Thursday, February 7, 2008


As Tip O’Neil once said, all politics is local, so I sent this letter to the Naperville Sun, the civic cheerleading sheet that masquerades as a newspaper in our town. Even if you live nowhere near the suburban paradise I now call home, you probably have experienced similar problems with your local authorities, or at least can appreciate the politics involved:


Four times this week, snow removal crews from the City of Naperville, or contractors that the City has hired for snow removal, have treated us and our neighbors to piles of snow and/or ice as high as three feet at the end of our driveways. On two of these occasions, the street had already been plowed and thus needed no attention; it seemed as if the snow crews went over the streets, and left their piles, for the sheer joy of tormenting the citizenry. Further, I cannot escape the nagging notion that at least one of these piles was deposited in retaliation for earlier calls to complain of the Mt. Kilimanjaros that the city repeatedly builds for us.

Mayor Pradel is a nice man, but so was Mike Bilandic. Mayor Bilandic’s geniality did not stop him from losing his seemingly secure perch as Mayor Daley’s successor due to the real or, far more likely, merely apparent indifference to the plight of Chicago’s voters reflected in his response to the 1979 snow storm. Mayor Pradel ought to consider this chapter in recent history as his snow crews infuriate increasing numbers of his voters.
When such historical contemplation is suggested, the city comes back with its standard line that Naperville is not Chicago (Yes, I know…Chicago is less corrupt, but that is another issue.) and that, under our system of government, the Mayor is not responsible for snow removal. Any reasonably informed citizen knows that Naperville’s government operates under a city manager system, so one wonders what the Mayor does. There appears to be no line item in our budget for “avuncular elderly gentleman who reads to kids, ingratiates himself with the various GOP hacks who make their living on the public payroll by piously proclaiming their fealty to the private sector, and hands the keys to the city to any developer who comes down the pike.” The Mayor has to take some responsibility for the sloppy work of the City’s snow removal crews, and that responsibility is not absolved by his driving his own truck to pitch in when the snow gets deep.

Mark Quinn

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