League of Women Voters is impartial! Not a chance UPDATE

by:  Diane Benjamin The LWV claims they have done an independent review of the Modified Wards referendum on the March ballot. Was Maureen Okeefe involved?  She is a co-president of the League. She also helped Fazzini get petitions signed! and she lives in Normal – NOT Bloomington You can see the petitions here:  PETITION PUBLIC […]

Is the City Council going to hold Hales accountable?

by:  Diane Benjamin At last Monday night’s City Council meeting a BIG item was on the agenda.  The agenda is done by City Manager David Hales and Mayor Renner, but it seems like Renner either changed his mind or Hales put the item on the agenda without Renner’s knowledge.  The members of the Council have […]

Little more on transparency

by:  Diane Benjamin These payment were made in Fiscal Year 2013.    Some are obvious what they are, some aren’t.  You can see the entire list in alphabetically order below.   One I find interesting:  Sikich Llp $ 162,100.21.  This is the auditing firm from Springfield. Entire list: Bloom 2013 Alpha vendor . . . . […]

Bloomington getting serious about website transparency

by:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington recently posted a lot of information on-line in the interest of transparency.  Luckily I have ways of manipulating what they post so the data is usable.   http://cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=36 How much do alderman earn serving on the City Council?  This is from 2012.  It begs the question of why Jennifer McDade spent something […]

Local Sheriffs protecting our rights, no signers in Illinois

http://cspoa.org/cspoa-jan-2014-resolution/The following was drafted at a meeting of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) on Jan 24, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada and approved by the members present.  We encourage all sheriffs, peace officers and those in public office to sign with us.Resolution Of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association Pursuant to the […]

Pesky citizens not allowed at County Board meetings

by:  Diane Benjamin So much for the elected working for WE THE PEOPLE!  We aren’t allowed to speak – on purpose.  Normal finally got the message, of course it took the Attorney General to force them.  County Board:  should I file now or give you a week? http://www.mcleancountyil.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/992 5.14-7 Appearance by Non-Members (A) Any member […]

The REAL State of the state (Illinois)

Attn. Renner & Koos: Blm-Normal is IN Illinois Response to Gov. Quinn by Illinois Policy Institute http://illinoispolicy.org/real-state-of-the-state/ JOBS AND GROWTH Illinois has the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation  More than 1 million Illinoisans are unemployed or underemployed Illinois is projected to be dead last in jobs growth in 2014 78,713 Illinoisans have given up and left […]

Modified Wards-League of Women Voters

Keep in mind:  This group thought ObamaCare would be a good thing!  Maybe they can redeem themselves this time.  LWV is also in favor of a progressive income tax, instead of eliminating income taxes like other states, they want to play Tax the Rich (http://www.lwvmclean.org/gritinfo.html)  One of their Co-Presidents, Maureen Okeefe, circulated petitions to get […]

Interesting things about a Unit 5 hopeful – Update

The Unit 5 School Board is recommending Hiring Dr. Mark Daniel. See this post too:  http://blnnews.com/2014/03/04/attn-unit-5-school-board/ by:  Diane Benjamin When I find interesting things about the candidates Unit 5 is interviewing, I will share them.  This post is about candidate Dr. Mark Daniel. From December 6, 2013, letter to the City Council from the Mayor of […]

Questions for Common Core – Update

Update:  Many states (including Illinois!) notify DC they will NOT share student data Click here to see the letter:  Letter_RE_FedData   by:  Diane Benjamin Below is some interesting information on Common Core.  I have questions that haven’t been answered anywhere. Common Core is presented as benchmarks, not a curriculum.  How exactly can test scores fall? […]

Why Renner does what he does

by:  Diane Benjamin I’ve previously reported that Mayor Tari Renner formerly worked for the International City Managers Association.  (http://blnnews.com/2014/01/22/bloomington-your-land-is-at-risk/)  His time there says a lot about the changes happening in Bloomington.  Renner’s name is connected to many studies that analyze local government types.  One of my many sources sent links to a lot of websites, […]

Urbana rejected At-Large seats on the Council!

by:  Ben Gosser You did it!  Urbana voted “NO” to at-large by a resounding margin — 63% to 37%. In fact, we defeated at-large in 20 out of 23 Urbana precincts. This is very similar to the last at-large referendum in Urbana, when the voters overwhelmingly converted the school board from at-large to districts. That vote […]

Renner: Bloomington NEEDS downtown apartments

by:  Diane Benjamin Months ago Mayor Renner told me there was a waiting list for apartments in downtown Bloomington because so many people wanted to live there. Tonight the City Council will vote to abate property taxes for a citizen who wants to add 6 units downtown. I just called Redbird Apartment Management.  They have […]

Modified Wards: complaint filed with Department of Justice!

News Release Bruce Meeks has filed a complaint with the Department of Justice that the referendum item of a mix of wards and at-large elected officials violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act as presented on the ballot.   1.) This hybrid system reduces the number of districts/wards by one. It increases the number […]

Culture tales: Bloomington Council Retreat

by:  Diane Benjamin You can read the minutes of the 2 day retreat here:  http://cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=6221  Start on page 105 Culture change and more taxes were hot topics at the 2 day retreat of the Bloomington City Council last November.   The minutes don’t say what culture change is except the Council is supposed to “have […]

Bloomington: You have to obey laws, but not the Council

by: Diane Benjamin The Illinois Open Meetings Act isn’t very long.  At times it repeats itself, which makes it even shorter.  No matter how many times complaints are filed against the City of Bloomington for violating it, City staff and elected officials evidently have never read it or they make no effort to comply with […]

What really happened with the Bloomington 16 yr old runaway

Area parents deserve to know what is really going on. I understand that under Islamic law (sharia), a 16-year-old girl is an old coot, but this is America, still. Tiffany Snook was reported missing on Nov. 12. Police now believe that she was with Sezer Gok, 40. At some point they were married in a Muslim religious ceremony, a Pasco sheriff’s report states. In what […]

Bloomington: Outraged yet? Maybe this will do it

by:  Diane Benjamin In 2008 Doug Farr was paid $200,000 to design downtown Bloomington.  $125,000 was paid by the City of Bloomington and $75,000 was paid by the Downtown Bloomington Association.  Where did the Downtown Bloomington Association get the money?  From the City of Bloomington. This information is from a July 1, 2008 article in […]

Bloomington: Renner and Hales are spending YOUR money again UPDATE

UPDATE: Mayor Renner just pulled this discussion off the agenda! Correction:  An addendum  changed the amount to $202,865.  Total spent on studies since November is now over $300,000! by:  Diane Benjamin At the January 27th City Council meeting, this will be on the agenda: Comprehensive Plan Proposed Scope of Work by Houseal Lavigne Associates for Professional […]

People are voting with their feet

The story of Illinois’ steady out-migration problem is well known, but just where are Illinoisans moving to? Is the outflow driven entirely by retirees and beach-goers moving to Florida? Not according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which just released its 2012 American Community Survey of state-to-state migration flow data. These data use census surveys to make estimates of migration […]

Fly on the Wall: State Farm

I hear State Farm announced this week they are ONLY relocating 500 internal IT persons!  ONLY?!? So, if these internal IT people are married, that’s 1000 people moving out of Bloomington-Normal and Illinois.  If they have 2 kids that’s a total of 2000 people!  There will be 500 empty houses or apartments, 1000 less kids in […]

Letter from a citizen:

When did the paradigm shift that took societies from individual communities that grew and were developed based on interests, needs and demand of its hometown citizens to self-contained communes built according to a universal governmental standard that housed and accommodated residents based on limited means and  restricted availability of resources?   Such is the transition we see taking place across the spectrum […]

Wow! What Bloomington needs is 7 new Alderman!

by:  Diane Benjamin Another Letter to the Editor today supporting Modified Wards.  Has the writer ever been to a Council meeting? Evidently not!   SEVEN alderman do nothing but lap up anything David Hales says, ditto with any ideas by Mayor Renner.  I’m surprised they don’t have a foot kissing session before every meeting.  Most […]

Bloomington: YOUR land is at risk!

by:  Diane Benjamin Last night the Bloomington City Council held a Committee of the Whole meeting.  The hot topic was using a program by the International City Mangers  Association to rate City services.  Nobody could say what the cost would be.  Nobody could say why comparing Bloomington to cities in California or Georgia was a […]

Liberty Thief #3

Diane Benjamin I’m pretty sure the Pantagraph spelled a letter writer’s names wrong today:  James Ginzkey.  Ginzkey is another downtown lawyer-personal injury. He makes a BIG false claim in his letter, I’ve heard Mayor Renner make the same claim:  Modified Wards are spreading nationwide.  There are some cities in Illinois with Modified Wards, but much […]

Normal’s spending per citizen

by:  Diane Benjamin This morning Robert Rees (Cities 92.9) discussed an article from yesterday comparing Bloomington, Champaign, and Peoria spending.  Robert wondered what Normal spends per citizen.  The public seems to think Normal spends more than Bloomington.  Although Normal has spent many millions on Uptown – their budgets were ultra-conservative before Chris Koos was elected […]

Bloomington: Severe Danger ahead!

by:  Diane Benjamin Did you know Mayor Tari Renner used to be the Director of Research for the International City/County Management Association?  (3/17/13 Pantagraph) What is the ICMA? It’s the same group I filed an ethics complaint with against Normal City Manager Mark Peterson – IN NOVEMBER. http://blnnews.com/2013/11/20/more-on-normal-city-manager-mark-peterson/ The ICMA has yet to make a decision on […]

More on Bloomington – Champaign – Peoria

by:  Diane Benjamin Champaign City bond rating:  Moody’s 12/6/13  Aaa Peoria City bond rating:  Moody’s    3/18/13  Aa2 Bloomington City bond rating  Moody’s  10/28/13  Aa2 What does the bond rating mean? Champaign is perfect. Peoria and Bloomington are both less than perfect. Aaa is perfect, Aa1 is one step down, Aa2 is 2 steps down. […]

Comparing Bloomington – MOVE or start FIGHTING

I’m re-posting this article in honor of Bloomington’s $180,000,000 proposed budget! See this companion post too:  http://blnnews.com/2014/01/20/more-on-bloomington-champaign-peoria/ by:  Diane Benjamin In 2012 the population of Bloomington is listed at 77,733.  Champaign’s population was 82,517, Peoria was 115,687.  Note:  Bloomington is the smallest!   These numbers are all from the City’s websites.  Total Budget information: In 2012 […]

Fly on the Wall: Bill Flick

Just heard some local guys talking about the low information Congressman Adam Kinzinger and the low information columnist at the Pantagraph-Bill Flick. Flick was recounting Kinzinger’s appearance on ABC’s This week in his Sunday column.  The panelists had a history “Jeopardy” like segment where the question was “Which US President gave the first State of […]

Liberty Thief #2: Darrell Hartweg

by:  Diane Benjamin Add this name to the list of supporters for Modified Wards.  Sunday, Darrell Hartweg and wife had a letter printed in the Pantagraph supporting taking away your personal representation on the Council. There seems to be  pattern emerging – Citizens get FOUR votes instead of just one.  Evidently, you are supposed to […]

Laws apply to the folks – not us

by:  Diane Benjamin This information is from another tipster – keep them coming guys! The following is from : McLean County, Illinois Zoning Ordinance As Adopted August 15, 2000 And Amendments through February 21, 2012 http://www.mcleancountyil.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/45  Page 19 206 OCCUPANCY PERMITS. No land shall be occupied or used; no building or structure hereafter erected shall […]

Cart-gate: Government gone clueless

by:  Diane Benjamin Did you know City employees aren’t allowed to talk to Council members?  Why would the City have that policy?  Maybe to make sure the Council doesn’t have a clue what really happens in the City government!  Very transparent. But, then there is the garbage cart roll-out.  Evidently it’s not going well if […]