Bloomington 1971

By:  Diane Benjamin A reader sent me this picture of Bloomington in 1971.  It clearly shows where the private sector thinks money should be! Mayors for decades have been trying to make downtown Bloomington a destination – using YOUR tax money.  You got a lot of debt and a Coliseum eating a hole in the […]

April 7th Bloomington lives or gets crushed

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington is stuck with David Sage and Karen Schmidt for another 4 years – neither has an opponent on April 7th. You are NOT stuck with Renner appointees Joni Painter and Diana Hauman.  You can choose to not be stuck with Renner’s choice for Ward 4 – Amelia Buragas. Even if your […]

Amelia: Looks like a problem

Another question:  Why are these guys reading this post? Washington, District of Columbia, United States Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans (216.59.96.10) [Label IP Address]  blnnews.com/2015/03/11/amelia-looks-like-a-problem/ (No referring link)   By:  Diane Benjamin http://thedorrislawfirm.com/amelia-buragas.php  (Click on the pictures to enlarge) According to the Dorris Law firm website, Amelia Buragas graduated from the University of Illinois […]

Pensions, Pensions, Pensions!

Corrected – David Hales budget increases By:  Diane Benjamin In honor of the Supreme Court meeting today to decide if the plan passed by the legislature to fix pension is legal: 2014 Total Compensation Report – City of Bloomington http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=6713 Of course the report doesn’t include totals, so here they are: Salary:  37,123,891.83 Overtime:  3,308,160.59 […]

More Coliseum fraud?

By:  Diane Benjamin Previously I’ve reported CIAM (Central Illinois Arena Management) reports profits and losses that aren’t close to what the auditor reports:  https://blnnews.com/2015/01/20/more-coliseum-fraud/. How are the CIAM numbers so far off?  (Almost $600,000 last year?) Easy!  CIAM creates the report, CIAM has no reason to tell the truth, so they report whatever they want. […]

Parent speak out on PARCC

The video below is 4 1/2 minutes of parents talking about Common Core and PARCC.  Do you see kids that no longer love going to school? This comment was made to the “I will not Comply story”: I am a school administrator…and your kid doesn’t have to take the test. The rules only say the […]

Bloomington: Garbage was free until 2005

By:  Diane Benjamin 10 short years ago Bloomington did not charge for ANY garbage or bulky waste pickup.  In 2005 the Council decided they could no longer cover the cost.  Previously the cost was part of the services provided by the City through the taxes you paid. This is from the FY 2005 budget, page […]

Bloomington Priorities: We need more money

By:  Diane Benjamin From 4/28/14 City Council meeting:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=6699 Item 10 E. Discussion of FY 2016 Budget Priorities. Motion by Alderman Fazzini, seconded by Alderman Stearns to lay this item over until the Council’s May 12, 2014 meeting. The April 28th meeting was where the budget was finally approved with tax increases.  Renner promptly started […]

Two other things on Monday’s Council agenda

By:  Diane Benjamin All information is from the Bloomington packet:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8269 – The City has to pay $10,260 to the IEPA for the Operating Permits violation.  They were sued by the Attorney General – documents are included.  The fine could have been a lot worse.  (Starts on page 50 – use the PDF page numbers) Meanwhile, […]

I will NOT Comply

by:  Diane Benjamin The kids at Normal Community organized their own protest against the Common Core PARCC test.   I congratulate the students who have not allowed public school to indoctrinate the FREEDOM loving spirit out of them! Kids and young adults know the country is on an unsustainable path.  My generation has allowed government […]

Tari spends without fear

By:  Diane Benjamin Tomorrow – the Bloomington City Council will hold a budget work session from 8-5 in the Osborn room.  IT WILL NOT BE LIVE-STREAMED.  I need video of the discussion, citizens should attend for as long as they can take it.  Public Comment will start the meeting. Monday night is the regular City […]

I opted my child out of PARCC

I received this email today.  It is printed with the permission of the writer.  Did you know the schools are wasting time practicing for the test that doesn’t count? WJBC is reporting that Normal Community students are planning a walkout to protest the test.  Opting out would be much easier. “Local School Official & Teacher […]

Surprise! Coliseum 3rd Qtr shows up today

By:  Diane Benjamin Of course the Coliseum statements for the 3rd Qtr (Nov 14 – Jan 15) showed up today.  The Pantagraph printed the fiction fed to them by Coliseum Management, so now they can release their statements.  First, look at the attendance report below. Cirque Du Soleil was a 4 day event – it […]

Media participates in Coliseum fraud

By:  Diane Benjamin I am going to keep using the City of Bloomington’s own documents to support what I write.  Remember this quote from the proposed budget: Staff continued to build strong working relationships with reporters from The Pantagraph, WJBC, WGLT, and other area media.  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8224  Page 116 Today the bird-cage liner regurgitates false talking […]

Open The Books strikes again!

By:  Diane Benjamin NOBODY has done more to force transparency on government than Adam Andrzejewski (An-Gee-eski) and his Open The Books project.  If you aren’t on his email list, you need to be!  Click here:  http://tinyurl.com/OTB-Email-List Open the Books has compiled a summary for every taxing body in the State of Illinois.  The entire list […]

Last night’s Aldermen debate

by:  Diane Benjamin If you missed the WGLT/League of Women Votes debate last night, you can listen to it here:  http://wglt.org/news/soundideas.php Participating in the debate were: Current Aldermen – Sage (unopposed), Schmidt (unopposed), Hauman (Ward 8), Painter (Ward 5) Candidates:  Franklin (Ward 8), Diaz (Ward 5) Ward 4 candidates debated previously, so they didn’t participate. This budget […]

Normal: Why?

By:  Diane Benjamin “When the people fear the government, that’s tyranny; when the government fears the people, that’s freedom.” Thomas Jefferson Last night the Normal City Council raised 2 taxes.  Remember, there is an election in April. Bloomington is holding off votes on a downtown hotel and raising garbage fees until after the election. Obviously […]

Opt your kids OUT of the PARCC test

By:  Diane Benjamin Many states have already opted out of the PARCC test.  Illinois has not, but that doesn’t mean your child needs to be subjected to it.  Tell your child’s school that your kids will not be taking the test. I’ve linked to 2 stories below.  Educate yourself, then decide if PARCC is right […]

EC Watchdogs: Front page of the Chicago Tribune!

They are the muckrakers of the farm fields, bloodhounds for small-town waste and corruption, self-appointed guardians of taxpayer money who comb through the books of municipal governments all across Illinois in search of misconduct and misspending. Kirk Allen and John Kraft call themselves the Edgar County Watchdogs. Others call them busybodies with too much time […]

TIF districts explained

By:  Diane Benjamin The City issued the following explanation of TIF districts with the budget.  See Book 2 – page 85  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8223 A Downtown TIF District was formed in 1986. A TIF (Tax Increment Funding) District receives the incremental property tax revenue for properties located within the TIF district boundaries. The incremental difference is the […]

Glaring error OR the Future?

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington owns many buildings that are deteriorating because maintenance is deferred.  The can’t afford what they have now.  Properties like the old Coachman Hotel could have been sold, but the City didn’t like the offer. The following is listed under accomplishments in the Capital Improvements Fund – Book 2, […]

Pantagraph Editorial resorts to comedy!

By:  Diane Benjamin If you are still a subscriber to the Pantagraph, ask yourself why.  Very little news is ever printed, just a lot of fluff.  They are best buds with local government, so heaven forbid they would criticize any waste of local taxpayer money. I found this buried in the budget under Administrative Accomplishments: […]

Bloomington Budget Bare Bones? Not really

By:  Diane Benjamin Want to balance Bloomington’s budget? First, cut the planned spending at the Coliseum:  $2,510,000  https://blnnews.com/2015/02/27/coliseum-2510000/  (Funny how the Flex has videos on their Facebook page from the equipment the City claims can’t be fixed!) The Zoo is a great place, but subsidizing it for $667,324 isn’t prioritizing spending.  Do you want the […]