Unit 5 indoctrinating kids with CNN

By:  Diane Benjamin I haven’t FOIA’d other school districts yet, but I’m betting this is widespread. I was contacted weeks ago by a person who’s grandson was unable to study during STUDY HALL because the teacher always had CNN10 on instead of allowing quiet time.  This was at Kingsley Junior High.  This person has watched […]

Integrity in Normal? (stop laughing)

By:  Diane Benjamin Below is another page from the workbook compiled by Lyle Sumek for the Normal Town Council: Start with: Integrity The Normal Town Council can’t come up with 4 votes to force changes to the illegal public comment policy? That’s integrity? How about the years of 5-10 minute meetings that used to happen […]

Normal: Only “Right Fit” allowed

By:  Diane Benjamin More from the Workbook the Council used for their 2-day meeting.  This meeting is posted on the website every year as required by the Open Meetings Act, but if citizens didn’t look for it they would never know it was open to the public.  It is also always held during the week […]

Update: Connect Transit’s other vehicles

I have been told the Chevrolet Braun should have been a 2018 Dodge Caravan.  The cost wasn’t included, just this: By:  Diane Benjamin Besides the 39 fixed route buses and 18 Mobility buses, Connect Transit owns other vehicles.  I received this information by FOIA. Fleet info:  https://www.connect-transit.com/about/our_fleet.asp The 4 vehicles they bought this year replaced […]

Bloomington’s debt ISN’T the Coliseum!

By:  Diane Benjamin Yes, I know I posted this yesterday.  I wouldn’t be re-posting this picture if it wasn’t vital to understanding what is happening to Illinois. Government across Illinois exists for government employees. It does not exist to handle problems citizens can not handle themselves.  This is the proof: An overwhelming percent of the […]

Bloomington Property Taxes not going up

By:  Diane Benjamin Monday’s packet: http://bloomingtonil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1048&Inline=True If the assessed value of your home increased you will pay more, but the proposed rate will keep property taxes level if it didn’t. Don’t get too excited, Tari knows people notice property taxes.  He knows other taxes are easier to hide,  That’s how you got an amusement tax, […]

Why Bloomington can’t fix the roads

By:  Diane Benjamin The financial statements for Bloomington’s year ended 4/30/19 are finally being presented at Council Monday night:  https://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=23337 The chart below shows the long term debt.   Why can’t the roads be fixed?  Because retired employees need paid.  OPEB is Other Post Employment Benefits.  Look closely at these numbers! PDF page 31 This chart […]

What is up with the EDC?

By:  Diane Benjamin EDC is the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council.  They get your tax money but are not subject to FOIA.  Bloomington cut their subsidy because of accountability. The President/CEO, Patrick Hoban, spoke at the joint the meeting of Bloomington, Normal, and McLean County held September 30, 2019. On this video at 5:40 Patrick […]

Pantagraph left a few details out of the Underpass story

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal got a $13,000,000 federal grant to build their underpass:  https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/feds-release-m-for-rail-underpass-at-normal-s-uptown/article_7ce728cf-0d70-5475-8300-3f0e6b7a703a.html#1 The last I heard the town had requested $16 million, Normal taxpayers were suppose to cough up $7,000,000. Since Normal only got $13,000,000 – Normal now needs $10,000,000! Do they have that tucked away in a drawer somewhere (meaning they have […]

See the Pension Problem Here:

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal has 136 retired employees collecting a pension.  The information below is from OpenTheBooks.com    https://www.openthebooks.com/Pension/TownNormal At Monday’s Council meeting Karyn Smith asked the Finance Director how much employees contribute.  Police and Fire contribute between 9.8 and 9.9%.  Other employees contribute 4.5%.  All will also receive Social Security.  See the video at […]

New Uptown Building delayed

By:  Diane Benjamin WGLT reported yesterday Trail East construction has been delayed until spring:  https://www.wglt.org/mayor-financing-issues-delay-construction-trail-east-until-spring-2020 Note:  The last time a new building in Uptown had “financing” issues, the Town agreed to rent an entire floor at above market rates and the main floor is STILL empty. Demolition of the old buildings on Beaufort may start […]

Update: Stan Nord makes a GREAT point

A little of what Craig Stimpert and Ron Ulmer said at public comment is on this WHOI news report:  https://hoiabc.com/news/town-of-normal-opts-to-keep-property-taxes-about-the-same-cutting-budget-instead By:  Diane Benjamin Since there is no video of Public Comment from Monday’s Council meeting, there is no permanent record of what was said. Stan Nord left this comment this morning: In case the above […]

Solar panels?

By:  Diane Benjamin Today I received an email from Habitat for Humanity with this included: Did you know all the people in California who invested their money in solar panels still didn’t have power when PG&E shut off power?  No Tesla charging, no lights, nothing! https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-10/californians-learning-that-solar-panels-don-t-work-in-blackouts Might be worth asking questions before you spend a […]

Anybody see a problem here?

By:  Diane Benjamin Problem 1 The property the Town of Normal owns at 1217 S. Adelaide still shows as taxable.  https://mcleanil.devnetwedge.com/parcel/view/1432279011/2018 See this story, the Town has known since Stan Nord was elected they don’t owe the taxes:  https://blnnews.com/2019/08/11/normal-like-paying-property-taxes-you-dont-owe/ Is it that hard to fix problems? Problem 2 These is a screen shot of video […]

What’s Mark Peterson up to?

Tari Renner goes to Streator  to tell them how to run their City:  https://blnnews.com/2019/10/31/streator-your-leaders-are-getting-advice-from-bloomingtons-mayor/ Where did Mark Peterson go? Pekin In case you forgot already, Peterson is the retired City Manager of Normal. He went there to teach them how to set goals:  https://www.pekintimes.com/news/20190729/pekin-city-council-sets-city-goals-at-monday-special-meeting There is a huge difference between the goals people have for […]

Normal’s tax and fee History – comprehensive

By:  Diane Benjamin Recap of Normal’s tax history: This story has screen shots from the Normal website on May 30, 2012:  https://blnnews.com/2012/05/30/normal-il-what-is-up-with-the-debt/ All current rates can be found from this site:  http://www.normal.org/129/Taxes-Fees What is the rate now?  8.75%   3.5% going to the Town of Normal What is the rate now?   What is the rate now? […]

Policies: GOP vrs Democrats

By:  Diane Benjamin Why was the Obama economy awful while the Trump economy is booming? Policies! https://www.pantagraph.com/opinion/columnists/central-illinois-voices-bloomington-needs-to-rethink-business-policies/article_fa5618aa-7657-5325-aa20-1852b3a34f3c.html I don’t know why the Pantagraph allows Justin Boyd to write editorials, but today I am glad they did. Justin thinks starting a business in Bloomington is really hard because of all the paperwork the City requires.  So […]

Normal’s Property Tax History

By:  Diane Benjamin This WGLT article is pretty accurate in describing the contentious all day Council meeting Friday. https://www.wglt.org/Normal-Town-Council-Works-Through-Trust-Issues-Contentious-Retreat The bottom line is the elites on the Council don’t appreciate Stan Nord and Karyn Smith actually doing what they campaigned to do! (sound familiar?) Isn’t that what voters expect politicians to do? (How many actually […]

Flawed Tax Assessments

By:  Diane Benjamin It gets harder and harder to see any fairness in how properties are assessed for property tax purposes.  If some properties are under assessed, your bills are higher to compensate.  Every property owner should protest if their assessment isn’t right. Evidently we need a way to protest the assessment of other people’s […]