By: Diane Benjamin
From 5-7 pm last night WJBC had a round table discussion with 4 of the 5 mayoral candidates. Unfortunately, the sound was awful! As soon as the news director started talking, the sound quality went far south. It’s a shame the broadcast quality wasn’t better.
Ian Bayne did not show up for this debate. He also did not show up for the WGLT debate. I have been friends with both Ian and Kevin Lower, Kevin a lot longer than Ian. I was really torn having two friends running for the same job. I’ve watched Ian attack Kevin on-line, mostly without cause. Not showing up for two big forums finally cemented my choice between the two. I am officially endorsing Kevin Lower.
Now some notes about the round table:
Tari knows that Kevin Lower is his main competition. Renner attacked Kevin twice even stating that it’s not time for “amateur hour”. Tari added two more attacks on Kevin in his closing statement. Renner ran through the same list of accomplishments he runs at every debate. Renner still claims to be transparent even though NO current financial information is available. Truth matters, just not to Tari.
Bob Fike seems to think he can force the bars to move to the warehouse district or force them to get 51% of their sales from food. Fike doesn’t seem to understand the City can’t afford to come down hard on the bars, they make way too much money off the drunk kids. He also repeated privatizing the Coliseum and selling the never-used fire station of the west side. Fike mentioned the Huffs should be forced to maintain their buildings downtown. He implied they own the C2East building, David Bentley owns that one. Fike is also in favor of changing Public Comment to what’s on the agenda. I will be the first one to break that rule if it is ever put into effect.
Tari claimed there has been miscommunication with Normal the last 1-1 1/2 years, that was right after he said he meets at a “high level” with Koos. He also praised the local bus system even though they budget losses of $12 million a year and ridership constantly decreases.
I was surprised when Hauman stood for free markets on two items: affordable housing and entertainment. She didn’t go full libertarian, but it was nice to hear her say those aren’t the job of government. She blew it later when she again mentioned a pond in downtown Bloomington where kids could ice skate in the winter. Let the lawsuits begin! Hauman’s comments are getting old that the City only gets .13 cents of every property tax dollar. The library is part of the City but not included in that .13. They get a little more than .03 more. Bloomington Township is also controlled by the City Council – they get another .02. Not so cheap anymore!
Renner revealed some plans he has for the future. He wants the new library to be a destination – just like the Coliseum is a destination(ha). He would really like to attach a Community Center to it too. He claims it’s sad a City the size of Bloomington doesn’t have a City owned facility.
Renner kept saying the City budget was $220 million. Is that what NEXT years budget is going to Tari? This year’s budget is $207 million. Is Tari really adding ANOTHER $13 million to the budget? That would be a total of $53 million more sucked out of the local economy while Tari has been mayor. It has to be passed by the end of April, so they must be working on it. I wonder how much of it is funded by stealing more money from the water, sewer, storm water, and solid waste funds? How many tax increases are needed right after the election?
Tari used to say the streets will take decades to fix, now he’s down to “more than 10 years”. He was accused by Fike of being a tax and spend Mayor, of course Tari disagreed.
I can see people unaware of the facts falling for Tari’s cheery visions of utopia. If they don’t understand he is using their money for his vision, some will fall for it.
The Coliseum and the ongoing State Police investigation of course never came up. I have sources that say John Butler was busy shredding documents before he left the Coliseum. Tari never bothered to check the concession reports at the Coliseum which resulted in the City receiving far less money than they were entitled to. Then when Butler said he wasn’t renewing the contract Tari didn’t protect the taxpayers documents and failing asset. Tari’s utopia doesn’t involve responsibility – just your money. Diana Hauman told me at the GOP breakfast last years financial statements haven’t been released because they are waiting for information from CIAM. CIAM left almost a year ago, the City has spent a lot of your money on auditors, and still no data?
One more thing:
Some people ask why they would vote for Kevin Lower when all he does is vote NO. That one is soooo easy. The Council is stacked with 8 votes from aldermen who believe whatever they are told, so they are easy votes for Tari’s spending spree.
If more NO votes existed, the Coliseum would never have been built. David Hales wouldn’t be able to spend $50,000 without Council approval. The Enterprise Funds wouldn’t be robbed to balance the budget. A new library wouldn’t be proposed as a “destination” because common sense says government doesn’t create “destinations”.
That list could be MUCH longer. The choice in this election is easy.
- Big government controlling your life and stealing ever-increasing amounts of your money – Renner
- Smaller government that doesn’t suck the life out of the economy – Lower