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.