Feb 222015

The City of Naperville is inching closer and closer to approving an ordinance for Crime-Free Multi-Housing. Sounds great doesn’t it. Who could possibly be against crime-free housing? It sounds like Utopia where everybody would want to live, similar to the great state of Iowa, where it only rains at night, you don’t need to lock your doors, all the men are strong, all the women are beautiful, and all the kids are above average.

So what’s not to like about a Crime-Free Housing Ordinance? The answer is absolutely nothing if it is used in the spirit of the law in which it was intended. For most communities it is a wonderfully successful program. Naperville has proven not to be one of those communities. Naperville city officials have broken trust with their residents. We’ll get into that in a moment.

Crime-Free Multi-Housing is a program first conceived and implemented by the Mesa, Arizona Police Department in 1992. It is designed as a partnership between property owners and managers, residents, and law enforcement to reduce crime and nuisance activity.

In communities where it’s done right, such as Hanover Park, it works like a fine-tuned machine. In other communities such as Palatine, the program and results have struggled, with residents and property owners caught in the middle.

Some of the key problems with Crime-Free Rental Housing include:

  • Reducing the supply of rental housing
  • Harming crime victims
  • Harming innocent tenants and household members
  • Misusing arrests and other criminal information
  • Using inappropriate enforcement officials
  • Exposing tenants and landlords to enforcement errors
  • Overreaching in enforcement authority and discretion

The Cost of Being ‘Crime Free’: Legal and Practical Consequences of Crime Free Rental Housing and Nuisance Property Ordinances

It’s this last bullet point, where Naperville city officials have broken trust with residents.

Example 1:

Smart Meters also sounded like a great idea. The City of Naperville used every devious method they could to forcefully install Smart Meters on the homes of residents who didn’t want them. Now the City of Naperville finds itself as a defendant in court, in which they (us) will pay dearly for their transgressions including:

  • False Arrest
  • Excessive Force
  • Equal Protection Class Of One Claim
  • First Amendment Retaliation Claim
  • Illinois Malicious Prosecution Claim

Not one Naperville city official made any effort to stop the prosecution and persecution of the offended resident Kim Bendis. The mayor didn’t stop it, the city council didn’t stop it, the city manager, Doug Krieger, didn’t stop it, the police chief didn’t stop it, and the Naperville city attorney didn’t stop it. They all allowed the travesty to continue. Overreaching in enforcement authority and discretion? Absolutely.

Examples 2 and 3

Watch and listen as Naperville couincilman Paul Hinterlong hatches a form of entrapment for Uber (share-ride) and Police Manager Bob Marshall is all too willing join the charade with ‘guns a blazing’ and ‘take down’ Uber though Uber is not violating any law or ordinance. Two more classic examples of overreaching in enforcement authority and discretion.

So here is councilman Hinterlong (likely to be re-elected) conspiring with the police manager during a council meeting to ‘take down’ a legitimate business based on a whim. One can only imagine what types of schemes are hatched in the inky shadows of city hall when cameras aren’t running.

Naperville city officials have broken trust with residents, and as such can not be trusted to fairly enforce a Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program in Naperville.

Feb 182015

When I was in college, and dirt was new, there were many times that money was tight. I would collect bottles and aluminum cans to redeem them for money at the local Super Value so I could buy a quart of milk, and Oreo cookies for my Sunday night meal, or have enough quarters to call my girlfriend from a pay phone. I realized rather quickly that this was not a long term strategy, and something needed to change, so I found a part-time job. It worked. I also learned that I better budget my money, so when the time arose that I needed the money, I’d have it. That worked too. Very simple concepts. Plan ahead, live within my means, and be prepared. It doesn’t appear that Naperville city officials incorporated those simple concepts in budget planning.

Now word comes out officially, that the City Of Naperville’s fiscal situation is not healthy, in fact, it’s nearly on life support.  It’s no surprise for those who keep informed. What is surprising is how city officials thought they could keep a lid on it for as long as they did. They probably hoped it would stay under the radar until after the election, but with 23 candidates running for office (4 for mayor, and 19 for council), that wasn’t going to happen.

Naperville’s portfolio of investments, along with cash reserves is diminishing at a rapid rate, while heavy debt piles up, and borrowed balances are sky rocketing. Not an efficient formula for sustainability.

Naperville city manager Doug Krieger said, “We have a structural imbalance in our budget that needs to be addressed”, and “the course we’re on right now is not a successful long-term strategy”.

Furthermore, Krieger said, “I believe that we can cobble together dollars for the coming year”. That’s not exactly what you want to hear from the person in charge of Naperville’s financial health. ‘Cobbling together dollars’ is like searching for coins in your sofa cushions.

Watchdog has long said that Doug Krieger is in over his head. His short-term answer is the same as his long-term answer; look for hand outs, and squeeze more dollars out of residents. Creativity, thinking critically, managing execution and driving change are not in Krieger’s wheelhouse.

Since it appears Krieger’s position within the city is protected, it is all the more important that Naperville’s next mayor needs to outweigh Krieger’s shortcomings. Naperville needs a mayor with firm footing in the business world with a focused understanding of budgeting, best management practices and a clear vision for labor negotiations. Additionally Naperville’s new mayor needs to exhibit leadership dimensions including:

  • Communicating effectively
  • Maximizing relationships
  • Building trust

‘Cobbling together dollars’ might work for some communities as part of a business plan, but Naperville deserves better.


Feb 082015

Imagine how much we could learn about Naperville city officials, if we could hear them talk during closed session or in the inky shadows of city hall, considering what we do hear and see during city council meetings. Councilman Doug Krause has never been one to shy away from opposing the majority opinion of the city council, and councilman Paul Hinterlong doesn’t often filter his thoughts before expressing them during council meetings. In a way, it’s refreshing to hear both speak. Depending upon your point of view, they either have the courage to speak their mind, or they have the foolishness to have it recorded for all to hear.

Take for example the recent Naperville city council meeting, when the issue being discussed revolved around whether or not to amend an ordinance allowing the city manager to settle claims from the current $25,000 limit up to the decided-upon limit of $50,000.

Apparently councilman Hinterlong has little faith that new city council members will have an acceptable learning curve to make proper decisions, or in other words, are as smart and wise as he is in knowing what to do. Watch and listen as Hinterlong impugns new council members ability to think critically and make sound decisions:

Councilman and mayoral candidate, Doug Krause, chimes in a minute later and puts an exclamation mark on Hinterlong’s comment:

Somehow both Hinterlong and Krause think they have cornered the market on wisdom, and new council members will be slow learners. Hence if anything needs to be decided, it needs to be now, before the low and slow learners get seated after the April election.

It’s ironic that both would question a new council member’s intelligence, when during the same meeting a new council member, Tom Miers was sworn in to fill a temporary vacancy. Tom Miers is no slouch, in fact, he is the president of Naperville Bank and Trust. Anybody walking into the council meeting, and not knowing who’s who, and listening for a while, would most likely consider new councilman Tom Miers to be an established veteran and a voice of reason and common sense.

There are 19 candidates running for city council election, and at least half would be a good addition to the council, and more than half of those will likely get elected.

With Krause running second-best, at best for the office of mayor, chances are good he will be taking a ‘runner-up’ lap around the dais before he departs the council. That leaves Hinterlong as a likely member of the new council surrounded by new council members.

The question then becomes, how long will it take Hinterlong to ‘get up to speed’ with the new, fresh thinking, and open-minded council members.

Feb 052015

The clock is ticking for the current Naperville city council (61 days until the municipal election) and we saw our first glimpse that the council is gearing-up to slam decisions through a vote before they leave. Apparently most council members, including Krause and Hinterlong, have little faith in the decision-making ability of the the next sitting council.

The issue was whether or not to increase the city manager’s authority to settle claims from $25,000 to $50,000. Watch and listen as councilman Fieseler wants to table it for the next city council to decide, Krause is concerned about limiting transparency, and Chirico thinks city manager Krieger knows what he is doing:

Now watch and listen to council member Judith Brodhead, as she also wants to table it, newly appointed council member Tom Miers asks a good question, and Naperville city attorney Jill Pelka-Wilger answers his question:

The real question is why is this such an issue now, when there have only been two settlements during the last two years within the $25K to $50K range? That is one settlement per year. What does the Naperville city council know, that they don’t want residents to know? There must be something coming down the road, or a lot of ‘somethings’ for this to become an issue ‘now’, that has to be decided ‘now’. The trust level towards Naperville city officials has again reached the level of critical. What are those rascally council members up to?

Watch and listen as councilman Paul Hinterlong implies the next city council doesn’t know history, and will be slow on the uptake, and then he alludes to the white elephant in the room, when he says, “Either we believe in what our city manager (Doug Krieger) is doing, or we don’t”

Hinterlong nailed it in a way he didn’t intend. A very large number of residents and business owners don’t believe in our city manager for one simple reason; he often times doesn’t know what he’s doing and his actions confirm that suspicion.

The issue finally came to a vote, but not before councilman Bob Fieseler mentioned the obvious….the ‘C’ word….’Concealment’

Only Fieseler and Krause voted against concealment, while the others slammed the decision through. Another classic example of the Naperville city council professing transparency while conspiring otherwise in the inky shadows of city hall corridors.

Feb 012015

Have you ever noticed how easy it for Naperville city officials to spend other peoples’ money. Other people being the residents and businesses of Naperville, and money being tax dollars, along with all other types of revenue city officials collect. Not only do they spend it, they also waste it. And the kicker is that they are not held accountable for bad decisions and poor judgment. That changed on January 23, when resident Kim Bendis filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Naperville.

Bendis vs. City Of Naperville

Somebody in city hall made a huge mistake when they approved the decision to arrest Kim and drag her and her family through the court system for almost two years. Naperville city officials didn’t care, it wasn’t their money and they didn’t have to spend any of their time in court. Even when Naperville’s case against Kim Bendis began to fall apart, they still tried to make her life a living hell. You won’t find any of that on the City of Naperville website, nor will you find it in any ranking listing Naperville as a ‘family friendly’ city.

When the case against Kim finally went to court last October, a jury of her peers found her not guilty. Kim and her family won, and the City of Naperville lost. Most of the rascals responsible for allowing this to happen are no longer with the city. Six or seven members of the council will be gone after the municipal election in April,  including the mayor. The police chief at that time is gone, and the city attorney pushing the issue is gone. The only rascals likely still remaining will be council members Judith Brodhead and Paul Hinterlong, along with Naperville city manager Doug Krieger.

One mayoral candidate recently said, that Krieger “deserves to keep his job as long as he wants to”. Other than Fidel Castro, who do you know that “can keep his job as long as he wants to”. Classic entitlement, but that’s for another posting at a later date.

The federal lawsuit against the City of Naperville alleges:

  • False Arrest
  • Excessive Force
  • Equal Protection Class of One Claim
  • First Amendment Retaliation Claim
  • Illinois Malicious Prosecution Claim

These are very serious claims against the City of Naperville. Bendis is represented by the powerful and usually successful  Hamilton Law Office in Chicago, and lead attorney Torreya Hamilton. Naperville city officials thought they could push Kim around, until Kim Bendis won in court, but Naperville city officials have no idea who they are up against in the form of Hamilton,

By the time the City of Naperville goes down for the count of ten on this one, Kim Bendis and her family may own the City of Naperville.

Welcome to Bendisville, a truly ‘family friendly’ city.