It looks like the battle of four mayors against one resident will be won by the politicians, with a little help from the court system. This comes as no surprise. The saying, “you can’t fight city hall. and win” exists for a reason, and the reason is that typically politicians win and residents lose. And if you add the court system into the equation, then put your money on politicians winning.
This appears to be what’s happening with a resident’s effort to have a referendums placed on the April 4 ballot for the annexation of Lisle, Warrenville, and Woodridge into the city of Naperville.
The resident along with his/her attorney have put up a good battle by cleverly finding a path in Illinois law for having the question presented to residents for an up or down vote on the ballot. Mayors Joe Broda of Lisle, David Brummer of Warrenville, and Gina Cunningham of Woodridge have been profusely sweating beads in absolute fear of losing their stranglehold of local power which is what would happen if the referendum makes it to the ballot and a relatively small percentage of voters approved the annexation. The chance of voters approving the referendum is slim, but very possible. The chance of the referendum making it to the ballot is even slimmer and next to impossible.
The odds weren’t good enough for the politicians, so enter the court system which can either can say ‘no’ to the referendum or more likely, wait so long to make a decision, that it’s impossible to have enough time to get the referendum on the ballot, which gives the politicians victory by default. Oops no time left. Sorry.
The final date for finalizing the election ballots has passed, according to Ken Menzel, legal council for the Illinois State Board of Elections. It takes time to get everything in order for the ballot, hence the hard deadline. Military and absentee ballots have to be sent out, on or about by February 17. The petitioner (resident) had until Feb 1 to respond to the motion for dismissal. The mayors then have until this Monday February 6 to respond to the resident’s response, with the next hearing by the court scheduled for this Wednesday February 8.
The bottom line, as Beulah the long distance operator would say in the old days, ‘your time is up’. Hence the politician’s strategy to delay, delay, delay, worked with the help from the court system. As my 98-year old uncle would say to me when we were playing cards (rummy), “it’s hard to beat the guy with the pencil”. The court had the pencil.
The outcome of this situation comes as no surprise. The politicians won the battle (referendum), however the politicians lost the war; their proclaimed desire for government consolidation.
This is where Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico comes into play. He has been an outstanding flag carrier and bugle boy for the importance of consolidating government. However when push came to shove he missed an outstanding opportunity to say, “we (the mayors) should at least look at the viability of doing this (annexation)”. But he didn’t. Even if he didn’t want the annexation, or if he knew it wouldn’t happen (court delay), he could have ‘appeared’ to be open-minded to the possible benefit. In essence his words and his actions were compromised. Now when he carries the government-consolidation flag, it’s not quite as big, and when he blows the government-consolidation bugle, it’s not quite as loud; in fact, it’s out of tune.