The city of Naperville has it’s own version of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. The Hatfields are a large number of informed and active residents in Naperville looking for a ‘fair shake’, and the McCoy’s, who are composed of Naperville city officials including the Naperville city council and city manager, who appear hell-bent on making the lives of the ‘Hatfields’ as unpleasant as possible.
The latest version of this ‘I’m-going-to-poke-a-stick-in-your-eye’ comes from ‘McCoy’ Naperville councilman Grant Wehrli, who wants to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) the city of Naperville to find out which ‘Hatfields’ are FOIA-ing the city, and for what FOIA topics. Is it just me, or does this sound nuts.
My first thought was that councilman Grant Wehrli probably wants the information so he can honor the fine residents of Naperville who are taking the time to learn more about Naperville government activities by getting involved. The honor could come in the form of a proclamation read by Wehrli during a Naperville city council meeting recognizing the efforts of local residents to learn more about city affairs. In fact, Wehrli could invite grade school, middle school, and high school students to the council meeting to hear the proclamation and encourage students to also learn more about how local government works. As part of show-and-tell, he could provide FOIA forms to each student to take home to discuss with their parents. What better way for the kids to learn. What better way for Wehrli to be a hero to the kids of our community. Finally a councilman taking a public stand to do the right thing. Is it just me, or am I beginning to sound nuts.
Let’s get real. A ‘McCoy’ (councilman Grant Wehrli) is not about ‘doing the right thing’ for the ‘Hatfields’ (involved and informed Naperville residents). Naperville city officials get very irritated and offended when residents want to learn more about local government activities. There is a reason that inky shadows exist in the corridors, corners, and offices of the Naperville city hall. A resident utilizing the FOIA has a flood light to shine into those inky shadows. A city councilman using a FOIA against residents, has a tool of intimidation to dim or eliminate that light.
What’s really ironic about councilman Wehrli’s FOIA request, is that it was just a few weeks ago that he along with a couple of other ‘McCoy’s’ on the city council were whining and complaining about Naperville residents who were ‘wasting the time of city staff’ who had to research information for the inquiring minds of Naperville residents, and now it’s the same councilman Wehrli who is doing what he was ‘crying’ about just a few weeks ago.
Maybe somebody should FOIA the city about Wehrli’s position on FOIA’s, “to FOIA or not to FOIA, that is the question”.