BREAK Normal’s Attitude!

By:  Diane Benjamin

The Town of Normal doesn’t want citizens showing up at meetings like they do in Bloomington.  That is the reason their Public Comment policy requires citizens to sign up 2 hours before a meeting, not just walk in a fill out a card.

Remember the November 6, 2017 meeting where your property taxes were raised supposedly for pensions?  https://blnnews.com/2017/11/07/normal-taxpayers-got-scammed/

5 citizens spoke, 3 in favor of increasing taxes!

(all insiders)

The Town’s 2 hour policy made it possible to round-up 3 people to counter the two who spoke against increasing already outrageous property taxes.

I filed a Request for Review with Lisa Madigan’s office, but they refuse to do anything until a citizen is denied the right to speak.  See the ruling:  Public Comment

If anybody in Normal cares:

Go to the next meeting and request to speak 5 minutes before the meeting starts.  If you are denied the right to speak, the Attorney General will stop the 2 hours sign-up policy.  If you are allowed to speak, Normal just changed the policy without a vote.

Ending abuse of citizens in Normal starts here.

If this doesn’t happen Normal will continue to govern like laws don’t matter.

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Comments

  1. Strikes me as cowardly. Also looks like cronyism because they can favor certain people by telling them about this weird restriction in time for them to sign up while others who simply show up are silenced. If they also have the 30-minute max rule they could stack the deck with friendlies and exclude critics. This also gives the professional and corporate government people strong advantages over ordinary citizens. It appears this may already be happening. Sure sounds like an undue burden on citizens. Have you contacted the Citizens Advocacy Center? Or ECW?

    http://www.citizenadvocacycenter.org/uploads/8/8/4/0/8840743/public_comment_brochure_final_jan_2015.pdf

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  2. Workingman says:

    Koos stacks the deck with friends of the crown. No doubt about it. You have to ask yourself, why would anyone want higher taxes? Of course, the only people advocating for higher taxes are people that get things from government. Julie Hile…come on down. The average John/Jane taxpayer doesn’t stand to gain anything from higher taxes.

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  3. Craig Stimpert, Normal, Illinois says:

    Diane:
    About a year ago at this time I had a public access complaint before the Attorney General’s office protesting six points of the Normal City Council’s public comment policy. The need for advanced notice to speak was included among the items I protested in my complaint.

    Most of my complaint dealt with the 45 day speaking rule in which the public access counselor did rule in my favor and the rule has since been changed by the Council. They did not seek to recommend changing the advanced notice requirement. However, they did state that their policy about these matters is evolving and there’s a good possibility it will not pass muster if it is challenged by someone who has been adversely affected by it.

    While I do appreciate your concern about these matters, I do have to agree with the ruling you got. Your case is based on perceptions that however accurate or inaccurate they may be, at the end of the day it’s nothing more than a perception. I fought hard for people to have the right to speak and thanks to my case, the speakers at the Council meeting in question don’t have to wait 45 days for another turn. As much as I would like to see the advanced notice rule dropped it is not necessary in order for me to exercise my right to speak. I will abide by it however much I don’t like it.

    The point that I think needs to be emphasized here is how few people show up at public comment at Normal City Council meetings. I don’t think a change in this policy would yield more speakers, unfortunately. The last election showed an increased interest in Normal City government. I believe a lot of momentum was gained, but people have got to stay involved. This is our government and people need to stand up and be counted regardless of what their position is.

    I personally don’t have a problem with Mayor Koos recruiting speakers to support his cause, if that is in fact what he’s doing. Public comment is about the free and open exchange of ideas. We just need more speakers who will present an opposing view to what this Council seems to follow. My views are what they are. They’re neither confirmed or invalidated by other speakers. I’m simply exercising my rights to speak and I encourage others to do the same. When it’s all said and done may the best ideas influence public policy. I think that’s the whole point of public comment.

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  4. Craig Stimpert, Normal, Illinois says:

    Also, I want to point out that Monday night’s meeting is a Truth in Taxation Hearing to hear public comment about the proposed increase to the property tax levy. The speaking rules for Normal City Council meetings do not apply to this public comment time because it is a hearing. People are free to show up and speak about the tax increase, either for or against. No advanced notice is required. Let’s wait and see how many people show up.

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  5. ANOTHER “deficit spending” situation I imagine! One would SURELY think with there being $4000 a month apartments in UPTOWN and ALL the UPTOWN businesses advertising to “come spend some holiday time in UPTOWN” and what with PORTILLOS that UPTOWN would be so flush with money that Koos would be picking out a Lear-35d by now, just so he could fly around his ever expanding empire, not to mention RIVIAN and BRANDT. What’s up Chris. Trying to emulate other “successful” folks and just can’t keep up with the Trumps?? MONEY talks, BS walks… How about an answer Chris??

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  6. Does one have to be a Normal resident to speak?

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