Tari’s free lunches

By:  Diane Benjamin This receipts were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.  The PCard report only stated Business Lunch – Tari Renner.  Since Tari’s calendar had already been obtained by FOIA, I can tell who he ate with.  (click on the receipts to enlarge)         Either their shared or Jim paid […]

Pantagraph: Real news?

By:  Diane Benjamin A reader sent me the following email.  The Pantagraph is legendary for getting the facts wrong, but they can’t get their own facts straight? These guys can be trusted to accurately report news? (Note:  Another example of why I started BlnNews more than 4 years ago.) . . .  

Normal’s Board election

By:  Diane Benjamin Of course the vote is fixed in Normal.  The Chamber of Commerce picks the biggest spenders and advertises for them.   Only Koos approved YES people get appointed to vacancies. Still, it doesn’t take that many votes to win a seat.  The biggest problem is candidates are forced to run in the […]

Let’s steal an election

By:  Diane Benjamin Almost four years ago, Bloomington voted for Tari Renner as Mayor.  He was elected with 5005 votes.  Total registered voters were 46,740.  The election was stolen by the few people who bothered to vote, a lot of them IWU students who have graduated and left Bloomington. Kevin Lower was elected with 615 […]

Jim Fruin: Compare Benefits

By:  Diane Benjamin At last Monday’s council meeting the City looked at changing health insurance benefits for employees.  Alderman Jim Fruin mentioned the City coverage should be compared to the private sector to see if City benefits are “gold-plated”. The plan for just my husband and myself (through his employer) changed as of July 1st.  […]

Why your basement floods

By:  Diane Benjamin h/t A local businessman If you leave along Clinton in Bloomington and are experiencing flooding problems, blame your City. See the pics below – note some show well established weeds blocking drainage – not to mention lots of debris. How about all that hired summer help spend the last half hour every […]

UpTown broke?

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday I showed how Normal’s Uptown TIF is most likely not generating enough TIF money to cover expenses:  https://blnnews.com/2016/07/26/more-uptown-tif/ Here’s more proof: The 2014 TIF report shows some sharing of revenue with other taxing authorities:  Page 5  ftp://ftp.illinoiscomptroller.com/LocGovTIF/FY2014/06409531/14TIF06409531Downtown_volpment.pdf  The 2013 TIF report also shows sharing taxes:  Page 5  ftp://ftp.illinoiscomptroller.com/LocGovTIF/FY2013/06409531/13TIF06409531Downtown_volpment.pdf The 2015 TIF […]

Last night-Bloomington Council

By:  Diane Benjamin The Davids were missing:  Hales and Sage. Renner declared July Parks and Recreation month, no word on why he waited until the 25th of July. David Hales has hired yet another assistant:  Melissa Hon.  Administrative costs continue to rise while essential services aren’t performed.  Expect that to continue since big government always […]

Sometimes new laws are good!

By:  Diane Benjamin Last week Governor Rauner signed the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act.  See it here:  http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=88&GA=99&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=4379&GAID=13&LegID=93136&SpecSess=&Session= Here are some highlights: One problem: It doesn’t apply to Home Rule cities – Both Bloomington and Normal are Home Rule. Heartland and the local schools will have to comply.  If Bloomington and Normal cared about […]

Health Insur: Gov vrs US

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight the Bloomington City Council will consider changing providers for Employee Health Insurance.  It could save A LOT of money: Under Obamacare, employers with “Gold plated” insurance were supposed to pay significant penalties.  Enactment of that provision got delayed after the people receiving it threw a fit at possibly paying more or […]

ADA Non-Compliance

By:  Diane Benjamin Making sidewalks ADA compliant is expensive.  However, it’s a total waste of money if people with disabilities have to traverse trash and mud, not to mention standing water when it can’t drain. The Downtown Bloomington Association isn’t bothered by this?  Downtown merchants?  

Hey Steve Vogel:

By:  Diane Benjamin Stevie, How did Cleveland go?  In Ohio, where Open Carry is legal, nothing happened!  No dead bodies in the street.  No shootouts between Trump and Cruz supporters.  Even the New Black Panthers didn’t cause any trouble. Shootings happen where nobody can shoot back. Need a “safe space” dude? I can’t want to […]

Indoctrinated media: Pantagraph

By:  Diane Benjamin A citizen FOIA’d the City of Bloomington for Tari Renner’s calendar.  I predict Tari won’t be putting everything on his calendar anymore. See his June calendar here:  Renner calendar There are a lot of interesting items – see them for yourself.  Some entries are redacted.  Tari has some personal items listed, so […]

More Tari eating by himself?

By:  Diane Benjamin From Bills and Payroll for Monday night:  http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=10911 In June I posted receipts showing Tari Renner is feeding himself and calling it “business meal”:  https://blnnews.com/2016/06/30/free-lunches-do-exist/ This month’s P-Card spending shows more Renner meals with no one else listed.  Of course I’m going to file a FOIA for the receipts. More questions:  Eric […]

Court Update

By:  Diane Benjamin Making a trip downtown requires pics of almost empty buses – so here’s a couple: Speaking of downtown, the law firm representing the former Coliseum Manager is moving to Hershey Road.  They are leaving downtown because parking, accessibility for clients, and space issues made it difficult to stay in their current location.   […]

Allin Township: Guilty of noncompliance

By:  Diane Benjamin Last November I wrote about the ever-changing hourly wages paid to Josh Deterding:  https://blnnews.com/2015/11/13/allin-township-ask-eidenmiller-to-explain-this/ There was always more to the Deterding story than media has reported.  Investigations should have included public officials. Josh filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor.  They found in his favor and ordered Allin Township to […]

More Connect Transit News

By:  Diane Benjamin The next Board meeting for Connect Transit is July 26th at 4:30.  Meetings are held in the Board Room at 351 Wylie Drive, Normal. The packet for the meeting has not been posted yet, but Connect Transit’s year-end was 6/30/2016.  This meeting packet will show the total operating losses for the entire […]

Good Fairy Durbin

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.kfvs12.com/story/32481217/il-sen-durbin-announces-28m-in-funding-for-housingcommunity-development Dickie Durbin is throwing YOUR money all over the state.  The war on poverty, launched under LBJ, should have completely eliminated it by now, but no.  Instead it enslaved people IN poverty.  Obviously throwing money at people doesn’t work.  That doesn’t stop Dickie however. Bloomington got some, not enough to do […]

Structural Deficits

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington continues to hide the formerly transparent tax receipts.  That means they are either way above projections or dropping like a rock.  There is no way of knowing since transparency died.  Thank Alderman Hauman for suggesting the City Manager’s Report doesn’t need to be done.  I agree printing it […]

Downs: The audio

By:  Diane Benjamin I obtained the audio of the July Board meeting under the Freedom of Information Act.  I also requested the past due TIF reports and the 2015 audit report.  I was told “No records exist”.  Since Kenny Adkisson mentions on the audio receiving TIF funds, I did another FOIA for how much he […]

Court this THURSDAY

By:  Diane Benjamin Neither defendant responded to my latest court filing! Did they finally give up? Court might get as hot as it’s going to be outside. Start time is 1:15, Courtroom 5C.  The media won’t be there, so I hope YOU are. I’ve been writing about the Coliseum for YEARS.  For new readers, this […]

Renner’s folly

By:  Diane Benjamin Review of the downtown hotel timeline: May 2015 Jeff Giebelhausen wants the City to pay $8.2 million for “shovel ready” land.  He wanted a fast answer – he claimed his option for the land had a time limit. It failed to get support of the Council. The proposal included tearing down the […]

Mr Koos goes to Washington

By:  Diane Benjamin Unlike the Constitution Mr. Smith (Jimmy Stewart) took to Washington DC (the original), Chris Koos wrote one to serve his purpose.  He was quoted in the paper:  “Federal support for transportation is a longstanding tradition and a core constitutional responsibility.” Maybe somebody should ask Koos where he found that in the Constitution.  […]

Attn: Steve Vogel’s neighbors

By:  Diane Benjamin In honor of Steve Vogel’s column today spewing a complete lack of knowledge of concealed carry, and his broadcast of places where people don’t have the right to defend themselves (gun free zones), I suggest you get signs for your yards: Vogel obviously wants to be a victim.  

It’s always the cover up (James & Renner)

By:  Diane Benjamin Mayor Mike James of Downs has a lot in common with Bloomington’s Mayor, Tari Renner. Both had a chance to not have situations explodes, but both chose to pretend nothing happened. Mary Goveia set up a meeting with James to discuss Adkissons liquor problems, he never showed.  He must have thought Mary […]

I couldn’t decide . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin I couldn’t decide which story to do, so I’m throwing THREE into one story. 1) Are employees fleeing?  THREE Manager openings at once!  http://www.mcleancochamber.org/chamber/job-openings 2) This one is funny!  The Title in the printed version of the Pantagraph was “Visitors center a strain on museum” The on-line version got changed:  http://www.pantagraph.com/news/national/government-and-politics/museum-seeks-help-for-route-center/article_97cecedb-3e91-5734-8da3-246c1fa238d6.html “Museum […]

Renner’s downtown

By:  Diane Benjamin Renner isn’t responding to the market, he’s trying to create one.  Just like he claims bike paths and buses are the future, he continues to claim Bloomington’s future is downtown.  Decades of massive spending haven’t been enough. Here’s a little Renner history.  Not included are the Downtown Streetscape Plan and the Downtown […]

Renner/Hauman not attached?

By:  Diane Benjamin Diana Hauman first got a seat on the Council by being hand-picked by Tari Renner to fill a vacancy.  She was then elected in 2015. Every once in a while I’m surprised by Diana, like her objections to Geoffrey Tompkins’s appointment last Monday.  At other times, I just want to say:  REALLY? […]

Start at the beginning: Tari & Judy

By:  Diane Benjamin The Executive Session that Judy Stearns walked out of was held during a RETREAT held 11/15/2013 and 11/16/2013.  Tari had been Mayor since May 1st. The retreat was held at the Den at Fox Creek – so NO video exists because the retreat room isn’t equipped for live stream. On the 15th, […]

Stearns response to Renner – Part 2

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday I posted the 2nd email Tari Renner sent to Judy Stearns, but I didn’t post Judy’s response.  See this post:  https://blnnews.com/2016/07/13/renner-emails-judy-again/ The original email exchange started here:  https://blnnews.com/2016/07/13/renner-hauman-running-scared/ As a review, here is Tari’s 2nd email: Here is Judy’s response: The next Council meeting could get interesting! Maybe Tari can explain […]