Update to Hiding BCPA numbers!

By:  Diane Benjamin The numbers for the Cultural District were included BELOW Parks and Rec.  Thanks to the person who pointed that one out. Update to this story:  https://blnnews.com/2019/10/30/hiding-bcpa-numbers/ https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23337 PDF page 195 PDF page 196 Can somebody explain why this is a great idea?  Why is attendance way down? It isn’t Quality of Life […]

Bloomington Featured Nationally

By:  Diane Benjamin A national magazine for Municipalities features Bloomington in their just released November publication.  This is a link to the entire edition:  http://www.themunicipal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Municipal-NOV-2019-WEB-linked.pdf The Bloomington merger of the water and public works departments is covered on PDF pages 32-34.  Successful Merger According to the article, Bloomington is saving $250,000 per year by not […]

Streator: Your leaders are getting advice from Bloomington’s Mayor!

By:  Diane Benjamin (living rent free in Tari’s head) https://www.mywebtimes.com/2019/10/30/streators-strengths-weaknesses-analyzed-in-study-session/auiei0m/ Quotes: Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner spoke to Streator officials about the city’s future Tuesday night during a planning session for the City Council and its six department heads. Renner said he is blown away by the city’s sense of volunteerism and couldn’t believe the efforts […]

 Fly On the Wall: Normal raising Taxes!

The buzz:  Normal is raising property taxes on Monday! Will the fake Republicans vote to take your money? Will Democrats tell you they have no alternative? Will Chris Koos resign? Lyle Sumek doesn’t allow budgeting pension expense? Will Marxist Illinois ever fix the pension crisis? Only New Jersey has higher property taxes, is Normal trying to […]

Hiding BCPA numbers

See update:   https://blnnews.com/2019/10/31/update-to-hiding-bcpa-numbers/ By:  Diane Benjamin Read this one slow!  Lots of info to absorb. The ONLY mention of the BCPA in the just released financial statements is the number of employees – PDF page 194  https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23337 First, note the BCPA is part of Parks and Recreation.  Second, celebrate the number of employees has decreased.  […]

More on Michelle Anderson – County Auditor

By:  Diane Benjamin The statement below is from the City of Bloomington’s CAFR for the year ended 4/30/2019.  Yes, they finally got around to posting it but it still hasn’t been presented to the Council.  Of course data that is 6 months old is pretty useless in the private sector, why care about what government […]

Liquor Commission Facts

By:  Diane Benjamin This is the Liquor Commission in Normal:  https://normal.org/399/Liquor-Commission The entire Town Council in Normal is the Liquor Commission. Bloomington used to have a Liquor Commission made up of appointed citizens, if I remember right there were 7 members including the mayor. This is the Liquor Commission now: Link to the Liquor Commission […]

Bloomington Regular Agenda

By:  Diane Benjamin At 1:221:45 the Bloomington Council finally got to the regular agenda. First was hiring a consultant to update the historical preservation plan.  The City Planner claimed this group is going to do extensive public outreach.  (Bring it On Bloomington flopped, but the results of that public outreach are golden  https://blnnews.com/2014/09/19/bring-it-on-bloomington-flops/) One thing […]

Update: Temporary detour from Council . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin 1) The Director of the McLean County History Museum recently left after only 1 1/2 years on the job.  Was there some financial improprieties?  I’m hearing rumors.  If this is true it is yet another person allowed to quit without an investigation.  He then moves on to do the same thing somewhere […]

LONG Bloomington Council meeting last night

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington Council last night: Public comment started at 25:50.  The first two speakers wanted to slow down the cannabis discussions.  The 3rd speaker was in favor of hiring a consultant for historic preservation.  4th was a frequent pot user and Renner supporter.  When he started to abuse aldermen who don’t want cannabis […]

Election Integrity – Illinois

There is a group of citizens working with Judicial Watch on Election Integrity in Illinois.  In an attempt to make fraud even easier, there is a bill that will be discussed during the Veto Session. A friend of mine wrote this Letter to the Editor  describing the problems with the bill.  Your reps in Springfield […]

Bloomington’s Agenda tonight

By:  Diane Benjamin http://bloomingtonil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1044&Inline=True The library needs a new sorter, a tractor got inserted with it – evidently No-Bid: Since the current crop running the City of Bloomington believes government creates prosperity, they will be spending your money to plan how: The Coliseum and BCPA were sold as revitalizing downtown.  Both were government plans, there […]

Pension Debt: Reserve the UHaul now

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington has finally posted the 4/30/19 financial statement. OPEB = Other Post Employment Benefits Both Bloomington and Normal are in more debt now because of pensions and OPEB. Bloomington has almost $231,000,000 in long term debt and growing Normal has more than $186,000,000 in long term debt and growing. Illinois isn’t even […]

More on the Coliseum LOSS

By:  Diane Benjamin On September 16, 2019 VenuWorks presented THEIR report to the Council.  We know now the report was fictitious.  The audited loss is much higher, VenuWorks should only be allowed to present audited financial statements in the future.      https://blnnews.com/2019/10/25/how-much-the-arena-really-lost/ 11:45 – Kimberly Bray thanked Lynn Cannon for everything contributed and the fantastic […]

How much the ARENA really lost

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember the celebrations when VenuWorks announced they ONLY lost $276,367? They budgeted a loss of $495,514, so everybody happily reported they lost less than expected.  See PDF page 27:  https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23151 Long time readers won’t be surprised to learn the auditors didn’t agree with the  VenuWorks accounting. The audited financial report has appeared […]

What’s Bloomington paying Monday night?

By:  Diane Benjamin https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23355 I’m not sure all these PCard purchases were reflect in event expenses.  Walking With My Ancestors doesn’t show any catering or concessions:  https://blnnews.com/2019/10/22/bcpa-as-predicted-foia-denied/ Of course the $1500 for the announcement party wasn’t included.  Why does government send “flowers” and pretend they are sympathetic?  Using taxpayer money to express condolences is fraud. […]

Going to the ISU Homecoming Parade?

Ask the elitists: Why they needs to ride instead of mingling with their constituents How much the carriage cost taxpayers – in past years it was $700  https://blnnews.com/2016/11/07/normal-time-to-say-no/ Doesn’t Normal own any worthy vehicles they could have used Who will be riding with Koos since Fritzen and McBride are gone.  Will it be Chemberly Cummings?  Kathleen […]

Parents: Ask your school age kids a question for me

No hints on grade level, school district, or what channel: Are your kids forced to watch cable news during study hall instead of doing homework? I received one report of cable news on during homeroom.  I need to know what school and grade! Answer in comments or email me:  [email protected] Diane        

More proof laws in Normal are immaterial

By:  Diane Benjamin If Illinois had a competent Attorney General a ruling against Normal for their public comment policy would have been written many months ago.  (the law requires them to rule within 90 days)  We don’t, so Normal continues to stifle citizen speech only because they can.  A complaint was filed with the AG […]

What’s up with the E Lincoln HUD housing project

By:  Diane Benjamin The project at 2220 E Lincoln was announced last May.  Tari Renner claimed he had known about the project for many months:  https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/m-affordable-apartment-project-planned-for-bloomington-s-southeast-side/article_4c472d43-f960-54ed-a61e-16e8dc485048.html If this project is a done deal, why is this sign still up on the property? More questions, what is in this redacted email I received by FOIA?  Why […]

Normal’s meeting recap

By:  Diane Benjamin Chemberly Cummings didn’t bother to attend, of course nobody said why.  That led to some problems later with only 6 voting members.  A tie vote would have meant an item failed. Numerous items were pulled from the Omnibus agenda – all these things used to sail through and were never questioned before […]

Connect Transit data appears

By:  Diane Benjamin An addendum was posted to the meeting packet for yesterday with all the “data” normally reported:  https://www.connect-transit.com/documents/Meetings/Packets/ADDENDUM.pdf As reported in this story:  https://blnnews.com/2019/10/21/connect-transit-data-mia/ paying customers for September was way down from previous months.  The passenger reports were missing when I did that story, so that makes this information even more fascinating. Below […]

Update: BCPA: As predicted – FOIA denied

It must be too difficult to list each event held at the BCPA separately.  The posting buried two shows by posting all on the same link.  Normally each show has it’s own link.  These two actually made money, one would think they would want people to see them: Since September this brings income to $18,083.26 […]

Bloomington Public Comment – terminal employee

By:  Diane Benjamin When I was at the Bloomington City Council meeting last night I noticed numerous people wearing shirts with Boitnott Strong written on the back.  I asked one of them what it meant. A representative of the group spoke after Kirk Allen at Public Comment.  A Public Works employee has just been diagnosed […]

Jenn: failure to sell cannabis is racist

By:  Diane Benjamin Alderman Jenn Carrillo was upset at questions asked by Council members last night of the Cannabis Task Force.  She thought they were disrespecting the diverse group. She went on to explain that cannabis was only illegal because of racism against brown and black people.  She wants to tax money going to reparations […]

Stan Nord on property taxes and the role of Trustees

By:  Diane Benjamin Last night Stan Nord proved again why he was elected.  His comments weren’t until the end of the Council meeting:  1:49:05. The Town of Normal has leases that do not benefit taxpayers.  One of these leases is set to automatically renew in December.  I believe he was talking about Wild Country, they […]

Kirk Allen Back for Public Comment

By:  Diane Benjamin Kirk Allen of Edgar County Watchdogs was back before the Bloomington City Council again.  We will find out what happened to Officer Squires before he resigned. Kirk spelled out in his comment why the citizens need to know what happened.  Squires was suspended before he resigned.  Kirk read the applicable emails we […]

BCPA: One event posted, it lost money

By:  Diane Benjamin Evidently I have to file a FOIA to get event reports posted.  They will be posted and then my FOIA will be denied because they are posted.  I wonder if they would ever be posted without a FOIA? So far only one report from a month ago is available:  https://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-1784 This looks […]

Normal meets at 7:30 tonight

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight’s meeting is delayed because at 7:00 there is a tree lighting ceremony on the circle.   THIS HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO THE WEATHER.  The meeting is still at 7:30. http://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3436 A few choice payments tonight: This is the Florida guy who tells Normal how to operate: Who else contributes and what […]

Connect Transit Data MIA

By:  Diane Benjamin Question that will never be answered:  The main Connect Transit office used to be downtown before they built new offices on the far west side.  Why do they need a transfer station downtown now when they abandoned downtown?  Poor planning? From the Board Packets:  https://www.connect-transit.com/about/trustees/packet.asp Why was there a huge drop in […]

Have you noticed LAWS don’t matter?

When people like Chris Koos refuse to change the Public Comment policy until he is forced to, the above is the reason.  Who you elect matters, too many have no moral compass and won’t stop violating laws until they are forced. Angela Scott can’t make it to Public Comment Monday night because she will still […]

Where is the new gas tax being spent?

By:  Diane Benjamin Doesn’t Illinois have a law about where has taxes can be spent? If you thought it was for roads you won’t like this: Chicago Tribune:  https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-viz-illinois-infrastructure-plan-database-20191018-dti3anpgqng7bg6oh4f4yafosq-htmlstory.html There are over 3000 entries on the list of where the $45 million is going, so I could have missed some.  This is what I found […]

AG investigates Connect Transit – ADA

Connect Transit and both City Councils are not listening to transit dependent people who can’t ride the bus because of ADA compliance issues. Connect would rather spend $184,000 for showers than stop where people need stops.  If the Connect employees are in danger from oil and diesel fuel, somebody should call OSHA. I have little […]

Bloomington exposes email addresses

By:  Diane Benjamin Monday Bloomington is holding a Committee of the Whole meeting for two reasons: Discuss Community Development Block Grant Funds Hear from the Cannabis Task Force Public meetings were held for citizens to give their opinion on how CDBG money should be spent.  One meeting was evidently held at the library.  From the […]

Surprise, surprise – event report posted

By:  Diane Benjamin Update to this story from yesterday:  https://blnnews.com/2019/10/16/tari-on-wjbc-3/ Usually when there is good news people like to report it quickly.  The Luke Combs concert profit is good news, why it wasn’t posted as required by the arena contract is a mystery. https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23305 Country music concerts always do well.  If VenuWorks had self-promoted this […]