‘get-out-of-jail free’ card. He doesn’t need city council approval for any expense less than $100,000. He can afford to lose a pair of mismatched shoes.

This get’s us back to why Naperville is like Bone Gap, Illinois. In fact, you could bundle Naperville along with other Illinois cities such as Bullpit, Beaverville, Otterville, and Muddy, Illinois. The commonality of all is that none of have an active useable website. It’s not that those towns have websites that are down….they just don’t have a website, but then again neither does Naperville now.

However the bustling town of Oblong, Illinois (population 1700) does have a website which has been up and running. For those of you who don’t know where Bone Gap is, it’s just northwest of Flat Rock, Illinois. I spoke with Mayor Randy Rich and he can’t remember their website being down. He credits a fellow by the name of Herb Jones for maintaining and keeping the website useable. It’s interesting that his first name is ‘Herb’ considering our basement hypothesis above. Anyway (as Krieger would say) I am absolutely 100% confident and would guarantee that Herb Jones could secure Naperville’s website just as well as prior to October 2 and charge far less than the $673,000 Naperville is spending now to have a useable website within days, weeks, months, or who knows when.

Once the website is up and running, we would ask city manager Doug Krieger to be less challenging to hackers by eliminating the words ‘guarantee’ and ‘absolutely’ from his vocabulary. Or maybe better yet, the Naperville city council might want to groom and promote Marcie Schatz ‘second in command’ to the person in command.

Oct 142012

If you have ever talked with someone and you realize that they are not listening and don’t care, then you know what it would be like talking to the Naperville city council. They really don’t listen and for the most part they really don’t care. It’s quite evident during the Public Forum portion of the city council meeting. Typically up to ten residents can make a presentation lasting up to three minutes each. As you watch the city council members during this portion of the meeting, you get the feeling that the city council can’t wait for Public Forum to end. They endure it as if it were a root canal; painful and excruciating, a necessary evil.

Addressing the city council goes something like this:

  • a city official calls out your name, sometimes pronouncing it correctly, and you proceed to the podium
  • the council has the speaker out numbered 11 to 1 ( nine council members along with the city manager and city attorney)
  • the dais is elevated so it’s as if the speaker is presenting to Mount Rushmore
  • once the speaker begins, he or she is interrupted and required to state name and address.
  • The speaker is allowed 3 minutes to make a presentation and is then interrupted by the time keeper. If the mayor likes what is being said, you likely can continue; if not, then you get a hard halt and you’re finished.
  • During a speaker’s presentation, some council members use this time to look around the room, read, make notes, chat with each other, look at their computer screens, or perfect the art of the ‘sitting nap’; this is defined as looking like you’re awake, while actually catching a quick nap.
  • The speaker is then given a cursory ‘thank you’ and that’s it. The whole process is typically an exercise in futility for the speaker.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures. Watch and listen as David Sinker nails this point when he addresses the Naperville city council.

Oct 082012

Have you ever noticed how someone can be the ‘ring leader’ and get other people on board for some project or cause, and then the next thing you know, the initiator leaves the scene, and in no time, can’t be found, while the rest of followers are left ‘holding the bag’ wondering how this could have happened.

That might be the route the Naperville city council is taking with regard to the Smart meter debacle. The flag carrier and trumpet blower for pushing Smart Meters on the residents of Naperville has been council member Robert Fieseler. Initially all the other eight council members joined Fieseler like lemmings in lockstep supporting the Smart Meter fiasco and forcing residents into compliance.

Some things changed since the inception of this charade including two council members leaving the council; one was booted out during the election, and the other wisely knowing it was time to leave, wisely decided to leave. Two new council members were added; Steve Chirico and Joe McElroy. Neither has done anything to change the decision or question the sanity of the program, however neither bear the responsibility of the initial decision. One council member (Doug Krause) has “seen the light” and the folly of his original thought supporting Smart Meters and has since then come to his senses by reversing his position and now supports the residents of Naperville.

Of the remaining five members of the council, two typically follow the crowd (Judy Brodhead and Paul Hinterlong) and will tag along for a ride anywhere. That leaves three remaining; Mayor Pradel who has stated this will be his last term as Mayor, and Kenn Miller who is leaning towards not running again for council, so that takes them out of the picture. That leaves council member Grant Wehrli ‘holding the bag’ for the ill-conceived idea of forced installation of Digital Utility Meters (DUM), not-so smart meters.

That takes us back to the ‘ring leader’ council member Robert Fieseler. How is he trying to take himself off the hook and leave Wehrli holding the ‘bad decision’ bag? Fieseler wrote an article for the trade journal ‘Applied Design’, which implied that those opposing Smart Meters had legitimate concerns. Some of the concerns of the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group include health, privacy, cost, security, and the hot topic (pun intended) of Smart Meters overheating and causing fires.

It appears that councilman Bob Fieseler is out-smarting councilman Grant Wehrli on Smart Meters. I suppose you could say that Fieseler’s catch phrase for his next election could be, “Follow me….I’ll be right behind you.”

Oct 052012

What if the Naperville city council is right about Smart Meters. Maybe everybody else is wrong. What if Naperville city manager is right about Smart Meters being safe and secure. What’s the big deal about losing a few homes here and there due to overheating meters. It hasn’t happened yet in Naperville, and if it does we have over 57,000 homes and businesses, so to have a few leveled is hardly noticeable. Maybe the Department of Energy selected Naperville, not because the city council is naïve, but because Naperville has an outstanding fire department, which is more than capable of responding to meter melt downs.

And how clever is the Department of Energy to label these meters with the acronym ‘Smart’ (Some Meters Are Radically Thermal). These Digital Utility Meters (DUM) can also be entertaining. Imagine mom or dad coming home from work, and after popping some popcorn, gathering the entire family around the computer to observe the usage of electric power in real time. Station one of the kids by the light switch to turn the lights on and off, and the rest of the family can see how much electric is saved and used as the switch is toggled on and off. There is no better way for a family to bond.

Naperville city manager Doug Krieger ‘guaranteed’ that these ‘Smart DUM’ units are safe and secure. Hacking into the Smart Grid is as unlikely as someone hacking into the Naperville city website and shutting it down. Krieger said it, and the Naperville council bought into it.

I tried to access Naperville’s website, and a message popped up which read “City Website Availability to be intermittent Throughout the Remainder of the Week”. What’s up with that; a virus is on the loose. Are you kidding me. I quickly looked for Doug Krieger’s ‘guarantee’. I found it in my ‘Can’t sink the Titanic’ file. I tried to access the city of Naperville’s website again and again for the last few days with no success. Reality set in as I crumpled into my La-Z-Boy with Krieger’s guarantee clutched in my hand. Krieger’s guarantee was nothing more than cruel joke. I felt violated.

If I couldn’t view my electric usage, what was I to do with all that spare time. I decided to buy a mini fire extinguisher, and keep an eye on my neighbor’s ‘SMART DUM’

Oct 032012

The Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group is joining numerous organizations throughout the world to protest the utilities forced installation of “smart” meters on homes and businesses. Dozens of groups throughout the country are rallying to “Take Back Your Power” from municipalities such as Naperville.

Town after town, and state after state are listening and acting to support citizens concerns about the dangers of smart meters. Naperville is not one of those towns. The Naperville city council and officials continue to deny reality. City councils and officials throughout the country are listening to their constituencies and either stopping or reversing the “Smart” meter fiasco. The Naperville city council is not one of those city councils, and Naperville city manager Doug Krieger is not one of those officials.

Kim Bendis, President of the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group made the following announcement:

Take Back Your Power: Freedom Rocks

“Do you believe you have the right to say what goes on your property? Do you believe you have the right to choose what risks you and your family assume? Do you believe you have a right to vote on how your tax dollars are spent?

Then join Naperville Smart Meter Awareness on Thursday October 4th from 11:30-1:00 at the corner of Washington and Chicago Avenue in downtown Naperville for a rally to Take Back Your Power! We are joining dozens of organizations from around the country and abroad to protest the utility’s forced installation of “smart” meters on all our homes and buildings.

Instead of being the next big “it” gadget to have, the utility’s roll-out of “smart” meters is proving to be a complete waste of money and failing to live up to its marketed taglines. The promise of creating a grid system where “smart” meters will pave the way for electric vehicles is flopping. According to SmartGridNews.com Toyota is admitting that batteries are too expensive and have a limited range. Reuter’s reported that Toyota misread the market and is scrapping plans for a widespread rollout of its new all-electric battery-powered minicar, the eQ. GM had already decided to suspend production if its Chevy Volt plug-in-hybrid because of the lack of return on investment.

Who needs a “smart” meter when the control is literally in our fingertips? Just turn up your thermostat in the summer and turn off more lights. If you want real time data to further inform you of which appliance is your biggest power hog, go on Amazon and pay $85 bucks for a home energy monitor by Black & Decker. The smart move would be to keep our current electrical meter that is safe, secure, 99.95% efficient and reliable for free rather than throwing money at a product that is failing in the test markets. In a 2009 pilot program involving 10,000 Connecticut consumers, results showed no beneficial impact on energy usage and the Attorney General scrapped the program. Bottom line, no quantifiable consumer benefits.

Shouldn’t we be able to say, “No” to a product that is a known fire hazard and risk to our well-being? Utilities across the country are having to admit that fires, explosions and power surges involving wireless digital meters are causing $1,000’s of dollars worth of home and business damage. ComEd has recently admitted to “smart” meter related Chicago area fires. Over 100 fire related incidences have been documented around the country. The WHO, CA Health Department, 2,000+ studies, scientists, MD’s nationally and internationally are all warning that the consequence of living in a high tech society that depends upon a network system that communicates using frequencies in the microwave radiation spectrum will wreak havoc long term. Especially our children. You may be at greater risk for cancer, neurological disease and reproductive and developmental impairments according to scientific peer-reviewed research.

As if that’s not enough, “smart” meters can be used as a surveillance device on our home, which is a violation of our privacy. They can track details about your private home life patterns and habits such as at what time you used an appliance and for how long and what time-frame your home might be vacant. In an incredibly ironic piece of news, KrebsOnSecurity reported that Telvent, the company behind a control system designed to be used in concert with the so-called “smart grid,” recently announced that their network had been breached by hackers who “accessed project files related to a control system used in portions of the electrical grid.” The network wasn’t only breached; the hackers also were able to install malicious software on the company’s network.

True sustainability is in the preservation and protection of people and future generations. Needlessly replacing our current electric meters that are efficient, safe and secure with an untested and poorly vetted utility product that is failing in the test markets is counter to the core principals of sustainable living. It’s a complete waste of resources.

We are joining dozens of organizations nationally and internationally including CA, Las Vegas, HI, DC, NY and Canada to advocate for people over profits. We are asking for a moratorium on future installations and a total recall of already installed “smart” meters until the utility can demonstrate that the meters are safe, secure and worth the money.

Let’s be clear, this is about choice. Those who want one get one and those who don’t have the freedom to say, “No.” It’s that simple. This national endeavor coincides with Grid Week that is occurring in Washington, DC.

Join us as we Take Back Our Power and defend the right to say what goes on our homes by saying, “Yes” to protecting our property rights and civil liberties. Learn more at www.napervillesmartmeterawareness.org. Jam the Scam on Thursday October 4, 2012 from 11:30-1:00 downtown Naperville.”

Kim Bendis MSN, FNP-C
President, Naperville Smart Meter Awareness