Money from Pot

by: Diane Benjamin Evidently the City Council was told they can’t discuss approving the second pot dispensary or they might get sued. The State legalized it, the State handed a license to guys who mostly (if not all) live in California , the Zoning Board of Appeals approved the location, so the Council was expected […]

5 things you need to know

By: Diane Benjamin 1) The special meeting Normal called at 5:45 last night was a waste of time. The promised PASER report is still not done, supposedly it will be by the end of June. Chris Koos wasn’t there, neither was Scott Preston or Karyn Smith. The license plate reading camera presentation will have to […]

Show me the money!

By Diane Benjamin I bet you missed this one! Cook County was sued for diverting $250,000,000 annually, of monies collected from a variety of transportation-related taxes and fees. The Safe Roads Amendment (lock box) was approved by voters in 2016, it prohibits transportation relates revenues from being spent elsewhere. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled against […]

Unit 5 is WOKE, Wake up Parents

By: Diane Benjamin Quote from this story: https://justthenews.com/government/courts-law/america-first-attorneys-demand-rural-iowa-school-stops-indoctrinating “School should prepare students for citizenship in our constitutional republic and colorblind society, not turn impressionable children into social justice warriors who view all that is good and just through the distorted lens of race, sex, gender, power, and politics.” This is a screen shot of what […]

Need accounting services? Hire the Town of Normal!

By: Diane Benjamin Remember when CIRBN employees were considered Town of Normal employees with all the same benefits? https://blnnews.com/2021/01/15/can-you-tell-elections-are-coming/ When “professional staff” is your best buddy, all kinds of perks are available! Another “arrangement” you are supposed to ignore: This one involves the Town purchasing insurance from MICA – no bid contract. Review this story […]

High gas prices: Government GOLD

By: Diane Benjamin Start with gas taxes: Federal Gas Tax: https://www.marca.com/en/lifestyle/us-news/2022/03/14/622f1813268e3e976c8b4593.html 18.3 cents per gallon 24.3 cents per gallon for diesel Illinois Gas Tax: https://www2.illinois.gov/rev/research/taxrates/Pages/motorfuel.aspx 38.2 cents per gallon 46.7 cents per gallon for diesel Both Bloomington and Normal add another 8 cents per gallon, diesel and gas are the same. Every time you fill […]

April: Every ride on a bus was subsidized $4.89

By: Diane Benjamin The Connect Transit Board met back on May 24th: https://www.connect-transit.com/file/586/05%2024%202022_Board%20Meeting%20Packet.pdf Of course they lost over ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Ridership from March dropped 3.31%, maybe because service hours and miles dropped – See PDF page 8. Connect Mobility ridership was down .52%, every ride on their smaller buses had a subsidy of $32.75! […]

Public Education Collapse: Visual

By: Diane Benjamin Unit 5 School Board meeting last night after the Board approved teaching Comprehensive Sexual Education in 8th and 9th grades: Sex Education will remain the same next school year for 8th grade, a new curriculum will be used for 9th grade. Everyone will be able to see what is being taught on […]

Bloomington: Mboka doesn’t like change

By: Diane Benjamin http://bloomingtonil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1170&Inline=True Tari Renner stacked all the Board and Commission. Mboka continues to just reappoint the same people. No Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Mboka? This item shouldn’t be on the Consent Agenda, it should be pulled for further discussion. Does the City want to risk an abandoned property if the owners can’t use […]

This needs explained by Unit 5 – Part 1

By: Diane Benjamin Part 2:  https://blnnews.com/2022/05/21/this-needs-explained-by-unit-5-part-2/ —— Follow-up to this story: https://blnnews.com/2022/05/18/unit-5-big-raises/ OpenTheBooks.com shows: In 2019 Unit 5 had 2059 employees – total salary: $85,561,545. In 2020 Unit 5 had 2024 employees – total salary: $90,070,590 That is a huge increase in salaries with fewer employees than the previous year. I FOIA’d the data Unit 5 […]

Unit 5: BIG raises

By: Diane Benjamin Unit 5 has another Community Engagement meeting tonight! 6-7:30 at Parkside. See the other two meetings in this story: https://blnnews.com/2022/05/18/middle-of-the-road-college-at-veterans-pkwy/ Maybe somebody will ask them to explain this: Remember Superintendent Kristen Weikle claiming on video nobody got 7+% raises between 2019 and 2020? https://blnnews.com/2022/05/07/unit-5-word-salad/ OpenTheBooks.com showed total salaries increased 7.9%. Since their […]

Bloomington Roads History and the American Rescue Plan money

By: Diane Benjamin I probably have at least 100 stories since 2012 on road conditions. Tari Renner ran for office promising to fix them – twice. https://blnnews.com/2018/01/24/its-the-roads-stupid/ In 2012 the City passed an Action Plan that included “smooth rides on quality well-maintained street”. https://blnnews.com/2015/02/26/if-you-like-your-roads-you-can-keep-your-roads/ In late 2013 or early 2014 the City borrowed $10,000,000 for […]

Failed communication in Normal

By: Diane Benjamin Remember when Kathleen Lorenz made an impassioned plea for the Council to communicate better? https://blnnews.com/2022/05/03/kathleen-now-hears-what-we-hear-when-watching-meetings/ That happened on May 3, 2022. (Two weeks ago!) Evidently she didn’t mean it. When I posted the story about Normal requesting another $6 million for the underpass, Stan Nord emailed the Council asking what they knew. […]

Public Comment from Bloomington

By: Diane Benjamin There is MUCH more to cover from last night’s meeting, stay tuned. How many people did this guy speak for last night? Just hit play: Donna Boelen had one of the many “comments of the night”. Tim Gleason stated again only Rowe Construction bids on road work. Donna thinks out of town […]

Normal’s Yellow Water

By: Diane Benjamin Normal has another water problem in an older section of the Town. Stan Nord brought it up in Council comments last night. Pam Reece claims the Town has been trying to help the woman who has contacted them over and over. Her home also had severe flooding last year that wrecked her […]

Bus service to Rivian: $1 million

By: Diane Benjamin This won’t be the only story from the Normal Town Council meeting last night. How did employees get to Diamond Star? How did they get to Mitsubishi? Neither had bus service. Who wants bus service now? How many of those buses will be empty for the low low price of $1,000,000? General […]

Monday: American Rescue Plan Bucks

By: Diane Benjamin If you don’t know inflation is caused by the printing of money the Feds handed out across the country, see if Heartland offers a basic economics course. (Too much money chasing too few goods) Both Bloomington and Normal are meeting on Monday. Bloomington is holding a Committee of the Whole Meeting to […]

Unit 5 meeting last night

By: Diane Benjamin The Board did not discuss any part of the Comprehensive Sexuality agenda. They called the agenda items “first reading”. Next meeting will be “second reading”. The meeting started with recognitions of the Grove Chess team that won State, quite an accomplishment. Highschool Esports teams also won state. A large number of young […]

Bloomington 5-9-2022

By: Diane Benjamin Recap: Grant Walch was appointed Ward 1 Alderman – Jeff Crabill and Julie Emig voted against him. Evidently they didn’t like replacing a self-identified progressive alderman with a more conservative one. Road funding isn’t close to what it needs to be. The $7 million was increased to $9 million, factor in inflation […]

More on Normal tonight:

By: Diane Benjamin Besides handing a big raise to Pam Reece, below are a few items on the agenda. Will $8000 more cover inflation for her? https://blnnews.com/2022/04/29/bobbleheads-vote-to-raise-pam-reeces-salary/ At the April 4th Normal meeting the council approved sending $79,612.50 to Connect Transit: https://www.normalil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4265 Tonight they will send this to the empty bus folks: https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4283 Did Normal […]

Expect painful bills

By: Diane Benjamin https://www.cityblm.org/government/city-council/municipal-electric-aggregation I’m only posting this section of the Bloomington website because it will soon disappear. It shows the electricity rate residents are paying now if they didn’t opt out of municipal aggregation: Remember .0433 (4.33 cents) Since this agreement expires in June the City negotiated a new 3 year contract: https://www.cityblm.org/Home/Components/News/News/8945/18 The […]

Remember Earmarks?

By: Diane Benjamin Earmarks are a way the elected officials in Washington DC claim to bring federal dollars back to their district. Often bills can’t get passed unless these “gifts” are tacked on to bills. House and Senate members tell leadership they will vote for some ridiculous bill is you give me X. Earmarks were […]

Green believers on Bloomington council

By: Diane Benjamin Local election are early next year. Those who think you should pay for the below need replaced: The slide below was shown during presentation at Bloomington Council on Regeneration/Preservation of older neighborhoods. It was part of the staff presentation: Since Hawthorne Hills doesn’t need Regeneration/Preservation, what area of the City are they […]

Both Bloomington and Normal meet tonight

By: Diane Benjamin http://bloomingtonil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1164&Inline=True Bloomington will hear from Connect Transit tonight concerning their budget. You will hear it’s essential to lose at least $1 million a month. Next the Council will contemplate 4 Council initiatives. Brought by Jamie Mathy who is no longer on the Council. He wanted incentives from the City (your money) to […]

Bloomington last night, comments to see

By: Diane Benjamin Both Bloomington and Normal will be honoring Gold Star Families with banners along Main Street from Memorial Day through Veterans Day. This link has information about honoring your loved one who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom: https://www.americasgoldstarfamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/AGSF-Order-Form-Artwork-2022_compressed.pdf See 5:50 on the video below for more details and the proclamation at the […]

Mental Health was most of Normal’s meeting

By: Diane Benjamin Keep in mind you are paying higher Sales Taxes because of this County experiment. I said “experiment” because the County isn’t following a model, they are building a program from scratch. To have any idea where your money is going you need to watch the entire presentation and questions/comments portion of this […]

Why Bloomington will have a Water Park instead of just a pool

By: Diane Benjamin Flash back to October 16, 2018 – Committee of the Whole meeting. Funny how expanding the library and O’Neil Park were both discussed at this meeting. Minutes: https://www.cityblm.org/home/showpublisheddocument/21017/636854797697530000 The library didn’t get Council support. Building a Water Park instead of just replacing the pool did. When easily less than 20% of registered […]