Bloomington: More on taxes going to fund churches

by:  Diane Benjamin

This is a link to the Packet given to alderman for tonight’s meeting:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=5206  This issue starts on page 95.  The proposal made by the West Side churches starts on page 97.

First, their document is riddled with errors and incomplete sentences.  Somehow moving the YMCA gets into the discussion, even though it has nothing to do with the program.

Next, there are a bunch of questions that should be answered:

  1. Program is rushed. Bloomington should take more time to examine. I’ve always known summer comes at the same time of year. It’s inexcusable that this project proposal comes one month from initial meeting, with little time for alderman to review.
  2. There are no performance metrics embedded into the proposal as written in the board packet. What is the average income of the child benefiting? Are all children welcome to the program or do they have to be members of the church? What about Jewish, Muslim, or children of Agnostic/Atheist parents? Are they eligible? Will the city get a report on exactly how that money was used, and what kids were served?
  3. Bloomington has limited funds. Was there a competitive bidding process inviting all social service providers to bid on this project? Perhaps some other agency can do this better?
  4. Redundancy. Are there other programs that are similar in nature that are being provided elsewhere?
  5. Are the facilities compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act?
  6. Does this program raise the possibility of the city being sued?
  7. Are there any performance metrics showing this program even works in preventing crime or drug use?
  8. Are the adults in class with the children?

Karen Schmidt knew about this proposal since April 30th.  Is it easier to pass when summer is here and time is of the essence?

More points to consider:

The Field Trip budget is enormous. 3 field trips a week for 12 weeks?

If there are 3 field trips every week doesn’t it undermine the whole nature of the program?
60% of the program doesn’t match up with the stated goals of the project.
If these kids are high-risk kids who have criminal or drug usage history, how is bowling, pool park, and putt putt going to change these kids in a meaningful way? Are they being rewarded for past behavior?
All of this is immaterial because Karen Schmidt, Tari Renner, and Scott Black want it passed.  If the 2 conservatives bring up any of these points, they will be crucified as “Not Caring About the Kids”.  Of course, maybe they would like to see a project that is better defined with assess-able goals.  The rest of the Council wants to always appear like everybody agrees, so this will pass.
Congrats Bloomington!  You just spent $21,303.96 because the majority of the council wanted to.  No justification or measurement of success, it just feels good.

Update:  Tari Renner just stated this is a pilot program.  The documents do not reflect that, an obvious attempt on his part to deflect all of the above.  There have been a string of speakers passionately saying how great this program will be, the council has no way of saying no.  Instead of a well thought out program that is discussed openly among the alderman, we get what was presented.  Read the above link yourself and see if you would vote yes without questions.

One speaker just said God was leading the program.  Now taxpayer funds are being used to fund religious activities.  I seem to remember George Bush being crucified for encouraging faith based activities.  Hope the ACLU wasn’t watching, or the city just bought themselves a lawsuit.  Only Alderman Lower and Alderman Stearns were smart enough to see that.  Would they of had the same reaction to a Muslim group asking for money?

One thought on “Bloomington: More on taxes going to fund churches

  1. It appears that in our city the monkeys have taken over the zoo and the inmates have taken over the asylum. When something is proposed to “help” the children everyone caves in and gets on the band wagon. The Nazis of Germany used children as their ploy to bring in their enslaving government from top to bottom. It is sad to see the ignorance of the city leaders falling for this and being so gullible to open the doors that will be aiding thugs, drug dealers and criminals tied into to these west side churches in the guise of religion. I’m sure there will be victims at the hands of these criminals through this unwise decision. My hats off to Alderman Kevin Lower and Judy Stearns for standing with wisdom against this decision!

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