May 182019
 

Two friends are driving in opposite directions along a road when they each pass a billboard about the same time. The next day, they meet to play golf and they mention seeing each other the previous day on the road as they passed the billboard. One said the billboard was blue, while the other said it was yellow. Each thinking the other guy was wrong, decided to place a friendly wager, and drove to the billboard. Sure enough it was blue, but then they looked on the other side and it was yellow. Depending upon their perspective, which way they were coming from, they were both right. It happens in politics all the time.

Recently, a reader (BDWeiser, 45-year resident) replied to a Watchdog posting, which was then replied to by another reader (Jim Haselhorst, former Naperville mayoral candidate). Both see things, and mayor Steve Chirico’s leadership from a different perspective. The topics included:

  • Winefest
  • Jaycee Wi-Fi Smart Park
  • Chriskindle Market
  • Old Nichols Library
  • 5th Avenue Development
  • Ribfest
  • SECA funds
  • Last Fling
  • Family members

It all depends upon which side of the ‘billboard’ one is looking towards. The bottom line is that it is possible to disagree with being disagreeable.

Here is a link to the comments  Feel free to join the conversation.

May 122019
 

Last Tuesday had to be very exciting for Naperville’s two new council members, Patrick Kelly and Theresa Sullivan. It was officially their first council meeting. As always, Mayor Steve Chirico gets meetings started on time. There is no dilly-dallying around on his part. He’s got places to go, people to see, and things to do. No sense keeping people waiting in council chambers.

At 7:00pm sharp, roll call begins and when council member names are called they reciprocate with ‘here or present’. Uh oh, there is one missing. Where is new council member Theresa Sullivan? She is nowhere to be seen. How can that be. Her first official ‘coming out’ opportunity, and she blows it off? Maybe she forgot it was meeting night? Maybe she realized the work load was too much and she resigned. Maybe, just maybe she was at the Cubs game.

Surely she’ll get there before the Pledge of Allegiance? No, she was a no-show for that too. Could it be that council woman Theresa Sullivan is a disciple of Colin Kaepernick and she was ‘taking a knee’ in council chambers?

After the pledge she finally surfaced as she raced to be seated. Fortunately she sits on the end of the dais, and didn’t have to stumble her way towards the middle of the group.

In all fairness to new council member Sullivan, she may have had a compelling reason to be late other than finishing the last bite of a huge burrito, and if that’s the case then Watchdog, truly hopes all is well with the Sullivan household.

One thing is for sure, Sullivan now knows that Mayor Steve Chirico starts meetings on time and he has been doing that since he was elected mayor. There was a time prior to Mayor Chirico when meetings would consistently start five to ten minutes late, and council members would come in sauntering as if they were attending a cocktail party, with little or no regard for people waiting in council chambers. No longer does that happen. If a council member is not ready to get started on time, then it’s on them. Chirico runs the council meetings and the city as though it was a successful business because that’s exactly what it is.

Legendary and successful Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi lived and coached in a disciplined manner and required the same from his players. One of his rules for practice was, “If you are on time, you’re late”. In other words, get there early and be ready. Punctuality is respect for other peoples’ time. Let’s see if Sullivan is ready to do the peoples’ work.

May 042019
 

Getting elected can be the easy job; knowing what you’re doing can be a totally different story. When the next Naperville city council meeting convenes this Tuesday May 7, two new, shiny council members, without dents (Theresa Sullivan and Patrick Kelly) will be sitting at the dais. They will have accomplished their goal of getting elected. Their next goal will be remembering where they sit at the dais, followed by learning Naperville’s version of Robert’s Rules Of Order. That can be tricky.

If Sullivan and Kelly think they have all the answers, they will be in for a rude awakening, as some former members of the city council have experienced. Some council members have admitted to not having all the answers, but their willingness to learn (Rebecca Boyd-Obarski) was refreshing. Others have learned by listening and observing (Kevin Coyne and Benny White), while others (last name rhymes with ‘Gustin’) could have benefited from the quote, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.” That quote is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, or maybe it was Vinnie Goombotz.

Looking at the numbers:

Naperville city council members are paid $12,500 per year. Council members can work as little as they want (former council woman Becky Anderson), or as much as they need to get the job done properly (Paul Hinterlong).

An average Tuesday night city council meeting can last about two hours, with two meetings per month, minus about four meetings per year cancelled for holidays is 20 meetings per year totaling 40 hours which equates to $300 per hour. However most council members pack in the hours taking pride in getting the job done right. 20 hours per week is about 1,000 hours per year, which equates to $12.50 per hour. Compare that to a Wal-mart greeter making $13 per hour.

If a council member is elected to a 3-term limit (Paul Hinterlong and Judy Brodhead) that’s 12 years at $12,500 per year for a total of $150,000. Compare that to Philadelphia Philly baseball player Bryce Harper who just signed a 13-year contract for $330 million; Harper makes more money sleeping 8 hours per night for one week than Hinterlong and Brodhead make over a 12-year period as Naperville city council members. Granted, Hinterlong and Brodhead can’t hit the long ball, well, maybe Hinterlong can, but Brodhead is more of a bunting-move-them-along slap hitter.

Naperville council members are not in it for the money. Both Kelly and Sullivan may be surprised with the number of hours necessary to get the job done right. Neither will have alienated any residents/voters until they make their first council vote, then the irate phone calls and emails will begin to trickle in until it becomes a flood.

Another frustration they likely will experience is social media, mis-information. A classic example is tax, the city council has actually maintained or reduced the tax rate, while the school districts and park district have jacked up the tax. If you take a close look at your tax bill, you will see where those tax dollars are going, but most folks get upset with city officials, and specifically the city council regarding taxes.

Glossy mailers with cool pictures, beautiful colors, and lofty stated goals can help a candidate get elected, but it’s those same stated goals not achieved that can unseat a council member in the next election.

Apr 272019
 

Elections are simple; get more votes than the other person and you win unless you’re Hillary Clinton. This year, Naperville’s mayoral election had just two candidates, the incumbent Steve Chirico and the challenger Richard ‘Rocky’ Caylor, whereas the 2015 mayoral election had four candidates. Interestingly in 2015, Mayor Chirico received more votes (10,671) in the field of four, than in the two-person race in 2019 (9,650). Surprisingly the vote was closer than most expected, but the winner needs only one vote more than the loser to be called ‘Mayor’.

Naperville Mayor Election Results - April 2019

CandidateVotesVote %
Steve Chirico9,65051.8%
Richard Caylor8,98448.2%

Ironically, Rocky Caylor lost by 666 votes. Does the number ‘666’ ring a bell? Considering how Rocky ran his race, ‘666’ is apropos. Voter turnout in DuPage County was an anemic 15%, but still more than Will County’s 13%. To win by less than 700 votes in a city of over 145,000 residents can be summed-up in two words…voter apathy. I think it was Confucius who said, “tis better not to vote, than to vote without knowing who to vote for”. Well, maybe it wasn’t Confucius, but it should have been.

Then there was the election for four city council members out of the 11 candidates. The dreaded 5th place finisher was Bruce Hanson. The 4th place finisher (Teresa Sullivan) received 276 more votes (0.5% more) than Hanson. Sullivan will now be known as ‘councilwoman Sullivan’ while Hanson will be known as ‘what’s his name’. If only Hanson would have had just one more yard sign strategically placed somewhere, he would have been councilman Hanson. All he had to do is distribute 23-dozen donuts (+1) at the train station one morning, and bingo, he wins the election.

PlaceCandidateVotesVote %
1Paul Hinterlong9,89115.2%
2Patty Gustin9,56114.7%
3Patrick Kelly7,36911.3%
4Teresa Sullivan7,06410.9%
5Bruce Hanson6,78810.4%
6Brad Miller5,1788.0%
7Barbara O'Meara5,0867.8%
8Nancy Turner4,3446.7%
9Whitney Robbins4,0786.3%
10Joe McElroy2,894 4.5%
11Michele Clemen2,7154.2%

Some random observations about the vote totals:

Councilman Paul Hinterlong received more votes than Mayor Steve Chirico (9,891 to 9,650). Does that mean Hinterlong could have won the mayoral election?

Teresa Sullivan came in 4th place in DuPage County, and 6th place in Will County. What does Will County know, that DuPage County doesn’t know.

Brad Miller finished in 4th place in Will County, but 8th place in DuPage County. Does that mean if he lived on 87th Street (the dividing line between DuPage and Will) he would have finished in 6th place.

The closest vote total difference was 92 votes between Brad Miller 6th place, and Barbara O’Meara 7th place. Other than Miller and O’Meara, does anyone really care. I think not.

Candidates Barbara O’Meara (6th place) and Nancy Turner (7th place) did everything together including the same email address, same website, same campaign signs, same candidate-forum answers, yet finished 742 votes apart. How does that happen?

Former councilman Joe McElroy (10th place) beat last-place finisher Michele Hilger Clemen by 179 votes. If Michele would have used a ‘hyphen’ between ‘Hilger and Clemen, like Rebecca Boyd-Obarski did, could she have been elected or at least finish in 10th place rather than in last place?

The all-important ‘hyphen’ could have been a difference-maker.

Apr 202019
 

The next Naperville city council meeting (May 7) will see two new council members at the dais (Patrick Kelly and Theresa Sullivan) while two departing members (Becky Anderson and Rebecca Boyd-Obarski) will become fading memories. However, issues will carry over.

Some issues have been tabled, others have been ‘kicked down the road’, and some have been somewhat ‘resolved’ only to inevitably resurface in the future. Loose ends include:

  • Affordable housing
  • Alcohol delivery
  • Bearcat police vehicle
  • Carillon and Moser Tower
  • Car washes on Ogden Avenue
  • City Of Naperville Employee bonus program
  • Conflict-of-Interest guidelines
  • Electric rates
  • Fire station consolidation
  • Fifth Avenue Development
  • Fuel filling stations
  • Gas sales tax down
  • Hazardous waste facility
  • IMEA (Illinois Municipal Electric Agency)
  • Leaf pick-up program
  • LED lights and frost/snow build up
  • Ogden Corridor development
  • Pet stores and puppy mills
  • Pour-your-own bars
  • Recognition for the police and fire departments
  • Recycling
  • SECA
  • Sidewalk cafes
  • Street scape
  • Traffic congestion
  • Vacant store fronts
  • Water meters / elevated lead
  • Another bee in a birdbath (oh the horror of such a sight)

These are just a few of the many issues carrying over, with undoubtedly many new issues to surface. Overall the Naperville city council has done a good job, but when better is possible, then ‘good’ is not enough. Just as issues will become more numerous and more intense, the ‘new’ city council will need to ‘up their game’ and become more decisive and creative.

Apr 132019
 

One of the best decisions Naperville councilwoman Becky Anderson made for the residents of Naperville was her decision to not run for re-election. It’s not easy winning an election with a double-digit vote total. Anderson has not been a magnet for voter support. Her likeability quotient measures in the negative.

Whereas some council members, including Judy Brodhead, are harmless, more like an empty seat, others including Anderson cause problems. When Brodhead leaves the council, it will be as if she was never there. However when Anderson departs, it will immediately increase the average IQ of the entire council. Anderson’s mode of operating on the council has been defined as underhanded and not in a subtle way. If you look in the dictionary for the definition of ‘conflict-of-interest’ there is a good chance of seeing a picture of councilwoman Becky Anderson.

As an example, during the March 19th Naperville city council meeting, rather than expressing her opinion of Mayor Steve Chirico’s possible (but untrue) conflict-of-interest regarding the Central Park Place development on Washington Street, she waited until Chirico recused himself from that portion of the meeting before leveling the accusation.

Watch and listed as Mayor Chirico recuses himself, followed by Anderson’s cheap shot:

Anderson’s specialty on the city council is her propensity of exercising her lack of judgement on her own conflicts-of-interest.

Watch and listen as councilman Kevin Coyne chimes in with just a few of Anderson’s conflicts-of-interest without mentioning Anderson’s name:

  • Should a council-member vote on a petition which her family member presented.
  • Should a council-member vote on public resources being used for an event outside of her business.
  • Should a council-member vote on a special service area if she has a building in that area.

Coyne didn’t wait until Anderson wasn’t present. She was there in full living color slinking into her seat. Coyne didn’t throw the punch, until after Anderson threw her sucker-punch at Chirico.

Councilman Benny White then steps in with a common-sense thought of his own;

Anything could be considered a conflict-of-interest. However when it comes to Becky Anderson she specializes in a plethora of conflicts-of-interest including:

  • Voting for library funding while owning a book store.
  • Voting for downtown improvements when she owns a business in the downtown area.
  • Voting for a Harry Potter event again while owning a book store.
  • Improper use of quasi governmental bodies such as NCTV and Naper Settlement for financial benefit.

Becky Anderson has never been accused of being a class act. During the April 3rd city council meeting watch and listen as councilman Paul Hinterlong congratulates Mayor Steve Chirico on his re-election victory. Every council member joins in by clapping, except for Anderson seated second from the left.

The bottom line is that the Tuesday April 16 city council meeting will be councilwoman Becky Anderson’s last meeting. The really good news is that it will allow Anderson more time do some industrial-strength dusting and vacuuming in her book store, which is sorely needed.

Apr 062019
 

Best Of The Worst Award – Bruce Hanson came in 5th place, while the top four were elected to the city council.

Best Yard Sign Ever – ‘My Man Mitch’ elected governor of Indiana in 2005 – 2013, now the President of Purdue University. No originality with Naperville city council candidates, hence none qualified.

Second Best-looking Yard Sign – Steve Chirico’s navy blue and whiter-than-white, with a red check mark; simple, crisp, easy to read and name spelled correctly.

Sore Loser Award – Mayoral candidate Rocky Caylor, still hasn’t officially conceded.

I Could Have Been Elected Award goes to Rebecca Obarski when she lost her support base.

Worst Colored Yard Sign – Rocky Caylor, pea soup green and cement gray.

Oversized Yard Signs not abiding by city ordinance – Rocky Caylor.

I Can’t Wait For This Candidate Forum To Be Over Award goes to Bruce Hanson.

Projected last candidate to remove campaign yard signs – Patty Gustin.

Most difficult yard signs to remove – Rocky Caylor, support posts will need fork lift to remove from ground.

Most yard signs in one location – everybody everywhere.

I Can’t Believe I’m Still On The City Council Award goes to Judy Brodhead.

Number of candidates who knocked on my door – zero, none, nada, zilch, zippity do da.

Number of mailers received – I’m still counting them.

‘Who gets the campaign yard signs’ is a tie between Barbara O’Meara and Nancy Turner.

I’ve Got To Get Out Of Here Award goes to Kevin Coyne who wants to run for the Dupage County Board.

Candidate sending the most mailers – Brad Miller.

Candidate sending the same mailer the most times – Brad Miller

Best and Worst Strategy – Barbara O’Meara and Nancy Turner. They shared the same email, shared the same signs, said the same thing and both lost. If you added their votes together, it wouldn’t be enough for either to get elected.

Best and worst television coverage of election – NCTV17. The best because it was the only coverage. The worst because the host looked as comfortable as a fish out of water, and the analyst Kenn Miller because he still has two ‘n’s in his first name. The second ‘n’ is silent.

Biggest show of disrespect to candidates – NCTV, because they seldom showed vote totals for O’Meara, Turner, and McElroy

Most underused color for yard sign – Gustin’s Orange.

Most vanilla candidate – Brad Miller.

Candidate with the worst answer to a best question – Bruce Hanson (evaluate current city council leadership).

Least controversial candidate – Brad Miller.

Losing candidate who could have been a welcome addition to council – Whitney Robbins.

‘Whatever happened to Joe Award’ goes to Joe McElroy.

Most controversial candidate – Barbara O’Meara (white privilege, and taxing water sprinklers).

Candidate using Chicago-style politics to enter into Naperville politics – Rocky Caylor.

‘Shouldn’t There Be A Hyphen Award’ goes to Michele Hilger Clemen.

Elected candidate most likely to leave little to no impact on Napervillians – Theresa Sullivan.

Candidate most likely to request a straw vote – Patty Gustin.

The ‘Plus 600 Vote Award’ goes to Steve Chirico.

The ‘What Was He Thinking Award’ goes to Bruce Hanson.

The “Who’s Rocky Award’ goes to Rocky Caylor.

The ‘What Was The Deal With The Pie Award’ goes to Joe McElroy

The ‘Attaperson Award’, formerly known as the ‘Close But No Cigar Award’ (goes to the candidate who received the 5th most votes for council. – Bruce Hanson.

‘Big Spender Award’, to the candidate most likely to introduce the most costly regulations – Barbara O’Meara.

The ‘Gum On Your Shoe On A Hot August Day Award’ for a sitting council member is a tie between Patty Gustin and Paul Hinterlong.

Most abstinent candidate, for the candidate with the highest number of votes in which they abstain because of conflict of interest – Would have been Becky Anderson but decided not to run when her base of support disintegrated.

The ‘Forget About It Award’ goes to the candidate/council member most closely resembling a Chicago alderman in his/her actions – tie between Rocky Caylor and John Krummen.

Candidate reading their answers without eye contact – It’s a tie between Patty Gustin and Paul Hinterlong.

The ‘I Just Needed Another 6,000 Votes To Get Elected Award’ goes to Joe McElroy.

Candidate/council member trying to find a problem that doesn’t exist – It’s a tie between Barbara O’Meara and Benny White.

The ‘I Came In 2nd Place Award’ goes to Rocky Caylor.

The ‘I No Longer Need To Sit At The End Of The Dais Award’ is a tie between John Krummen and Benny White.

The ‘Judy Brodhead Award’ for a sitting council member who needs to go away – Paul Hinterlong (too long in council)

The ‘Furstenau Award’ given to the candidate/council member requesting city staff to do needless work – Patty Gustin.

Mar 302019
 

Most of our NCAA brackets are busted by now, but we still have a chance to identify four winners out of the 11 candidates running for Naperville’s city council election. There are comparisons between the NCAA tournament and the city council election. I may pick Michigan State and Auburn to win without liking them, whereas I can identify Nevada and Murray State as having winning programs without thinking they will win.

The ‘Michigan State and Auburn’ of the 11 candidates are Paul Hinterlong and Patty Gustin. They both have a great chance of winning, not because they are among the four best candidates, but because they are incumbents. It’s not easy beating an incumbent. Name recognition is like gum on your shoe on a hot August day; it’s difficult to ignore. It never seems to go away like Hinterlong, and Gustin still talks too long, too much and doesn’t know when to stop talking.

So who are the ‘Final Four’? Which candidates are Duke, Kentucky, Virginia, and Texas Tech , worthy of Watchdog endorsements. Choosing two (Duke and Virginia) was easy; Patrick Kelly and Whitney Robbins. Neither had to read their opening and closing statements, their comments and answers were clear and concise, and both appear likeable and sincere. Kelly communicates effectively and demonstrates courage, while Robbins creates an environment of trust with the ability to maximize relationships. She is the least political of the bunch but the most relatable.

The third choice for endorsement (Bruce Hanson/Kentucky) was relatively clear until he stumbled awkwardly when asked a question about evaluating the leadership of the current city council members. Rather than embracing the question with confidence, he couldn’t wait for his time to run out so he could pass the ball to the next candidate. As bad as that moment was for him, he brings a wealth of experience to the dais. Hanson becomes Kentucky with a reluctant endorsement to the Final Four.

Six candidates remain for the Final Fourth (Texas Tech) endorsement. This is where it became difficult. Joe McElroy’s unorthodox style looked appealing, but negative press quickly bumped him off the list. Theresa Sullivan’s agenda didn’t seem like a good fit with the current council. The only time Brad Miller cracked a smile was when a straight face would have worked better.

Nancy Turner teetered on the edge between being too controlled and enthusiasm-challenged. She mercifully fell off the edge when she stated her reason for running for council election was sexist-based, rather than quality-based:

Barbara O’Meara had me quickly from the beginning, assertive, strong, confident, opinionated, high energy, enthusiastic, with the ability to think critically and drive change. What’s there not to like, right? Well, there were two things. The first was like throwing a brick for a free throw:

A surcharge on lawn sprinklers! Are you kidding me.

But then she threw up an air ball with this comment:

Misinterpreting hard work, perseverance, determination, managing performance and execution, making things happen, and accomplishing goals as “white privilege” is a gross miscalculation on O’Meara’s part. She could have had the game winning shot with the fourth endorsement. Rather than taking a simple layup, she shot the wildest of air balls.

The fourth endorsement (Texas Tech) goes to Michele Hilger Clemen. She’s not flashy, but she is consistent, with the ability to demonstrate accountability and drive change. She can add to the dais by assessing situations quickly and solving problems effectively.

Watchdog’s Final Four are Patrick Kelly, Whitney Robbins, Bruce Hanson and Michele Hilger Clemen. They may or may not win, but they are winners.

Mar 272019
 

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”. This is a quote from philosopher George Santayana, which was slightly changed in a 1948 speech given to the House of Commons by Winston Churchill when he said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Then there is my version which I like the best, “Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it”. Something about the word ‘doomed’ has impact. Maybe it came from being a Cub fan for so many years.

It appears Naperville mayoral candidate Rocky Caylor never read that quote, nor does he remember 1988 Democratic Presidential candidate Gary Hart. When rumors began to circulate about Hart, he challenged the media by saying, “They should follow me around…They’ll be very bored.” The media did follow him around, and they weren’t bored. Five days after Hart issued the challenge, Hart’s candidacy crashed and burned when a picture of a boat named ‘Monkey Business’ surfaced and Gary Hart was on board. Oops. Hart went down for the count of ten.

In 2015 when Caylor was appearing before a Joliet zoning board, residents spoke in opposition to a massive trucking facility. Caylor assured residents that promises would be honored, but residents had their doubts. Caylor encouraged town folks to Google him or hire an investigator to look at what he’s done. Oops. Not wise on Caylor’s part.

Background research on a political candidate is standard operating procedure. Most of us who get hired are subject to a background check.

Caylor might be a very nice guy. In his campaign mailer, he’s smiling, holding a cute little white dog, relaxed in blue jeans, and a cool hoodie, so how could he not be a nice guy. The dog even has tags. So that makes him a responsible guy, right. And let’s face it, who among us, hasn’t been slapped with class-action law suits, and affiliations with strip clubs. And as for Caylor’s claim that he graduated from IU, maybe he confused Indiana University with Iceland University, he’s still looking for his diploma. Can’t find it, minor detail, it’s not like Caylor said he graduated from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, or North Central College.

Who doesn’t like an underdog. Incumbents typically are not underdogs. Name recognition is huge. Ask Naperville residents who the mayor is, and they will say George Pradel. It shows the power of 20 years worth of name recognition. Mayor Steve Chirico’s name recognition has had four years to develop, just as his strong track record of accomplishment has developed.

Ask Naperville residents who Richard Caylor is, and they might say ‘who’? However ask them who Rocky Caylor is and they might say ‘who’. No doubt that the name ‘Rocky’ is worth a few votes, but unfortunately for Rocky not enough to make a difference in the final vote.

If I could vote for two people for mayor of Naperville, Steve Chirico would get both votes.

Bottom line, Watchdog endorses Mayor Steve Chirico for re-election. The reasons are too many to list, so keeping it simple, Chirico has two cute little doggies, while Caylor has just one, telling me that Chirico likes dogs twice as much as Caylor, and Chirico has not been good for Naperville, he has been outstanding for Naperville.

Mar 232019
 

Two guys are on a safari in eastern Africa, and in the distance they see a tiger; more importantly the tiger sees them. The first guy reaches into his backpack for his running shoes and puts them on. The second guy says, ‘you’re not going to outrun that tiger’. The first guy says, ‘I don’t have to. I just have to outrun you’.

Eleven candidates are running for four open seats on the city council. It’s not important who gets the most votes other than bragging rights. What is important is who gets the 4th and 5th most votes, because 4th most will be a city council member, and 5th most will be history.

During the last three city council elections, the difference between the last candidate voted in, and the first candidate not getting elected was just a few votes. In 2013 the candidate coming in 5th place and not getting elected, lost by just 129 votes from getting elected to city council. Current councilman Kevin Coyne remembers it well, because he is the one who came in 5th place losing by just 129 votes. In 2015 the difference between last in and first out was 161 votes. And in 2017 the last person-in coming in 4th place was current councilman John Krummen with 5,193 votes, while 5th place finisher Julie Berkowicz had 5,103 votes, falling 90 votes short of getting elected to the city council.

The point is, there is little difference between last in and first out. A few more handshakes, or a few more yard signs, or a huge bump from an endorsement can make the difference.

On March 28th, Watchdog will be endorsing a mayoral candidate, followed by the endorsement of four city council candidates on March 31st. For each of the last three elections Watchdog’s readership has skyrocketed during the month of March. Elections have a way of doing that.