Weekend Wrap

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday Steve Vogel’s Saturday column was published, maybe next week he can explain it.  It served no useful purpose.  It wasn’t even entertaining.  He rattled something about Illinois never seeing Presidential candidates.  Must be jealousy.  Mentioned were Clinton, Sanders, Trump, Carson, Rubio, Huckabee, and Santorum.  Jeb is polling so low, Stevie must […]

Jeers Pantagraph!

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph really needs to give up being a source for any useful information.  They exist only to spew propaganda and publish pics of the local preferred royalty. Today is no exception.  They “jeered” the State of Illinois for delaying the start of early voting.  Of course they didn’t mention early voting […]

CIRA: Part 2

By:  Diane Benjamin The first time I sent a FOIA request to the airport for payroll, I received Medicare Wages:  http://blnnews.com/2016/01/21/cira-explain-please/. I did another request for the full salary and benefits paid to the airport manager, Carl Olson.  The original request shows Medicare Wages of  $175,710.68 I received this the second time:  (click to enlarge) […]

CIRA: Part 1

By:  Diane Benjamin The information below was obtained through by the Freedom of Information Act.  The Central Illinois Regional Airport auditors released this information in their report for the year ended 4/30/15. Source:  BNAA – FINAL – Audit Report – 8.20.2015 The airport doesn’t rely on taxes and subsidies nearly as much as Connect Transit […]

IRS: Your food is taxable!

By:  Diane Benjamin Should all the “business” breakfasts and lunches consumed by staff and the elected be called additional compensation, and therefore taxed? When only the “preferred” aldermen ever consume, how can the City claim they have a “legitimate business purpose” as defined by law?  What is the “legitimate purpose” for last Monday’s pizza party, […]

Abuse by the City of Bloomington!

By:  Diane Benjamin I find it hilarious that last night the Bloomington City Council held one of their SECRET meetings with “pending litigation” on the agenda:  http://blnnews.com/2016/01/25/tonights-secret-council-meeting/ Today the City lawyers have a new strategy.  I received this email this morning:  (click to enlarge it) The last time we were in court, Mr. Boyle claimed […]

Public Comment-the only interesting part

By:  Diane Benjamin The Bloomington City Council meeting didn’t have much on the agenda last night.  That usually means they are preparing big things for the next meeting.  Your wallet isn’t safe. Public comment showed the deep divide between citizens and the Council.  Think we are ignored by the people in Washington DC and Springfield? […]

Vogel: Get some facts first

By:  Diane Benjamin Saturday little Stevie Vogel spewed more nonsense in his weekly Pantagraph Editorial.  The best I can say is he put his name on it.  Nobody else at the Pantagraph is brave enough to acknowledge their work. Yep Stevie, Illinois is all but destroyed.  People leave everyday, more wish they could leave.  Jobs […]

December’s Eating and Traveling at your expense

By:  Diane Benjamin From Bills and Payroll, Monday night’s Bloomington City Council meeting:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=242&parent=9535 Just the beginning of the bills for Renner’s trip to DC: City Council Expenses American Airlines $ 305.20 US Conf of Mayors Wash DC Transportation for Mayor City Council Expenses US Conf Of Mayors $ 650.00 Reg. Mayor ‐ US Conf […]

LEGAL breaks the record!

By:  Diane Benjamin Yep, another Bloomington City Council meeting on Monday.  Yep, more approving Bills and Payroll.  Yep, Nobody on the Council will bat an eye at this one: $59,559.55 might be a new high for tax dollars being shipped to Springfield!  Jeff Jurgens and Springfield assistants are mining your gold. The remaining budget (until […]

CIRA: Explain please

By:  Diane Benjamin According to this Pantagraph article:  http://www.pantagraph.com/business/local/olson-gets-contract-extension/article_c3a51735-c4ad-5cda-853b-7704ebcffb8a.html – the Executive Director of the airport (Carl Olson) just got a 2.5% raise.  It also states he was earning $172,365 per year.  The article is a glowing endorsement of the great job he is doing.  Funny, because in January the Pantagraph also reported traffic was down […]

Ignoring the Elephant

By:  Diane Benjamin Last night’s Bloomington City Council work session never did ONE thing, clarify the purpose of government.  The elephant in the room is sucking the life out of the City because local government has no core values. Alderman Fruin tried to start a discussion of Council priorities – start watching at 1:11.  His […]

Empty buses

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve written a few stories about the subsidies handed to Connect Transit every year.  In other words, your tax money.  According to this article, between $8 and $10 MILLION per year:  http://blnnews.com/2015/10/27/hows-connect-transit-ridership/ Bus riders love to yell at me when I do these stories.  Somewhere a bus route or two must be […]

Normal eats at your expense too

By:  Diane Benjamin See this file, start at Page 9:  Master I don’t write often about Normal because it seems the citizens really don’t care about taxes and fiscal responsibility.    The list below I found while looking for something else.  If anybody in Normal does care, send the Town a FOIA request for more information.  […]

Call for Debate: Press release

Because voters deserve information before replacing Matt Sorensen on the County Board, I am calling for a debate between the 4 write-in candidates. I have scheduled a debate for Tuesday March 1st, 6:30pm at the Launch Pad – 315 E. Front Bloomington.  . District 2 stretches from Heyworth to Towanda, this location was chosen because […]

Hales’ November report is here

By:  Diane Benjamin David Hales’ NOVEMBER City Manager’s report is finally on-line:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=21&parent=8106 Zoo attendance is down again, but Revenue is up.  Before the report gets to why, readers have to endure glowing reviews.  When prices are raised and a tax is added, it’s not surprising Revenues are higher.  I wonder how many people came […]

Corruption Central

By:  Diane Benjamin Multiple Choice test: A)  Why is Matt Sorensen’s name not being taken off the March 15th ballot?  The “powers” think voters are just stupid enough to re-elect him  The “powers” want him re-elected so they can they get his resignation and appoint the person they want  The “powers” want the March 15th […]

Bloomington Work Session Woes

By:  Diane Benjamin Two Council meetings ago one person complemented the Council (during public comment) on how much better they are at working together.  Just hit play:  . The Council “working together” has gotten taxpayers huge deficit spending and a 1% Sales tax increase.  Expect more increases soon.  Is their job to “work together” or […]

Unit 5 – Because taxpayers need to know

By:  Diane Benjamin I finally got around to looking at the Unit 5 spending.  This isn’t the only report that will be coming, it’s just the first definitive information. Looking at the vendor payments, I saw many checks written to what appear to be out of district educations.  I’m not making a judgement calls, but […]

Schmidt must not know the snow ordinance

By:  Diane Benjamin From the City of Bloomington website:  http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=535_ Sidewalks: Property owners and tenants are dually responsible for clearing sidewalks, and by ordinance this should be completed by 10 a.m. Residents and businesses along school routes should consider getting it done earlier on school days. School students at times are trudging through blanketed sidewalks […]

Ever see a bad accident and NOTHING makes the news?

By:  Diane Benjamin Last Thursday about 4:45 pm I was headed into Bloomington via East Oakland.  The road was closed in both directions by A LOT of emergency vehicles, at least two big fire trucks and MANY police. There was so many emergency vehicles I thought for sure somebody had been seriously injured or maybe shot […]

Landlords Revolt! Update

Another link, more info:  http://www.athensmessenger.com/news/local-impact-not-expected-from-federal-ruling-on-rental-inspections/article_445cb108-ea0f-5498-b9e4-433713621313.html By:  Diane Benjamin Last night at least one landlord showed up too late to speak,  he didn’t know the public comment rules.  He wondered why nothing was done to stop the local boot on his neck. Easy!  You aren’t paying attention.  Nobody cares until the fees and taxes affect them.  […]

Where’s the media?

By:  Diane Benjamin If elected officials are conservative, the local media is relentless in attacking them.  Any representative opposing “progress” on the grounds it isn’t government’s job, will get vicious treatment for not going along with the majority. The majority is bankrupting taxpayers, but that’s immaterial to media. Examples:  Judy Stearns, Kevin Lower, and Lee […]

The saddest taxpayer moment from last night

By:  Diane Benjamin Besides the two aldermen who didn’t care enough about their constituents (Painter/Hauman) to actually attend the Bloomington City Council meetings, one other moment proved the complete incompetence of government.  Government uses your money, so logic, common sense, and fiscal responsibility don’t need to be deployed. Back in July of 2014 the Council […]

Sorensen payroll FOIA

Read carefully – this shows the total for 5 years!  Not per year.   By:  Diane Benjamin As usual, the County website has less information than any other government website.  Citizens would be appalled at vendors and the amount of County tax dollars they receive – if they knew.  Unfortunately, there is no yearly summary […]