Dec 282019

To no one’s surprise, Naperville city officials decided to update and fast track its Mission Statement to highlight inclusiveness and diversity as values. This was brought about by recent negative race related events by just a couple of misguided and uninformed individuals, but just enough to get officials scrambling to look more stately.

I fully anticipated the city council to take the current 28-word mission statement and turn it into a 248 word masterpiece. To my surprise the end result approved by the council was a mere 26 words. That’s a reduction over 7%. When do politicians reduce anything by 7%, unless it’s service of some kind.

Especially considering council member Judy Brodhead said, she “does words for a living”.

Who knew she was living in poverty? She has never seen a preposition at the end of a sentence that she doesn’t like, and dangling participles are her specialty.

The old Mission Statement read, “To provide services that ensure a high quality of life for our residents and a dynamic environment for our business community through collaboration, innovation, and sound fiscal management”.

Naperville’s new Mission Statement reads, “To provide services that ensure a high quality of life, sound fiscal management, and a dynamic business environment, while creating an inclusive community that values diversity.”

Gone are the powerful words, ‘for our residents’, along with ‘collaboration and innovation’, replaced with ‘creating an inclusive community that values diversity’.

Each of the nine city council members got something in the Mission Statement they wanted except for council  member Patty Gustin who wanted more words:

Here’s a run down of what each council member contributed to the new mission statement:

  • John Krummen – fewer words from 28 to 26.
  • Theresa Sullivan – ‘provide services’
  • Paul Hinterlong – ‘ensure a high quality of life’
  • Kevin Coyne – ‘sound fiscal management’
  • Mayor Steve Chirico – ‘a dynamic business environment’
  • Benny White – ‘creating an inclusive community that values diversity’
  • Judy Brodhead – two prepositions, ‘to’ and ‘of’
  • Pat Kelly – the period at the end of the sentence.

Naperville’s new Mission Statement is guaranteed to remain the same until another incident requires officials to again scramble to redo it to fit that environment, making Naperville’s Mission Statement only as good as the moment.

Dec 212019

If you want to get something done in Naperville, just find one person to complain about it, and the city council is more than willing to use heavy handed methods of regulation to force residents into complying. A few years ago one resident complained that a bee was in her birdbath which then lead the city council to place restrictions city-wide on beekeepers. The city council’s effort to make life more miserable for honeybees failed miserably. As residents learned more about honeybees, beehives became more prolific, giving nature’s little friends more of an opportunity to help residents and nature.

The newest one-resident complaint involves 19 stand-alone driveway aprons in one neighborhood. An apron is the small area between the curb and the sidewalk. A property owner had parked on the apron which initiated the complaint. Naperville code allows parking on the apron as long as the vehicle does not overlap the sidewalk, even by 1/4 of an inch. Other than one person, neighbors in the area have no problem with the ‘offender’.

Enter the conversation at the dais, with solutions to the horrific ‘problem’, Naperville councilwoman Judy ‘chickens don’t bark’ Brodhead. Watch and listen as she advocates for ticketing the vehicle (into submission) followed by her incredibly creative idea of encouraging residents to purchase tiny little cars that can fit into the little tiny space.

Pay special attention at the end of her suggestion when she seeks affirmation which is met with silence, at which time she responds with “what are you going to do, say no to me”.

She will forever be remembered for her ultimate bit of wisdom when she said:

No one will say ‘no’ to her on that one.

Dec 142019

Kudos to the Naperville city council for cutting back on expenses. The council continues to make valiant efforts to find ways to trim expense. There are only so many ways to continue to trim the ‘fat’.

Maybe it’s time to cut back on useless overlapping work. I say start with the Historic Preservation Commission, in fact, why not just abolish it. Even though the expense involved is minimal, the fact that 11 commission members waste time serves no purpose, other than 11 people saying they are on the Historic Preservation Commission; impressive yes, but serving no purpose.

According to the city’s website, “the Historic Preservation Commission reviews and make recommendations on applications for Certificates of Appropriateness (COA’s)”. Sounds good and straight forward. However prior to the Kroehler Mansion COA appeal, there were 16 CAO’s for demolition, 12 were denied by HPC, 8 were appealed to the Naperville city council, and all 8 were approved. Now with the Kroehler appeal being approved by the city council that makes it 9 for 9 with appeals being approved by the council.

Watch and listen as resident Tim Messer makes the statement to the city council:

That begs two questions:

1) Why didn’t the other four denials appeal to the city council for approval with a 100% chance of being approved?

2) Why not simply abolish the commission and have all COA’s present directly to the city council for approval , with all being approved?

Obviously there is a disconnect between what the Historic Preservsation Commission is charged to do, and the Naperville city council’s interpretations of its own guidelines.

It’s a complete waste of everyone’s time.

Dec 072019

Michael Jordan, Ernie Banks, Walter Payton; all MVP’s, all gone, but still the best at what they did. It doesn’t mean they weren’t replaced, they were, But the results of their efforts have not been duplicated.

It’s easy to identify MVP’s when they are high profile, not as easy when they are behind the scenes or in support positions. Such is the case with Naperville city council team member, Reggie Lynch. After 20 years of outstanding service with the City of Naperville, all in the position as administrative assistant to the city council, she will be leaving at the end of this month.

Reggie was hired by former mayor Sam Macrane, which may be Macrane’s most important contribution to Naperville. Mayors and council members come and go, and Reggie Lynch has been there to help them all. I’m sure it has not been easy for her to have numerous bosses, (council members, mayors, and city managers) over the years) but she has made it work, like a duck swimming effortlessly over the water, while churning under the water to make things happen.

As the Watchdog (she knows me simply as Bob) for almost ten years, I have had reason to interact with Reggie when I needed clarification or help getting some basic questions answered like any other resident, and she has always exceeded expectations. Always pleasant, always informative, always friendly, and always took the time to help. I never felt as though I was intruding on her time. She was inviting and always made people feel comfortable chatting with her.

To say that she has been a tremendous asset to the City of Naperville and its residents is an understatement. I wish her good health and happiness as she moves along.

Dec 012019

Have you noticed that sometimes Naperville city council meeting agendas list “Closed Session” prior to the regular open session meeting. ‘Closed’, why does it have to be closed? What goes on in there that we don’t know about?

I imagine it’s all sorts of things such as:

  • Who is going to get fired next?
  • What’s the latest law suit against the city?
  • How do we get residents to do something they don’t want to do?
  • I bet I can beat you at arm wrestling.
  • Don’t even think about trying to make me look like a fool.
  • Short straw has to read the proclamations tonight.
  • How do we keep a lid on it? (you pick the ‘it’)
  • We have 248 speakers tonight. Anybody want to play video poker during Public Forum?

‘Closed sessions’ make it appear something nefarious is going on in there, otherwise why would it be closed. If you walk by the room you can’t hear any yelling or screaming, nor can you hear the sound of furniture being thrown around the room. Every now and then with previous members of the city council, you could see them entering council chambers after a closed session, looking as though they had eaten some really bad food, or their hair was on fire.

Just as athletes need their own ‘safe’ place off stage like a club house or locker room, council members need a place to ‘loosen the tie’ or ‘get it together’ so closed sessions are needed or maybe therapeutic. Every now and then a council member will give us a glimpse of what happens in closed session. Watch and listen as Naperville councilwoman Patty Gustin, possibly speaking in code, gives us such a glimpse:

I say, “good for Patty Gustin’; her openness is refreshing. And as for councilman Paul Hinterlong, a plumber by trade, apparently he still has the gift of using his tools.