The Connect Disconnect

By:  Diane Benjamin

Connect Transit appeared at both City Council meetings last night.  Isaac Thorne, General Manager, didn’t hang around the Bloomington meeting for long.  He rushed off needlessly to Normal since he wasn’t on the agenda until after public comment and regular business.  He could have answered more questions from the Bloomington Council.

The presentation in Normal was very long.  Isaac Thorne was joined by Julie Hile (a Normal representative on the Board) and Martin Glaze, the interim Chief Financial Officer

The Disconnect:

  • Connect Transit has an agenda that doesn’t “sync” with fiscal responsibility and common sense.
  • The majority of stops are not ADA compliant even though compliance has been the law for decades.  Connect did report riders can call and request a pick-up at an intersection if they are unable to navigate the assigned stop.
  • Obviously if the disabled were being heard and served by Connect Transit they wouldn’t be at every Council meeting in both towns stating their grievances.
  • Connect analyzes data to death to support their case, real facts like the empty buses everyone sees are immaterial.
  • Isaac Thorne would love for Connect to be their own taxing body.  If that happens it will be open season on taxpayers, neither City will reduce the taxes they charge you now.  They will simply divert the current contributions to other things.
  • Thorne claimed the highest priority is serving the transit dependent.  40 foot buses mean some areas can not be served because they can’t be maneuvered.  Obviously his highest priority can’t be met with huge buses and he hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care.
  • Increasing the cost to transit dependent low income riders is a knock-out blow to them with minimal benefit to Connect Transit.
  • Connect has budgeted a small amount per year to make stops ADA compliant.  They claim the process is time consuming and very difficult to fix more stops than budgeted.
  • The majority of Trustees and Aldermen believe the information Connect puts forth, those who don’t are cut off.  Transparency spending tax dollars is essential, that means asking questions.
  • Both towns will be asked to pay more, federal funding ends in 2024.  Neither town will demand smaller buses with the current Councils.
  • Connect is promoting a new “value card”.  Citizens claim it will cost them more.
  • The fix for eliminating the Olive Route still means less service to north Normal.

To understand the disconnect you would have to watch public comment at Bloomington’s meeting (posting later) and then the Connect Transit presentation and discussion in Normal.

Chris Koos cut off both Karyn Smith and Stan Nord when they were asking questions.  Representatives looking out of citizens can’t be tolerated in Koos world.  Koos did not want to discuss operations, only policy.  Koos’s version of “policy” doesn’t include real questions.  When Koos gets around to appointing a person to fill the long time vacancy on the Connect Transit Board it will be a person who doesn’t ask questions.

Chris Koos claimed only 1 person has asked to serve on the Connect Transit Board but is unavailable currently.  He forgot about Marc Tiritilli since his application isn’t the “right fit”.  Normal thinks appointments are a personnel matter, so they vote to approve people and then tell the public who was appointed.  Since these people work for taxpayers, unpaid, the taxpayers deserve to know before Koos slots in his favorites.  Government For and By the People is dead until Koos is replaced by someone who knows what that means.

From Normal’s meeting:

Karyn Smith gets cut off at 2:13:40

Stan Nord gets cut off at 2:47:20

Chemberly Cummings proves at 2:13:50 why she should not be re-elected in 2021.  She represents Koos, not citizens.

The Connect Transit presentation starts at 1:00:40.  Just hit play.



10 thoughts on “The Connect Disconnect

  1. It’s great to know that even people within the Town admin are growing tired of Cummings constant lecturing. She’s losing support even amongst her old followers. Nords doing fine, I just wish he would beat more on the renegotiation of the 1 Uptown space as opposed to pushing for sub-letting and relocating. Sub-letting seems to far out of reach, but renegotiating is still a serious option.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Connect Transit is politically on the run. Koos and his cronies are no longer able to use the disabled and working class as policial cover fire. (Remember, they care about the poor.) Riders are turning on Connect Transit and its supports. Connect Transit is no longer the third rail of local politics. The vast majority of BN residents think its a waste in its current form but do not object to at least exploring some sort of scaled down version. The answers as to how to fix or just start addressing Connect Transit are so obvious and commonsensical…that explains why government is ignoring them.


  3. I can’t really find the value Ms. Hile brings to the process besides trying to elongate the process she is working on. All I heard from her was mentioning why the process will take a lot of time time and how she can’t really provide answers. I’m discouraged that she represents Normal in this process, and Mayor Koos cannot tell the truth about the applicant process.


    1. But, oh TJ, she’s a nationally renowned expert on public transit. Watch the video. Didn’t you hear her begin her presentation with that? And, “we’re not going to make everyone happy. We can’t serve everyone’s needs.” When you begin the conversation with that, how does one dare to refute anything against her big government machine that she’s driving? And that’s the problem. The people who spoke last night during public comment are not being represented. Big government has failed them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. An old Turkish man I once had a lovely conversation with in the UK a little over 10 years ago, gave me some wonderful wisdom concerning leaders and those who should be in positions of power, he said, “A leader, to be a good leader, should be of the people, someone who understands the people he or she represents. It is foolish to appoint or elect someone to a position when they have no actual understanding of the lives of the people their decisions affect.” He was talking about Obama, he feared that the United States had made a very bad choice electing a man whose background, childhood and upbringing was not that of the average American. This old man was spot-on as time soon told. The same thing on a local level is and has been happening for a LONG time in BloNo.
    The people who have been getting elected and appointed have little to no understanding of the lives of the “average” people they have been chosen to make policies/rules etc for, and even worse, they don’t really care to learn, because THEY are the “smart people” and know what is really best for the peasants. The whole affair is simply a recipe for failure. A person does not have to actually be born into or actually LIVE the life of the people they serve/represent in every case – they CAN have simply spent enough time with them on a NON Professional basis to get to know and understand them, and I say this because people often behave somewhat differently and even speak differently when they are with a professional, be they a social worker, advocate even medical professional than they do when they are just with their peers.
    A good person to lead or advise Connect Transit would be someone who had REALLY had to rely on public transit for a LONG period of time and perhaps also someone who has a permanent or at least a long term disability themselves, in other words someone with very limited options BUT that person would also have to understand the economics and not just fully cater to a small population – in other words, you don’t need a full size bus to haul around 5 people along with many other things that could and should be addressed.
    Sorry for the long post, but I’ve been in a bit of despair for a while not knowing what to do to get away from this place, plus the amount of money and hassle that would now entail. Everything is ok in my life EXCEPT this town and this state and the direction they are headed. DIS-Connect is simply one of the symptoms of the disease of creeping socialism and progressive democrat destruction and living in a city and state being led mostly by either utterly incompetent imbeciles OR truly diabolically evil self serving people or a combination of the two.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly – good example, she does live in a bit of a bubble as well. Yes, I very casually know her. It has admittedly been several years since I actually spoke with her though. I’m sure it’s the same bubble that it’s always been though.

        Liked by 1 person

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