Questions council candidates should answer
By BILL MEGO email@example.com March 5, 2013 8:02PM
Heather Eidson/Staff Photographer
Updated: April 7, 2013 6:06AM
On March 13, one week from today, the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation will hold a forum, at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, to allow candidates for the City Council to make statements and answer questions.
During the past weeks, I have received from Sun readers the kinds of questions that many of them would like to hear those candidates answer. Since I can’t hold a forum, all I can do is print the questions, so that any candidates who may wish to answer them can do so in letters to me.
I seriously doubt I will be getting any printable letters, but it occurs to me that simply having the questions out there may prompt a forum questioner to ask one that explores the same idea. Unfortunately, the majority of the questions I received were unusable because they were libelous, accusatory, profane, or so biased that they really weren’t questions at all. However, there were also some good questions that I have paraphrased here.
Have you been, directly or indirectly through a special interest group, involved in a lawsuit against the city? This was the most frequently asked question, presumably prompted by the sham controversy over the safety and intrusiveness of the smart meter portion of Naperville’s Smart Grid Initiative, and which candidates may be using it for political advantage.
Do you believe that plans like the Naperville Downtown Plan should strictly control the height and density of downtown development, or should the economic interests of developers be the most important consideration? This was a close runner-up, prompted by conflicting views of the Water Street development. Several readers also questioned whether the area was “blighted” and qualified for a TIF.
Do you favor district representation as a way to overcome the incumbent advantage in council elections? More than one candidate holds this view, but may not wish to disclose it. In fact, both term limits and wards appear to have been prompted by frustration over incumbent popularity. Challengers apparently believe residence restrictions will allow them to win a council seat with many fewer votes than incumbents typically receive.
Do you believe the Naperville electric department’s strategies represent the city’s most reliable and most economical plan for the future, or do you think that outside utilities should provide Naperville’s electric power? A few readers want to sell off the electric system, but far fewer than want to chop up the Carillon and sell the bells on Ebay.
Do you feel that providing amenities like free electric car charging stations, a financially stable DuPage Children’s Museum, and the Central Park music venue, either through the SECA tax or other city arranged financing are legitimate activities that city government should actively pursue?
Do you believe the City Council has any business regulating things like backyard chickens? This was a surprisingly popular question.
Do you consider yourself a member of the Tea Party? Candidates should answer this one carefully. Although many consider the Tea Party a recent, grass-roots uprising, it is apparently a Koch brothers funded organization, originally begun to fight anti-smoking laws and cigarette taxes, which expanded into fighting chemical dumping regulations, denying climate change, fighting health care reform, and assisting marginal groups like the anti-smart meter alliance.
Do you believe that over-regulation makes it too difficult to run a business in Naperville, and is limiting the vitality of our commercial areas?
Finally, here is a question nobody asked. Do you believe that Naperville needs to seriously plan for and actively pursue public transportation?
Although candidates may later wish to qualify their answers, allow me to suggest that anything other than an initial yes or no represents a level of evasiveness and deception that should not be tolerated in a serious candidate.