Open Letter to Mayor and City Councils

Main Street Association of Bloomington-Normal

In regards to the audio/video noted below, it can be found by clicking here;

The Role of Sustainable Urbanism in the Conservative Agenda

Julie Hile starts speaking at the 33:40 mark.

Following is the letter that was sent.

Dear City Councils and Mayors of Bloomington and Normal:

The Main Street Association is sending you this letter to express its dismay and disappointment at the deceitful manner in which our consultants have approached the “beautification” of the Main Street corridor. As the Main Street Association has led the fight against the “Call for Investment” zoning changes as being a move to limit or destroy personal property rights of business owners and residents along Main Street it was constantly chastised and told there was no hidden agenda. Unfortunately, according to an audio/video published on May 30, 2012, by the Conference 4 New Urbanism entitled, “The Role of Sustainable Urbanism in the Conservative Agenda,” featuring Julie Hile, the individual specifically chosen to facilitate the Main Street Task Force, there may in fact have been a hidden agenda.

After reviewing the above mentioned audio/video, the following excerpts where Julie Hile was speaking, are quite revealing, supporting that an agenda of “the ends justify the means” was and continues to be. Specifically and to quote:

  • “Giving up the jargon isn’t giving up. I will never say form based code in my hometown again. I will never say sustainable urbanism. Might say good planning, but people who know me will look at me suspiciously.”
  • “I am here kinda as a case study.” [To put in context Hile was speaking of her work with Normal, Illinois as an experience from which those in attendance — others facing popular opposition to their agendas — could learn.]
  • “And I am a big fan of the work we have been doing in the community for the better part of 10 years and a little before that . . . what is ultimately is the story of what became a double phased envisioning process for our Main Street Corridor. The first phase grew out of the work that in fact Doug Farr, who is in the room here . . . did  in our community nearly a decade ago . . . In our community e had a real strong momentum . . . and thought that we were rounding the corner . . . We appointed a Main Street Commission of the two universities, the hospital, and the two communities. They brought in all of the infrastructure and human engineering that goes into the charettes and consensus building and visioning process. We tied it up in a bow.” [emphasis added]
  • “Our process involved . . . lots of press . . . they kinda ended up colluding with us . . . they needed to go out with the approved message. Talking to Mayor Koos, he said he lost control of his bully pulpit early and he never got it back effectively.” [emphasis added]
  • “We will never impanel another citizens group without having our conservative friends with us.”

Later on in the audio/video at the 1:02:21 mark begins Hile’s participation in the Q & A session accompanied by Doug Farr:

  • DOUG: “I dunno several percent of this entire population of this town, so more than a thousand people.”

  • JULIE: “Yep.” {Note in reality, according to materials provided the members of the Main Street Task Force, the actual number of individuals who provided input, if each person is counted just once no matter how many charettes he or she attended or how many times he or she answered the on-line survey, was fewer that 250, not more than 1000.]

  • DOUG: “But I look back and obviously there was something that we did not do here. Despite even maybe these people being in the room during the meetings so just,just, a lot of people who run public process . . . like in hindsight, what might have been done differently?”

  • JULIE: ” . . . I’ve got an idea about that . . . you . . . you check the roll and you have local partners . . . and if they’re not in the room, you call a special meeting. Or you go to them on their terms with some discussion that might be a little fawning or it might feel inappropriate but I think it is absolutely essential, and I think it takes them off of their guard. Uhm, strategically and umm . . . So I would partner closely with my team in the community you’re consulting to and get them to find the informal leaders who are missing.”

  • DOUG: “So looking back do you think it was the content of what we were proposing . . . or how we were proposing it? . . . But I mean if we had said some good planning instead of any other language but still had that something is a form based code that regulated. SO would the language have mattered?”

  • JULIE: ” It, you what really annoyed people Doug and I will say including me when I was at one of the charettes. You guys show me a picture of a parking lot versus a photograph of a park and ask me which one I like better. I feel a little manipulated.”

  • DOUG: ” (giggles and laughter.)

Doug Farr laughing at a statement that Julie Hile and he manipulated the process in order to ignore the actual will of the people; to willfully refuse to listen to what the citizens of Bloomington and Normal had to say highlights the root of the problem. While the Main Street Association was being told to “keep an open mind,” some individuals were doing just the opposite. We believe our professional consultants did indeed have a hidden agenda and colluded to deny the citizens of having a meaningful voice in the process. The Main Street Association has always been transparent, operating in good faith in representing the actual interest of the property owners along the Main Street corridor. At the same time, our paid advisors and some of our community leaders have been deliberately pushing forth an agenda supported, not by the majority of the citizens in our communities, but by individuals with a New Urbanism agenda, some of whom have no interest in our community, and then deceiving the citizens of the community about the real agenda.

The Main Street Association vehemently disagrees with such duplicitous behavior, and call on you, our elected bodies, to immediately support the ceasing of this current practice of deception. We ask such in the best interests of the transparency and good faith which are definitely owed to the citizens of Bloomington-Normal. In addition, given the evidence presented in the audio/video cited above, the Main Street Association request that the towns of Bloomington-Normal, as well as the Main Street Commission, cease to affiliate themselves with individuals who rely primarily on the New Urbanism process regarding any and all matters pertaining to city/town planning. By distancing ourselves from such individuals do you have the ability to legitimize further decisions and gain the trust of, not only the Main Street Association, but also a significant percentage of the citizens of Bloomington-Normal.


Phil Boulds, President, Main Street Association

Elizabeth Lugg, Vice President, Main Street Association

Dale Naftziger, Secretary/Tresurer, Main Street Association

Rich Zeller, Board Member, Main Street Association

Chris Shupe, Board Member, Main Street Association

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