THE VISION OF BLOOMINGTON – 20/20 or Short-sighted?

It’s been over a week since the last Bloomington City Council get-together but the goings-on still ring fresh in my mind. Local media co-conspirators, the Pantagraph and WJBC radio, as well, continue to frame the most popular issue – visioning. It continues to resonate throughout a significant segment of their programming and reporting topics. In fact, it appears evident that what’s taking shape seems to track precisely what local facilitator, Julie Hiles, revealed and suggested in a recent, breaking news video previewed right here on CITYWATCH – a partnership with local media.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Last week, City Council members were given the opportunity to hear about this “visioning process” as presented and proposed by City Manager, David Hales, as part of a proposed pre-requisite necessary to complete an update of the City’s long-term Comprehensive Plan. Hales, along with the McLean County Regional Planning Commission, has taken the lead in edging this agenda a little more closer to fruition.

Hales’ presentation, while nothing new to the Council, did little more than offer cursory details amid a laundry-list of questions about what has evidently already become a decided issue in the minds of some behind the scenes who are strongly advocating for this plan. And, I understand that’s a bold conclusion, but facts are facts. Based on all the evidence and information I personally witness, hear in conversation and see in action, an alternative outcome is difficult to reach.

What is”visioning”?

Visioning is a technique or method of planting ideas into the mind of the audience (or citizen) and then pretending that the outcome of the meeting was derived from public input.

While this definition might be challenged, recognizable examples of this process are not lacking in our communities. We all remember the charrette process (human engineering) of Chicago, Form Based Code consultant and designer, Doug Farr, in the effort to dupe the Main Street Corridor project on Bloomington citizens. Then there was the Main Street Task Force attempt to do the same employing the tricks of the trade by the now-infamous facilitator, Julie Hile. And, let us not forget the most recent experiences of the East Side Highway and the Main Street Feasibility Study efforts, where the public has been led to believe the choices that are about to be made are derived solely from their input.

In contrast to the standard definition, however, City officials have apparently adopted the City of Champaign’s definition of what visioning is, and have offered that to citizens of Bloomington:

“It is a citizen-based dialogue focused on producing a vision and plan of action for the future. There is significant opportunity for community involvement in the process that will consist of three types of public meetings open only to those who live, work or study in Champaign County. First, meetings will be held to generate ideas about the future of the county—these meetings will simply ask for ideas. Next, meetings will be held to develop the ideas collected into shared goals for the future and strategies to turn those goals into reality. Finally, open houses will be offered to allow citizens the opportunity to review the progress of the effort, identify priority goals, and volunteer to participate in implementation.”

And, then there is Julie Hiles’ public position on Bloomington visioning process;

“We agree strongly with the concept of an inclusive process, one which reaches out to the City’s citizens…”

And let’s not overlook Mayor Stockton’s view. In a recent Pantagraph article, Bloomington Mayor, Steve Stockton, shares his feelings on what this visioning process is:

The goal of “community visioning” is not just to determine a municipality’s future, but to make it attractive and cohesive for current and future residents and businesses. “Community visioning” needs to acknowledge our fraternity and provide what outsiders want when they consider moving their families and workers to take advantage of all that we offer.

2 thoughts on “THE VISION OF BLOOMINGTON – 20/20 or Short-sighted?

  1. What the “outsiders” but most importantly the citizens want is, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and brought in the Vision of 1776, Mayor Stockton truly it is your ignorance that shines! Your continued pursuit of achieving guidelines as set by the United Nations Agenda 21 most certainly cannot be consistent with your Oath of Office. Misprision of treason comes to mind.

  2. Mudd, your blame of Mayor Stockton is misplaced. It is Hales, Todd Greenberg, Silva and other non-elected leaches residing in city hall that are the ones to blame. Our city has a legal counsel that cannot interpret the law, a finance director that cannot even do her own work and must pay outside consultants to do it for her and on and on an on. If anyone is to blame,,it is the members of the city council that will not stand up for the taxpayers and FIRE these beauracrats that are wasting our tax dollars and micromanaging our lives. If 5 city council members would just speak up and terminate the employment of Hales, Greenburg, Silva et al ..OUR city could rise to greatness.

Leave a Reply