Ricky Bobby Says, If You’re Not First, You’re Last

When I heard that Naperville was ranked the second best city to live in, the first question I had was, who was ranked first. No doubt that coming in second place is pretty good unless your Hillary Clinton, in a heavyweight championship fight, or interviewing for a job.

Naperville is a wonderful city and I am happy to have been a resident for the last 39 years. Could it be better? Of course it could. If better is possible, then good is not enough. That’s the hope for each city council election; to elect the best candidates, thereby improving the collective group. Obviously, city leadership has done a far better than average job over the years in planning Naperville’s growth. However the good folks of Naperville, are the real strength of the city.

These so-called ‘best’ lists are fickle. It wasn’t that long ago that Naperville wasn’t even the best city within a 7 mile radius of the municipal center; Bolingbrook was given that honor. Now Naperville is the second best city in the United States. How does that happen, and who creates these lists. Maybe someday we will see an expose on CBS’s 60-Minutes, how this works, but until then we have to go with it.

This particular list was created by Niche, a company that ranks cities and towns and looks at public schools, crime, employment opportunities, cost of living index, and general amenities. Apparently carjackings didn’t carry much weight, nor did the number of law suits, and class actions against the city account for much. Niche evaluated over 200 cities and 15,000 plus towns; that is a lot of evaluating.

The company scrutinized the results of 397 Naperville reviews. 111 people rated the city as ‘excellent’, 187 said it was ‘very good’, 91 said Naperville was average, 6 said it was a ‘poor’ choice for living, and two folks said Naperville was a ‘terrible’ place to live. I’m guessing the two that said Naperville was terrible, had just opened their electric bills prior to Niche’s survey.

Who remembers second place anyway? Who was the second best horse to the last Triple Crown winner? Who came in second place in the last Naperville mayoral election? OK, that’s an easy one, the same guy who always came in second place…it was what’s his name, yes that’s it, it was him.

Ricky Bobby says, ‘if you’re not first, you’re last’.

Naperville councilman John ‘Johnny’ may agree with Ricky Bobby.

So which city came in first place? It was Ann Arbor, Michigan. Maybe Naperville should focus on Ann Arbor to see what they are doing that we could be doing better. My guess is that it’s the electric bill. Based on that, we’ll be in second place for the next 28 years, the amount of time remaining on the horrendous electric utility contract hanging over Naperville like a bad three-piece suit.

Show 3 Comments


  1. Jim Haselhorst

    Since both Naperville and Ann Arbor have smart meters, they also have rates that vary based on time of day, making comparisons of electrical rates between the two cities a challenge. There is a website, however, that does calculate an average rate for all states as well as large cities in each of these states. According to the latest comparison data on this site Ann Arbor residents pay 14.13¢/kWh while Naperville residents pay 10.16¢/kWh meaning Naperville residents pay 39% less for electricity than Ann Arbor residents (the national average is 11.88¢/kWh). Further the average for Illinois is 11.38¢/kWh (12% greater then the Naperville rate) while the average for Michigan is 14.13¢/kWh (same as Ann Arbor rate). Based on these facts it is clear our city leadership is doing a better job then Ann Arbor’s.
    Ann Arbor is also not stranger to civil suits. Over the years it has been suit over it’s gun ordinance, deer hunting policies, substitute teacher practices to name just of few. The reality is when you talk about cities the size of Naperville (144k pop.) and Ann Arbor (114K pop) you are going to find a few people willing to suit the city as well as bad mouth and second guess every decision the leadership of these cities make, that they the do not like or disagree with. I do believe 6 “poor” out of 700 reviews (or .9%) says more about how good Naperville is then anything else.
    As to no one remembering second place, that simply is not true. People who follow these type of things (lifestyle, vacations spots, sports, etc) do remember who can in second as well as third, it is the people that only focus on these things when they make the news that can not remember who came in second, but then again they also can remember who came in first either.

    • Watching the Watchdog

      Jim H said, ” they also have rates that vary based on time of day”

      That is not true. The city never delivered the time-based rates for electric billing and they never delivered the home-monitoring capabilities of the smart meters.

      • Jim Haselhorst

        If you look at your electric bill you will see you are being billed for electricity usage at two different rates, at least my bill shows a breakdown for usage at two different rates.

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