Above / Polling places for early voting will be available Oct. 24 and run through Nov. 7, 2016, at the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle Street.
Polls will be open Election Day from 6AM to 7PM Tues., Nov. 8.
Op-Eds for Positively Naperville
Opinion Letters regarding candidates, issues and questions on the 2016 General Election Ballot are welcome and will be posted now that early voting has started.
Letters relating to local issues only will be accepted via email until midnight on Thurs., Oct. 20, 2016.
Submit as the body of an email rather than an attachment. Include a cover note referencing your preferred candidate or issue to address.
From now on, please send letters of 300 words or less. Include a photo (optional) with your first and last name for publication. No anonymous letters will be published. Include Naperville home address or business address along with day and evening phone numbers (not to be published) for verification.
Letters (not necessarily the opinions of PN) will be published that are focused on candidates, issues and questions on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot at the discretion of the publisher. In other words, to avoid “delete,” offer sound solutions with fresh ideas. Kindly support your positions with facts and civility.
Thank you for your cooperation and thank you for your interest in Positively Naperville.
UPDATES! First posted on Sept. 29, 2016, this page was last updated Oct. 31, 2016.
FYI: Almost the instant PN stopped accepting letters to the editor and opinion pieces during this election season, we began receiving them in large numbers. Sometimes the multiples of letters seemed organized by candidates. We thank everyone who thought to send them, but we stuck to our deadline on Oct. 20, 2016, ample time, we thought, to give voters a chance to be prepared for Early Voting that began at the Naperville Municipal Center on Oct. 24.
By midnight Oct. 31, the October Surprises will end. And the frightening thought that silly season will stream into November makes us shutter. Thanks for paying attention.
Your PN editor will be voting on Election Day, Nov. 8. Voting on Election Day is a habit that hasn’t been missed since the days of living in New York City when we had Presidential Election Day off from work.
PN’s Election Guide for Voter Consideration
Note: Some letters of endorsement already have been submitted for the upcoming Consolidated Election in Naperville, slated for April 4, 2017. Those letters will not be published until after all petition filing periods are completed for Naperville City Council, Naperville Park District Board of Commissioners and School District 203 and School District 204 Boards of Education.
Links to Local Editorials & Endorsements
Daily Herald Letter to the Editor regarding 1,431 Townships in Illinois / Sept. 30, 2016
Chicago Tribune Endorsement for President of the United States / Sept. 30 2016
Daily Herald Endorsements / Since Oct. 2, 2016 through today / And other opines
Letters to PN Editors for Voter Consideration
Most recent letters to PN begin here…
Candidate seeks to keep seat in District 5 on DuPage County Board
To the Editor:
I am writing to give hope to voters in Naperville and Aurora in County Board District 5. In the midst of this particularly disheartening election season, there is one honest, sincere, caring young man, one intelligent, seasoned and knowledgeable candidate who deserves your vote: Tony Michelassi.
I have known Tony throughout his tenure on the County Board, a position to won at the age of 23 as the youngest member ever. A graduate of Waubonsie Valley High School with every possible academic honor, Tony went on the College of DuPage for a degree in Political Science, working in factory and retail jobs to fund his education. He developed a deep sense of the needs of average, working people in the County and when he ran, he impressed community leaders and residents alike with his knowledge and passion.
Tony has been a breath of fresh air. He has served in leadership roles, effectively building consensus regardless of party affiliation, on issues including land planning, development, the environment, and fiscal restraint. He has championed electronic recycling, reduction of green house gasses and green government practices. He is a compassionate advocate who fought to fund the County’s anti-heroin initiatives including Narcan and community-school education programs, and worked to ensure state funding for the Meals on Wheels program providing meals and well-being checks to Seniors. He worked with the County Coroner to get all Coroners Deputies trained in grief counseling in their roles as first responders.
Tony has never voted to raise taxes, has never taken a County pension and opposes the County pension plan, voted against Board salary increases and donates a portion of his Board salary to charity each year. And he has the best attendance record on the Board! If Tony is an example of what our future offers, we are in good hands. An honest, accomplished, committed, caring guy who can get things done for the good of the people of DuPage County, with NO BALONEY! How refreshing. Retain Tony, for the good of us all!
~Deborah Newman Roe, Aurora
18 October, 2016
Study says $12 minimum wage would cost Illinois 90,000 jobs
To the Editor:
In this year’s presidential election, both candidates have expressed support for raising the federal minimum wage, but I believe it’s important for voters to understand the consequences.
I am the Illinois state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. The NFIB Research Foundation recently released the results of a study that found that raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour would reduce private-sector employment by 1.8 million jobs over 10 years, including 90,000 jobs here in Illinois.
Raising the minimum wage to $12, without any connection to the economy or business conditions, has the potential to devastate small businesses. This is a very important issue that deserves more serious treatment from all of the candidates running for federal office this year.
The NFIB report assumes an increase in the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour phased in by 2019 and then increased every year thereafter based on inflation. Secretary Clinton has already called for a $12 minimum wage. Mr. Trump has also publicly said that he would support a federal increase, although he hasn’t been specific on how high the rate should be raised.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3.3 percent of all hourly workers currently earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Raising the wage to $12 would increase the cost of labor for those workers by 65 percent.
Small businesses would be affected disproportionately. According to the NFIB research, 57 percent of the jobs that would disappear would come from small businesses.
Small businesses rely heavily on entry-level, hourly employees. These businesses will bear the brunt of the cost, and their employees will pay the price in the form of fewer jobs and fewer job opportunities.
Raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour would also limit economic output. The study points out that fewer jobs mean fewer workers producing goods and services. Economic output would be lower by trillions of dollars as a result of a $12 minimum wage.
A 65-percent increase in labor costs for small employers could push the economy over the edge. This is a very big issue, and it deserves a much brighter spotlight before voters go to the polls next month.
~Kim Clarke Maisch, State Director, NFIB Illinois, Springfield
October 18, 2016
Vote “Yes” for Efficient Government & Tax Savings
Dear Positively Naperville Editors:
I joined the PAC -Naperville-Aurora Residents for Lower Taxes, because I strongly believe that shared services or consolidation is not only the right thing to do, but it is a must to start to reduce everyone’s taxes.
Why do we need so many taxing bodies—forest preserves, water districts, fire districts, school districts, etc.?
Naperville’s boundaries include 6 townships. It appears to me that there is an opportunity for Naperville to work together with the townships to share or consolidate services to save significant taxes to support. The City of Naperville proposed $800,000 in savings annually to perform the highway services for the Naperville Township for less than 15 miles of road in the unincorporated areas! The cost per mile of road service for The City of Naperville is one-half of that of the Naperville Township Road District cost. So, it is obvious that an intergovernmental agreement is necessary.
Vote “YES” to support the process to lower your real estate taxes!
~ Kenn Miller, Former Naperville City Councilman
October 13, 2016
Letter to the Editor in support of County Board Candidate
This letter is being forwarded to you with the permission of the original author: I am writing to express my support for Tony Michelassi’s re-election to the DuPage County Board. Tony serves DuPage County with vision and integrity. He articulately expresses the values and practical ideas that will lead our community forward. We should all be proud of Tony’s accomplishments and strongly support for him for another term on the County Board.
~ Rabbi Steven Bob, Glen Ellyn, IL
October 12, 2016
Our Voting Rights and Responsibilities
As American citizens, we have the cherished RIGHT to vote. And, as citizens, we have the imperative DUTY to be informed about the candidates, issues, and events that will impact the future of this republic for our children, grandchildren, and all who follow.
Thomas Jefferson, one of our visionary Founding Fathers, once wrote, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; … whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”
Our nation is now at a critical crossroad. Internationally, hostile foreign governments are aggressively building their military capabilities, and dangerous radical ideologies are threatening our way of life. Nationally, political corruption permeates every level of government, and the media has openly become an instrument of propaganda rather than a “watchdog” for “The People.” Our national debt is approaching levels that may soon become insurmountable. And the U.S. Constitution – the supreme law of the land that protects the unalienable, God-given rights of every individual – is under attack.
So what must we do as responsible citizens? We must make sincere efforts to research and learn the truth. We must seek out a variety of news sources that offer different points of view and report a wide variety of current events. We need to evaluate the fairness of news and editorial comments – and even debate moderators. We need to view candidates’ speeches live or on YouTube to learn what candidates actually say, rather than rely on biased reports of their messages. For in-depth information, we can visit the websites of a variety of “think tanks” to learn about issues that concern us. We need to think independently, respect diverse opinions, and not be led by others.
What legacy do we want to leave for our children and grandchildren? It is our civic duty to be informed. The future of this blessed nation is in our hands.
~ Jini Clare
October 4, 2016
Diplomacy, transparency, dialogue and collaboration are needed, not lawsuits
Over the past months there has been much general discussion on government consolidation in Illinois and discussion in Naperville is now fever-pitched. Illinois is well known for having the most units of government of all fifty states and surely there is redundant services, overlapping jurisdictions and just plain inefficiencies that could be, should be, rooted out. When a state has over 6,900 layers of government there is little doubt we could achieve some efficiencies through consolidation.
But how do we decide what gets consolidated? Who takes over who? How do we ensure any savings go to the taxpayer and not just to bloat a different unit of government?
How are we to move on to other consolidation opportunities such as rolling the Naperville Park District police into the Naperville Police Department or perhaps making the DuPage County Board responsible for the County Forest Preserves as it used to be if it just leads to infighting and lawsuits?
Diplomacy. Transparency. Dialogue. Collaboration.
These are the traits we collectively need as we discuss any consolidation. The City of Naperville approached the Naperville Township Highway commissioner to see if there was any savings in the City taking over some duties of the township highway department. Makes sense right? Naperville has an excellent public works department that does the exact same type of work. Naperville township has 14.8 miles of road to maintain compared with Naperville’s 500 plus miles.
Easy call on consolidation? Apparently not as the process that has led this discussion into the courtroom is where this has gone wrong. Dialogue between both parties has been threatening and bombastic. What started out as a collaborative effort turned antagonistic.
Diplomacy thrown out for “I’ll see you in court.”
Transparency has been lacking as savings, or lack thereof, have not been fully explained. Both sides have soured the process. Is it too much for both parties to solve this without wasting taxpayer money on a lawsuit? It is time for both parties to resolve this in the manner that best serves the constituents?
If the facts bear out a savings in consolidation, consolidate. If not, then let’s look for consolidation savings elsewhere. I see this type of behavior in Springfield on a daily basis and it sickens me. City of Naperville and Naperville Township Highway Department, figure this out. Outside of the courtroom. We are better than this.
~ Grant Wehrli, Illinois State Representative
October 3, 2016
Wehrli is running unopposed for the 41st District seat in the Illinois House of Representatives in the Nov. 8, 2016, General Election.
Consolidate Naperville Township Road District Services
I’ve followed news about the City of Naperville’s proposal to reduce costs for services to Naperville Township residents. I’m impressed with City leadership!
To recap: Six townships overlay Naperville. Road District services are provided for unincorporated residents through townships, funded by all township residents for the benefit of only the unincorporated residents. Recently, Naperville City Officials offered Naperville Township residents a means to reduce the cost to provide these services by more than $800,000 annually. To do so, Naperville proposed to provide Road District services to all unincorporated properties at the same level of service offered to incorporated property owners. Each iteration of the proposal (some matching existing levels of service for unincorporated properties) was rejected by Township Road District Officials.
Within Naperville Township, there are roughly 32,250 properties, of which approximately 1,400 are within unincorporated Naperville (about 200 are in unincorporated Aurora). Under the current system, Incorporated Property Owners subsidize Road District services for the unincorporated Property Owner. The Road District tax – paid by ALL Naperville Township Property Owners is used to provide services ONLY to the unincorporated Property Owners.
Here’s why this is important: EVERYONE pays, yet only 5% receive ANY benefit. Let me repeat this: 95% of the taxes levied are paid by property owners who receive no township benefits.
Over the past 10 years, based on the determination of current savings proposed by the City of Naperville, Naperville Township Property Owners would have overpaid the Road District approximately $8,000,000 for services provided only to the unincorporated Property Owners. The efforts of this organization are designed to SAVE taxpayers an expected $8,000,000 or more over the next decade.
This proposal is a WIN for all Naperville Township residents yet some view this otherwise. I’ve heard one main reason for the disagreement: township officials distrust the City of Naperville’s estimated services costs to provide the services.
Here are my observations:
1. The numbers speak for themselves. The savings is clear. The Road District’s proposed budget was $2.6 million, $1.8 million of it to provide the services that the City of Naperville has proposed to deliver for approximately $1 million. There is no other ‘proof’ needed that savings can be achieved than the Road District’s own actions. They recently entered into a short-term (roughly 10.5 months) agreement with the Lisle Township Road District for $275,000 for services to unincorporated Naperville Township. The details of this agreement have so far not surfaced, despite requests for clarity on their numbers.
2. The City’s proposal, if accepted, requires the city to deliver the agreed-upon services, at the agreed upon fee, and the City will be held accountable to do so. The City Manager is also on record stating that the City will honor its estimate for a five-year period of time. THIS AMOUNTS TO OVER $4 million in tax savings over this 5-year period alone!
3. The Road District is very small, with responsibility for only about 16 miles of road with costs of approximately $116,000/mile in 2015. Naperville Township Road District maintains a fulltime highway commissioner, administrative roadway staff, a building, and equipment to maintain fewer than 16 centerline miles of roads! The City of Naperville can utilize its economies of scale over its 500+ miles of road at much lower costs (approximately $58,200/mile in 2015). The City of Naperville can perform services more economically through a long term contract in order to save Township Property Owners money. The City’s proposed fees to provide similar services have been guaranteed for at least 5 years. These amounts can be verified with the City of Naperville.
Government infrastructure and services duplication is wasteful and is exactly why Illinois residents’ taxes are so high. It’s time to consolidate where possible and save taxpayers’ money.
The City of Naperville has offered to provide the services at a lower cost, but Township officials say no. Does this make sense? How do incorporated Naperville Township property owners footing 95% of the bill feel about this?
This is an EXCELLENT proposal for responsible government, led by Mayor Steve Chirico and Councilman Kevin Coyne. When – EVER – have we heard of politicians trying to save us money in Illinois?
~ Bruce Hanson
September 22, 2016
Introducing the Green Party’s Jill Stein for President
You probably haven’t heard of Jill Stein. While large news networks continue to highlight Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, many have all but forgotten about the other female presidential candidate in the upcoming 2016 election—Jill Stein of the Green Party.
This is unfortunate given that the majority of Americans are interested in other choices for a president. In a Data Targeting poll conducted on May 18th, 55% of Americans said they would favor an independent challenger to Clinton and Trump. This is in addition to the fact that the presumptive nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties are the most unpopular in history. In a June ABC News/Washington Post poll, 70% of Americans reported that they viewed Donald Trump unfavorably and 55% reported viewing Hillary Clinton unfavorably. Considering this widespread dissatisfaction, I believe that voters deserve to be informed about all their available choices on the ballot.
Allow me to introduce you to Jill Stein and the Green Party. Jill is a mother, a physician, and a pioneering environmental-health advocate. She was born in Chicago, raised in Highland Park, and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. Jill has helped lead initiatives to strengthen local “green” economies, to promote healthy communities, to fight against environmental racism and injustice, and to revitalize democracy. She advocated for campaign finance reform by helping pass the Clean Election Law, and she helped lead the “Secure Green Future” ballot initiative to move subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy and to create “green” jobs.
As president, Jill will work to implement the key points of her “Power to the People Plan.” This includes “A Green New Deal” which will create millions of jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, and conservation. Additional key points of her plan involve the following: creating living-wage jobs for every American who needs work, creating a path to citizenship for immigrants, ending destructive energy extraction, establishing an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer health insurance program, establishing tuition-free public education, ending mass incarceration and institutional racism, terminating unconstitutional surveillance, reducing military spending, and creating democratically run public banks and utilities. If any of these ideas intrigue you (or you simply want to learn more), I encourage you to read the Green Party Platform.
Despite having only a fraction of the money and media coverage of Clinton and Trump, Jill Stein’s Green Party campaign is rapidly gaining momentum. A recent CNN poll conducted on June 21 found that 7% of voters said that they would vote for Jill Stein. Her campaign isn’t simply about running for president, but also about building a party for millions of Americans who feel that the Democratic and Republican parties no longer represent them. Perhaps the most important question about the upcoming 2016 presidential election is why should voters continue to vote for the lesser evil when they can instead vote in accordance with their values and support the greater good?
~ Dan Vojcak
June 25, 2016