Nov 172019

Imagine you and your family want to build a new home on a very nice piece of property. You have a very good home builder and all you need to do is let the builder know what you want the house to look like. You and your family start discussing what you would like, then you ask your extended family and relatives for their ideas, then you ask your friends for their suggestions, and then you include the neighbors, co-workers, mailman, and the guy working in the produce department for his ideas. Then after more than two years of talking and more than 60 meetings you find yourself back at the drawing board, having accomplished next to nothing in that time. That’s exactly where the Naperville city council finds itself with the Fifth Avenue Development project.

So what’s the problem? The problem is every member of the Naperville city council not including the mayor; all eight of them. That begs the question ‘why’? The answer is simple. They have no backbone, no spine, they need a huge chiropractic adjustment. The only person wanting and working to move forward is the mayor, Steve Chirico. The rest of them appear incapable of making a decision in fear that someone won’t like it. They can’t even decide to agree to disagree.

Watch and listen as mayor Chirico asks a simple question “can I see seven hands in the air, of people who are willing to give and take, to get this thing done, show compromise and understand that we are not all going to get what we want, but at the end, it’s the best thing for the community. Do we have seven people committed to doing that?”

Getting a response, or a yes, or a raised hand was like pulling teeth. It was a simple question with nothing to fear. Councilman Pat Kelly couldn’t get his hand up as if it was gravity challenged. It wasn’t until he was concerned somebody might see it on video, that he made a weak effort to commit to work together for the city.

Shortly afterwards, mayor Chirico displayed a brilliant strategic move to individually and consecutively, corner and ‘take down’ three council members Theresa Sullivan, Patty Gustin, and Pat Kelly (three sticks in the mud) and get them to publicly commit to moving forward, rather than dragging their heals and sitting on their hands doing nothing. Sullivan was hung-up with ‘process’, Gustin with apartments, and Kelly with ego.

Chirico asked Kelly, “if the city council supported everything on your plan, and if Ryan Companies agreed, are you going to vote ‘yes’ (to moving forward)? If you’re not willing to commit to to getting to ‘yes’ and we only have six votes, there is no reason to move forward.”

Before continuing with more endless talking, the ‘gang of 8’ council members might want to consider watching and listening to a TED Talk, “The Paradox of Choice” with Barry Schwartz. It’s easier than getting a huge chiropractic adjustment.

Nov 092019

What do the Chicago Bears, Houston Astros and Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico have in common? They all have lost four in a row. The Bears have lost their last four games, the Houston Astros lost their last four home World Series games, and Mayor Chirico has been on the losing end of his last four big city council votes including Old Nichols Library, Fifth Avenue Development, Selling recreational marijuana in Naperville, and the wording for the non-binding referendum re: selling recreational marijuana. You could say he’s on a roll, downhill and increasing speed. To say he needs a winner is an understatement.

He appears to be taking it in stride, yet there was a nine-second ‘moment’ during the October 15 meeting immediately after his fourth defeat (wording for non-binding marijuana referendum) when you could hear the  following:

So exactly what was the mayor feeling? It could have been exasperation, a feeling of irritation or annoyance. Or more likely it was resignation, the acceptance of something undesirable or inevitable. He gave it his best shot with his best swing, but the ball landed on the warning track, a few feet short of a winning home run, and the game was over. One more biscuit for breakfast, one more favorable vote, and the losing streak would have been over.

Maybe like Bear and Astro fans, the mayor can hope for a better result in the next game. Sooner or later it has to happen. It did for the Cubs in 2016. The difference is Mayor Chirico doesn’t have 108 years to make it happen.

Nov 032019

The Naperville city council voted to deny the sale of recreational marijuana, however they kept the door open by supporting a non-binding referendum allowing residents to vote their preference. All that was necessary was to choose the wording for the referendum.

When the Naperville city council is given the choice to obfuscate voters or enlighten them, they chose the former. It happened again during the October 15 city council meeting when council members, chose a more wordy form of a non-binding referendum regarding the sale of recreational marijuana in Naperville.

Occam’s Razor is a scientific and philosophic rule which states, “The simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex”, in other words ‘keep it simple’. Lawyer’s can’t keep it simple; it’s not in their DNA. Councilman Patrick Kelly, an attorney, was one of the five favoring a 32-word version of the non-binding referendum rather than Patty Gustin’s 16-word version or Mayor Steve Chirico’s 21-word version which were voted down.

Watch and listen as Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico states his 21-word simple version:

“Shall the City of Naperville, in light of the state legislation legalizing adult-use cannabis, allow its sale within Naperville’s jurisdiction”.

Followed by council member Patty Gustin’s 16-word version:

“Shall the City of Naperville allow the sale of recreational adult-use cannabis within its jurisdiction”.

Finally councilman and attorney Patrick Kelly presents the 32-word lengthy version selected for the referendum:

“Shall the City of Naperville, in light of State legislation legalizing the possession, consumption, and sale of recreational adult-use cannabis, allow the sale of recreational adult-use cannabis within its jurisdiction”.

Considering the Pledge of Allegiance has 31 words, and the Bill of Rights (First ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution) has 5 amendments with fewer than 32 words, the city council surely could have approved a referendum more concise that the one they approved. Rather than trying to impress residents with how clever they can be with word construction, why not focus on the audience, the residents of Naperville, and keep the wording simple. Occam would have been proud.

Oct 262019

The Naperville city council has done a lot of listening and talking about selling recreational marijuana within city limits and they are not done yet. Though the council voted 6 to 3 in September to prohibit the sale recreational marijuana, it later approved a non-binding referendum be placed on the ballot for voters to ‘voice’ their opinion. The only question was should it be placed on the March 17, 2020 ballot, or the November 3, 2020 ballot.

After a lengthy discussion (aren’t they all) they decided by a vote of 5 to 4 for the March 3, 2020 ballot. Watch and listen to the council as they vote for the date of non-binding referendum:

Naperville city council members voting for that date included:

  • Judy Brodhead
  • Patrick Kelly
  • John Krummen
  • Theresa Sullivan
  • Benny White

Those on the losing end of the discussion, voting for the November date included:

  • Mayor Steve Chirico
  • Kevin Coyne
  • Paul Hinterlong
  • Patty Gustin

It was thought that the November general election would bring out more voters, but the idea went up in smoke when the March primary election got the nod. Naperville’s clouded marijuana debate has been hazy at best, hence the non-binding referendum was determined to clear the air for a more accurate picture on how voters feel about the hot issue.

Since it’s a non-binding referendum, council members can choose to ignore the wishes of voters as they did with District representation. Voters chose that option which didn’t please council members, so a re-do vote was conducted, and the council got their wish when at-large representation magically won the vote.

Some council members have stated they would honor the results of the non-binding pot referendum, however we know how that can work. The good news is that a referendum, even a non-binding referendum is a feel-good exercise.

So March 17, 2020 is the big date. Until that date, and after January 1, 2020 recreational cannibus can be purchased hassle-free in surrounding suburbs. And after that date, no matter what the result of the vote, cannibus can be sold in surrounding suburbs. So what’s the difference? The difference is will you need to drive 5 miles to buy it in Naperville or drive 6 miles to get it elsewhere? That’s the real result of the referendum.

Oct 202019

Naperville has had its share of city council members that have said unusual things with odd requests, however the City may have the beginnings of its first rogue council member, that being Theresa Sullivan. During the October 15 city council meeting, council member Sullivan came out of nowhere questioning and wanting to change agreed upon parliamentary procedure. Watch and listen to Sullivan as she interjects something she doesn’t like about the council’s procedure and Mayor Steve Chirico quickly puts a lid on it and moves on with the business at hand:

This was definitely not the time to present the idea. You know that thing in your mind that tells you something is a bad idea. Somebody needs to get Sullivan one of those things. She has a propensity to act as a loose canon, against expectations and instruction, and pursue her own interests which is a definition for ‘rogue’.

A better time to bring up the idea would be under ‘new business’, but no, she blurts out the idea during an inopportune time. How long before she continues to express things she doesn’t like about parliamentary procedure, such as:

  • Why should the majority vote rule.
  • Why does the mayor sit at the middle of the dais.
  • Scrap parliamentary procedure and let chaos be the order of the day
  • Shouldn’t a council member be in motion when making a motion.
  • If a council member is missing from a meeting, why not allow a coin flip determine that person’s vote.

Sullivan is one of the new kids on the block on the council, along with Patrick Kelly, maybe it would be in her best interest to invest more time in learning how things work on the council and why they work, before trying to change what has been determined to be best practices. It definitely would be in the best interest of those she was elected to represent.

Oct 122019

It’s that time of the political cycle again, pre-election, when politicians pop-up their heads like whack-a-mole, hoping to secure enough votes to get re-elected. The current mole to pop-up in Naperville is former councilman Grant Wehrli. He has been sighted (where else) cruising up and down Wehrli Road admiring street signs named “Wehrli Road”. No doubt that Grant is a legend in his own mind. He has created the myth that he has accomplished something in Springfield, however no one seems to know what that ‘something’ is.

Keep Grant Wehrli In Springfield

Since Wehrli can’t point to anything he has accomplished in Springfield, other than getting his expense reports submitted on time, his strategy is to manufacture something, in this case it’s introducing a House Bill which for all practical purposes has recently been submitted by another House Representative; banning Red Light Cameras.

When Wehrli was on the Naperville city council, he was one of the ‘yes’ votes for approving RLC’s pointing to their safety features of preventing accidents, however when their cost exceeded the revenue they generated, he voted to get rid of the RLC’s. He was no longer concerned about the safety feature.

Naperville City Council Shocked By Their Own Vote

To call Grant Wehrli a hypocrite is an understatement. Look up the word ‘hypocrite’ in the dictionary, and you’ll see a picture of Wehrli. The only reason to keep him in Springfield is to keep him out of Naperville. If he loses his Illinois House of Representatives election, he undoubtedly will turn up in Naperville like gum on your shoe on a hot August day trying to get elected to something.

The problem is what to do with Wehrli. Having him in Springfield is not good, having him back in Naperville is worse. If only there was a third option. Maybe he could be encouraged to relocate. How difficult would it be to get a road named after him in Two Dot, Montana; Grant Wehrli Circle has a symbolic, poetic ring to it.

Oct 052019

Quick, name two Naperville city council members in 1999. O.K, so you got former Naperville Mayor George Pradel correct, but you’re drawing a blank on a second council member? Twenty years from now, all the current city council members, other than maybe Mayor Steve Chirico, will be a distant memory, if a memory at all. That’s the point, there will be an entirely new crew on the council. City council member names will become just footnotes in history, but ramifications of their decisions will live on for generations (Fox Valley Mall). What might Naperville look like in 2039, what will be the top two issues the city council will be grappling with, and what will the council look like. It might look something like this:

With the ongoing, passionate effort of Naperville’s former one-term council member, Becky Anderson to turn Naperville into a sanctuary city, Naperville’s population will be pushing 3.2 million people, with busloads of people arriving daily at Anderson’s Book Store; their only requirement is to buy a book and taking an oath not to purchase books from Amazon.

Naperville will continue to pride itself in having no homeless people, however Ogden Avenue, 75th St., Naper Blvd and Washington Street will be lined with street dwellers with each given a Bic lighter during Christmas season providing the city with low cost holiday lighting.

Naperville will have an ordinance requiring no building be less than 150 feet high. Single family homes will no longer be allowed, unless occupied by 50 people or more.

Mayor Haywood U. Buzzoff will try to maintain order in council chambers by pounding his 20-pound gavel whenever he hears something he doesn’t like, which is most of the time. Public forum will allow speakers only one-minute to make their point, with four speakers speaking simultaneously at the podium.

Term limits will have been repealed by a council vote of 9 to 0. Council members will include Paul Bear, Bindar Dundat, Chubbina Fatzarelli, Marion Haste, Manny Lous Skruz, Ramsey el-Kaboom, R. Azmustbedraggon, and Doctor Billie Bong Bong.

The two hot issues for the 2039 city council  continue to be the Fifth Avenue Development, and whether or not the council should vote to proceed or table the issue until the following month, with the second hot issue being whether or not to approve the sale of recreational marijuana within city limits. Naperville continues to be the only city in DuPage county not to allow the sale of cannabis, but also the only city in the United States not to allow it. With the recent approval by Vatican City and Santa’s Village at the North Pole allowing the sale, Naperville wants to wait for more information before voting on the issue.

The inky shadows in the corridors of the Municipal Center will continue to be the ideal environment for deal making, and Naperville city manager Vinnie Goombotts will continue the city managers tradition of doing a great soft shoe and moon walk out of council chambers and out of the Municipal center.

Sep 282019

Naperville councilman Kevin Coyne gives no quarter and has had enough of both the Illinois Democratic Party and the DuPage County Republican organization and wants to be the voice for conservative principals by standing tall, and making a difference for change.

Coyne decided to throw his lucky penny into the ring and make a run for the 2020 DuPage County Board election in District 5. After serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Coyne was elected to the Naperville city council in in 2015 and re-elected to a four-year term in 2017 with his current term ending in 2021.

Coyne seeks to replace James Healy who has been on the county board since 1996, that’s 23 years, that’s enough. Can anybody think of anything Healy has accomplished other than getting re-elected. Keeping Healy on the board, doesn’t make any ‘cents’.  Coyne, an attorney, wants to put his two-cents worth in and fight for pro-life and government reforms including reducing the size of government, reducing real estate tax levies, and most importantly supporting the Second Amendment and our constitutional right to bear arms.

He is a financial conservative which is exactly what taxpayers need. He’s open-minded to change if the evidence supports it, and he can turn on a dime if necessary. If taxpayers and residents had a dime for every conservative position Coyne has taken, it would amount to a huge mountain-size pile of silver dollars.

Coyne’s quarter-back leadership skills are powerful including demonstrating accountability, maximizing relationships, building trust, thinking critically, driving change and demonstrating courage, all of which were evident last February when he called out state rep Anne Stava-Murray, D-Naperville to resign after she said the City of Naperville has ‘white supremacist policies’. Coyne said her outrageous comment was a new low for ‘ugly rhetoric’

Coyne can’t lose, which means taxpayers and residents can’t lose. He either gets elected to the DuPage County Board saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, or he remains on the Naperville city council and won’t nickel and dime residents. Every penny he pinches benefits those he is elected to represent.

Sep 212019

Naperville prides itself for being first on all sorts of lists including best schools, best libraries, best places to live, most sesame seeds on bagels; Winterset , Iowa may dispute the last one.

Money Magazine recently published the best places to live, and Naperville came in 45th place. How did we go from being the best place to live and raise a family to not even being listed among the Top-Ten. How does this happen in such a short period of time.

In 2016, Naperville was ranked 10th among the Top-50 best U.S. Cities, now just three years later we drop 35 slots to 45th. What’s changed? We have the same mayor, the same city manager, but we do have two new council members, Patrick Kelly and Theresa Sullivan. Could they be responsible, it’s doubtful but possible. Or is it that we still have Patty Gustin as a council member. That would seem more likely, but still, dropping 35 slots like a 35-pound bowl of mashed potatoes with gravy onto the passenger seat of your new vehicle is terrible.

Two other Illinois cities made it into the Top-100 list including Bolingbrook at #85 and Vernon Township at #65. Quick, does anyone know where Vernon Township is located. Of course not, but there it is, just 20 slots behind Naperville. If we are dropping an average of 12 slots per year, by the year 2024 Naperville will disappear from the Top-100.

The Top-3 cities on the list include, #1 Clarksville, Tennessee (population 153,000), #2) Round Rock, Texas (population 124,000) and #3 Fishers, Indiana (population 92,000). Money Magazines parameters for its Top 100 cities included cities with populations from 50,000 up to 300,000. It’s possible if Naperville can whittle its population down to less than 50,000, or jack it up to more than 300,000, we could once again make it into the Top-10.

Maybe former council member Becky Anderson was privy to something when she wanted to make Naperville a “Welcomming” city (code for sanctuary city).

Sep 142019

The Naperville city council finally had the courage to make a decision on whether or not to allow the sale of recreational marijuana in Naperville and by a decision of 6 to 3, the answer for now is ‘no’; well sort of. Naperville’s 9-member brain trust (city council) is kicking the can down the road by considering whether or not to put the issue up for a non-binding referendum in spring or sometime in the future maybe, possibly, could be, etc.

‘Non-binding’ meaning the 9-member council can override whatever the 147,000 residents want. That gets us back to kicking the can down the road and that road leads to neighboring towns which could approve selling recreational marijuana before Naperville. North Aurora has already approved the opportunity.

No one has ever accused the Naperville city council of being too courageous regarding making timely decisions. In the early 1970’s Naperville city officials finally decided not allow Fox Valley Mall to be built in Naperville at the corner of Aurora Avenue and Rt. 59 because of traffic concerns. It was then built across the street at the same intersection when the City of Aurora approved the development and Aurora has been banking those sales tax dollars for the last 44 years.

All it took for the council to finally take the can-kicking action was 238 people signing-up to speak for 3-minutes each during public forum; that’s almost 12 hours of public forum talking; that’s getting into councilwoman Patty Gustin range. My first thought was they would have four people speak simultaneously with the loudest one getting heard the best. Somehow the council got through the ‘Patty Gustin Marathon’ (non-stop talking).

When the dust settled and ‘no’ to selling recreational marijuana was announced, it cleared the way for Naperville residents to purchase the item elsewhere, just not in Naperville. It was a great moment for North Aurora, and likely other nearby towns.

So while Naperville city officials continue to kick cans down roads, opportunities flow by. I don’t have a horse in the race. Three days a week I’m in favor of selling it in Naperville, three days a week I’m not, the other day of the week I need to give my head a rest.

However when I drive by Fox Valley Mall, I can’t help seeing sales-tax-revenue dollars pouring into Aurora and wondering if Naperville council members from the early 1970’s ever had the same vision.

One thing for sure, if you are a can salesman, the City of Naperville would be an outstanding prospect.