Normal: Squashing Transparency

By: Diane Benjamin

New software is being used for FOIA requests at the Town of Normal. Formerly requestors were allowed to log in and instantly see old FOIA requests or the status of new ones. Those days are over.

See the new screen here:

https://normalil.justfoia.com/publicportal/home/search

I played around with “Search Archives”. Even simple items like “Trail East” produced nothing.

Next, click Track Status. You can’t access any information without a Request Number and an Access Key. That means every request before this new system is gone. If you don’t know the Request Number there is no way to retrieve the information.

Now click Make a Request, then click the Make A Request Box. Normal wants your birthdate! It is required information to make a request. Of course, a fake birthdate can be entered. Most of the other information is optional.

I filed a FOIA Request on 10/22. It has disappeared.

I just filed another one because of what’s on bills for Monday: https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3775

Why do appraisals on properties unless Normal is planning on selling (or giving them away)?

Is Koos and company trying to lock the next Council into another building in Uptown while 1 Uptown Circle is still empty?

Why replace the FOIA software that was working great with a system that doesn’t?

The rest of the agenda is pretty benign except the Town is extending the agreement with Midwest Fiber for recycling. The Town needs to chip in another $15,000 to keep recycling going through December. After that nobody knows.

Election April 2021

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8 thoughts on “Normal: Squashing Transparency

  1. I went to the new FOIA site and looked around.
    I wonder what this means “Search public requests and download documents without having to submit a request”
    Every word that I searched – turned up no search results. What is a “public request”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. $2000 for an appraisal of a dinky little building…more taxpayer theft. Now days, with all the information online, the appraiser just has to look it up and insert it into a boiler plate form. GIS, etc gives him the dimensions so he/she doesn’t even have to carry a tape measure. Then he goes back to the office and runs off a report that is 10 pages long, with 9 of them being boiler plate from an association that he bought it from. Bought a house a few years ago that is many times the size of one of those units, and the appraisal was $350.00. Legalized theft. They don’t care, its your money.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The title of this article is a bit misleading. Normal is far from transparent, so they are not squashing anything. As a minority view council member, I can honestly say my experience thus far is very similar to that of a mushroom.

    Some examples;
    – water service to Rivian and BroMenn to steal revenue from Bloomington
    – granting emergency powers to the mayor after saying we were removing it from the vote
    – voting to not raise property taxes then without notifying the public raising property taxes anyway
    – etc

    Liked by 2 people

  4. GREAT points Stan! Especially the tax one. “uptown” has basicall become a “mini chicago” but instead of a fat mobster running things we a a FAR LEFT demonrat council which will lie, cheat and steak to achieve to deceive!
    And as for Rivian, YEP I see cars just ROLLING out of there like tootsie rolls by December. I imagine koos will take delivery of the one he ordered in about 2027!

    Like

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