Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico Wants To Silence The ‘Speakers’

The advantage to having a successful business person as mayor is that he knows how to run a city as a successful business. Seems like common sense doesn’t it, yet in the world of politics, common sense doesn’t often enter the equation. I have lived in Naperville since 1978, and I have experienced five mayors during that 43 year period of time, including Mayor George Pradel, aka ‘Officer Friendly’, aka ‘The Face of Naperville’ from 1995 – 2015.

My personal favorite mayor was Alexander Grush who served from 1921 – 1923, and then again from 1931 – 1935. He was also a successful business person from the meat business to oil trade. It’s difficult to connect the dots between meat and oil, but he did it. The only reason he is my favorite is because I played the part of Mayor Grush in Naperville’s Sesquicentennial play in 1981. I only had two lines to memorize which worked for me.

I digress. Getting back to Mayor Chirico, he has worked hard/smart to make city council meetings run efficiently, including starting meetings on time. Punctuality is respect for other peoples’ time, and after six years in office, he’s still doing it!!

Now the mayor has come up with another idea for efficiency and saving time. Rather than having a staff member or two, reading public forum comments out load, he is suggesting just having the comments entered into the minutes without verbalizing the comments for all to hear.

No doubt that would save time, but it does seem to be a bit disrespectful to those taking the time submit comments, only to have the comments shoved into the city website never to be seen or heard, unless someone actually digs them out of the website. However to be respectful for council’s time and those listening to meetings, reading comments from up to what could be143,000 people would take a lot of time. The question is how to be respectful to all; those writing comments, and those listening to comments?

The answer is simple, Occam’s Razor, choose the simplest solution, which in this case is speed-talking. Instead of having a staff member or two trying to read all the comments, use a speed-talker. At 11 words per second, that person could read 60,000 words in 30 minutes, or enough time to read Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man And The Sea’, AND John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice And Men’ and still have time for a 2-minute coffee break. Everybody is happy, the comment-writers, and the listeners including council members

An auctioneer or two would also work:

If neither of those ideas fly, then how about having a half-dozen staff-members reading comments simultaneously.

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