WJBC – broadcasting through tin cans?

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





13 thoughts on “WJBC – broadcasting through tin cans?

  1. In the beginning of the 21st Century when paper books are soon to be in museums – the mayor wants to build a new library with the hopes of making it into a destination? What year is Tari in? Libraries are no longer needed and the vast majority of them will be closed in 10 years or less. Tari’s destination is a highway to the past, not an expressway to the future.

    1. If JC Penny’s closes there will be plenty of Eastland Mall space for a library. That could very well happen. I looked for the closing list this morning and couldn’t find one.

  2. Actually, Tari is speaking “Two languages” He wants a destination library and yet he wants bike lanes, etc, for millenials?? How often do the under 30 generation pick up a book, much less BIKE to one? Maybe they can go to the library and get the new Lady Gaga CD? That is if it’s sold out at the stores in the TIF districts.

  3. I suspected from the beginning that Bayne was on the ballot to take votes away from Lower. Now that he’s skipped two events, I suspect it even more.

    1. I agree. Bayne is trying to lose the election. So why would he run? To keep the lone conservative Kevin Lower out is the only thing that makes sense.

  4. The Macy’s building is perfect for a library and when Sears closes (this will be happening this year) it can be the community center! Plenty of room out there at Eastland!

    1. The City already bought the land and paid for a plan. They’re going to do what they’re going to do come hell or high water.

    2. It was just reported that JCPenny is closing 13% of its stores. Also, Kohl’s had a losing Forth Quarter. Wake up, Mayor Renner!! Bloomington is in a recession. Building a new library in a digital age is lunacy regardless where it is located. Financial experts and successful business owners will tell you that raising taxes or cost of a product or service will result in a decrease of revenue at a certain point. Bloomington is at that point because revenue is flat. Bloomington’s job growth has decreased by 4.9% since 2012. It’s water usage has decreased reflecting a decrease in population. Who has been Mayor during that period? If the Mayor wants to take credit Dick’s, etc. then he has to take responsibility for the backward movement of the City. Time for a change!

      1. Just a little clarification – Bloomington-Normal is not in a recession (a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters). Bloomington-Normal is in economic decline. This economic decline is the result many factors. Outside our major economic drivers (State Farm & ISU) much of the economic activity here is retail oriented. Places to eat and places to shop have been big here. Retail stores are all being challenged by online shopping. The vast majority of the current 20th Century retail organizations will be out of business in the next 3 – 5 years. Bloomington-Normal has not been able to attract any new businesses. Economic growth for the leadership here is a new restaurant or a new hotel. We don’t make anything here anymore (a couple exceptions) so we are not bringing new money in. We are just recirculating the money that is already here. We need to bring in new and hopefully high tech businesses or the economic decline will continue and get much worse. Lots of empty building – increases in crime – more drugs on the street – housing prices falling – unsold houses – young people leaving as soon as they can – see Detroit for an example. Yet we hail a Hot Dog stand as economic development? Tesla is building 5 new battery factories across the country. Has the leadership talked to Tesla? Most likely not… not the kind of industry that would be welcome here. So if you think retail businesses are economic growth and you are not trying to bring in new businesses in to diversify your economic base you are almost assuring massive economic decline. We are beginning to see this now – it will soon be so obvious that even our leadership will be forced to admit it that it is happening.

  5. Renner sounds like a broken record that has been playing for over 4 years (this includes his last campaign(s.)

    The ground rules for the roundtable did not allow for rebuttal but Renner attacks people while “answering questions” and during his closing statement–rules don’t matter to him. He asks Kevin Lower “how many ordinances have you (Lower) passed?” Of course, Alderman Lower could not respond. Alderman Lower’s voting record shows he voted in the best interest of the citizens. He was instrumental is expanding the public comment portion of the Council meeting when Renner, Hauman and Black wanted it to be more restrictive than it was–violating OMA and 1st Amendment rights. Alderman Lower votes against regressive taxation which hurts the middle class and working poor. Renner and the rest of the Council vote in favor of increased taxation. Those taxes are then spent on entertainment for the few and rebated to wealthy developers. Alderman Lower has always voted in favor of providing resources for Police, Fire and Public Works. Renner doesn’t have the “jewels” to stand up to Koos when it comes to protecting the citizens of Bloomington. How many “new” residents has Renner brought to Bloomington with his “Economic Development?” How many additional “new” taxes dollars has Renner brought to Bloomington with all of his spending? What is the actual. real return on investment to the City? If there was a return on investment, there would be no need to increase taxes.

    I almost choked hearing Hauman talk about Property Taxes. She thinks and therefore falsely states that the small amount paid covers Police, Fire, Streets, Sewers, Water, Solid Waste, Bulk Waste, Public Works (snow removal). She feels it’s a “real bargain.” She has been on the Council for how many years? She has no clue about where tax revenue comes from and where it is spent. Property taxes only pay for Police personnel and their pensions; Fire personnel and their pensions; IMRF (other city workers’ retirement fund); Social Security and Debt abatement. The Utility tax of 2013 is “earmarked” for Police & Fire pensions as well–that’s how the City won it’s award for Pension Funding. “Streets 1.0” was paid for with Local Motor Fuel Tax added in 2013, 0.25% of the new 1% Sales tax increase of 2016 as well as a $10 million Bond (loan) issued 2 years ago. Sewers, water and solid waste are paid through fees–check the “water bill” sent from the City. These fees will be raised after the election–mark my words. Issuance of new Bonds for Capital Improvement and Infrastructure usually are accompanied with an additional revenue (tax) source–prepare yourselves.

    Facts matter!! Bloomington does deserves better!!

  6. “Silly – it’s not downtown!”

    Shh don’t tell Tari but downtown moved east around the end of the 1960’s, Maybe someone needs to draw him a map of where that is now.

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