Guest Letter to the Council and Mayor

Dear Council Members and Mayor,

If you are not able to answer the below questions, please refer me to the correct staff members.

On August 28, 2017 members of the Bloomington City Council (or at least 5 of you) voted to turn the Downtown Business Association into a government entity. The DBA was given $850K over 5 years to pay the DBA to manage the downtown district. The expectation was supposed to end in 2011. The funds would then come from dues paid by business owners. However, on August 28, 2017 5 members of council voted to ensure businesses no longer needed to contribute and that they would have no “skin in the game”.

“According to the Pantagraph in 2009, then Mayor Stockton claimed $12,000,000 had been pumped into downtown.” Blnnews.com

During the vote on August 28, two members of Council recused themselves…but Mathy (former president of the DBA who also happened to be appointed to replace Bernie Anderson back in the day even when Kevin Lower was the only citizen on the ballot) recused himself. Which is a joke. He has been lobbying the Council as a member of the DBA, so walking out of a Council meeting for a few minute discussion is bullshit. And Painter, I don’t even understand why she recused herself. Either way 21% of the Citizens in Bloomington had no representation on this vote. Isn’t there some law about taxation without representation…and if Council members are going to start recusing themselves from votes shouldn’t the Council Member who works for a law firm located in down town Bloomington recuse herself as the city funding of a council would personally benefit her and her employer. At least one council member is a personal friend of Trisha Stiller and should have recused herself, which would have, I believe left the Council without a Quorum. I challenge the validity and legality of the entire vote.

In addition the assistant city manager noted that this new government entity would be responsible for cleaning up downtown in reference to homeless human beings…

Alderman Mwilambwe questioned at the time Assistant City Manager Rasmussen about the staff of DBA taking care of the “homeless, homeless issues.”

Rasmussen stated: We’ve talked about how can “Try to limit the more offensive aspects of that.” Homelessness is offensive. Imagine living on the streets of a community, owning nothing, and having a bunch of elite horrible people trying to move you away from the services you desperately need. The Assistant City Manager talking about people as if they are something to be cleaned up is also offensive.

Further comments by Rasmussen in response to the question about homeless individuals, “Well yes what happens as a part of our discussions we recognized that there are people have a right to be on the street but also there are problems with businesses and families who shop down town…there are somethings we have been working on…perhaps public bathrooms…another thing we have talked to about providing more information on town…There have been homeless people taking possession of our benches…we want to have the appearance of cleanliness.”

I need to know and so do the rest of the citizens in Bloomington, what experience and qualification Tricia Stiller has with homeless populations or social work. There was no search for this position and she was not named interim and I question the legality of and ethics of such an appointment and the vote which led to this appointment to this position by the Council.

What I question mostly and frequently is WHO DO YOU REPRESENT? Council members continue to fail the vast majority of citizens. Council members do not respond to citizens at Council Meetings, which is fine, but since you all have my email address perhaps you could respond. In fact, I’ve been to almost every Council meeting, except the sneaky one on October 26 for the last 6 weeks, and Council members are typically busy speaking with each other and lawyers. Seems odd that you aren’t interested in hearing from citizens unless it’s meeting them for coffee in a “safe space”. Frankly, shouldn’t City Hall be a safe place?

I am asking questions and I expect to receive answers, preferably in writing.

How and at what point is it decided that a Council Member does not have to represent their ward and can recuse themselves from voting in a way that reflects the wishes of the ward they represent?

What is the policy for appointing city employees and if a Council is voted off can that person be fired and a different person that the new Council believes meets the needs of that position and the community better replace them? If not why was a search to fill this position and job description not available before the vote?

Since I now, as a taxpayer, own the benches downtown, what is the time limit for sitting on one?

Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank Alderman Mwilambwe for standing up for citizens and asking the Council to consider the possibilities instead of rushing to vote on an incomplete proposal.

Thank you,

Angela Scott

 

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Comments

  1. Workingman says:

    If Downtown Bloomington was such a success and an economic engine, why does it need its own association backed with hundreds-of-thousands of taxpayer dollars? This is on top of the millions in taxpayer dollars spent on the EDC, Chamber, Visitor’s Bureau, BN Advantage, and other committees. For what? Face it, Downtown Bloomington is a joke and has been so for quite some time now. The Museum, Coliseum/Arena, and BCPA are individually and collectively demonstrable failures. The economic impact is pure fantasy. All we (and our children, and our children’s children) are left with are mounds of debts in exchange for subsidizing the desired lifestyle and indulgences of the members of government and their elitist cronies and pals. Hey City Council – Maybe that $850k can be better used to address the sizeable end-of-year layoffs/buyouts from State Farm that you refuse to acknowledge or even prepare for! Wait, what am I saying?! You’d probably blow that money on a consultant to tell you that the economy is fine and that we just need more “catalyst” projects in the Downtown to move the economy forward. Haha!

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  2. This open letter only brushes the tip of the iceberg.

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  3. Are the bums on the benches or seated at the city council? I feel as a voting citizen that we have NO representation at this time.

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    • The Chamber of Commerce and downtown fans have representation, not so much the people forced to pay for it.

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      • A member of the DBA wants the rich people who work at SF to pay for downtown redevelopment.

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      • And we wonder why State Farm has been less than committed. Not!

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      • Skunk – That idea would require rich people who work at State Farm to still have a job. Come 2018, Bloomington-Normal will be a mess from the fallout at SF. Oh, but don’t worry, we’ll play musical chairs with government buildings in Downtown Bloomington. That should fix things, right?

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  4. WMBD News @ 10 will have a segment about homelessness in the Twin Cities.

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    • Interesting, timing is impeccable. Wonder who they will be interviewing?

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      • This will be followed by Tari and Friends in Downtown riding to the rescue with your tax dollars. Don’t let a good crisis go to waste. Over-under on how long it takes to form a committee?

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    • No committee needed there are a lot of good organizations already in place. The question is will City Council work with those organizations or choose their non-qualified friends and business partners to solve this.

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      • Oh I am sure they will bring in their own unqualified do-gooder friends to make things ultimately worse and possibly even undo the good that other organizations have done – perhaps their unspoken goal is to get the homeless to move to other towns – I could actually see that – If they can’t “hide them” then make it so convoluted and crazy to be in Bloomington they just move to say Decatur or Peoria. There is only so much that anyone can take of clueless and use less “do-gooders”.

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