Jan 262020

Even without knowing what year or month it is, it’s easy to know when re-election time is near; it’s when politicians surface from the inky shadows. Such is the case with former Naperville city councilman, and current District 41 State Rep Grant Wehrli.

Wehrli ‘served’ on the Naperville city council from 2005 – 2014. To say he ‘served’ is a misnomer, it’s more like he was served. Wehrli has seldom been accused of helping the average person on the street, unless there is something in it for him. You could say that’s the typical prototype of a politician, however Wehrli has taken it to a new level. It’s difficult for the average voter to come up with something that Wehrli has initiated and accomplished that has helped his constituency.

Wehrli’s lack of accomplishment as a State rep makes him ripe for defeat in the November general election which is why Democrats feel confident in Wehrli getting his walking papers out of Springfield. Wehrli specializes in winning elections without an opponent, but such is not the case in Wehrli’s next campaign.

Wehrli is the assistant minority leader in the House which is something akin to being the assistant manager in a hardware store, the difference being the guy in the hardware store has an upward career path with opportunity.

In 2018 Wehrli’s opponent was Democratic challenger Val Montgomery. It was determined that Montgomery would not be eligible to serve if she won the election because she didn’t live in the district, which prompted a jovial celebration by Wehrli before the election. In essence Wehrli had no opponent, however even considering that, he barely squeeked out a victory by a 52 to 48 percent vote tally, a mere margin of victory of 1,908 votes in a Statewide election. That’s less than Naperville city councilman Paul Hinterlong’s margin of victory over nine of ten city council candidates in his last election.

Wehrli’s profession is listed as ‘city councilman’ so he specializes in living off the taxpayer. With his annual rep salary of $67,836 and a per diem of $111 per day, tax payers have little if anything to show for Wehrli’s time in Springfield. His campaign contributions show a high percentage from liquor commissioners, a liquor distributor and a sizeable contribution from a Naperville pet store; less for puppies and more for Wehrli.

The only good thing about Wehrli in Springfield, means less time for him in Naperville. Based on that theory, if he were to run for election in the Pitcairn Islands (South Pacific), I would gladly throw in a dollar for his campaign. Watchdog has readers in the Pitcairn Islands so it’s likely he wouldn’t win that election either, but it’s worth the dollar.

Jan 182020

What does a mayor do when s/he is ousted from office by term limits? Why not run for another office that’s a bit more lofty, let’s say President of the United States. That’s what Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana is doing, and he’s currently among the front runners. Why couldn’t Naperville mayor Steve Chirico do the same thing?

There are a lot of similarities between the two. Both were elected to their first term as mayor in 2011, both re-elected in 2015, both have two ‘e’s in their first name, and both have last names that occasionally get mispronounced. Buttigieg is a little young (more inexperienced), while Chirico, is a little older (more mature and wiser). Both attended outstanding universities; Buttigieg Harvard and Oxford, and Chirico Northern Illinois University. There is little doubt that NIU’s football team could pound Oxford into the turf.

Chirico is a successful business owner getting his start owning a small tile shop, while Buttigieg once walked into a tile shop having no idea what he was looking for. (Never end a sentence with a preposition). Two presidents got their start as business owners (the Bush presidents), and President Donald Trump comes from a business background, so Chirico would fit right in (again no prepositions to end a sentence).

There are some major differences between Buttigieg and Chirico. If Chirico was elected President in 2024 he would be the same age as was George W. Bush, and Zachary Taylor when they were elected. If Buttigieg gets elected at age 37, he’d be the same age as famous deli owner Bernie Chatzky. Also South Bend’s population is only 102,000, while Chirico’s Naperville is over 140,000.

Can a mayor actually get elected President? Calvin Coolidge, Grover Cleveland, and Andrew Johnson would say ‘yes’ if they could. So again, why not Mayor Steve Chirico?

Finally, there is one huge difference between mayors Chirico and Buttigieg; Chirico looks more presidential, while Buttigieg looks more like Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman.


Jan 112020

Now that Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and other holidays are over, it’s time to get back to what’s important; competition, sports, and game-changers. The college football championship between LSU and Clemson is this Monday with the Tigers guaranteed of winning (both teams are the Tigers). The NFL Divisional Championships are this weekend, and this weekends College Basketball Game of the Week is between Drake and Valparaiso; that’s how Drake fans describe it. Jeopardy is televising the Tournament of Champions. Even when President Trump dropped a big one on an Iranian terrorist, it was described as a ‘game changer’. Everything has become a game. So why not Naperville city council meetings?

For most folks, city council meetings are boring. Not much humor, very little if any wit, and unending council member jabbering. Even council members have been caught dozing off on camera. We will spare you those video clips for now.

What can be done to liven things up a bit at the dais? How about, in the spirit of friendly competition and game playing, every time a council member says something foolish, that person is required to relinquish his/her chair and stand for the remainder of the meeting, with the object of the game to be the last council member sitting, while the other eight are standing. The game continues from meeting to meeting until every council member is standing except for the winner who is still sitting.

Based on past experience of watching council meetings for over ten years, it’s possible that eight can be standing within ten minutes, however it may take numerous meetings to determine a winner. So who is going to be The Judge of Foolish Comments (TJOFC). It could be a committee, but that hasn’t worked with the Fifth Avenue Development. Dictatorships work quicker and more efficiently, so one person is the answer. Possibly a losing candidate in the last election.

Let’s take a look at predicting the finish of the game from the first one standing to the last one sitting:

1st up is councilwoman Patty Gustin:

The only way not to be the first one standing is to say nothing which guarantees she will be the first one standing.

2nd to stand is Judy Brodhead:

“Chickens don’t bark”, need we say more.

3rd up is John Krummen:

Anybody watching Krummen as a Smart Meter Ambassador knows he will be quick to stand.

4th up is Theresa Sullivan:

She seldom seems confident with what she is saying, so standing quickly is inevitable

5th up is Paul Hinterlong:

Paul can’t resist talking which results in rambling, hence a good bet not to make it in the top three sitting.

6th is Pat Kelly:

Kelly is getting better, but he has a proclivity to turn left and lose the listeners.

Now for the Top-3 still sitting:

3rd is Benny White:

Benny talks the least, which is a great strategy for not saying something foolish, but that can last for only so long.

2nd sitting is Mayor Steve Chirico:

Being the mayor gives him the most exposure, hence the most to say, which is a formula a foolish remark.

Last council member sitting and the winner is Kevin Coyne:

If he spoke as much as Mayor Chirico, Chirico would have been the winner.

Let the game begin, at the next council meeting on Tuesday January 21st at 7:00 PM.

Jan 042020

Welcome, not only to a new year, but also a new decade. Five days into a new decade and the Naperville city council has yet to make a bad decision; that’s impressive.

City officials have raised, or lowered the bar, depending upon your perspective, with a new Mission Statement. Out with the old, and in with the new. Who doesn’t want new? New is good right?

Naperville mayor Steve Chirico thinks it’s good. He has to, he is the mayor and he voted in favor of the change. He really had no choice. However, he has taken a huge step forward with his following bold comment:

“The purpose of a mission statement is every decision we make needs to support our mission statement and our policies, and if it doesn’t then we need to question our decisions, because that doesn’t make any sense. We need to use this as a guiding statement, so all our future decisions align with it.”

He has left no wiggle room, when he states, “EVERY decision we make needs to support our mission statement,” and “we need to use this as a guiding statement so ALL future decisions align with it”. Which council member is going to be the “keeper” of the mission statement when decisions are made? The answer is probably no one.

Chances are good that some public forum speakers will remember the mayor’s bold statement and hold the council to it. That begs the question, what happens then.

The answer is easy. The Golden Rule will apply which is ‘he who has the gold makes the rules’ which is the city council. So the city council does have wiggle room, it’s called interpretation of the mission statement.