WJBC interviews candidates

By:  Diane Benjamin WJBC interviewed some of the candidates for Bloomington City Council.  Listen to interviews with Joni Painter, Amelia Buragas, and Diane Hauman http://www.stationcaster.com/player_skinned.php?s=711&c=3781&f=4198913 All were interviewed by different people, the same interviewer would have been nice. Supposedly WJBC will get to the other candidates eventually. There is plenty more material – but here […]

How is the Coliseum really doing?

By:  Diane Benjamin The below information from 2008 was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act more than a year ago, the City of Bloomington does not have Coliseum reports on-line prior to 2012. Click on either picture below to enlarge. The 2014-2015 Budget numbers can be found here:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8264 Note: The revenue budget has […]

Who does Tari want you to vote for?

By:  Diane Benjamin I hear this is his house.  Evidently he is pleased with his appointee.

Negative Economic Activity

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington loves to justify spending with economic impact numbers.  The Coliseum management claims they have generated MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars of local economic activity, the Zoo is getting ready to create their own numbers.  If we just spend more . . . Meanwhile, tax receipts are down while […]

Vogel: Where do corrupt politicians come from?

By:  Diane Benjamin Steve Vogel never fails to entertain as he looks at trees and misses the forest.  His column today is no exception.  Aaron Schock’s corruption is going to cost us a lot of money, but why does Illinois have so many corrupt politicians Steve? Vogel failed to ask how this fresh young face evidently […]

When “public servants” lie . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin It isn’t a secret that I work with the Edgar County Watchdogs (IllinoisLeaks).  John Kraft and Kirk Allen are responsible for over 100 so-called “public servants” leaving office for a variety of reasons. John and Kirk started by investigating government waste, fraud, and abuse in their own backyards.  Today they get tips […]

Weekend Fun – Sort of

ISU, NORMAL, and college kids

By:  Diane Benjamin Is ISU a Police State for students?  I’ve heard stories of dorm rooms open in Watterson and a cop pops his head in to look for contraband.  Actions like that don’t encourage good relations between  students and the police. I decided to do a Freedom of Information request for the fines assessed […]

Inside the heads of potted plants

By:  Diane Benjamin The following emails were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act – not by me, they were just forwarded to me. Below is City Manager David Hales’ salary for 2014: SALARY    INSURANCE     PENSION        FICA          MISC        TOTAL COMPENSATION 176,439.00  11,449.32 […]

Ask the Bloomington Candidates this:

By:  Diane Benjamin Which is more important 1)  Fixing Roads 2) Downtown Bloomington The current budget proposal spends more on Coliseum upgrades than it does on roads.  Did you notice the budget discussion has been dropped until after the election? Why are roads not the priority?  Do you prefer spending tax dollars on new lighting […]

Bills and Payroll finally posted! UPDATE!

Originally posted on BLNNews:
Update:  The City promptly replied to my FOIA for missing information I amended the information received below in BOLD.  See the receipts here:  201503241124_Redacted  Even if only one person ate, why are taxpayers paying the bill?  Does your boss pay for your lunch? By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8396 ADMIN City Council Expenses…

Lawsuit: OVER UPDATE!

Update:  See this story:  http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2015/03/city-of-bloomington-loses-handwritten-foia-lawsuit-writes-check/ By:  Diane Benjamin My first lawsuit against the City of Bloomington is now over – they finally paid what the judge ordered.  I wonder how Tari felt signing the check?  Is he admitting transparency only matters when he wants things transparent?  Probably not. Maybe Tari can take a lesson from […]

Hiding the agenda

By:  Diane Benjamin Here’s the problem with candidates running for office: They are unwilling to stand on principles and values Almost every candidate tries to hide where they stand on the issues because they know they would not get elected saying what they really think. In 2013 I filmed Aaron Schock at a Town Hall […]

TWO pre-election events:

Meet Lupe Diaz, Candidate For Fifth Ward Alderman @ KEP’S KITCHEN On March 28th 3 pm to 5 pm Confirmed invited guests include: ☆Cities 92.9 FM Morning Host Ian Bayne, and Fist Bump ☆Alderman Kevin Lower ☆Alderwoman Judy Stearns All citizens and media are encouraged to attend. Food, and spirits will be served. Donations are welcome […]

Non-Partisan? They shouldn’t be

By:  Diane Benjamin It’s way past time to quit calling local elections non-partisan when the candidates bring their ideology to their elected office.  Voters deserve to know what the candidates will do when elected.  Reading campaign literature where they call themselves fiscal conservatives may be enough to fool some people, but look deeper.  When virtually […]

Early Voting already started

By:  Diane Benjamin Early voting is happening now through April 4th for the April 7th consolidated election.  Wards 4, 5, and 8 in Bloomington have contested elections.  Wards 2 and 6 aren’t contested. Elections in Bloomington are perfectly clear.  If you love Mayor Renner vote for his hand chosen picks.  (Buragas, Hauman and Painter) If […]

Pepsi Ice parking garage

By:  Diane Benjamin Received under the Freedom of Information Act – the City DID get paid in the settlement for repairs to the Pepsi Ice Center parking garage: (click to enlarge)

Pantagraph bombs out again, but what’s new

By:  Diane Benjamin Today’s Editorial (written by a no-name person) laments lobbyists in Springfield.  Elected officials leave office and become lobbyists for State funds, the paper wants it to end. Pantagraph:  What is the difference between a State lobbyist and your brand of media lapping at government’s feet?  Is your building in downtown Bloomington still […]

Public Housing for Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin The road to hell is paved with good intentions, government is laying the bricks. The elected claim it’s compassionate to provide food stamps, housing, earned income tax credits, energy assistance, healthcare, free phones, etc to low income people.  But the freebies are yanked if income increases, all incentives to a better life […]

Bills and Payroll finally posted! UPDATE!

Update:  The City promptly replied to my FOIA for missing information I amended the information received below in BOLD.  See the receipts here:  201503241124_Redacted  Even if only one person ate, why are taxpayers paying the bill?  Does your boss pay for your lunch? By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8396 ADMIN City Council Expenses American AI $ 384.20 […]

Transparency Matters Joni

By:  Diane Benjamin It’s national Sunshine Week! “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis – on the benefits of openness and transparency. The premise behind FOIA is that the public has a right to know what the government is doing. Who said that?  The Illinois Attorney General:  http://foia.ilattorneygeneral.net/pdf/2015_PAC_Annual_Report.pdf Page 11. Nonsense Joni? […]

FBI: Highest crime cities outside Chicago

By:  Diane Benjamin Below are the FBI 2013 crime statistics.  Decatur has a lower crime rate than Bloomington! Why did Chicago tear down their public housing?  Why is Bloomington voting tonight to build Public Housing?  Read between the lines. See this story from last year:  https://blnnews.com/2014/10/08/local-low-income-housing/ See this story about tonight:  https://blnnews.com/2015/03/20/here-comes-the-public-housing/ Source:  http://www.illinoishomepage.net/story/d/story/top-25-most-dangerous-cities-in-illinois/27729/6Jjc0ptKaU2B3D1GPqbjOA 11. […]

Weekend Fun – Sort of

More lawsuit emails

By:  Diane Benjamin I filed the Freedom of Information lawsuit because the City denied 3 requests within about 2 weeks.  Obviously they were hiding something, the biggest being Tari again calling people he doesn’t agree with “off their meds”.  https://blnnews.com/2014/10/20/why-is-tari-allowed-to-denigrated-the-mentally-ill/ I received some others I didn’t expect, like Scott Black saying nobody important reads this […]

Here comes the Public Housing! UPDATE

UPDATE: Peter Levavi Sr. Vice President at Brinshore Development Greater Chicago Area Real Estate Summary Development of Master Planned communities through public private partnership Specialties:Public housing redevelopment, mixed income development, master planning By:  Diane Benjamin Another lesson in how screwed up our country is: The City of Bloomington has 100+ year old sewers.  Quality of […]

Just precious Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember that almost $1 Trillion stimulus plan for shovel ready infrastructure jobs that weren’t so shovel ready?  Remember how your Motor Fuel Tax dollars aren’t being spent on roads, instead billions have been diverted to high-speed rail that isn’t so high-speed? The below is included in the packet for next Monday’s City […]

Pantagraph: Seriously?

By:  Diane Benjamin Headline to an article in today’s bird cage liner:  More people working in Central Illinois . . . Evidently math is NOT required for journalists, sorry, people who call themselves journalists.  Maybe they just typed in the wrong numbers.  We are all used to their “Corrections” page. Here’s their report: 91,533 people […]

Gov. Rauner is SERIOUS!

By:  Diane Benjamin The local bird-cage liner just posted a list of projects put on hold by the Rauner administration – including monkeys at the zoo and new restrooms at the Museum of History.  I wonder if Bloomington will want to pay since all their hopes and dreams depend on the Route 66 Visitors Center […]

Buragas: More you need to know

By:  Diane Benjamin Mayor Renner has a limited supply of Democrats to appoint.  Evidently that’s why Amelia Buragas was appointed to two positions by him.  (Zoning Board of Appeals and Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Board:  https://blnnews.com/2015/02/04/ward-4-forum-buragas/) With a limited pool of potential appointees, Renner appointed Amalia’s husband to the McLean County Regional Planning Commission.  http://www.mcplan.org/department/board.php?structureid=16 The […]

Hauman – Renner’s pick

By:  Diane Benjamin I wonder if Tari Renner wrote the campaign materials his picks are using for the Bloomington City Council:  Hauman, Painter, Buragas!  They all say pretty much the same thing. Luckily 2 of the 3 have a voting history on the Council.  Yesterday I wrote about Joni Painter’s campaign materials and her voting […]

Replacing Aaron Schock – breaking

By:  Diane Benjamin Look for an announcement here by 11:00 am tomorrow. A local law enforcement officer and naval reservist will be announcing tomorrow his intent to run.  He was already planning on running against Schock in 2016. Stay tuned . . . (He evidently changed his mind, or maybe Lahood called him too.)

Truth: Victoria Harris UPDATE

By:  Diane Benjamin Victoria Harris is a County Board Member.  Victoria Harris endorsed Joni Painter on her campaign materials. Victoria Harris attended the Bruce Rauner event in Normal yesterday. Victoria Harris is also quoted in today’s Pantagraph telling Rauner that teacher salaries at ISU are too low and the students are being hurt by Rauner’s […]

Pantagraph is censoring letters

By:  Diane Benjamin This morning I talked to a source who talked to the Pantagraph.  That person was wondering where all the Letters to the Editor were.  Many have been submitted in support of conservative candidates, few have been printed. This person was told the Pantagraph staff is FACT CHECKING letters before printing.  Evidently that […]

Painter: Intent to Deceive?

By:  Diane Benjamin A Ward 5 resident sent me Joni Painters campaign materials.  I’m going to separate her talking points from reality. Joni wants to “address our crumbling roads and deteriorating water and sewer systems”?  Ask her why the only money budgeted for 2016 comes from the Motor Fuel Tax passed last year – by […]

It’s a Setup!

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight the Bloomington City Council will hold more discussions on the Solid Waste program.  Renner and Hales are not going to be happy until the fees are raised – they need the money for stuff they want, not stuff you want! David Hales can’t make a decision on anything.  The consults hired […]

Jesse (not so) Smart

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday former Mayor Jesse Smart spent 2 hours on WJBC – mostly talking about local government.  I can only think of three things he said that I agree with: 1)  Government needs to spend tax dollars locally.  His example was printing brochures for the BCPA.  He said they are printed in Champaign. […]

Weekend Fun – Sort of

Why doesn’t the Coliseum pay property tax?

By:  Diane Benjamin Yes the Coliseum is owned by the City of Bloomington, but that doesn’t make it legally exempt from property taxes. Central Illinois Arena Management has exclusive management rights.  BMI Concessions is NOT a party to the original agreement between the City and CIAM.  Until I wrote about them, 2 other companies were […]

Raise garbage fees to gift the Coliseum

By:  Diane Benjamin The Flex basketball team played at the Coliseum last night.  I’d love to post pictures of the non-existent crowd – but the Flex put them on Facebook.  You have to see them there: https://www.facebook.com/flexbasketball  The page also has a pic of the sign the City is planning to replace – it appears […]

The Honorable Chris Koos

By:  Diane Benjamin Taxpayers fund trips taken by their elected officials without having a clue what the agenda is. This year both Koos and Renner attended the US Conference of Mayor where they unanimously supported net neutrality – the government take over of the Internet. I just got this tip from a reader concerning last […]

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