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 words died.

The only values expressed, both by citizens during public comment and the aldermen, is we want it – it can’t be cut – hands off the stuff I like.

Former Mayor Jesse Smart thinks ALL the citizens of Bloomington need to pay for the BCPA because visitors come from out of town, and then spend money locally at downtown bars and restaurants.  If they stay all night, surprisingly they can find a hotel without one being located downtown.

Wealth redistribution seems to be the purpose of local government.  They want to tell you what entertainment you will pay for with higher taxes, the small percentage of local people participating is immaterial.  Deal with it.

See this story from last November:  https://blnnews.com/2015/11/23/bcpa-a-big-loser/

The Council kept mentioning an audit of the BCPA.  Unless they are looking for fraud, what is being audited?  The City has a list of expenses that revenue doesn’t come close to covering.  They need an audit to see it?

Alderman Lower explained AGAIN other possible cuts are being ignored because the Budget Task Force picked only things THEY wanted to look at – start watching at 1:021.  Of course he was ignored.

Maybe the next Council will understand that “Quality of Life” economics is bankrupting citizens.  By the time taxpayers are forced to subsidize the BCPA, the Coliseum, the Zoo, three golf courses, the Pepsi Ice Center, a slew of parks, two pools, the Lincoln Leisure Center, and whatever else I forgot – they can’t afford to use any of them.

Council:  Notice all the good paying jobs are fleeing Bloomington?

Good news though, the Council is now as sick of discussing solid waste as citizens are of hearing about it.  At 1:58 Alderman Lower reminded the Council garbage pickup was totally covered by taxes citizens already paid not that long ago.  Evidently Painter wants massive increases so they never have to discuss the issue again – she followed Lower.

Looks like all that was accomplished by the two hour round table is agreement they don’t have enough revenue. Expect increases.

One more note:  Alderman Buragas was absent tonight, of course no mention as to why.  Seems like getting 9 elected officials in the same room is just too difficult.  (Two missed the last meeting)




11 thoughts on “Ignoring the Elephant

  1. Hey I have quality of life! The snow plow went down OUR street 4 times this morning and spilled enough salt to fill 4 5 gallon buckets! We didn’t even get plowed LAST time! WOO HOO!


  2. Same ‘ol same ‘ol. Round and round on a merry-go-round. There was one point made by Mr. Hales at 56:00 about how the 1% tax increase will be allocated. Not exactly how it was presented prior to voting to raise the sales tax.

    The aldermen kept harping on the 0.25% tax increase from 2006 (which was to sunset in 2013 but did not) earmarked for the BCPA. Not sure if they understand that tax increase was to provide cash flow to qualify for the $14M bond issued for BCPA renovation. I can’t believe $1.7M is for operating expenses only.


      1. Alderwoman Schmidt is beginning to see the light about the “bait and switch.” She was visibly upset about that. How do you like your City Manager now? Want to renew his contract?


  3. One city manager and several assistants can’t figure this all out? I’m shocked to say the least.

    For what they have probably spent and going to spend on the BCPA they could have build a better facility on the east side or the west side with more parking and offered more shows. Wait wouldn’t that be competing with the “Big Empty Dome”?

    Thank gawd the old Wither’s Library building isn’t still around because they would do their best to preserve it and make the taxpayers pay for it. They’d probably make it into a art gallery.


  4. Speaking of east side – – – y’know, the side of town that people would actually leave their homes and drive to a venue on their side of town and has the discretionary income to spend on entertainment, that arena was supposed to be located on a frontage entrance parcel at the then new Central Illinois Regional Airport. Woulda been a great location . . . plenty of other open frontage parcels for hotels . . . big parking lot at the airport, plenty of room, etc. Mike LaPier had the Vonachens involved and the current CIAM management team were mere underlings . . . to be treated as the employees they were of the Vonachens. However, Mayor Judy Markowitz could not help herself but to “steal” the project. She started pretty quick out the gate, rabid w/excitement when Mike mentioned his idea. So, then she started emailing Butler and Nelson and others behind Mike’s back . . . before you know it, Mayor Markowitz is ‘apologizing’ and explaining that the project would really be better downtown. And we all bowed to the primacy of the goal of “downtown renewal.”

    Vonachen, the man w/the clout and the background in sports entertainment dropped out because he was all about the Airport location . . . since he saw the extreme benefit of travel/logistics made so easy for the entertainers/acts and patrons alike. How easy it would be to book some decent acts if all they have to do is get off a plane and drive about 1/16 of a mile and boom . . . they’re on-stage. And, if you’re a fan having fun at a show . . . basically walk in a nice brightly lit parking lot to your hotel afterward. No worries about getting robbed or mugged. Not to mention working w/airport staff as a landlord . . . all they had to do was pay the rent . . . airport management sure as shit wouldn’t be meddling. A hands-off approach . . . just collecting rent for the use of the land.

    Enough for now. Could say more.


    1. Was the parcel closer to the airport or was it to the west of airport road? There seems to be a lot of unused land in relation to the size of the airport. Would have been great location for the arena and a hotel and conference center.


    2. You know at one time the YMCA had land donated to them over on east Oakland and I recall a mentioning of some big name steak house restaurant was going to build nearby. The Y muffed on their deal and I never heard anymore about the restaurant. I wonder if they were part of the “plan” and pulled out when the airport deal went sour. I for sure can’t remember the name of the restaurant. It definitely wasn’t Baxters.


  5. This should not surprise anybody. If the Council was serious about making cuts they never would have started the “discussion” with a tax increase. David Sage wanted an assurance from all Council members that they would look at cuts after they voted in favor of a tax increase. Well, they looked at them, nobody wants them so now it’s time to move on with the sales tax increase in place just as the Council wanted all along. This is a sick joke if I ever saw one. What difference does it make if Amelia is present or absent. She’s got plenty of people doing her bidding for her.


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