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By: Diane Benjamin
Last night’s Committee of the Whole had a missing alderman: Scott Black.
Two citizens spoke during public comment. In an attempt to limit free speech, Mayor Renner stated that tangible positive comments or solutions work the best. Tari, the Attorney General has ruled that citizens have a statutory right to speak, your attempt to control what is said violates their 1st Amendment Rights – also as stated by the AG. See this binding ruling against McLean County: McLean County 30194 BO 14-012-1
If Renner continues to bully citizens at Public Comment maybe he needs a civil rights violation filed against him. Other Council members have attempted to limit free speech too, one alderman even walked out on a speaker. You’ve all been warned. It’s not enough that most of you aren’t paying attention to speakers?
Tari’s comments as usual failed, citizens that show up at public comment aren’t there because the City is going in the right direction.
For some reason the entire front row had reserved seating signs. It didn’t matter – nobody sat in the seats. I wonder who was expected but didn’t show.
SB Friedman presented the obvious, the last Giebelhausen plan was a disaster without funding. Now he claims the Downtown Master Plan is out of date and needs to be redone. He also stated the City should “vet” prospective developers to see if they have the capacity to follow through and make good deals. The implication was Bloomington hasn’t. (Read between the lines!)
Tari’s claims to fame are:
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Green Top
- Ovation Theaters
Note: None are downtown, most are located in strip malls. Green Top will also be a strip mall with two undisclosed other businesses.
“Circle back” to January 2015 when Tari gave a State of the City address, one of the many times he has declared strip malls dead: Your-Opinions-Dont-Matter-To-Tari/
Obviously he was and is still wrong – the exact opposite is true. I could add a pic of him cutting the ribbon at Dick’s opening last week. The downtown is dead, at least for investment by anybody willing to spend their own money. Many downtown businesses are not members of the Downtown Bloomington Association. Many don’t stay open for First Friday. If they don’t care, the citizens are supposed to?
The entire rest of the meeting was an attempt to focus the council on how to proceed downtown. The downtown stakeholders want a meeting in September.
Another Downtown TIF will be back next week. Hales/Renner are promoting just 3 blocks, some others want more area included. Nobody mentioned that downtown is already in an Enterprise Zone and it hasn’t helped: http://www.cityblm.org/index.aspx?page=414
Alderman Schmidt suggested adopting the Friedman plan, see the last page: http://www.cityblm.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=11038 It might make next Monday’s agenda. The small changes are positive steps, as Alderman Fruin stated “Quit trying to eat the elephant”.
One of my favorite parts is almost at the end of the meeting. Alderman Lower calls for refocusing the downtown plan. Renner interrupts as usual, some back and forth ensues. At 1:37 – Renner talks about having the largest private investment in decades – $53 million. It seems to have gone right over his head that plan is DEAD. Fruin and Hauman chimed in, then Renner reverted to the US Conference of Mayors and all the cities doing downtown revitalization. He also references Uptown, massive debt must mean complete success. Just hit play: