Sign Of The Times

There is always somebody or some group trying to regulate somebody, or some other group. Isn’t that partially why government exists; the perk of regulating. For most of us the only time we get to regulate is when we are dealing with our kids, which seems to work pretty good until our kids learn the power of the word ‘no’.

The Naperville city council’s most recent effort to regulate, came as a result of the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding temporary signs. After considerable discussion by city council members, during the last council meeting, and some very limited input by residents, the council has all but decided that the maximum size for temporary residential signs will be 4 square feet, and temporary commercial signs will be 12 square feet, typically 3 X 4 or if you want an almost perfect square sign, it would need to be 3.464 feet by 3.464 feet. We can only hope that Naperville code officers have a very accurate measuring device along with a top-of-the line light meter for measuring lumens for electronic signs.

Just when it looked like the issue was ready for staff to create the ordinance, Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico slipped in the following tidbit:

So the mayor wants to give council members a ‘pass’ or exemption for the size of campaign signs until the April 4 municipal election is history. Does anybody see anything glaringly wrong about that? Frankly, I don’t. Why shouldn’t common sense enter into the equation? The mayor doesn’t have any skin in the game by extending the effective ordinance date; he’s not running for re-election until 2019. Unless he can find someone in the U.S. with the last name of ‘Chirico’ running for mayor, willing to buy his signs, he will take a loss on replacing somewhere less than a million campaign signs he has in storage.

However, what is wrong, is that other individuals and groups don’t get the same courtesy of time allowed before an ordinance is enacted.

Most recently, the Naperville city council approved an ordinance December 5 increasing the age from 18 to 21 for selling and purchasing cigarettes, and the ordinance is set to begin January 1. That’s a paltry 26 day window to get the word out for all to know, and for businesses to post the age change, train employees, and do what’s necessary to comply. Where is common sense added to that equation?

When it came time for the City to forcefully slap smart meters on the homes of residents, it had to happen immediately or be arrested. Yet when it came time to honor council member term limits which was approved by a landslide binding referendum by residents, the Naperville city council said it didn’t have sufficient time to make it happen, so it was delayed for a few years. Not days, or weeks, or months, but years.

Again, I applaud what the mayor did by allowing council members running for re-election the opportunity to use their existing campaign signs; it’s the right thing to do. Why have anybody scrambling for time or unnecessarily spending money, when a little common sense can be extended. Residents and groups should be allowed the same courtesy.

Show 7 Comments


  1. Maudie

    Allowing incumbent city council members to use their old signs from prior campaigns is not “fair” to the four new candidates.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      Yes, but then incumbents have always been allowed to do this so it is nothing new. Also, having campaigned for office, I know one of the first things candidates do after getting their petition approved is start ordering campaign materials such as signs. It is very possible some candidates (incumbents and new) had already ordered their signs before this issue came before council. Would it be fair to require the candidates who are serious enough about their candidacy to have already orders signs to throw them away and order new ones that comply with this new ordinance?

  2. Jim Haselhorst

    Unfortunately it is impossible to remove politics from any government body/organization that has elected officials involved in its operations. Does it really make sense to have elected school board members telling teachers what books they can and can not use to educated their students?

    Yes the term limitations ordinance should have been enforced years ago and the districting of 4 council seats should have also been enacting faster, which would have prevented all the BS that happened with this voter approved referendum.

    I know that the smart meters are a issue that the watchdog is still pissed about, but it is and has been a fact of life in Naperville for several years now and something most members of the existing council had nothing to do with. Few communities exist today that do not have smart meters. Aurora residents were just informed by their provided, ComEd, that they would all be getting smart meters, no choice. If you want ComEd power you will get a smart meter. Is this heavy handed? Possibly, but all power providers in this country are being driven to this solution by Federal guidelines, they have been give little choice in the matter.

    • Kevin

      James – the difference between ComEd and Naperville Smart Meters is that ComEd meters actually provide customers the analytical data were promised as part of the Naperville roll-out. Also, I know we still have meter readers (not sure if they are water, electric, or both). If electric then ZERO of the benefits of installing the smart meters have been achieved.

      Someone should be held accountable for that? Staff, Council, someone?

      • Jim Haselhorst

        Non of this changes the fact that federal guidelines require these type of meters eventual be installed nation wide, meaning everyone will eventually have them whether they provide any homeowner with usable information or not. In fact they are intended to provide the utility companies with data that will help them better and more energy efficiently manager their grid. They were never intended, or required, to provide homeowners with any data.

        This capacity is simply a fringe benefit of these meters but requires a separate software solution/vender, which is still underdevelopment for Naperville. ComEd does not provide this level of access to its customers and has not announce any intention to do so.

        • Bee Seech

          Wrong again, oh “wise” one. Naperville jumped at the “free” money the government was handing out, which increased the National debt by 11 million dollars, and increase Naperville’s debt by substantially more. The previously solvent electric dept. had to borrow from the previously solvent water dept, and increased debt for both depts. They will be paying for the meters far longer than the meters will last. Like over paying for a car with a 30 year loan, and not being able to drive it any more. Also, they did, in fact, tell residents that they would be able to track their usage, compare their usage, and do it all in real time. And, you can get all that data from Comed down to the hour. Maybe everyone would eventually have to have these meters installed, but Naperville wanted to be an early adopter, grab free money, and ignore the wishes of the residents that own the electric company. That’s the difference, it is owned by the residents, residents who had no say in the adoption and forced installation, to the point of arresting two mothers. I haven’t seen Comed arrest anyone who opposed a meter being installed on their house.

          • Jim Haselhorst

            The debt problem of the electrical utility has nothing to do with smart meters. It stems from the city’s investment in the IMEA and the cost overruns associated with the construction of this organizations newest power plant in southern Illinois. Also from the city’s reliance on a electrical fee survey that turned out to be incorrect resulting in the city paying more for electricity then it was charging residents for this power.

            I do not know who you have been in contact with at ComEd but my contact says the level of access you clam their customers have does not exist. I do manage the bills for a business located in Aurora that is a ComEd customer and they have no choice, they will be getting a smart meters eventually. No one was arrest in Aurora because one has tried to stop ComEd from installing a smart meter. These meters do not belong to the property owner they belong to the utility company and denying them access to their property is a violation of the law. ComEd does have the advantage of being a privately, not city, owned utility.

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