Welcome Tyranny to Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal came really close to ending their tyranny when Chris Koos was almost defeated in April.  Renner didn’t get Modified Wards, but now that he’s reelected, nothing is going to stand in his way.  The Council certainly won’t – gee they approved his girlfriend’s ticket to Japan! No, nobody is looking out […]

Normal’s Tyranny

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal used to have their tax history on their website, they no longer do.  Luckily I copied it back in 2012:  https://blnnews.com/2012/05/30/normal-il-what-is-up-with-the-debt/   Rates were raised last Monday:  http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2689 To translate their Greek: April 1, 2017 – $1.27 per 1,000 gal, plus $2.50 per month August 7, 2017 – […]

It’s still illegal Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin Not only illegal, it’s breaks the City PCard policy.  AND – more than one City employee (which Tari is) broke the policy. Note the date – May 12th.  From documents obtained by FOIA, this purchase was on the PCard held by Beth Oakley, Executive Assistant to somebody. She violated State law and […]

The silence is deafening

By:  Anonymous All over Bloomington-Normal, no one is talking about the worst kept secret. It seems almost everyone knows, but no one is talking. State Farm is planning to downsize, likely before year-end. This is no secret. In fact, it’s echoing throughout the halls of the insurance giant, as well as the local business community […]

Weekend Fun – sort of

Normal raising taxes on Monday!

By:  Diane Benjamin Of course, Normal is calling it “fee increases” or “user fee increases”.  Regardless of the terminology, Normal needs money and you have it until they take more of it. Standard procedure for sailing these past the Council is: Comparing rates with surrounding cities  (PDF page 167) Burying the Council docs with technical […]

Imagine how many Lifeguards . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin Would you prefer an adequate number of Lifeguards on duty when you take your kids to the pool, or a historic building benefiting one lady? If the taxpayers in Normal knew all the facts concerning the “historic” property at 305 Pine St, they might consider it a waste of their money.  Let’s […]

Normal Pools: The rest of the story

By:  Diane Benjamin I knew there was more to the pool story than Mark Peterson reported.  My source tells me Peterson might not even know since he is probably relying on Angela Malone, head of aquatics.  See Peterson’s version in this story:  https://blnnews.com/2017/08/01/4-things-one-story/ I received an email from someone with intimate knowledge of the situation, […]

What Few Realize + More Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin Police: Police Officers have a LOT of discretion in who gets a ticket, who gets their car searched, and who gets hauled off to jail.  You respect their authority under the law and they will respect you.  You act like a jerk and you will be treated like a jerk if you […]

4 Things – One Story

By:  Diane Benjamin In the interest of sustainability and providing you with time-saving instant news – this is a FOUR IN ONE story. 1) When your news comes from mornings with WJBC, don’t believe what you hear.  Scott Laughlin has a problem with facts.  Hey Scott:  The Democrats lost their super majority in the Springfield […]

Jewel No Longer

By:  Diane Benjamin Occasionally the Bloomington elected are still pretending Bloomington is the Jewel of the Midwest. Ask them why 56.72% of the students in District 87 qualify for free or reduced lunches?  https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/libraries/pdfs/il-nslp-eligibility.pdf What income qualifies? SOURCE Obviously way too many people in Bloomington aren’t able to participate in the Quality of Life they […]

Soeldner/Segobiano Charity Facts

By:  Diane Benjamin County Board member Jim Soeldner’s Letter to the Editor today got me looking for an update to a story I did in March of 2016:  https://blnnews.com/2016/03/17/segobiano-charity-facts/ Another County Board member, Paul Segobiano, has his own non-profit charity called Great Plains Life Foundation.  Soeldner praised this charity for a recent event in his […]

Per kid: Area school spending

By:  Diane Benjamin The Illinois Comptroller’s Office has lots of interesting information. Look at this site:  http://warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com/ Virtually every level of Illinois government is required to complete information for this site.  Schools must not be required to provide much information. Cities, towns, villages, etc enter much more. I was looking at area schools and noticed […]

Yes, there is Free Lunch and Travel

By:  Diane Benjamin From Bills and Payroll for Monday night:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14312 Nothing is on the City Calendar for 6/23/17, was this a private party? This month’s eating and travelling at your expense: Why does Public Works need the Pantagraph and why is it cheaper for them than regular people? Even the police get fraudulent charges: […]

Hyatt hucksters or Normal nonsense?

By:  Diane Benjamin Something isn’t right with Hyatt reportedly changing their minds on wanting tax rebates from Normal. The resolution and new agreement was in the packet for last night’s meeting:  PDF page 159 and following:  http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2672 The Town of Normal didn’t seem to mind the handout – they put it on the agenda where […]

Normal: Buy Chicago

By:  Diane Benjamin The Normal Town Council had a long meeting last night by their standards.  They discussed employee health benefits and wellness programs at length.  I didn’t write about it before the meeting because I was waiting to see their comments. Normal has worked with Advocate for over a decade developing a wellness program […]

Inside ISU

The writer worked at ISU for 18 years – she walked away because she couldn’t take it anymore.  No – Nobody from this meeting has contacted her. Source and other stories from the same person:  https://justifygettinglost.wordpress.com/ I finally figured it out… This morning I showed up at the Board  of Trustees meeting and made comments (in quotes […]

You aren’t supposed to notice

By:  Diane Benjamin Whenever Bloomington and Normal “think” a spending item is beyond question they put it on the Consent Agenda.  In Normal they call it the Omnibus Vote.  The council is supposed to vote YES on lots of things at once.  An item can be pulled, but it usually gets passed anyway.  I enjoy […]

The tale of two chairs

By:  Diane Benjamin What’s the difference between these two chairs? . . . . . $294.00. That’s the difference! If either even worth $294.00? Yes when government makes you to pay for it! Details tomorrow!

Just something I found

By:  Diane Benjamin Readers should be well aware by now that what government talks about in Executive Session remains a secret – in Bloomington’s case for a decade or more.  It’s only a secret because they want it to be a secret – I’m talking about things like City Manager evaluations. The Open Meetings Act […]

WJBC: Scott wrong again!

By:  Diane Benjamin Scott Laughlin clarified this morning on WJBC why the local media is useless.  The host hates people who think government should do nothing. Scottie doesn’t realize “those”  people don’t want government doing nothing, they want them doing only the things the population can’t do themselves.  Like fix the roads!  How are the Bloomington […]

1st the State – local fleecing next

By:  Diane Benjamin Illinois politicians at almost every level don’t understand how to live within their means.  They don’t believe you are entitled to spend your money how you want it spent.  Quality of Life!  They know what that is, you don’t. Chris Koos just got a nasty surprise: Funny how both mayors didn’t have […]

Normal: Forget something last night?

By:  Diane Benjamin See the agenda for the Town Council HERE One required item at every meeting of every public body is missing:  Public Comment. The Town Public Comment policy is still illegal because it requires signing up 2 hours in advance and speaking only to items on the agenda.  Since the agenda must be posted 48 […]

Evacuate!

By:  Diane Benjamin The Illinois Senate needed one Republican to vote with the Democrats to override Gov Rauner’s veto of the income tax hike.  They got one:  Dale Righter. Madigan got MORE Republicans than he needed to pass the tax hike in the House – 15 of them.  (Including Bill Mitchell and Mike Unes from […]

13 votes: Congrats Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin The next Normal Town Council meeting will be Wednesday because of the holiday.  See the packet HERE From the agenda: Amtrak can’t afford to buy a “tram” to move handicapped people from the south platform, across Broadway, and up the north platform – so the Town taxpayers are buying it for them.  Don’t […]

Slick Willy, Nonsense, and more

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-500 Bills and Payroll isn’t posted yet for Monday night: Hiding something? ________________________ Tari Renner and Chris Koos are in for a treat today at the US Conference of Mayors:  Former Present Bill Clinton spoke at the “City Livability Luncheon”.   I wonder if he will speak longer than scheduled?  I wonder […]

Normal’s Fleecing continues

By:  Diane Benjamin The Town of Normal spend $1.4 million to STUDY the proposed Uptown Crossing: Source What did they get for $1.4 million?  Evident what they want to pass Monday night: The plan doesn’t know if ADA compliance can be achieved?  Bike Blono has to dismount?  The at-grade crossing is adjacent?  Why is the underpass […]

Updated: YOU have the Power!

Update is at the end. By:  Diane Benjamin Thursday night I road tripped with the Edgar County Watchdogs (John Kraft and Kirk Allen) to Stark County.  We attended a “Special” County Board meeting which occurred because the meeting on Tuesday was adjourned after the citizens who showed couldn’t all fit in the room.  The chairperson […]

The Truth about Higher Ed

By:  Diane Benjamin The President of Northern Illinois University is just the latest to step down amid allegations of scandal.  The bigger scandal is what the Board is planning on paying him to leave!  Details of that soon.  Remember when ISU paid Tim Flanagan to leave – the day before he got arrested? The Illinois […]

If demand mattered, the roads would get fixed!

By:  Diane Benjamin Only a tiny group of citizens want bike lanes.  Tari Renner ran for office twice pledging to fix the roads.  He obviously isn’t as serious as the people with damaged vehicles are. This is from 2015:  http://www.cityblm.org/government/departments/public-works/streets-sidewalks/street-resurfacing The table shows how much money per year is required just to have TERRIBLE STREETS. […]

Bike facts that don’t matter

Update:  The lady in the video reported Amelia stated her family won’t be using the bike lanes – too dangerous!  She is supporting the plan because Bike Blono wants it.   By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday I attended Renner’s Open House for the first time.  I don’t attend because I already know what answers are going […]

More Bloomington Fail

By:  Diane Benjamin I saw this on the agenda for the Town of Normal last Monday:  http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2634 The document goes on to appoint the Deputy City Manager as representative to IMRF. The Town of Normal hasn’t paid the huge penalties Bloomington has from pension spiking.  Bloomington has paid  $1,877,252.40, in August of 2015 Normal had paid […]

Why is BN Advantage a secret group?

By:  Diane Benjamin BN Advantage was formed in 2015.  Their mission is to get all the players together for collaboration on economic development strategy. The Bloomington Council approved the formation in October 2015, see this doc:  BN Advantage  I’m sure other area governments passed the same type resolution. Temporarily forget the fact that government doesn’t […]

Normal: Last night’s 4 minutes

Update:  FOIA filed.  Locust has to do with an ISU land swap from 2015. By:  Diane Benjamin The video of last night’s Normal Town Council says it’s 10:23 minutes.  The meeting doesn’t start until 6:48, so the actually meeting was less than 4 minutes. See the video here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLNC0lO-kCBYjaSv4sZ4udZFRwMu8bwYGr&v=3XAyHvlFBKE Start the video around 6 minutes […]

Normal: What?!?

By:  Diane Benjamin On the Consent Agenda for tonight’s Normal Town council meeting: No other information on 404 W Locust is included.   Being on the Consent Agenda means there is no discussion unless one of the council members asks.  I’d be asking!  $892,327.48 with no questions? What Illinois statute allows the Town of Normal […]

More conspiring against citizens

By:  Diane Benjamin Follow-up to this story:  https://blnnews.com/2017/06/02/b-n-is-getting-the-delphi-treatment/ (It won’t be the only one!) The Bloomington Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is trying to get out of complying with the Open Meetings Act.  What does the Open Meetings Act say? OMA applies to all “public bodies”:  http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=84&ChapterID=2 I’d love to know what grounds they […]

B-N Sports Complex-Delphi

By:  Diane Benjamin The local area has THREE agencies coordinating economic development:  B-N Convention and Visitors Bureau, BN Advantage, and the Economic Development Council. There is MUCH more to this story – but not today. The Bloomington Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has another committee nobody has ever heard of: Sports Commission Board The Board […]

$20-$30 million for low wage jobs

By:  Diane Benjamin Mark Peterson – Normal’s City Manager – talked to WGLT yesterday:  http://wglt.org/post/public-private-partnership-lacking-establish-sports-complex#stream/0 Peterson thinks taxpayers should pony up $20-$30 million for a sports complex! The total cost will be $50 million, but it’s not a Public-Private partnership.  He doesn’t say where the rest of the money will come from or who will […]

Route 66 Bike Trail: the Cost

By:  Diane Benjamin How much did the bike trail from Chenoa to Funks Grove cost? Good question – but I have no idea! Researching anything the County does is close to impossible.  The County took the lead, but Bloomington, Normal, Chenoa, Lexington, McLean and Towanda all contributed. All County work is done in committees and then […]

Connect Transit: Great News

By:  Diane Benjamin Source:  http://www.connect-transit.com/documents/05-30-2017%20Regular%20Board%20Meeting%20Binder1.pdf Tonight Connect Transit’s Board will discuss ending some unprofitable routes.  Sorry, they don’t mean all of them since NONE of the them are profitable.  They just want to get rid of the worst ones.  One would think Connect is trying to reduce the massive operating losses, sorry again – that […]

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