We’re all familiar with the “No shirt, no shoes” policy of most restaurants. Can you imagine a restaurant owner walking into his own restaurant with no shirt and no shoes and everybody being O.K with that. It might work at Jimmy Buffet’s Margarita-ville in Key West, Florida, but not at most places.
The Naperville city council has their own type of ‘no-shirt, no-shoes’ policy too, and it’s called, “No address, no applause” mandate. During the Public Forum portion of the meeting, speakers addressing the city council are required to state their address. If the speaker begins speaking without providing the his or her address, Mayor Pradel interrupts the speaker requesting the speaker’s address. Doing this benefits the council especially when the speaker’s topic is not one the council wants to hear. Distracting the speaker is a subtle ploy to throw off the speaker’s concentration. When a speaker has only three minutes to present, every second counts.
However, if the mayor and council support the speaker’s point of view, then the ‘provide your address’ rule disappears. Watch and listen as Stephanie Kifowit, newly elected representative for the 84th District addresses the council.
The Naperville city council doesn’t like applause, unless of course they are the ones applauding, or the applause is directed towards them, which happens as often as the Cubs winning the pennant. Watch and listen as Mayor Pradel tells the citizens to calm down or they will be removed.
The same citizen beat-down was used by councilman Grant Wehrli at the March 1, 2011 meeting when he was Mayor Pro-tem while Pradel was away on business.
Abraham Lincoln was quoted, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Giving councilman Wehrli the ‘power-of-the-gavel’ is seldom good news for Naperville residents.
Now watch and listen as Stephanie Kifowit ends her short, well-spoken presentation, and receives applause from both councilmen Bob Fieseler and Doug Krause.
It’s clear from Pradel’s and Wehrli’s comments that applause is a form of ‘intimidation’ during Public Forum, yet there are councilmen Fieseler and Krause ‘intimidating’ somebody in front of Pradel and Wehrli while the gavel remained quiet. Maybe residents should be allowed to applaud in support of someone or something, just as Naperville council members are allowed to applaud. It’s the American way of doing it.