NCAA And City Council; Identifying Winners And Losers

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.

Show 2 Comments


  1. Juan

    Disappointed in your “endorsements.” Patrick Kelly? Really? We dont need a hard Dem on council. He’s sneaky to say the least (sometimes lying about his political affiliation) and a lot of his “facts” about the budget for example are completely wrong. I know some of the other candidates laughed in private about some of his “answers.” I would have thought you put more thought into this than just watching videos. Paul Hinterlong is Mr. Naperville. He knows more about Naperville and relates to everyone better than anyone else up there. And Bradford Miller is a great candidate – he is a successful business owner and is a fiscal conservative which we need on Council. If you want to offer “endorsements” I suggest you actually sit down with the candidates (if they are willing) instead of just watching videos.

  2. Jim Haselhorst

    Not sure the city council needs another “fiscal conservative” (code word for budget cutter).

    The city budget is already cut to the bone, in fact into the bone because city services have been eliminated to make these cut work.

    And as has been point out several times many of the cuts city council has made in the last couple of years have just been “kicking the can do the road” and not real cuts. Just creating problems that the next people elected to council will have to fix.

    People like to hear about property tax abatement and reducing property tax from city council but the reality is the school district and park district get most of this pie. If you want “fiscal conservative” these are the two government organizations you need to be targeting. Not city council.

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