Who’s on First?

By:  Diane Benjamin

At the Bloomington City Council meeting last night around 50 minutes was spent discussing the best way to take away your right to speak.  I have no idea what they actually voted on, it sounded to me like the changes to the ordinance were tabled until July.  But that wasn’t the motion on the floor.  It’s possible they voted for changes to the ordinance, minus the part about speaking to an agenda item.  The bird-cage liner thinks the whole thing was tabled.  The minutes should be interesting!

Obviously the ordinance changes were aimed at Cities 92.9 and Alton Franklin.  To Renner, it’s such a tragedy to waste 3 minutes listening.  Alderman Lower made a motion early in the discussion to table the issue until the next Work Session so citizens could be heard.  The vote was 4-4, (Sage was absent) Renner cast the deciding vote against.  He was joined by Buragas, Black, Hauman, and Painter.  Keep in mind the Council and the public saw the changes for the first time on Friday.  Even Jim Fruin thought they needed to discuss changes, not jam them through.

Robert’s Rules of Order are immaterial at Bloomington Council meetings.  Abbott & Costello would be proud of the comedy routine they inspired as performed by much of the council.  Several Council members tried to get a clarification of the motion, but it ended with nobody knowing what they voted on.

I need to start earlier in the evening though.  A meeting was held at 5:30, public comment was allowed before the Council went into their secret meeting – Executive Session.

The Edgar County Watchdogs spoke – Kirk Allen and John Kraft.  Judy Stearns also spoke.  I video taped their comments, when YouTube finishes processing I will post it.  Since public comment videos always focus on the speaker, I taped Renner and the Council’s non-verbal reactions.  I did the same thing for Public Comment at the 7:00 pm meeting – I will post some video on that later too.

If you aren’t familiar with Kirk and John, they are responsible for uncovering the corruption at the College of Dupage.  The Chicago Tribune featured their work on the front page.  They are also the guys who did a citizens arrest of the a Park Board for violating the Open Meetings Act.  Google them for more information.

At the 7:00 pm meeting Alderman Hauman didn’t apologize for walking out when a black representative from Cities 92.9 spoke at a previous meeting.  Maybe she was trying to redeem herself last night when she interrupted Renner to move to suspend the public comment rules.   11 people had signed up to speak.  I think all but 3 wanted to speak on the Public Comment ordinance change.

Maybe Kirk and John scared her at the earlier meeting.  Maybe she realized it wasn’t intelligent to ban 2 Watchdogs that drove 2 hours to be in Bloomington. (She would be correct!)  Since she had to interrupt Renner, he had ever intention of not letting them speak, we’ve seen how he “shuffles” the comment cards before.

Kirk Allen’s comments are a must see.  Many of the other speakers were great too.  Public comment begins at 12:50.  Please take the time to listen.  Fast forward if necessary.  John’s comments are in the middle, Kirk is second from last.


More later!








13 thoughts on “Who’s on First?

  1. So in the opening comments Renner says that “you can really say a lot in 10 seconds,,,” so why does he talk so much? Does he like to hear himself talk or just like to hog the conversation? Anyway council should review videos of themselves talking sometime. Talk about a lot of hot air. Boring. They should see how they slobber over each other and praise staff administration for doing their jobs. Sickening. Asking stupid questions but most definitely not asking the right questions. Wimps. With the exception of ex-Alderman Judy Sterns, current Alderman Lower, no one ever challenges the Renner. Flunkies. The Bloomington city council is inherently a joke as to what the intentions of what that body should serve.


  2. Renner’s actions last night could be grounds for another censure as a result of his bullying and failing to follow Robert’s Rules. Unfortunately, no one on Council is aware of that as an option.


  3. Maybe the ECW would like this tidbit:

    I have been trying to get the City to hold developers accountable for a year to no avail.

    The City Manager has chosen not to enforce Chapter 24 Ordinances against the developer, Mr. Snyder because the City is trying to negotiate a deal for a public park. Mr. Snyder’s company owes the City $562,000.00 which was due in the mid 1990’s. His Fox Creek subdivision has not been completed according to “A Manual of Practice for the Design of Public Improvements in the City of Bloomington.”

    CHAPTER 24: Section 3.9.1
    CHAPTER 24: Section 4.7
    CHAPTER 24: Section 2.15

    CHAPTER 2 : Section 39 : City Manager – Powers and Duties Generally.
    A. The Manager shall have and exercise all powers and duties assigned to him by statute and such other authority as may be granted by the City Council. He shall be charged with the enforcement of all laws and ordinances within the municipality insofar as their enforcement is within the powers of the City. He shall exercise all powers conferred by law upon the municipality but not specifically conferred upon any official.


      1. The information on Snyder is in the City Council Meeting packet from April 14, 2014, January 12,2015 and June 8, 2015. It is listed in the Consent Agenda under “Tolling Agreement with McLean County Land Trust CC-1” The City Manager explained about the park deal at the June 8th meeting after I cited the ordinances during Public Comment. As of March 9, 2015, another developer, Mr. Bielfeldt, owes the City $161,000.00 for “tap-on” fees due since 2001.


  4. Snyder has been getting away with this for decades. So have most of the developers including Bill Brady. Mr. Fruin’s comment says it all. Snyder’s partner is on the Budget Task Force and Snyder is on the Downtown Strategy Steering Committee so they will just let it go.


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