Naperville Mayor Pradel Issues Wehrli A Gag Order

Typically the first and third Tuesdays of each month, the Naperville city council has a meeting, and typically I either attend the meeting or watch live via television. Last Tuesday, I did neither. However I did record the meeting and watched it after midnight. It was one of those long meetings which meant morning came quick.

The agenda for the meeting is usually available online about five days prior to the meeting, which allows me a chance to see what topics might be of more interest than others. This agenda looked a bit unremarkable, hence if I was going to find something of more interest, it would happen during public forum in the beginning, or during new business at the end. Most of the content of Watchdog postings comes directly from the ‘mouths’ of city officials, as again was the case last Tuesday.

During the public forum portion of the meeting, a very young 86-year experienced resident (Don Wehrli) wanted to share a bit of Naperville history with the council, residents, and those watching the meeting. He asked the mayor if it was OK to do so, and the mayor said ‘yes’. Mr. Don Wehrli wanted to share some history in order to make a point. Well that caught my attention. I like listening and learning, especially from someone who learned it from others long ago. It’s as if that person (Don Wehrli) is the bridge from those before him, to those of us now. Did I mention that Don Wehrli served on the Naperville city council about 30 years ago, and has been a life-long resident, so he knows of what he speaks.

Don Wehrli no sooner began to set the table to make his point, when he was interrupted by the official time keeper, who said, “Mr. mayor, the speaker’s time is up.” Then a few minutes later, Mayor Pradel interrupted the speaker. The interruptions (12 by the mayor) continued over the next four minutes.

At the 14th interruption, Mayor Pradel said, “Mr. Wehrli, you have to stop”. Don Wehrli said to the mayor, “Has it not been interesting?” Pradel responded, “Well, yes.” To which the speaker responded, “Then let me finish.”

Just as the speaker was about to make his point, who of all people jumped in to give Don Wehrli the ‘knock-out punch’, but councilman Grant Wehrli, when he requested a ten-minute break. As the camera faded out, Don Wehrli can be heard saying, “I’ll be back. I’m staying right here.”

Exactly ten minutes later (the council is not known for punctuality), the meeting reconvened and speaker Don Wehrli was nowhere to be seen. Now what happened during that ten minutes, I have no idea. Remember, I wasn’t there. It’s possible that some of ‘Naperville’s finest’ were called in to escort him out the building. The point is that we will never know what point speaker Don Wehrli was going to make. It was a lost opportunity for all of us.

Watch and listen as Don Wehrli tries to impart wisdom to all listening, only to be interrupted 14 times; 12 by the mayor and one each by the time keeper, and councilman Grant Wehrli.

It reminded Watchdog of the following:

It’s possible 30 years from now, one of today’s council members will try to enlighten the council at that time, only to be hustled out of the council meeting and building by someone who is now trying to learn how to tie his or her own shoe laces.

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