Attorney General & the Coliseum

By:  Diane Benjamin I wrote previously about filing a Request for Review with the Illinois Attorney General.  Coliseum Management is refusing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act Request.  Details here:  https://blnnews.com/2015/02/06/coliseum-investigated-by-attorney-general/ As the Council considers spending another $2,510,00 on the less than 10 years old Coliseum, they need to consider how Central Illinois […]

Weekend Fun – sort of

Coliseum: $2,510,000 !!!

By:  Diane Benjamin The audited financial statements for the Coliseum show a loss last year before depreciation of $782,945:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=7481 I predict losses this year will be much greater because very few events have been held.  The 3rd Quarter statement prepared by CIAM has not been issued yet – the Quarter ended on January 31st. […]

Bloomington Budget – HR and Legal

By:  Diane Benjamin The retirement of the HR Director last year, and the payout for accumulated sick days, appears to be in Benefits – 2015. The outsourced legal expenses appear to be in Contractual.  It’s all money sent outside of Bloomington for legal work. Details included in Book 1 may explain more if you want […]

Bloomington: Roads are no priority!

By:  Diane Benjamin Book 1 of the Bloomington Budget has some conflicting information for proposed spending on roads:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8224 The Motor Fuel Tax receipts from the new tax last year was supposed to be spent on roads. According to this page – only $2,000,000 is in the budget for road repairs (Page 289).  Last year $9,330,000 […]

Government Center-What you might not know

By:  Diane Benjamin The information below is included in Book 1 of the Bloomington budget:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8224 The amount included in the budget is also shown.  I believe the Bloomington Election Commission is also housed here, but they aren’t mentioned below.  

Bloomington Budget: Police/Fire

By:  Diane Benjamin See Book 1 of the Budget here:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8224 I have to congratulate Bloomington for putting together a readable budget.  It contains lots of details and easy to read charts.  Yesterday I posted the Administration Budget, I will be posting others later. Police and Fire are two departments essential to citizens.  Below is […]

David Hales is sucking your tax $$$$

By:  Diane Benjamin Below are 2 charts from the budget documents on the City of Bloomington website.  Both recap spending just for Administration. The first chart can be found it:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2016  Page 143 The second chart can be found at:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8224  Page 118 Total Admin spending: 2011   $590,415.95  Actual 2012   $668,452.00 Projected 2013 […]

Bloomington: Proof the Council doesn’t represent YOU

By:  Diane Benjamin Today I received a LARGE stack of emails from the City pursuant to the lawsuit I won against the City yesterday.  I hadn’t received it earlier because the package was sent by mistake to an address in Cooksville.  Maybe somebody had fun reading all the emails when they received them by mistake, […]

If you like your roads, you can keep your roads

By:  Diane Benjamin Back in 2012 the City Council passed an Action Plan:  http://www.cityblm.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=4445  See page 10 What this means to you as a citizen Reliable utility services necessary for daily life Efficient traffic flow throughout the city Smooth rides on quality, well-maintained streets Customer-friendly, easily accessible city facilities and buildings City investing in the […]

Bloomington: Unsustainable

By:  Diane Benjamin Both David Hales and Tari Renner have proclaimed their “Bare Bones” budget is unsustainable.  This is code for we can’t raise taxes in an election year.  Karen Schmidt and Joni Painter voted for all the tax increases last year, you are supposed to forget.  Asking them to vote for more now is […]

Court tomorrow 9:00 am UPDATE

The judge ruled the City of Bloomington has to pay my court costs – $271.  She did not make them pay all the incidental costs I incurred. Botton Line:  The City of Bloomington was found guilty of violating the Freedom of Information Act.   _____________________________ By:  Diane Benjamin If you are downtown tomorrow morning, come […]

Airport: If we build it . . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin Add CIRA to the list of projects government created firmly believing it would create economic activity, benefit citizens, and not be a tax burden.  CIRA now joins the ranks of other local boondoggles like the Coliseum and the BPCA. If we build it, they will come. For awhile they did come.  CIRA […]

No new taxes?

By:  Diane Benjamin To taxpayers, raising fees is the same thing as raising taxes.  Since the City has proudly proclaimed there are no tax increases in the 2016 budget, remember when you are forced to pay more – It’s Not A Tax. From the 2016 Budget – Book 1, page 35:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8224

Shoestring budget? Really?

By:  Diane Benjamin I’m just getting started looking at Bloomington’s budget.  One point citizens MUST understand:  Paying for needs used to be in the General Fund.  Taxpayers probably think their taxes go for Roads, sewers, etc: essential services.  Instead, roads are now funded only by the new Motor Fuel Tax.  If your taxes had not […]

Ward 4 – Drag your neighbors to the polls tomorrow

By:  Diane Benjamin A reader said there are two polling locations: Centennial Christian Church on Grove St St Luke’s Union church (by State Farm headquarters). Registered voters either were notified by Becvote.org or they vote where they normally do.  Confused?  Check with them. Want to send a message to Tari Renner?  Make sure his candidate […]

He got by with it

By:  Diane Benjamin The censure approved by the Bloomington City Council Friday night is just a piece of paper.  Citizens demanded that something be done to Tari Renner for his vile comments, so you got a piece of paper.  Nobody knows who wrote it.  If you hadn’t been outraged, the Council would have done nothing. […]

Babbitt’s Books

By:  Diane Benjamin The address for Babbitt’s Books is 119 E Beaufort St, Normal, IL 61761 I wrote extensively in 2012 on how Normal financed Uptown.  A large part was buying properties for way over the assessed value, thus raising the surrounding property values.  Existing property owners saw large increases to their tax bills as a […]

Bloomington: Agenda tonight

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight’s agenda:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8217 1) The library union members are getting 2.25% raises for 3 years: SUBJECT: Ratification of Contract with AFSCME Local 699 for the Bloomington Public Library for the period of May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2017 FINANCIAL IMPACT: The financial impact of the Tentative Agreements includes: • Increase in […]

Bloomington: Budget is on the agenda for tomorrow night

By:  Diane Benjamin Nothing has been disclosed yet, but I guarantee the proposed budget will increase at least 2%.  Tari has mentioned numerous times that costs are up 2%, so in his mind he has no other choice but to increase the budget. Meanwhile, median income per household in the country has been decreasing for […]

Renner’s Censure

Video: . This is the resolution passed:

Weekend Fun – Sort of

Need a ride? Call Checker Cab!

More Eating at your expense

By:  Diane Benjamin Below are P-Card (like a debit card, except billing is once a month) charges for the month of January (scroll to the bottom):  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8213 ________________________________ Jimmy John’s # 1408 $ 181.44 Working Dinner D. Hales, T. Renner, City Council, 5 Other Staff‐ 01/12/2015 Monicals Pizza $ 45.75 Working Lunch for Finance Department‐ 01/07/2015 Lucca […]

Tari has seething hate – for ME!

By:  Diane Benjamin Below is just one example of comments Tari has made about me during Council meetings.  This meeting took place January 26th, 2015 – shortly before his written attack on me.  He doesn’t refer to me by name, but everybody present knew who he was talking about.  He called me a liar without […]

Fly on the Wall: Dodging potholes

I over-heard a guy talking about being stopping by the Bloomington Police last night – suspected of drunk driving.  He was on his way home from work around 11:00 pm on the west side. He was pulled over by one officer and another arrived as backup.  After a license and registration check, the officer asked […]

Ward 4 debate – what I heard

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday I listened to the re-broadcast of the WGLT/League of Women Voters Ward 4 debate Tuesday night. If you missed previous posts about Ward 4, I have video clips available from their first debate – the one NO media chose to cover: https://blnnews.com/2015/02/04/ward-4-forum-buragas/ https://blnnews.com/2015/02/05/more-ward-4-video-buragas/ https://blnnews.com/2015/02/05/ward-4-buragas-frank/ Here’s some of what I heard from […]

Your chance Bloomington: Friday 6:30

Not In Our Town? Attacks not new

By:  Diane Benjamin A citizen saw what was coming way back last October.  He sent this video of his comments to me. TubeChop – October 20, 2014 – Committee of the Whole City Council Meeting (03:16) Bruce Meeks Not In Our Town . The Pledge:  From the City of Bloomington website: http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=18&recordid=1519

New Reader? These links show why Tari doesn’t like me

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari loves to say I savage Council members and City employees.  He must mean David Hales, who I believe is doing a lousy job and wasting MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars.  If you are new to Blnnews.com, it would be impossible to catch up on everything I’ve written since beginning almost 3 years […]

Feb 26th – D-Day for the Internet

By:  Diane Benjamin The FCC will rule to make the Internet a Public Utility  on February 26th.  The more than 330 page report is already written, even though the public can still tell them to keep their hands off, they don’t care.  3 Democrats will vote for Net Neutrality, 2 Republicans against it.  5 total […]

Council: Suffering from “Group Think”

Originally posted on BLNNews:
By:  Diane Benjamin The Council did nothing to hold Tari Renner accountable when he attacked me in December of 2013:  https://blnnews.com/2013/12/22/mayor-transparency-exposed/ The Council did nothing to hold Tari Renner accountable when he attacked Alderwoman Stearns in April 2014 in an open session meeting.  Watch the video, Council members had to intervene…

Council: Suffering from “Group Think”

By:  Diane Benjamin The Council did nothing to hold Tari Renner accountable when he attacked me in December of 2013:  https://blnnews.com/2013/12/22/mayor-transparency-exposed/ The Council did nothing to hold Tari Renner accountable when he attacked Alderwoman Stearns in April 2014 in an open session meeting.  Watch the video, Council members had to intervene to stop his attack: […]

Farmers with Wind Turbines: Better read

Story #1: IKEA/APEX Wind Farm Non-payment Causes Liens to be Filed Against Local Farmers – IKEA (the furniture company) and APEX (a wind energy company) failed to make payments to Ambassador Steel Fabrication, LLS from Auburn, Indiana. The failure of IKEA and APEX to make their payments in a timely manner is now causing issues […]

Tari is only sorry he hit “Submit” UPDATE

The citizen below sent this response to Mayor Renner: Dear Mayor Renner, Thank you for your response to my email regarding your recent comments about Diane Benjamin on blnnews.com. I do not know you personally, and its not my intention to attack you; however, I am going to be candid with my comments and opinion. […]

Contempt of court now too Bloomington? Update

Tuesday = still in not complying with a court order By:  Diane Benjamin The last court date in my lawsuit against the City of Bloomington was January 28, 2015.  At that time, Judge Foley ruled that some information withheld by the City was illegally redacted. She gave the City 2 weeks to forward the information […]

Freedom of Speech matters, just not to Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin The venomous comments made by Tari Renner on my website have nothing to do with our dislike for each other.  His comments were meant to silence political opposition – Freedom of Speech! I was merely Tari’s latest victim.  He claims I and people who agree with me launch savage attacks on him. […]

Is it up to Tari, Media, or you?

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph and WJBC are in full MOVE ON mode.  Tari’s forced apology is their evidence for burying the controversy.  Alderman Scott Black wants nothing more than to forget his mentor’s foul mouth. Who says they get to decide Tari’s fate?  I’ve received a ton of comments and emails from citizens either […]

Weekend Fun – Sort of

Renner apologizes, but . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin 5 minutes after Renner’s phone call to me, that he obviously didn’t want to make, I got an alert on my phone from the Pantagraph stating he had apologized.  5 minutes after that the Pantagraph reporter called for a comment.  Shortly after. her story was posted to the Pantagraph website.  Looks suspiciously […]

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