Last night’s Naperville city council meeting was a real ‘love fest’ between city council members. No real disagreement, no real opposing views among council members. The meeting was over within three hours. And by the time it was over the Naperville city council had a unanimous vote in favor of approving the city’s first local sales tax, along with a hefty increase in trash collection.
There was a lot of glad-handing, and back-slapping, and high-fives among city council members, and their praise for each other sounded like an evening at the Academy Awards.
However, something else occurred during the meeting, that went almost unnoticed. It was the Naperville city council very quietly and quickly approving a federal lawsuit settlement with a resident of Naperville (Kim Bendis) for $117,500. The lawsuit accused the City of Naperville of violating her constitutional rights.
The City had her arrested, handcuffed, tossed into a police vehicle, and dragged to police headquarters where she was booked. Then after that, city officials sent her (and her family) through the judicial gauntlet. Naperville city officials did everything they could to demonize her, while attempting to break her down during every step of the excruciating process. City officials couldn’t break her down, and in the end she was rightfully acquitted by a jury of her peers. Not guilty was the verdict, loud and clear.
Kim filed a lawsuit against the City in U.S. District Court in Chicago two years after her arrest, claiming Naperville city officials decided in a closed door meeting within the inky shadows of city hall to forcefully arrest any resident, including Kim Bendis, who ‘interfered’ with the forced installation of smart meters, thereby violating her constitutional rights.
Bendis’ high-powered attorney made Naperville’s city attorneys look like law school drop outs, and city officials look like the bullies they were, and the Naperville city council along with city manager Doug Krieger folded like a cheap beach towel, leading to the settlement with Kim and her family.
It’s ironic that the $117,500 settlement was approved on the same night the council approved a city sales tax. A tax takes from citizens to give to city officials who squander those revenues with bad decisions.
For what Kim and her family went through, she deserved ten-times that amount, so city officials got off easy. And really, what do they care because it’s not their money they wasted. It was Kim’s money and the rest of Naperville’s residents.
Here is the part of the terms of agreement that city officials really like, “Bendis can not take any action against any city council member related to the incident, including any other city staff”. Let’s face it, they wouldn’t have the strength or perseverance to endure what Kim went through.
Every member of the current city council, all nine, quietly and quickly shoved the $117,500 out the door. Not one city council member had the common decency to apologize to Kim Bendis and her family for the actions taken against her.
They were all too busy glad-handing, back-slapping, and high-fiving more streams of revenue to pay for more ill-conceived ideas, and bad-judgment decisions.
I agree. Kim should have received 10 times that amount for the vindictive, unwarranted, petty crap the city through Krieger and his Gestapo put her and her family through. Since there is never a penalty to be paid maybe our glad handing, back slapping council could freeze the bonuses on Krieger, the utility director, the electric director and the police chief until the cost to the tax payers in paid back in full. Based on how the bonuses are paid it shouldn’t take long. Now, how about an apology to the 400+ residents whose property was trespassed on and in some cases property vandalized or destroyed to install these plastic pieces of fire hazard junk.
All meters in the US (and every foreign country I’ve visited) are owned by the utility provider not the property owner. The terms and conditions that all property owners agree to when they sign up for these utilities gives the utility provider the right to access your private property as they feel necessary to continue providing their services. In cases of major work or repair, depending on the terms of this contract, some prior notice maybe required. Since the replacement of a meter falls into these terms (as agreed to when signing your utility contract) the consent of the property owner is not required to entry private property for this purpose. The ones that need to do the apologizing are the property owners that violated the terms of their contract with the city.
Freedom and Constitutional rights gives power to the people (pun intended) to tell a monopoly supplier owned by the tax payers in this case to go to hell when they want to install a device which spies on them, creates a safety hazard (fire), a health hazard (RF radiation) and an unnecessary financial burden (costs).
When the city was notified by registered mail under no circumstances were they to trespass on private property to install this Orwellian device and gate locks or meter locks installed the utility had two choices. One was to cut power to the resident or the other was to get an administrative warrant to enter the property.
In no case and under no circumstance was it justified for them to disregard Constitutional guarantees and act like common thugs, goons and punks just because they could. Freedom is lost one step at a time and this is just a minor example of how it happens. I still expect and demand an apology.
The meter on you house is the property of the utility company and not yours. It is illegal (criminal offense) to tamper with (or impede the proper operation of) this meter or the power lines connecting it to the power grid in any way. In short no resident has the right to place any lock or other device on or around this meter that would prevent the utility company from freely accessing it’s property. The utility company has the legal right to remove any such installation by a resident without their consent. The Naperville utility company in fact had already started a program to replace all residential analog meter with digital meter which was superseded by the smart meter program but not before 25% of the residential analog meters had been replace by digital meter. This meter replacement program was handled in the same way the smart meters were handled.
The only reason the smart meter program had some of the problems it did is because in Naperville the power utility is owned by the city. These issues did not occur in Aurora were the utility company is a public company (ComEd).
Sorry Dude but your ignoring the point. Certainly the utility company has the “right” to discontinue service and the contract definitely spells out that they have the right to access their equipment. However that doesn’t mean that they have any right to trespass on private property when the owner explicitly refuses them access nor does it mean that law enforcement can force their way onto private property and arrest a citizen absent a warrant.
The right way to have done this was to FOLLOW THEIR OWN LAW and apply for an administrative warrant to gain access to the private property. Then if the homeowner interferes you arrest them for obstruction.
This was a major mistake on the gvt/LE side and the citizen could certainly have won a larger award. But the facts of lengthy and expensive court processes made it more reasonable to settle for both sides.
Tom the property own gave the utility company the implied “right of way” when they signed up for this service. Under your premise if there is a problem with the service that needs attention and the property owner is not home to give permission for the utility company employees to enter the property then they can not fix the problem, which is not what happens in the real world. The law recognized that in situation such as this, were the court would grant a warrant without question, then going through the process of getting a warrant would be a waste of the courts time and cause needless delays. The supreme court ruled that not all police actions require a warrant, and a situation were a persons or institution is being denied law and previously agreed access to their property qualifies for warrant-less police action.
This was not the issue in this lawsuit (which is why many of the original defendants were remove from this case by the judge). The issue was whether the actions of the police, in executing their duties, was excessive. This is different from unlawful or a violation of the 4th amendment as you stated.
First all legal and personnel matters before council have always been handle in closed session since there are privacy issues that if discussed in a pubic forum would be a violation of the individual’s protected personal information. These items have also, always been placed on the consent agenda, since once the council completes it closed door discussion a public record of the councils decision is required. Making this case sound like it was handle in some “special”,”secretive” or “slide of hand” manner can only serve to mislead and inflame readers.
Bendis was not treated any differently than any other person in Naperville arrested for obstruction of a police officer, which is the misdemeanor charge she was acquitted of. Words like “tossed” and “dragged” are used by people who want to inflame a simple arrest in to a “cause”. The fact that she filed a civil suit does not mean anything was done wrong, anyone can file a civil suit. In fact, in the litigious society we live in today it is not at all uncommon for people to file what are know as “nuisance” suits because they have little merit, are never intended to go to trail and the main goal is to get a settlement.
In the case of Bendis, her lawyer proposed this settlement. Considering that the city can easily spend over $100,000 in just a couple of months of preparing such a case for trail this settlement amount represent a significant saving of Naperville taxpayer money and not a waste. These type of settlements have standard terms which include things like not discussing the detail of the settlement, relinquishing any further right to litigation in relation to the case (i.e. can’t take legal action against any possible litigant in the related matter), no admission of guilt, etc. So, again, making a point of the settlement preventing action against council or staff in relation to this matter only gives the false impression and misleads readers into believing this condition is in some way special when in fact it is a standard requirement of such settlements, which leads one to conclude that the intent is to inflame this situation in a “cause”. And since the settlement, as proposed by Bendis’s lawyer, did not require and admission of guilt it is reasonable to assume they did not want an apology from the city, which they could have required.
Finally, with respect to the end of the last sentence, “…more streams of revenue to pay for more ill-conceived ideas, and bad-judgment decisions.” would indicate a lack of attention to the details of the ordnance actually past by council. The ordnance enacting the .5% HRST includes the restriction that these funds will only be used to build up reserves, retire debt and pay for capital improvements.
For the Constitutionally challenged Naperville Public Relation Manager wont-a be who continues to defend the indefensible here is an excellent site to summarize and argue the pro/cons of our amendments. May I draw your attention to the 4th, 5th and 14th amendments which relate to the smart meter fiasco.
The constitution provides no protect from the terms and condition of a private contract freely entered into by a citizen, which is the case with the utility contract each resident signs.
When there is no choice there is no freedom or freely entered nonsense. BTW the contract signed was for service rendered (electricity) not taking over our houses and spying on us. Also tried to get a copy of the old said contract and was refused.
The contract signed is for service that includes delivery of power, which requires maintaining the power lines and meter that provided that power. And you are not required to use city power, you could install a generator on you property (allowed under city ordinances) to generate all the power you need.
The only information the smart meters provide are more frequent reading of your metered usage (usually around 6 time per hour). Should you choice to install appliances that are compliant with the smart grid system and turn on this capacity then the smart meter can collect the information provide by such appliances and add this data to your usage profile to help you better manage your usage and costs. But again this is your choice and not a requirement.
The sole, whole and only purpose for smart meters is to eventually mandate time of use rates which will double the average persons rates without creating one additional watt of electricity. The scam of savings by knowing how much your electricity cost is insulting to anybody with an IQ above 60. In states and cities where people have gone off the grid by installing their own generators these municipalities have passed ordinances and one time fees to make it prohibitively expensive to do so or outright illegal. This smart meter scam was created by crony capitalist in collusion with crooked politicians to fleece the poor citizen out of more of his hard earned money to enrich the few at the expense of the many. Your regurgitation of the industry and party lines wont change the facts. It was, is and always will be a scam.
Mr Schilling, you clear do not understand how a power utility works, the basics of the smart grid system and what constitutes peak time power. Perhaps once you have taken the time to educate yourself and better understand these things you it will be possible for you to discuss the facts related to this issue without you ranting about your opinions and accusing anyone that does not agree with your opinions of having a low IQ.
I think that most of us that have been around work and lawsuits know that governments and corporations save money by settling lawsuits. That’s how the game is played. However, the game also has “rules” around accountability and eventually firing the boss(es) when bad or costly negative events happen on their watch. It seems that a lot of those types of events have happened on the current city manager and Police Chief’s watches.
The City Manager and Chiefs are given direction by the city council. Once the council approves a course of action (i.e.smart meters) the Manager and other city officials have a duty to do as directed, if they didn’t then the council would be justified in firing them. When a subordinate does as they are told and completes the required task, even if it produces unintended consequences then they have done their job. In the case of the smart meters the unintended consequences were a result of the council’s decision to switch the city to smart meters. There was no way for city staff to complete the installation of these meters without the resulting protests and legal actions occurring. And the situation in the electrical utility was again the result of council decisions, not poor execution of these decisions by staff.