Four City Council Candidates Are No-Shows For Naperville Forum

Job interviews were held last week for city council candidates.

Eleven city council candidates were invited to attend a forum hosted by Indivisible Naperville and seven appeared. Those attending included:

  • Patrick Kelly
  • Allison Longenbaugh
  • Rebecca Malotke-Meslin
  • Ashley South
  • Ashfaq Syed
  • Jodi Trendler
  • Madhu Uppal

More importantly, those not attending included:

  • Meghna Bansal (out of town on business)
  • Nag Jaiswal (other commitment)
  • Josh McBroom (did not respond to invitation)
  • Nate Wilson (other commitment)

If any candidate thought he could take the night off based on name recognition or an established record, it would have been Naperville councilman Patrick Kelly, but he was there for the ‘job interview’.  Good for him, and good for Naperville.

If they can’t make time for the interview, how serious can they be about the job? I understand situations come up that require a change of plans, but plenty of time was available to accommodate the forum. If they can’t carve out time for a candidate forum, can voters rely on them to attend meetings to do the peoples’ business.

In comparison, Mayor Steve Chirico has never missed a city council meeting in eight years! At 20 meetings per year (on the average) that’s 160 meetings without missing one. I’m sure during that period of time he has had to do some re-scheduling to own-up to his priority of doing what he was elected to do, which among other things is being at the meetings. Not only has he never missed a meeting, he has always started meetings on time! Under the former mayor’s leadership, meetings often started 5, 10, or 15 minutes late. Punctuality can be defined as respect for other peoples’ time. Chirico has six meetings remaining, anybody want to bet he’ll be at those meetings, GOD willing, and he’ll start them on time.

Show 20 Comments


  1. KnotKatieHobbs

    No need to show up, you can run your campaign from the basement, never debate, and still get a majority of the votes.

  2. Kevin Coyne

    Kudos to the 4 that did not attend this forum hosted by this overtly partisan group. There will be numerous candidate forums. The candidates should go to the forums hosted by neutral and objective organizers. Not groups that have already announced their commitment to supporting only candidates on the Left before the forums have even occurred.

    • Nancy Turner

      Indivisible Naperville has not committed to any CC candidates. Kevin Coyne and Safe Suburbs has, though. Mr Coyne appears in the photos of those who did not attend. We invited all the candidates; the ones who did not attend turned it into a partisan event, not Indivisible Naperville. Our topics were City Finances, Affordable Housing, Oversight and Appointments, Sustainability, and Diversity and Inclusion and our audience represented a wide range of Naperville residents. Those candidates who did not show up to seek everyone’s votes makes it clear they will not represent all of Naperville.

    • Nancy Turner

      Indivisible Naperville has not committed to any candidates for CC. Kevin Coyne and Safe Suburbs have, tho, as Mr. Coyne appears in the photos of those who did not attend. Our topics were on point for anyone running and our audience was large and represented a wide range of engaged Naperville residents. Those who did not deem the event worthy of their time made their decision based on partisan reasons, not Indivisible Naperville. We wonder if those candidates will really represent all of Naperville, if elected, or just those they deem worthy of their time.

    • Dolores Santucci

      It sounds to me like these 4 candidates don’t want to be in a position where they may have to address issues that might involve conflict. It’s shortsighted to only attend meetings where they feel more comfortable. If they get elected, they will need to understand what’s important that ALL constituents, not only those that agree with them. This was a missed opportunityfor these 4 candidates to make more people aware of where they stand on important issues and LISTEN to what the people of Naperville are interested in or concerned about. The fact that they refused to attend could reflect poorly on them.

  3. Anonymous

    Really poor post Watchdog. I thought you did your home work better than this! What’s more important, attending a highly partisan forum headed by highly partisan Dianne McGuire, or your voting record, or lack thereof? I would submit a track of actually voting in elections, especially local ones is far more important than attending Indivisible’s left wing love fest. In that regard, click the link below to see the horrible voting records of Ashley South and Meslin. When did they all of a sudden decide they care about Naperville? From their voting records it’s apparent they don’t really care at all. I have no interest in voting for candidates that are too lazy to vote and no one else should either.

  4. Anonymous

    Why did you not post my comment?

    • watchdog

      I don’t review comments daily. Typically every two or three days when I get into the system.

  5. Anonymous

    Miss Turners comments are laughable. She was kicked off the SECA board for being too partisan on a board that was supposed to be non-partisan.

  6. Anonymous

    Has anyone asked Benny White if he wants Naperville to pay reparations to blacks in Naperville if he wins election as Mayor?

  7. Vince R

    Shame on the 4 who didn’t show and to McBroom for not even replying. Seems arrogant and elitist as the voters are entitled to hearing from all the candidates. What do they have to hide? Are
    They worried their stance on certain issues may be exposed? Very concerning. We don’t need McBrooms MAGA style partisan politics on the city council.

    • Kurt D

      Vince R, so can I assume you will say shame on Longenbaugh, Kelly, South, Moltke, Syed for failing to show up to the Safe Suburbs forum? Or will you just stay silent and reveal your bias? Also, interesting to read how partisan hack Nancy Turner was so bad she was kicked off the SECA board! So far Kevin Coyne has been a great Naperville Library Board Member. Nancy Turner could learn a thing or two about being a respected board member from Coyne and McBroom, but she can’t keep her big mouth shut.

  8. Kevin Piket

    Indivisible Naperville is a partisan group, they had pictures up on their Facebook page with Benny White for Mayor signs on them. They have since taken them down, but please don’t insult people by saying you are nonpartisan. I am an independent voter and honestly, I think this country would be much better off if we didn’t have political parties. Both sides of the aisle should be embarrassed with how they act. People start playing in the mud when the political parties get involved. It’s just unfortunate that it has made its way down to our local city council election. (i.e., challenging city council candidates on the ballot)

    I have lived in Naperville for over 36 years, and I have voted in many city council elections. I can tell you that these forums don’t move the needle for Naperville voters. Few voters even attend them or even know they are happening, so clearly, they don’t matter as to who gets elected and who doesn’t. Indivisible Naperville forum’s topics seemed great, but if the audience is filled with people who all share the same views, why would anyone who opposes those views show up? In today’s political climate, it might not even be a safe environment for them to attend. There are very few nonpartisan forums these days, voters need to do their own research on the candidates. I plan to do my own research on all of the candidates running for Mayor and City Council before I vote!

  9. Kurt

    So will your liberal candidates show up to a conservative run forum Vince? Now is your chance to commit that they will. What do you say!? How about it Nancy! Will Indivisble support a such a forum for all candidates? It’s only fair, right?

    • Jim Haselhorst

      The bigger question is will they be invited? Conservative groups in Naperville started holding these events and not inviting candidates they perceived as being liberal. Best way to control voters is to control who they are allowed to hear speak to them.

  10. Pat M

    I’m an independent and I believe city council candidates should be transparent in their views, not hide in their safe spaces and echo chambers. The tax payers have a right to know their stance on the issues.

    Josh Mcbroom was VP of Awake illinois until he decided to run for city council. The group under his leadership has an ugly history of harassing librarians, anti-lgbtq messaging and even sending cease and desist letters to citizens and journalists who used their first amendment rights to call out their tactics and messaging. Even the Awake IL president couldn’t get a Naperville SECA appointment for being too partisan on a board that was supposed to be non-partisan.

    The council has been non partisan
    and we need to keep it that way. Voters in naperville are concerned with Mcbroom and him being the most partisan far right candidate. We don’t need his Awake illinois style partisan politics at the city council level.

  11. Anonymous

    Pat M, if you think Longenbaugh, South, Moltke, Ashfeq, Kelly, etc. are non-partisan then I’d like to drink some of that kool-aid you’re drinking.

  12. Jim Haselhorst

    I have followed local elections very closely for over 15 yrs now and until the 2018 election Republicans and Democrats both treated all candidates equally without regard to their political leanings.

    This change in 2018 when the local Republican Party organizations stop inviting anyone that was not a card carrying Republican to their candidate events. So I was hardly surprised when the following year local Democratic party organizations start engaging in similar partisan behavior.

    As to the issue of “partisan” venues or events that has always been open to interruption. Any question asked of a candidate can be viewed as having a “partisan” tilt depending on what “lens” a person uses to view the question.

    The reality is that all candidates should be prepared to answer any question put to them by any residents at anytime. Avoiding doing so for reasons of partisanship is to deny residents the right to know their position on any issue they feel is relevant to their decision making process(whether you agree with that process or not). It is therefore fully reasonable for a voter to consider a candidate “ducking” an event to met with voters, because they view it as partisan, as justification to not consider them as a candidate.

    In short if a candidate is not willing to consider a resident a voter because of the venue they choose to attended then it is just as reasonable for a voter to not consider them a candidate for not attending or participating in a venue.

    • Anonymous

      Well said. What do the candidates who don’t show up have to hide? They choose to stay in their echo chamber and safe spaces so their stance on the issue doesn’t get exposed.

  13. Anonymous

    You forgot to add Nag Jaiswal and Meghna Bansal to your list on non-partisan candidates. Naperville Township GOP has promoted McBroom, Bansal and Jaiswal….but only one candidate running for city council was a VP of awake illinois.

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