Above / Today’s ruling to dismiss ballot questions occurred at the DuPage County Courthouse, 505 N. County Farm Road, Room 2005, Wheaton, IL. (PN File Photo)

UPDATE Feb. 8, 2017 / Today at 10AM, legal counsel for Warrenville, Woodridge, Lisle and the petitioners met in the courtroom of Judge Paul M. Fullerton at the DuPage County Courthouse to hear arguments and a ruling regarding petitions to place a referendum question on the April 4 ballot.

For instance, one of the petitions seeking a “yes” or “no” answer asked, “Shall the Village of Lisle be annexed into the City of Naperville.”

Simply put, Judge Fullerton first ruled to dismiss petitioners’ requests in Warrenville and Woodridge.

Then questions about Lisle were considered. According to the filed petitions in Lisle, 187 signatures exceeded the 182 needed. Yet, proper procedures and notification had not been followed by “Black Letter Law,” according to attorney Keri-Lyn Krafthefer who represented Lisle Mayor Joe Broda.

After nearly 45 minutes of enlightening arguments by Krafthefer and attorney Andrew Finko for anonymous petitioner(s) regarding the standing of Mayor Broda as both an elected official and a citizen, as well as First Amendment ballot access and submitting public questions, Judge Fullerton ruled, “This court believes 28-4 clearly applies.”

Then the judge granted a motion to dismiss petitioner’s request in Lisle.

No binding question regarding the merger of any of the three communities—Warrenville, Woodridge or Lisle—into Naperville will appear on April 4, 2017, ballot.

Consider the Illinois statutes involved in the decisions

For everything you might want to know about the Illinois compiled statute regarding annexation, click here. For information about the process to submit public questions for ballot vote, click here.

Perhaps it’s time for state legislators to review and modify the codes for clarity.


DuPage County Courthouse (Jan. 2017)

UPDATE Feb. 7, 2017 / The legal process continues when four communities will hear the decision of Judge Paul M. Fullerton in Chancery Court on the third floor of the DuPage County Court House in Wheaton. According to Warrenville City Administrator John Coakley, court is scheduled to begin at 10AM Wed., Feb. 8, in Room 2005.

Jan. 26, 2017, is last day to certify ballots for the Consolidated Election on April 4, 2017.

UPDATE Jan. 26, 2017 / Many residents in Warrenville, Lisle, Woodridge and Naperville, surprised earlier this month with news that petitions were circulating to annex the smaller communities into Naperville, anticipated the puzzling distraction would be resolved this morning during a hearing in Wheaton. According to Linda LaCloche, Communications Manager at the City of Naperville, the issue about the merger question petitioned to be on the Consolidated Election ballot is not yet over, even though today is the last day to certify ballots for the election on April 4, 2017.

The petitioner has been given until Feb. 1, 2017, to file a response to the challenge by the mayors of Warrenville, Lisle and Woodridge. The next hearing date is Feb. 8, 2017, to be held in Wheaton.

For more detail, check out Marie Wilson’s story online at the Daily Herald where she wrote, “Judge Paul M. Fullerton presided over a brief hearing about the issue Thursday morning. But at the request of attorneys for the petitioners, he made no decision and set another hearing for Feb. 8 — nearly two weeks after all questions for the ballot are supposed to be set.”

Interesting (CLICK HERE) Reading / From Illinois Municipal Code / Annexation in Illinois

UPDATE Jan. 22, 2017 / Since news hit the headlines that petitions were circulating in three neighboring communities in support of merging into Naperville, at least seven stories and editorials have appeared in the Daily Herald. During a press conference on Jan. 9, 2017, in Wheaton, each of the four mayors representing Naperville, Woodridge, Lisle and Warrenville in DuPage County expressed bewilderment regarding the petition initiative as well as presented a united opposition to a merger.

Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, is the last day to certify ballots with the questions they will ask and the candidates up for election on April 4, 2017. Pay attention.

A name game invites residents to pay attention

In a light-hearted spirit of “what if?”, on Sunday Daily Herald columnist Jim Davis (a former Naperville resident with a long history here) pondered what the new name of the four-town merger might be. The headline on his column asks, “Who’s boarding bandwagon to Wood Napliswar?

In response to Davis, let us suggest a little alliteration with “Wood Warnapelis.” Wood Warnapelis is easier to pronounce. If smaller and simplification truly are the desired outcome, consider “Wooville,” another name that includes a few letters from all four communities. Would folks be attracted to live in Wooville or go to the polls for such a community?

Note! Reader opinions and suggestions are welcome. Remember to include first and last name, please, with email address so comments can be verified. Unsubstantiated allegations will not be posted.

Also note, the aim of this publication always has been to engage and educate readers in the local political process by linking them to more information so they can think for themselves. Sometimes getting folks to pay attention takes distracting turns of levity. Thanks for reading.

Furthermore, thanks for getting to know folks running to serve Naperville’s local taxing bodies in the Consolidated Election on April 4 as well as the questions that will appear on the ballot.

—PN

Warrenville, Naperville, Woodridge, and Lisle Mayors held joint press conference on Jan. 9, continue to wait for decision

DuPage Mayors file objection in united opposition to merger 

UPDATE Jan. 9, 2017 / Today Mayor Gina Cunningham of Woodridge, Mayor Joe Broda of Lisle, Mayor David Brumme of Warrenville and Mayor Steve Chirico of Naperville gathered with many representatives of the Chicagoland media to answer questions about an anonymous petition that was filed on Jan. 3, 2017. The referendum question in question was regarding asking residents to vote in favor of annexing the three distinct and independent communities into Naperville on the ballot for vote in the Consolidated Election on April 4, 2017.

For instance, one of the petitions seeking a “yes” or “no” answer asked, “Shall the Village of Lisle be annexed into the City of Naperville.”

Formal objections to the petition were filed Monday morning, Jan. 9, on behalf of residents in those independent communities that aim to stay that way, according to Warrenville Mayor Brummel, Lisle Mayor Broda and Woodridge Mayor Cunningham.

After the press conference, Mayor Steve Chirico stood for interviews with Chicago news stations where he repeated his support of the other three mayors, mindful that all four well-governed communities have unique characteristics and cultures that enrich the suburbs.

Despite the outcry on social media over the weekend as well as anonymous comments and allegations to this website, only a handful onlookers from the public were in attendance to observe the open briefing.

To our knowledge, none of public present questioned any of the Mayors who willingly answered questions from the media, demonstrating they were “united in opposition,” according to Naperville Mayor  Chirico, “standing up for residents and municipalities” in what appears to be a “political stunt.”

Considering that the petitions were not filed by any of the mayors or city officials and that the names and signatures fail to match on the petitions, their validity was strongly questioned. Furthermore, noting the state statute, the mayors agreed the law if flawed. (Connect to the link below to read the statute regarding annexation.) Going forward with the referendum is unlikely in the name of good government, but not without having created “confusion, anger and frustration,” noted Mayor Broda.

One take away from the press conference is the serious misrepresentation that occurred in the signature collection process for the petitions. The mayors agreed the situation presents a “wake up call” to be careful when signing petitions.

In our opinion, perhaps in the future, registered voters should be advised only sign petitions presented by people they know and/or with perfectly clear understanding by reading the question as written on the petition. Never sign something without knowing its full intention. Pay attention to avoid being misled.

Jan. 26, 2017, is the last day to certify ballots for the Consolidated Election on April 4.

—PN

Daily Herald Story by Marie Wilson who also attended the press conference.

Interesting (CLICK HERE) Reading / From Illinois Municipal Code / Annexation in Illinois


Posted Jan. 6, 2017 / Likely responding to posts on social media and a front page story in the Daily Herald by Bob Smith on Tuesday and a follow-up story, Effort to merge Lisle, Warrenville and Woodridge with Naperville could appear on the balloton Thursday, the City of Naperville has released a media advisory from the City of Warrenville.

The Mayors of Warrenville, Naperville, Woodridge, and Lisle plan to hold joint press conference Monday morning.

WHO:  Mayor David Brummel of Warrenville, Mayor Steve Chirico of Naperville, Mayor Gina Cunningham of Woodridge, and Mayor Joseph Broda of Lisle.

WHAT: The Mayors will hold a joint press conference to address the annexation petitions filed with the Circuit Court earlier this week to annex Lisle, Warrenville, and Woodridge into Naperville. Formal objections to the petitions will be filed by those communities on Monday.

WHEN: Monday, January 9, 2017 at 11AM

WHERE: DuPage County JTK Administration Building, 421 N. County Farm Road, Room 3500A, Wheaton, IL.


Editor’s Note / Throughout the week, PN has received numerous queries about the petition collecting to which we tried to remain calm when some folks seemed alarmed. Not intending to be flippant to callers, we offered our view from our experience that any referendum at this time would be nonbinding. (We were incorrect. It would be binding.) We added that the communities in DuPage and Will counties share some school districts; we assessed and provided the unofficial populations of Woodridge (33,408), Warrenville (15,358) and Lisle (22,757); we mentioned that Lisle has several big hotels that produce significant revenue; the Woodridge Police Chief is a good friend of Naperville; and Naperville has an attractive Riverwalk with the Moser Tower and many other amenities.

Furthermore, upon request and in the event of an emergency, the independent communities already mutually share services such as police and fire and public works.

Quite frankly, we are not particularly happy with the distraction at this time (Friday afternoon) as we already have nearly a gazillion other things on our plate for this weekend and little time to get all the facts. Plus, we’re looking forward to the World Series Trophy visit on Sat., Jan. 7, at the Naperville Municipal Center.


Interesting (CLICK HERE) Reading / From Illinois Municipal Code / Annexation in Illinois

At the bottom of the Daily Herald story (Jan. 5, 2016), find this commentary from Stan Zegel, Executive Director at Citizen Participation Institute in Winfield where he states a referendum would be binding.

It appears the petitions are invoking a procedure established by state law 65 ILCS 5/7-1-16 whereby 250 electors in a municipality (a village or a city) can cause a referendum like this to be held. It is a binding referendum.
It further appears that no such referendum is necessary in the acquiring municipality. That explains why no petitions have been circulated in Naperville.
If the voters in a particular municipality vote against it, then it cannot be submitted again in that municipality until at least 22 months later, and then it will take it will take far more than 250 signatures to put it on the ballot again in that municipality.
If it passes in any municipality, then that place automatically becomes part of Naperville. Any bonded indebtedness of an approving municipality, and of Naperville, get merged together and everyone shares in paying off the combined debt. Thus the taxpayers in Lisle, Woodridge, Warrenville (if the annexation is approved in their municipality) would take on a share of Naperville’s debt, and Naperville taxpayers would take on a share the other places’ debt.
It follows that, with everything then part of Naperville, Naperville’s ordinances are in effect throughout the combined area, and everyone can then elect the mayor and members of the Naperville City Council as their terms come up in 2019 and after.
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