Bloomington: Can’t miss Public Comment

By:  Diane Benjamin

5:05 – Jon Reed was the only public comment.  Others emailed the Council.  I believe public comment isn’t for the Council – it is for the public.  Citizens will never know what other citizens said by emailing.  Get on the phone people!

Jon did a great job taking down Jenn Carrillo (while she smirked) about the “boycott list”.  You need to hear his comments for yourself.  He also mentioned County Board member Chuck Erickson’s reopen plan while Bloomington has nothing.


The rest of the meeting was discussing two Council initiatives made by Jamie Mathy.

Stop here!

In Bloomington a single elected official can bring an issue to the Council.  The Council then decides if the initiative deserves further discussion.  The two items by Jamie Mathy last night were part 2 of this discussion.  The Council had previously agreed to go forward with both.

In Normal your elected officials can not do this!

4 members in Normal have to agree to bring something forward, of course that would violate the Open Meetings Act if they got together on an issue.  Therefore, only the proposals of the “professional staff” ever make it to Council.


The first initiative pertained to bringing back the Downtown Task Force plan.  See that final report here:  https://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=14918

It sounded like Section 4 will be ignored for now.  The rest of it will be reviewed by staff to determine feasibility.  Tari Renner stated Connect Transit is going to build a downtown transfer station.  Donna Boelen stated a uniform plan and color pallet should be used, she likes the historic look.  Previous drawing by Connect Transit didn’t appear historic.

This Council is dominated by people who believe with enough money downtown can be a destination.  Jamie Mathy claimed it already is.

Remember the Way-finding signs from October 2017https://blnnews.com/2017/10/18/downtown-signage-voting/

City Manager Tim Gleason claimed they just got permission from IDOT to install them.  Other action on downtown items will be on the next Council agenda.  (Low cost/No cost low hanging fruit)

The second initiative was about waiving late fees and penalties for Food and Beverage taxes.  Bloomington is already waiving late fees on these and other payments as long as Pritzker’s executive orders are in effect.

The Council doesn’t vote at Committee of the Whole meetings.  It will be back at a future meeting.

3 thoughts on “Bloomington: Can’t miss Public Comment

  1. As with most things in Normal it is about control and prevention of dissenting voices. The mayor and manger are the only 2 people who can put topics on the agenda for public discussion. Council members must have behind the door meetings to bring up something without the blessing of Koos or Reece.

    That Bloomington and the County have processes for members to bring up items on their own for discussion highlights how submissive Normal’s policies are. Oh and Normal’s public comment policy ensures citizens voices are shutdown as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The primary value/attraction of downtown Bloomington is its historic buildings. The property owners are responsible for maintenance. The city’s influence should only be through zoning. According to Mathy, local “tourism” is centered around Abe Lincoln and Route 66, pre-WWII. Spending public dollars to turn downtown into a “destination” for locals is simply “rearranging the deck chairs.”
    Like every task force, the Downtown Task Force plan is full of “recommendations.” The Council doesn’t have to accept any of them. The recommendations that are accepted should be prioritized and incorporated into an overall picture, not a hodge-podge of “low hanging fruit.” And certainly not detracting from or camouflaging or the buildings.

    Liked by 1 person

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