Most City Council hopefuls impressive at forum
By Tim West firstname.lastname@example.org March 16, 2013 7:48PM
Updated: April 18, 2013 6:34AM
In the nearly 40 years I’ve worked for the Naperville Sun I have attended more candidate forums for local governmental bodies than I care to remember.
With the exception of a very few — such as when there has been a red hot mayoral contest — they have been very sparsely attended. You can count on the candidates to each bring out some of their followers, and there are usually a number of media people, but aside from that the room is often just about empty.
And so it was with Wednesday night’s City Council forum sponsored by the Homeowners Confederation and held in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Center.
As with other confederation forums, it was well run and I think that voters could have benefitted by hearing the various candidates. And maybe there were thousands of people watching the forum on television as I was on the city’s channel, but who is to know?
In case you are interested, and if you live in Naperville I hope you are, it is going to be shown again several times. Check the city’s website for dates and time.
One thing that particularly interested me was that only two of the candidates — the anti smart meter duo Jo Malik and Tom Glass — said they favored the city being broken up into wards.
There is going to be a referendum in the April 9 election to attempt to overturn the 2010 referendum that handed over Naperville to ward politics, and at least it is good to know that the majority of hopefuls for Council seats recognize that Naperville has flourished with at-large Council members and needs to be allowed to continue to do so.
There are four Council seats up for election, with three incumbents — Judy Brodhead, Paul Hinterlong, and Doug Krause — among the mix. Incumbent Kenn Miller declined to seek re-election. That was a shame. Miller is intelligent and thoughtful. He keeps an even keel, is low key, and I think that Council will miss him.
Assuming the incumbents win, which usually happens but not always, there is a good selection of other reasonable candidates in the field who would probably make good councilmen to fill that fourth seat.
John Krummen ran for Council two years ago, before Sun-Times Media decided to stop endorsing candidates, and as part of my job I interviewed him. I was impressed then and am still impressed now with his engineering consultant background and his common sense approach. I think Planning and Zoning Commissioner Kevin Coyne probably would also serve well. Plan commissioners tend to make able Council members, primarily because they’ve already spent a number of years dealing with developments and zoning issues and Coyne seems to be a sensible voice on that panel.
A number of the other challengers impressed me as well, especially former District 204 board member Jeff Davis, who I also interviewed in years past, and Naperville Township Trustee Dave Wentz, though the partisan political make-up of townships tends to make me wary of candidates who come from that background.
One of the candidates, and I have to admit to not remembering who, cautioned Napervillians to avoid candidates who were essentially “no” people. I would certainly endorse that. Naperville has a lot going for it, the pluses far override any negatives, and I think we need people who will keep the city moving forward rather than drifting backward.
The current Council does that and with the exception of a few of the candidates, it seems as if they would, too.