Naperville City Council Locking Out The Little Guy

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.

Show 22 Comments


  1. Leiv Mealone

    Speaking of the little guy, it’s gotten so out of control with this”tax saving plan” the city of Naperville wants to impose at the expense of the township residents. A whopping 22.00 per household, that’s what all this hoopla is about. The 8 million dollar number they quoted is over the next 10 years. I just received a postcard from the group that I’m sure cherico and some other members of the city council are behind, since it is his friend from the puppy mill store, who started the group. The $22 that it would save residents is nothing compared to what it would cost Township residents. We don’t have curbs or sewers, for all our rain water to go down, we have ditches and we have to maintain those ditches, and so a little help from the township with removing brush and leaves more often is well worth it. And the “Premium Landscaping” we receive, is mulch from the brush that they pick up. City of Naperville could do the same thing for its residents rather than burn it. Which they are currently doing. You know, I have no children going to the Naperville district schools, yet the bulk of my property taxes go to support them and I’m not sending postcards, and when I did have one child in the system and my neighbors had six children in the system paid less property taxes than I did, I still didn’t send out postcards. This is just smoke and mirrors to distract the residents of Naperville from the budget boondoggles that the city has gotten itself into by underfunding pensions, placing smart meters on homes, defending lawsuits from illegal arrest, buying into the coal fired power plant station, installing electric car charging stations, etc etc etc. They increased the price of garbage pickup in Naperville more than this tax saving plan would save people. Don’t buy into the charade, vote no on November 8th.

    • Mike

      You hit the nail on the head on so many points. Also probably worth pointing out is the ‘savings’ of approximately $22 per household will go to only those households in Naperville Township, which is approximately 40% of the households in Naperville. The other 60% get nothing. And approximately 48% of the ‘savings’ (if there actually is any) would go to people who do not live in Naperville. Yet the Mayor and Kevin Coyne are out positioning themselves as tax-cutting crusaders by trying to reduce taxes in the Township, to which they were not elected, after raising taxes in Naperville (where they were elected) by $11.5 million beginning this year (refuse fees and sales tax.).

      You correctly point out that Mike Issac, of puppy mill fame, is running for Naperville City Council on Lower Taxes in the Township. Which is not where he’s running. That would be like running for Governor of Illinois on a platform of reducing taxes in Indiana.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      First, there is no reason for anyone to guess at how much maintaining this 16 miles of roads is costing them as a Naperville taxpayer, this is actually a separate line item on your property tax bill, so you can see for yourself how much you will be saving annually.

      Second, the comparison to the School District is completely bogus. The statement that maintenance of this 16 miles of roads only benefits a handful of township residents is undeniable. Having high quality schools (some of the best in the nation as well as the state) makes our community more attractive to home buyer which translates into higher property values, something that benefits all of us whether we have school age children or not.

      Third, the city use to offer these “premium landscaping” services but eliminated them because, once again, data showed that only a small number of residents were benefiting from these services that were being supported by all the taxpayer. The reality is that how much yard waste (leave, branches, etc) a property produces depends on the number, type and size of trees on a property and not the lot size. And even if it were a matter of lot size there are many more large lots in the city then in the unincorporated township and these property owners have no problem with the current yard waste programs offered by the city. Yes it is more convenient to have a longer period and more collections but there simply is no data to support a need for these additional taxpayer costs.

      The real smoke and mirrors here is all the listed items at the end of this post. The fact is the city’s pension is not underfunded, it is the best funded in the state and not a budgetary problem. Smart meters were and are still a national program, they are happening all over the country and will become a reality for all property owners eventually because they are needed to implement the national smart power grid system. The IMEA, while not meeting original expectations, is still providing Naperville residents with cheaper power then our neighbors in other cities that are not part of the IMEA. The electric charging stations are one of the few ways the city has of collecting funds for road maintenance from electric car owners, since they do not purchase fuel, they do not pay fuel taxes which are the major source of funding this cost. The cost to the city for trash collection did not go up, in fact the city pays less for trash collection then our neighbors, what changed was how residents paid for these services. Before only a small portion of the cost of these services were being paid for by residents on there city services bill, the lions share of the cost was coming from the general fund, mostly property taxes (so it was being paid for by property owner that did not use city trash collection services). The shift to placing all the cost for this service on each residents city services bill is in keeping with the city’s plan to clearly align cost with benefits to improve city budget transparency.

      The only charade here is the few hundred unincorporated Naperville township property owners using lame justification, not supported by any real data or logic, to convince over fifty-five thousand city residents to continue subsidizing their road and yard waste expenses. Unless you like paying taxes for things that provide no benefit to you or your family you should vote yes on the Township Highway Department referendum.

      • Mike

        Re: “…the city’s pension is not underfunded, it is the best funded in the state and not a budgetary problem.”

        The City of Naperville has three pension plans: Police, Fire and IMR IMR is for all employees not in the Police and Fire plans. Per the April 30, 2015 audited financial statements for the City of Naperville, (the most recently released), the Police pension has an Unfunded actuarial accrued liability (UAAL) of $52.002 million (73% funded), the Fire pension has a UAAL of $43.930 million (76% funded), and the IMR has an UAAL of $33.695 million (79% funded). So add those up and the unfunded pension liability as of April 30, 2015 totaled $135.6 million (Note 9f, page 61 of that report). That fits within the definition of underfunded in my book.

        Whether it is the best funded in the State of Illinois or not, I don’t know. If it is, that still doesn’t mean its not underfunded and an issue. That’s somewhat like saying they’re the best convict in Stateville. It may be true, but that doesn’t make it good.

        As far as it not being a budgetary problem, go to the video of the May 6, 2016 City Council meeting when Rachel Meyer, the Finance Director for the City, reported that the Pension contributions for the year were now thought to be $5 million underfunded. The Mayor replied that he felt like he had been “sucker punched.” I would call a $5 million “hole,” as the Mayor put it, a problem.

        Regarding the Township consolidation, you’re right our real estate tax bills give us the current level of expense. The question then becomes how much of that can be achieved through consolidation and gaining efficiencies. If you’re satisfied with taking the word of Steve Chirico and Doug Krieger, then ok, no more discussion necessary. Some people are a bit more skeptical and not willing to simply take their word for it.

        • Jim Haselhorst

          There are multiple ways to calculate UAAL. The city uses a calculation that is standard for US government organization. The calculation for US corporations is different and would provide a significantly different UAAL, again so for organizations in Canada. UAAL is not an absolute metric but a relative one and like all such metrics is meant to be used to provide a way of measuring changes in a pension fund over time, so that if a situation is developing were a fund will not have sufficient capital to make current pension payments (i.e. city revenue would have to be used to make they payments) at sometime in the future, the city can act now to change contribution requirement to prevent this short fall.

          UAAL calculation depend on mortality rate of pensioner, life expectancy, return of investments, annual contributions by employees, annual contributions by employer, etc. So how well a funds investments are managed is a big part of this calculation. A strong economy means strong fund growth. There were many pensions that were over funded because of good bond yields and strong market growth in early 2007 that by early 2008 were as much as 50% under funded. So a pension being “underfunded’ according to an UAAL calculation does not mean a problem. A improvement in the market economy can and has quickly wiped out this “under funding”

          • Mike

            True. Municipalities generally use a methodology which results in a lower reported liability than the private sector. In the Credit Opinion dated May 20, 2016 for the new issue of $62.4 million of GO Bonds issued by Naperville, Moody’s calculated the adjusted net pension liability (ANPL) for Naperville to be $392.1 million for fiscal 2015, compared to Naperville’s UAAL of $135.6 million.

            Either way you want to look at it, the pensions are under funded

  2. Mike

    John Krummen looking out for the little guy gave me a good laugh. He has blindly followed the Mayor’s agenda of big business. Why in the world would he possibly veer from that? Is there an election coming up or something, where he may feel vulnerable? Like in April of 2017, maybe? (Especially with the Mayor strongly supporting the puppy mill candidate.) Hmmm. Does that make it time to try to seem to look out for the little guy?

    • Jim Haselhorst

      Mike has worked with the AKC in helping to eliminate puppy mills and has not owned or operated any business that was involved in puppy sales, so associating him with puppy mills and calling him the puppy mill candidate is complete BS.

      Mike is a successful Naperville businessman and community volunteer. He is a family man with strong family values and while he has supported the Mayor he has also disagreed with him, so implying that he is the Mayor’s puppet or proxy ignores a lot of fact about this man.

      Mud slinging and other negative campaign propaganda has become a standard in our national election and has made these elections so frustrating and repulsive that voters become disinterested and simply don’t vote, which is really the intended purpose of this kind of propaganda. If we do not what this kind of behavior becoming standard in our local elections then we have to call out the people behind this BS and hold them accountable for their action.

      • Mike

        It is my understanding from published reports that Mike Issac was a co-owner of a Petland store on Route 59, which sold puppies. Google ‘Mike Issac Puppy Mill’, or ‘Mike Issac Petland’ or ‘Mike Issac Naperville’. It is my understanding from those reports that Petland bought from licensed commercial breeders, sometimes referred to as puppy mills.

        I wouldn’t know Mike Issac if I saw him on the street. The Mayor and City Council members, when approving him for the Financial Advisory Board simply said they wanted him for his financial expertise and experience. They never said he didn’t do business with puppy mills, but that the issue before them was his expertise. The fact that they didn’t say he wasn’t involved in them certainly indicated they thought there was a possibility that he was.

        You must know Mike Issac. This is not a rhetorical question, but an honest one. How do you know his Petland store did not buy from commercial breeders?

        • Jim Haselhorst

          First the claim that Petland sold puppy mill puppies comes from the Puppy Mill project which operates on the premise that all pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills (no exception under any conditions). In fact they assert that anyone that has more that 3 breeding females is a puppy mill or if you have more than 2 pregnant females at the same time. No other organization has standards this strict and this standard would make all but a few breeders puppy mills. As you can see by their standards they do not consider only commercial breeders puppy mills. The US Human Society and the ASPCA never classified the Naperville Petland as a puppy mill vendor.

          Second Petland was owned by Adam Stachowiak for years before he met and married Mike Issac. Mike’s name never appeared on any ownership documents for this store. The co-ownership claim of the Puppy Mill Project people was base on the fact he is married to Adam and the store is therefore community property making him a co-owner. Adam sold this store over a year ago to join Mike in his work with the AKC and other kennel groups.

          • mike

            Actually, the claim came from more than that one organization.

            How do you know that level of detail on the ownership of Petland? Please share. What was the name of the company which was supposedly owned by Adam Stachowiak and dba as the Petland store? When was it established and when was it sold by Mr. Stachowiak? You write it was sold over a year ago, gay marriage became legal in Illinois in June of 2014, so there seems to have been a pretty narrow window for the sequence of events you describe to have occurred. They could have, so fill please fill us in on the timeline.

            I previously asked if you know Mike Issac. If not, what is your source for the above statements? Public documents? If so, please share the source.

            We would like to know more. If you have public sources for your statements, please share them. If not, please share the source for your information. If Mr. Issac was falsely accused of something, it would be good to have the correct information out there.

            FYI, just being married to someone does not make a previously individually owned asset community property in Illinois, even without a prenup.

          • Jim Haselhorst

            The US Human Society produces a report each year on puppy mills as well as periodic regional reports on pet shops they have determined source their puppies from commercial breeders (as defined by the AWA). The Naperville Petland was never named in any of these reports.

            I know MIke and Adam from attending various fundraising charity events in our community. As such I have had the opportunity to have causal discussions about what is happening in their lives. Adam’s decision to sale his franchise was influence by Petland corporate’s decision to remove all the aquarium sales to a separate franchise operation (Aquarium Adventures) several years ago. I can not provide an exact dates of events or dba because these were causal conversation not investigatives.

          • mike

            So you based your statements on ownership of the store, etc. on what they told you. Got it.

          • Jim Haselhorst

            And you base your statements on representatives of the Puppy Mill Project, who are also a biased sources. Were is your proof, government documentation of incorporation, listing Mike as an owner?

          • Mike

            Actually, I based my statements on published reports. You wrote that they were wrong. I asked you how you knew, and you wrote that Mike and Adam told you that. Links below to some of the information that is out there. What are people to believe, multiple published reports in the media or your general statement that you then say was provided by Issac and Stachowiak?

            But you don’t have to believe the published reports. You can listen to Mike Issac’s own words. Go to the Archive of the City Council meetings on the City’s website. At the June 17, 2014 meeting a hearing was help regarding regulation of pet stores. (Worth noting is that gay marriage became legal in Illinois effective June 1, 2014)
            At that June 17, 2014 meeting, Mike Issac makes the following statements:

            “..we’ve opened our business in Naperville” (at the 57:50 mark)

            “animal activists for years have accused us of purchasing our puppies from puppy mills” right after the above quote

            “ fact, brick and mortar stores like ours in Naperville..” (59:18)

            “…our pet stores work only with the best breeders..” shortly after the above

            “In addition to that, as owners we also visit our breeders” (1:00:23)

            “As pet store owners, we believe…” (1:00:34)

            Mr. Issac’s own words before City Council indicate the above statement that “Mike …has not owned or operated any business involved in puppy sales” is not true.

            His statements also conflict with the assertion that he became a co-owner via community property laws (“…animal activists for years have accused us…”)

            Or was he misrepresenting his ownership role in the store before the City Council he now wishes to be a part of?





  3. Jim Haselhorst

    Totally agree. The vendor program has the potential of providing a greatly enhanced Riverwalk experience for all the people visiting our downtown. The reality is that the people purchasing from these vendors simply are not interested in a seat down meal, so any sales to them does not really cannibalize sales from downtown brick and mortar food vendors. These vendor cart sales are more akin to all the items displayed around the cash register at the store. They are not the reason we go to the store, but because of convenience and impulse we buy them anyway. If they weren’t there these sale simply would not happen.

    Another aspect of this program is that it can serve as an incubator for vendors that eventually become brick and mortar vendors. If one of these cart vendors happens to hit the right market niche they could find the market demand for what they are providing is greater then can be serviced by a seasonal cart operation and become motivated to establish a more permanent year round presents in the downtown community. So not only will eliminating this vendor program result in lost revenue but it can also cost the downtown community a fellow vendor that will that draws more people to the downtown area.

    This is an example of people losing sight of the first rule of business, anything that increases the size of the pie everyone shares will grow your business even if it means accepting a smaller piece of the pie.

  4. Dot Connector

    Let’s connect the dots, shall we. The Naperville cabal spend so much time and money swapping endorsements, donations, pet projects with one another it will make your head spin! Money gets funneled from one pac to another. Support gets voiced for those who contribute and tow the line.

    *Mr. Isaac IS co-owner, according to the City Council, the news paper, corporate filings with his and his husband’s name on them. -In addition to Canine Registrations, Isaac owns PAWSitive with his Husband, which provides services to the pet industry.

    *Mr. Isaac donated $1000.00 to Chirico from his business Canine Registrations. One of his husband’s relatives, Eugene Stachowiak, also donated $500.00 to Chirico.

    *Mr. Isaac also personally donated $1100.00 to “Naperville Residents for Lower Taxes”, and another $1125.00 through his business.

    *Julie Chirico, married to Steve Chirico, receives $3750.00 per month for consulting with the House Republican Organization. She donated $250.00 to Mike Isaac, and Rebecca Obarski, and Patty Gustin.

    *Steve Chirico donated to Judy Broadhead, Rebecca Obarski, Patty Gustin, Janice Anderson and Rachel Ossyra of Naperville Township.

    “Naperville Residents for Lower Taxes”
    Chaired by Mike Isaac, supported by Chirico’s, Ossyra, Quigley, Meson Sabika and Mike Isaac/Third Party Pet.

    *Mr. Meson Sabika, Hossein Jamali, donated $2600.00 to “Naperville Residents for Lower Taxes.”
    He also donated to Chirico, Krummen, Coyne & Obarski.
    He also funded the “Yes at Large” campaign $2400.00, which Rebecca Obarski was co-chairperson.

    *Anthony Chirico donated $250.00 personally and another $2000.00 through his business to “Naperville Residents for Lower Taxes.”

    *Nancy Quigley donated $250.00 to “Naperville Residents for Lower Taxes”, she also donated to Patty Gustin, and Kevin Coyne.

    *Appointed Liquor commissioner Joe Vozar, also donated $250.00 to “Naperville Residents for Lower Taxes”

    *Rachel Ossyra, Township Supervisor, donated $500.00 to “Naperville Residents for Lower Taxes”

    *Haselhorst –received a $300.00 donation from “the committee to re-elect Pradel”, Rebecca Obarski co-chair.

    And it goes on and on and on from there…….

    • Jim Haselhorst

      All the people you mention in your post also happen to be very active in our community supporting various charities, community groups and philanthropic organizations. They donate funds and personal time to these organizations all the time, including attending fundraisers and other events. So it is hardly surprising that they would know one another and even become friend, supporting each other in their community activities. I don’t see you or anyone else criticizing them for these activities or call them into question.

      There is nothing suspicious or conspiratory about friends supporting each other even when this support falls in the arena of politics. The fact that all the information you posted is publicly available on the States website for political/election committees precludes the possibility that there is anything hidden or secretive about these activities. So really the dots were already willing connected by the people involved and easily followed for anyone that bothered to take the time to look for them.

      The story you linked to as proof of Mike’s co-ownership of Petland is simply in error, by the time Mike was placed on the city’s finance advisory board Adam had already sold Petland.

  5. Dot

    You are correct, all the information listed is publicly available, and yes they probably all are friends, which begs the question once again, who are they serving themselves and their friends, or the people who elected them. When 90 plus percent of the time the votes all fall the same way something does seem to be suspicious. There is not one person I know that I agree with over 90% of the time. So you can ignore it, defend it, brush it off as nothing, but I know when election time rolls around, who I won’t be voting for, another “friend” of the naperville nine.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      No, you’re right, it is not normal to have 9 people to agree as much as the members of this council do, at least when compared to past councils. It is important to realize that consensus it important to Mayor Chiro so he works hard to keep 5-4 votes from coming about. He is more comfortable with the direction council is taking when 9 to 7 members of the council can agree on the issue. This does not mean that they all agree 100% with the solution, just that there has been enough compromise to reach a solution they can accept a support with their vote.

      And if you believe compromise does not belong in government, then you know very little about human nature, and the importance of compromise in keeping a government functioning & fulfilling it’s obligation to the people it serves.

  6. mike

    Compromise does have its place in government, as does a healthy discussion of varying sides on an issue by independent thinking people. An over 90% record of unanimous votes is not an indication of an environment of compromise, but rather one of an agenda being driven and followed. That record of ‘compromise’ brings to mind the Chicago City Council votes under Richard J Daley and the Soviet Politburo.

  7. Bruce Dixon

    Always brace yourself when staff begins a response with “So…..”

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