Want to know a secret?

By: Diane Benjamin You already know it if you read this story: https://blnnews.com/2023/11/29/connect-transit-wants-you-to-love-them/ The whole messaging campaign is supposed to be a secret until they develop some slogan EVERYONE can repeat over and over and over. They want a planned rollout. I bet you can’t wait to see how they counter all the “disinformation”. (like […]

Is Normal getting paid to destroy quiet single family house neighborhoods?

By: Diane Benjamin See this link directly from the White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/03/09/fact-sheet-president-bidens-budget-lowers-housing-costs-and-expands-access-to-affordable-rent-and-home-ownership/ One excerpt: Restrictive zoning means not allowing multi-family housing in established single-family neighborhoods. Biden is willing to pay LOCAL government for EQUITY. So how much is Normal planning to collect to change the zoning at Beech and Shelbourne? Since no one currently elected […]

Comptroller’s office finally tells the truth

By: Diane Benjamin More on these two stories: https://blnnews.com/2023/11/07/illinois-comptroller-must-have-decided-to-void-transparency/ https://blnnews.com/2023/11/09/comptrollers-office-responded-just-not-with-an-explanation/ As I stated in one of the stories above, government employees would rather talk to me over the phone instead of in writing. That eliminates the paper trail, the email below proves it: On November 9, 2023, at 3:41 PM, “Pallasch, Abdon” <a[email protected]> wrote: Hmmm… […]

Comptroller’s office responded, just not with an explanation

By: Diane Benjamin Follow-up to this story: https://blnnews.com/2023/11/07/illinois-comptroller-must-have-decided-to-void-transparency/ I didn’t send that story to them, somebody must have or they found the “tag”. I received an email yesterday: . I didn’t use an email address because the on-line contact form doesn’t have one. See it here: https://illinoiscomptroller.gov/about/contact-us/phone-mailing-addresses I rarely make phone calls because I want […]

Illinois Comptroller must have decided to void transparency

By: Diane Benjamin The purpose of the Local Government Data on the Comptroller’s website is to present finances in a way citizens can understand. When the data isn’t available it should make everyone wonder why! Normal’s year end was last March 31st. The “landing page” for Normal has been updated to reflect the FY 2023 […]

Uptown TIF fallacy

By: Diane Benjamin Source: https://files.illinoiscomptroller.gov/LocGovTIF/FY2023/06409531/23TIF06409531Downtown_volpment_1.pdf Page 1 states the TIF was formed on 5/5/2003. Now see page 11. Why did the Town of Normal use 1999? The TIF wasn’t active in 1999, was this to make the return on investment look better? What private or public investment took place between 11/1/99 and 5/4/2003 that shouldn’t […]

Smart City: Normal Il

By: Diane Benjamin Another reader temporarily sucked me back into covering Normal. If you didn’t know Normal adapted Smart Cities a few years ago it is likely because they don’t want you to know. See this link: https://www.normalil.gov/DocumentCenter/View/19666/Smart-City-Report-January-2022 Smart Cities aren’t locally run, they take marching orders from international organizations that exist for government, not […]

Letter to the Editor the paper did print

Since most people never saw it, the writer asked me to print it too. LETTER: Chung, council ignore taxpayers Normal made two recent requests seeking public input regarding art and the proposed Vernon Avenue improvements. However, Normal only accepts input when it supports the proposed project as presented to gain public support for the projects. […]

Covering one thing in Normal only because a reader found it important

By: Diane Benjamin A total of 1,609 scientists, professors and other scholars have signed on to a new declaration that argues there is no climate change crisis. https://www.thecollegefix.com/more-than-1600-scientists-and-other-scholars-sign-no-climate-emergency-declaration/ That didn’t stop Normal City Manager Pam Reece telling WGLT Normal has been affected by Climate Change: https://www.wglt.org/local-news/2023-09-22/climate-change-impacts-noticeable-in-bloomington-normal Reece claims the trees were affected by heat and […]

Normal: Operating the way citizens want it

By: Diane Benjamin Ever wonder why people keep voting for leftists in cities being destroyed by progressives? See Chicago. Normal is well on their way to defeating all opposition – just like Chicago. The meeting video which includes a short Liquor Commission meeting was 34 minutes long. There was a Public Comment at the beginning […]

Update: Watch NONE of the Trustees gag tonight!

By: Diane Benjamin Population of Bloomington as of 7/1/2022: 78,864 https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/bloomingtoncityillinois/PST045222 Population of Normal as of 7/1/2022: 52,838 (Many ISU kids who don’t stay all year) https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/normaltownillinois,US/PST045222 Bloomington reported 645 Full Time employees to the Comptroller last year (They want many more) https://illinoiscomptroller.gov/constituent-services/local-government/local-government-warehouse/processsearchresults/?DisplayMode=GETAFR&AFRDesiredData=Population,%20EAV,%20and%20Employees&Code=064/025/30&CFY=2022&Menu=Yes&PrintIt=No Normal reported 369 Full Time employees https://illinoiscomptroller.gov/constituent-services/local-government/local-government-warehouse/processsearchresults/?DisplayMode=GETAFR&AFRDesiredData=Population,%20EAV,%20and%20Employees&Code=064/095/31&CFY=2022&Menu=Yes&PrintIt=No Bloomington population is 39.5% bigger […]

Your tax money abused!

By: Diane Benjamin Connect transit is tired of people noticing the empty or close to empty buses roaming Bloomington-Normal so they fixed the problem. Check out of the new electric buses. h/t a reader They’ve gone from darkened windows to covering them completely. We still know the bus is mostly empty. CT didn’t have a […]

Did Connect Transit throw away $9 million?

By: Diane Benjamin I was shocked when Connect Transit picked Proterra as their electric bus supplier. It appears the Board members appointed by the mayors of Bloomington and Normal didn’t bother to do a simple Google search. Plenty of stories were easily available detailing the problems with these buses and cities that quit using them […]

Normal tonight: you will comply!

By: Diane Benjamin https://www.normalil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4719 West College isn’t being fixed because it is STILL being designed: Maybe the Town is trying to decide how to build it since inflation ate their grant. Gravel parking lots aren’t good enough in Normal. (don’t they drain better than paved?) They were good enough for a special use permit in […]

Normal is planning more debt

By: Diane Benjamin Tonight’s packet: https://www.normalil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4708 This meeting won’t be 10 minutes. Most of the agenda won’t be discussed but a few items probably will. Approval of the Uptown South Master Plan: The plan does include no natural gas lines even though that is illegal. Typical for progressives, do it and see it anyone sues. […]

Fitch proved why credit ratings are a joke

By: Diane Benjamin Fitch downgraded the US credit yesterday: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/shock-u-s-credit-rating-downgrade-by-fitch-rings-alarm-bells-about-economy/ar-AA1eGOTE This is a quote from the story: According to the company, despite the fact that the debt ceiling standoff was resolved two months ago, “the repeated debt-limit political standoffs and last-minute resolutions have eroded confidence in fiscal management.“ Let me interpret: Fitch would rather see […]

Paying mileage would have been cheaper Normal

By: Diane Benjamin Remember when Normal bought the two Rivians? The pickup was $73,631. The SUV was $77,931. Both numbers include $1000 down payment. Council thought the two vehicles would be added to the fleet so they could be used as necessary. The pickup has regular plates that no one has ever explained. The SUV […]

Normal: FOIA Requests

By: Diane Benjamin Freedom of Information requests wouldn’t cost near as much if the Town of Normal Clerk wasn’t trying so hard to hide information. I FOIA’d information pertaining to BOTH Rivian vehicles they purchased, I did not receive everything I FOIA’d. It appears the second Rivian vehicle has government plates. The first one doesn’t […]

Normal holding another SHORT meeting

By: Diane Benjamin https://www.normalil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4698 Another $1,050 in performance fees for Make Music Normal are on PDF page 11. That brings the total to over $37,000, not including staff time. https://blnnews.com/2023/07/05/how-much-did-normal-charge-you-for-make-music-normal/ There are lots of other performance fees listed the taxpayers get charged for. Call it government approved entertainment. A reader FOAI’d the performance fee for […]

I don’t care if you think it’s a conspiracy theory

By: Diane Benjamin If the citizens of Normal want to believe their government works for them, go for it. The below is from the World Economic Forum website. They are pushing a Smart City plan for cities worldwide. They have “experts” who plan for cities and then members fall in line with the plan. FYI: […]

Normal delayed meeting until today

By: Diane Benjamin I hope you were able to take Monday off, the Town of Normal was supposed to meet since that was the first Monday in July. Of course they needed a 4 day weekend instead. Agenda and Packet: https://www.normalil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4685 I was in Normal on July 3 to see The Sound of Freedom at […]

How much did Normal charge you for Make Music Normal?

By: Diane Benjamin All of the below are payments made to performers (MMM). This is likely not the complete list. Not included is the staff time it took to hire and pay all these performers. It also doesn’t include advertising. Government entertainment means government gets to pick your entertainment, not you. Normal doesn’t want to […]

Fritzen sues the Town of Normal

By: Diane Benjamin Read WGLT’s version: https://www.wglt.org/local-news/2023-06-30/former-town-council-member-sues-normal-over-high-haven-cannabis-dispensary-permit Jeff Fritzen would get a lot more support if he hadn’t sided with the Town of Normal against the citizens who wanted representation according to Illinois law. He sided with the Town instead. If you haven’t heard, Pritzker signed the legislation making Normal the only Incorporated Town that […]

Citizenship in Illinois is meaningless

By: Diane Benjamin Citizenship in America is meaningless as illegals continue to flood the border. They are handed benefits paid for by you. If you haven’t asked yourself why tax dollars are used to house them you probably went to a public school that didn’t teach what immigration as always been: opportunity, not freebies. You […]

Normal’s 12 minute meeting

By: Diane Benjamin Kathleen Lorenz and Scott Preston didn’t bother to show up. Maybe they know their presence isn’t necessary. Two items of note from the meeting: The navigator needed 4 votes to pass. Since Lorenz and Preston were absent and Chemberly Harris recused herself (she is on the Mid Central Community Action Board), they […]

Both Bloomington and Normal meeting on this Federal Holiday

By: Diane Benjamin Juneteenth must not be important enough to delay meetings 1 day. Bloomington Committee of the Whole: Agenda I wonder if anyone will mention the police gun safe giveaway that will rust guns? https://blnnews.com/2023/06/14/dont-store-guns-in-the-free-gun-safe-you-got-from-the-bloomington-il-police/ Minister Ward should already know why gun violence exists and is increasing. A commission won’t solve moral decay, kids […]

FOIA email: Jeff Fritzen

By: Diane Benjamin This email was received by FOIA. Although long, it has lots of good information you probably didn’t know – like the Town of Normal “settled” for Chick-fil-A. I wonder if this company that racks in tax dollars for Normal know? Remember, the Council pre-election voted 6-1 against High Haven. After the election […]

“Professional staff” need redacting lessons

By: Diane Benjamin Normal’s “professional staff” redactions – one completely redacted the other one not. Both on-line comments support approving High Haven. I redacted the email address on the first one, staff redacted the name and email address on the second. Why were they treated differently? Because staff is protecting the second person? Normal doesn’t […]

Need proof Normal Trustees work for the TOWN?

By: Diane Benjamin Karyn Smith submitted a long list of questions to Pam Reece concerning the agenda for the May 1st meeting. Pam Reece responds to her questions are in yellow. Of course watching a meeting won’t reveal any of these answers, citizens might actually have the same ones. Questions are all completed before meetings […]

Hilarious Normal!

By: Diane Benjamin I’m paging through a FOIA I received with communication concerning the two recently approved cannabis dispensaries. Most emails in support of approving the special use permits have the name of the supporter illegally redacted. Those opposed don’t. Emails are no different than appearing at Public Comment, therefore names can not be redacted. […]

Normal FOIA finds – just a start

By: Diane Benjamin Received by FOIA. Remember the Normal Town Council meeting where everyone who wanted to make a Public Comment wasn’t allowed? Since no one NOW on the Council wants to hear from citizens, 30 minutes was set and not challenged. Pam Reece doesn’t have a problem wasting a citizen’s time who wants to […]

Short meetings and no discussion is back in Normal!

By: Diane Benjamin I’m excited because I can now just write the same story after every meeting: Everything passed, nothing was questioned. Citizens of Normal should know they have no representation. Trustees are elected to represent you, the ones in office now represent the Town. Everything is great! Normal is a wonderful place to live! […]

Remember MICA? Plus your dollars paying INTEREST

By: Diane Benjamin Normal doesn’t bid the cost of comprehensive insurance because they are a member of MICA who supposedly bids it for them. See this story from last year: https://blnnews.com/2022/07/22/more-on-normals-mica-problem/ Normal has never bid coverage themselves, so how do they know they can’t get it cheaper? Normal has been using MICA since 1985. Evidently […]

Nobody elected in Normal will care, but do you?

By: Diane Benjamin According to Illinois law when property owned by government is leased the lessee pays the property taxes: The Edgar County Watchdogs did a story with lots of other details: https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2020/11/ousted-shelby-county-board-member-levonne-chaney-wants-taxpayers-to-pay-private-real-estate-taxes-on-her-way-out-the-door/?highlight=leaseholder Tonight Normal is paying property taxes, actually they pay the bills before Council votes because Council is immaterial: PDF page 12 https://www.normalil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4650 […]

One Normal Plaza to get HUGE Sign!

By: Diane Benjamin Does Normal know what they consider part of Route 66 doesn’t connect to Route 66? Visitors can’t drive directly from Pontiac’s sites to Normal. That isn’t stopping them from trying to make One Normal Plaza a destination. First they need a sign people can take their picture with: Of course the size […]