When do you call it EVIL?

By:  Diane Benjamin On April 20th the Bloomington City Council held a meeting with area legislators.  I hear only 2 showed. Here’s the facts: The meeting was held in a room where live-streaming wasn’t possible. The local bird-cage liner didn’t do a story on the event. Governor Rauner has proposed cuts to dollars sent back […]


By:  Diane Benjamin BlnNews.com achieved 500,000 page views today.  Thanks readers.  I appreciate all my readers, especially those who share the site. Edgar County Watchdogs just passed 2 million views.  Of course there are two of them and they have been doing this longer.  They also write about the whole state.  I’d like to catch […]

In Honor of Judy Stearns Update

By:  Diane Benjamin Below is a link to one of my all time favorite Pantagraph pictures  In case you forgot or didn’t know, Judy Stearns was accused in 2011 of having multiple homestead exemptions because of rental properties she owns.  Then Mayor Stockton tried his best to get her thrown off the Council, hiring 2 […]

LaHood: More disturbing Cash

By:  Diane Benjamin Donations to Darin LaHood from Political Action Committees: Source:  http://fec.gov/fecviewer/CandCmteTransaction.do BILL PAC See who donates and receives contributions from this PAC here:  https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?cycle=2014&strID=C00412288 The Founder of this PAC is a career politician and heads the Transportation Committee in the House.  Bill Shuster took over his dad’s seat after a scandal involving a […]

They found the video!

By:  Diane Benjamin . Watch the public comment at the beginning of the meeting.  Deb Polzin was especially good, but some of the others were great too.  No wonder the video got lost for a while. The standing ovation for Judy Stearns and her comments after begin at 27:00.  See Sage sitting the entire time, […]

Fly on the Wall: Embarrassed?

UPDATE here:  https://blnnews.com/2015/04/28/they-found-the-video/ I was flying around looking for video from last night’s Council meeting.  The work session is on-line, but not the Council meeting. Was David Sage embarrassed when everybody in the room stood and applauded Judy Stearns while he sat? Was David Sage embarrassed by his fawning over David Hales and demand for a […]

Council logic isn’t progress

By:  Diane Benjamin “We have to keep making progress” is one local talking point.  Progress to what is never revealed – just progress. Last night City Manager David Hales got another raise. The logic used was to compare salaries for towns the size of Bloomington – all in Illinois.  Evidently Renner believes Hales will leave […]

Fly on the Wall: PARCC

Heard this morning NCHS students can NOT opt out of the PARCC test this week. Money talks and Unit 5 is willing to use tyranny to keep it.  The Obama administration taught them well.  Tyranny works, unfortunately the kids are programmed to comply. Of course, the kids could pick the first answer for every question!

Darin LaHood: Please stop pretending

By:  Diane Benjamin If Darin LaHood is a TEA Party conservative, why is a group founded to defeat TEA Party candidates giving him money? Source:  http://fec.gov/fecviewer/CandCmteTransaction.do See this story: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/04/us/politics/tangled-role-in-gop-war-over-tea-party.html?fb_ref=Default&_r=0 “In the year since he stepped down from Congress, Steven C. LaTourette, a Republican from Ohio, has emerged as one of the top generals in […]

More throwing YOUR money around

By:  Diane Benjamin I’d love to know what this is, but last Monday I hear some Council members wanted the legislators to change the Freedom of Information Act Law so staff doesn’t have to answer them.  I hear Bill Brady told them to be more transparent if they didn’t want FOIA requests, that probably died […]

The latest EATING on your dime report

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington staff REALLY hates answering Freedom of Information Act requests.  Members of the Council think they shouldn’t have to waste valuable staff time answering requests from the public.  So, instead of sending FOIA requests to explain the spending below, let’s play a new game:  GUESS!  Staff doesn’t want to be […]

David Hales is sucking your money too!

By:  Diane Benjamin Since Hales is doing such a phenomenal job with things like great roads and public services, he get another raise Monday night.  The potted plants will of course comply, putting out scare propaganda like police and firemen will be cut if the State cuts our funds, must be rewarded!  Details here:  https://blnnews.com/2015/04/20/leaders-verses-crybabies/ […]

Golf and Coliseum sucking your money!

By:  Diane Benjamin Did you ever read a report on the Committee of the Whole meeting held last Monday with area legislators?  Evidently the bird-cage liner didn’t want to report the tears from the mayor and council.  Begging for funds to not be cut from the bankrupt State wasn’t colorful enough for them.  Maybe if […]

Judy Stearns deserves a ruling

By:  Diane Benjamin At the end of April Alderwoman Stearns is leaving the Bloomington City Council.  She chose not to run for re-election. Back in November of 2013 – way over 1 year ago – Stearns walked out of an Executive Session (Council’s Secret meeting) because she felt Mayor Renner was violating the Open Meetings […]

Happy Earth Day Suckers!

By:  Diane Benjamin The First Earth Day was in 1970.  One of the organizers was a now convicted murder Ira Einhorn, but I digress.  Below are what they predicted:  (Don’t miss 11 and 13) Behold the coming apocalypse as predicted on and around Earth Day, 1970: “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless […]

Prevailing Wage – Really?

By:  Diane Benjamin Who runs this state?  It isn’t the people paying the bills! See this site:  https://www.illinois.gov/idol/Laws-Rules/CONMED/Pages/Rates.aspx This link shows how much government if FORCED to pay in McLean County for labor:  https://www.illinois.gov/idol/Laws-Rules/CONMED/rates/2015/january/MCLEAN99.htm It is the law in Illinois that any project funded by taxpayers has to pay the prevailing wage rate.  Try that […]

Gov Units: Too many!

By:  Diane Benjamin One target for reform championed by Gov Rauner is decreasing the units of government in Illinois.  See this report by the Illinois Policy Institute:  https://www.illinoispolicy.org/reports/too-much-government-illinois-thousands-of-local-governments/.  Illinois has too many units and they cost taxpayers way more than necessary. On the Illinois Comptroller’s website is a tab labelled The Local Government Warehouse:  http://www.ioc.state.il.us/  […]

Brady/Renner love fest

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember the Bill Brady Grant – McGraw Park – Central Catholic – Jim Fruin fiasco several months ago? After the park expansion was voted down, Brady tasked ex-mayor Jesse Smart (who Rauner kicked off the State Board of Elections) with finding new places to spend his legislative pot of money.  Renner acted […]

Leaders verses Crybabies

By:  Diane Benjamin Does anybody else laugh at the New York state commercials?  You know, the ones promising new businesses will pay no taxes for 10 years if they move or start a business in New York.  Evidently Democrats (NY is run by Democrats) really do know low taxes increase economic activity and create jobs. […]

David Hales employment contract

By:  Diane Benjamin In case you have never read it, the contract is posted on-line:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=7935 This version is from April 2013, retro-active to January 12, 2013. The contract expires January 11, 2017. Hales was due for evaluation on or before January 12, 2015, but it still hasn’t happened except in emails from some Council […]

Did you pay an ObamaCare fine?

By:  Diane Benjamin The media has done a great job telling people if you don’t have health insurance under ObamaCare, then you have to pay a fine. They are also wrong! The IRS isn’t going to bill you.  It isn’t authorized in the law.  All the IRS can do is steal your refund. Don’t want to […]

Lesson: Government Ineptness

By:  Diane Benjamin All the emails below were received under the Freedom of Information Act. Laugh or cry, it’s your choice. Here’s the story: A guy moved from one location in Bloomington to another.  At his old place he had a 95 gallon cart, but his new place had the smaller size.  He called the […]

Call Hollywood!

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember when Bloomington bought new garbage trucks and cans?  Why doesn’t the City know how much money they are saving by automating?  How many MILLIONS did that cost, evidently the Council didn’t ask how much would be saved before spending the money and now the City doesn’t know if they are saving money. […]

Solid Waste + Steve Vogel

By:  Diane Benjamin Here’s the link to what the Council WILL pass Monday night to still not solve their garbage service problem:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8454 As predicted, the $50 per bucket charge was just to make citizens happy the City settled on $25.  Celebrate now, keeping in mind the taxes you already pay used to pay 100% […]

Bloomington AND Normal lost YOUR money!

by:  Diane Benjamin As reported in the Chicago Tribune:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-government-entities-lost-tens-of-millions-imet-investment-20150410-htmlstory.html The Illinois Metropolitan Investment Fund — which invests public money on behalf of municipalities, pension funds and local government boards — revealed in October that it had lost more than $50 million after investing in loans now at the center of a federal criminal investigation. […]

Right to Work heats up

By:  Diane Benjamin Get the facts on Right to Work.  The unions will be in Lexington next Monday.  They will win unless the Council has a spine, they will need your help. http://www.rebootillinois.com/2015/03/11/editors-picks/kari-lydersen/right-to-work-zones-key-to-prosperity-for-illinois-or-rauners-pipe-dream/34617/ http://www.rebootillinois.com/2015/03/03/editors-picks/mike-mish-shedlock/il-policy-institute-to-il-chamber-of-commerce-come-on-over-to-right-to-work/34106/ Below is what the a union sent to their members: Brothers and Sisters, I’m sure that you know by now that […]

Bloomington Council: Monday

By:  Diane Benjamin Below are some of the items on the agenda for Monday’s City Council meeting: Bills and Payroll: http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8450 LEGAL Contracted  59,280.00  (Springfield law firm) LEGAL Outside Legal Co 22,519.42 The Council will also approve the payment to me ordered by the judge even though the check has already been cut. Budget: http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8447  […]

Will Hales get another raise?

By:  Diane Benjamin Also received under the Freedom of Information act: So it looks like Hales, Schmidt, Sage, and Renner met to plan David Hales Performance Review. Sage slobbers on Hales at Council meetings – watch the videos. Renner made it clear at the Secret meeting resulting in Judy Stearns Open Meetings Act filing that […]

Bloomington: TIF district reporting

By:  Diane Benjamin Renner now has green light to create another TIF district in downtown Bloomington so he can have a hotel.  Bloomington elected his candidates last Tuesday, so the only thing that can stop him is the local taxing bodies that have to agree to not get any increase in property taxes if any […]

Report #1: David Hales

By:  Diane Benjamin I recently received a Freedom of Information Act Request on recently hired management by the City of Bloomington.  Requested were applications and resumes,  I also included David Hales. You can see what I received for Hales here:  Hales, David A Before coming to Bloomington, Hales was Director of Finance/Administrative Services for West […]