Who doesn’t like the underdog, or the little guy? The big guy doesn’t like the little guy, and nobody is bigger than government, in this case it’s the Naperville city council. Not the entire city council, but enough to make the little guy’s life more miserable. The lone exception is Naperville city councilman John Krummen. Lately Krummen has been differentiating himself from the other eight members of the council by being a voice for reason, common sense, and the little guy.
It happened again during the last city council meeting, when the topic of discontinuing the downtown vendor program was discussed. The City has four licenses available for food vendors in the downtown area, two of which are in use; Joey’s Red Hots and John’s Rib House. The other two are available to anybody wishing to run through the gauntlet in order to qualify for one.
‘Gauntlet’ is saying it mildly, it’s more like getting unmercifully pounded by city officials who seem to enjoy dealing with food vendors as if they are human piñatas. When Joey’s Red Hots owner tried to qualify and provide his service in downtown Naperville, the Naperville city council made his life miserable by making him run over red-hot coals jut for the opportunity to sell a hotdog to someone who might want one. He had to appear numerous times in front of the council and subject himself to all sorts of unpleasant situations, including having his vendor permit yanked at anytime by the whims of the council.
Now the Naperville city council wants to discontinue the downtown vendor program, while grandfathering in Joey’s Hot Dogs and John’s Rib House. So the available two permits will disappear.
Watch and listen to the interesting exchange between councilman Krummen and city staff member Allison Laff, the planning and operations manager for the city:
So let me get this straight. Because no one else wants to subject themselves to the heavy handedness of vendor over regulation, the city wants to ‘lock out the competition’ as Krummen points out. Councilman Krummen continues by saying, “That seems completely unfair”, and he has “a problem with that”.
Good for Krummen speaking up for the little guy, and fairness, and open competition, while the rest of the city council sits on their hands saying and doing nothing.
Mayor Steve Chirico points out that DNA (Downtown Naperville Alliance) and the Naperville Chamber of Commerce are against the food vendor program. And why is that you ask? How about the root of all decisions in Naperville, money. The big guy restaurants don’t want the little guys selling hotdogs and ribs. A little guy selling a hot dog or a couple of ribs threatens the restaurants, and the Naperville city council caves in to the big guys. How pitiful is that.
If councilman John Krummen votes against discontinuing the program, his one vote won’t change the outcome, but by doing so, he will have elevated and separated himself from the herd (his peers) by having the courage to speak up for the little guy.