September PCard + Bills

By: Diane Benjamin Even on sick leave, Tari can hold a business meeting at a bar and use the City PCard:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14856 The rest of the council still has no problem feeding themselves at your expense. Looks like the Chamber of Commerce is behind “Quality of Life” Monarch Group is Real Estate Development.  Funny how WHO […]

Blatant Taxpayer Abuse

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington knew the law had changed on pension spiking in 2012.  They changed the policy for NEW hires, but not for existing employees. Here’s the recap: The IMRF retirement fund was tired of paying for spiked pensions because of Sick Leave Buy Back payments that inflated ending salaries. Since […]

UPDATE: Downtown Signage voting

As of 5:15 pm 10/19/17 a WHOOPING 386 people have voted out of 78,000.  Impressive response! ________________________________________________ By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington has presented the latest versions of signage for downtown.  You can see the new offerings and vote here:  http://www.cityblm.org/government/boards-commissions/downtown-signage-committee/2017-downtown-bloomington-wayfinding The committee gave up on a logo after their last attempt failed miserably, […]

Did Hales change personalities?

By:  Diane Benjamin I thought for a minute somebody had kidnapped David Hales and replaced him with a conservative.  He actually said the Council must lean how to say NO.  He said the City can’t maintain what we have now, but people keep talking about building new things. Library David? Aquatics center?  Sports complex?  Public […]

Fun Facts (or not so fun facts)

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington population:  78,005 Normal Population:  54,264 Bloomington Total Budget:  $214,126,710 PDF Page 2:  http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=13155 Normal Total Budget:  $107,133,177 PDF Page 15   http://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/11571 Normal has 30% fewer citizens. Normal budgets 50% of what Bloomington does. Bloomington spends $2,745 for every citizens Normal spends $1,974 for every citizen Bloomington total debt 4/30/16:  270,629,828 http://warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com/ProcessSearchResults.cfm?DisplayMode=GETAFR&AFRDesiredData=Indebtedness&Code=064/025/30&CFY=2016&Menu=Yes&PrintIt=No 4/30/17 information […]

Guest Editorial!

By:  Angela Scott An open letter to Bloomington City Council and Mayor Renner. Here are a few quotes from the Mayor’s comments last week.Tari stated, “Frankly here at the local level and I’m talking about more than words” and goes on to imply there have been physical altercations. He also stated, “Frivolous complaints and multiple […]

Normal’s priorities: What?

By:  Diane Benjamin Most people think the job of local government is Police, Fire, Water, Sewers, and Roads. Look at what Normal’s priorities are based on where they spending money:  PDF page 133  http://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/12750 Try to use and elitist accent here.  Repeat after me: Normal spent more on “Culture and Recreation” than they did on roads! […]

Town of Normal Debt

By:  Diane Benjamin As of 3/31/17 PDF page 41:  http://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/12750 Yes the citizens still owe $87,783,723 for Koos’s Uptown dreams. Police pensions are only 51.76% funded (PDF Page 129) Fire pensions are only 55.53% funded (PDF Page 130) That is why citizens are on the hook for $56,106.352 just for these two pension funds.  Obviously the guys […]

What David Hales never checked-CIAM

By:  Diane Benjamin The 10 year agreement with CIAM to manage the Coliseum contained numerous paragraphs granting the City rights to everything happening at the Coliseum.  Tari Renner, David Hales, and the Council either never read the agreement or are lying because they failed to protect taxpayers from John Butler and company. See the agreement […]

UPDATE: Why does media let Tari LIE?

WJBC posted the podcast:  https://audioboom.com/posts/6384179-tari-renner-bloomington-mayor-10-11-17 I forgot to mention he thinks the local acrimony is a bigger story than CIAM! He also claims he did everything possible to get information from CIAM AND he decided not to renew the contract.  Funny Tari – I remember you were shocked they pulled out of the negotiations.  I was […]

Award Winning Aldermen comments

By:  Diane Benjamin From time to time even I am shocked by what comes out of the mouths of Aldermen during a City Council meeting.  I’m awarding TWO “Seriously?” awards from last night’s party.  Since the Special Meeting started at 5:00, I bet food was served.  It used to be announced, but it wasn’t listed […]

Is this what prompted Renner’s Rant?

By:  Diane Benjamin FOUR people mentioned me at Public Comment last night.  The camera really needs to pan to the Council paying ZERO attention to the speakers.  They are too busy looking down to acknowledge people who took the time to speak to them.  I hope future speakers stop and ask the Council to at […]

Should Renner be back?

By:  Diane Benjamin Hit play to hear Mayor Renner’s comments at the end of the meeting last night.  Is he fit to be mayor?  I want to see the police reports that have been filed in connection to his accusations.  

Magnificent Monday!

By:  Diane Benjamin The most interesting parts of tonight’s festivities by the Bloomington City Council won’t be the Council business at 7:00.  The pre-meeting David Sage led discussion of Renner’s PCard usage will be enlightening.  I wonder if anybody will ask why Tari still has a PCard? Will Sage ask Tari how this PCard lunch […]

Hilarious Jason Chambers

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday’s paper had a front-page story concerning a filing by Jason Chamber’s office with the Attorney General for Open Meeting Act violations.  He has been waiting 17 months for a determination.  The story claims his office can only prosecute violations for 18 months. First, Welcome to our world Jason!  The request filed […]

What is up with State Farm?

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve talked to numerous people about what is really going on at State Farm.  One felt Ed Rust protected Bloomington-Normal, but he is no longer there.  The new management has no reason to be loyal to Bloomington-Normal. Another person told me State Farm has serious internal problems that are making them un-competitive.  […]

Road design: Run by Idiots!

By:  Diane Benjamin Before the headline – a commercial: If you have never attended the annual Evergreen Cemetery Walk you have one last chance tomorrow This year all the actors are portraying characters from WWI and McLean County.  Details here:  http://www.mchistory.org/learn/programs/cemwalk.php After I went on the walk this morning, I had one stop to make.  I […]

No Vote? No Rush!

By:  Diane Benjamin Maybe some members of the Bloomington City Council finally realized their fearless leader has been abusing his government credit card.  We’ve listened to Mayor Renner spew his “there are no free lunches” for years in order to raise taxes while he was dining on the backs of taxpayers.  The Japan trip finally […]

Will someone tell the Newspaper?

Guest Editorial Hey Pravdagraph, News flash!  Skip Crawford and Mike Matejka have been off the Council for more than a decade!  The people voted them off after multiple terms because they were the ultimate insiders voting for a union agenda (Matejka, union official) and Crawford (pretend Republican) who loved dem Karen Schmidt (see campaign letter) […]

Monday: More Sick Leave Buy Back

By:  Diane Benjamin From Bills and Payroll for Monday night:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14766 Below are payments to employees labeled Sick Leave Buy Back (SLBB).  I don’t know what MO before the first one stands for.  We won’t know what penalties the City will be forced to pay (for not changing this policy that allows pension spiking) until they […]

WGLT does journalism – mostly

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday WGLT published a comprehensive story about the Coliseum.  Ryan Denham  proved journalism isn’t dead in Bloomington-Normal yet.  Read the story here:      http://wglt.org/post/how-coliseum-blind-spot-tripped-bloomington-city-leaders I do have some comments and things I would have written differently: To much emphasis was put on the “bad contract”.  The contract had plenty of statements allowing […]

Heartland’s Fleece

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph reported today the Heartland Board passed an operating budget that is 7.8% higher than last year. The overall budget is 13.4% higher than last year. Heartland approved a huge tax increase last year.  When your property tax bill increased – much of it was Heartland! Below are the tax rates […]

2 Mths of Connect Transit

By:  Diane Benjamin Last month the Connect Transit Income Statement wasn’t available because they were wrapping up their year-end. See the report for both months HERE The ONE month loss for July was $811,295, the August loss was $848,133.     Why is budgeting a TWELVE MILLION Dollar loss okay? It’s your money!  Maybe we should […]

Tari clamps down on Open House

By:  Diane Benjamin I hope we’ve heard the end of Tari’s pre-public comment speech he’s been using for over 4 years.  His new Open House policy ends the open and transparent Mayor persona. I wonder if the Mayor will close the fish pool doors for those making appointments? I wonder if the public can sit […]

Joliet reports while the Pantagraph refuses!

By:  Diane Benjamin The Joliet Herald News was attacked by the City of Joliet for reporting the truth about their new City Manager:  David Hales. The Herald isn’t cowering in a corner, they are putting the facts in front of the citizens.  They are probably getting a tons of reads, people want real news – […]

The day CIAM quit

By:  Diane Benjamin This is the Pantagraph story announcing CIAM (John Butler) would not be renewing the contract to manage the Coliseum:  http://www.pantagraph.com/entertainment/u-s-cellular-coliseum-to-receive-new-management/article_194a2f7c-d482-5d82-8885-7e5eafddb2b4.html That was March 8, 2016.  Tari Renner is quoted saying CIAM might get a short-term contract to help with the transition – maybe 30-60-or 90 days.  Obviously Renner had no urgency to remove […]

VenuWorks and the BCPA

By:  Diane Benjamin These are a few of the past payments to VenuWorks for managing the BCPA after Tina died: See anything strange? I’ll wait. Still waiting . . . . Okay, according to the dead tree, the City wants to contract with VenuWorks to manage the BCPA for a flat fee of $3000 a […]

Using YOUR money: Town of Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal’s Bills and Payroll for tonight:  http://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2730 You work hard for a paycheck.  The CornBelters are failing, as evidenced by a league change, because people aren’t attending games.  They attempt to make money from concerts, Normal helped them out with your money: More entertainment: Grounds maintenance at Rivian: Consultants must get a cut: […]

Hales if a perfect fit for Joliet!

By:  Diane Benjamin I didn’t think it was possible to find people with even less desire to serve the people they are supposed to represent than the local propagandists.  But, they do exist – in Joliet. Speaking with no facts is acceptable operating procedure. Believing every word uttered by people playing CYA is required.  Then, […]

Remember When . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin Remember when Tari had to have a hotel downtown to “benefit the Coliseum”? Remember when he said over and over developers were lining up to get projects started downtown? Today Tari’s Downtown Task Force has the brilliant idea of moving the library and creating a bus transfer station. Neither will be private […]

ISP Proving Integrity: Renner

By:  Diane Benjamin I filed a FOIA request with the Illinois State Police for the investigative documents pertaining to the Renner/Japan/PCard investigation in the purchase of Margot Erhlich’s ticket.  I just received a denial: _______________________________________________________________________ 09/28/2017 . Bloomington Normal News Ms. Diane Benjamin . Re: FOIR #17-2327 . Dear Ms. Benjamin: . Thank you for […]

Renner: I’m ill with type A

By:  Diane Benjamin Yep, Tari was on time out.  “Medical related” meant he can’t handle his type A personality.    See the interview he did with WMDB yesterday:  http://www.centralillinoisproud.com/news/local-news/exclusive-bloomington-mayor-tari-renner-opens-up-about-leave-of-absence/819831555 Tari was never on medial leave, he never quit being mayor!  Tari claims he only took a couple of weeks off,  that explains a lot about why […]

Will Joliet dump Hales?

By:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington ignored what Bend Oregon said about David Hales, I wonder if Joliet will make the same mistake? See this link: http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/09/27/joliets-new-city-manager-leaves-behind-brewing-financial-scandal/at26tcc/ This media source and City employees appear to be as clueless as ours! Quotes: “If there’s a pending criminal investigation, I don’t know who knew,” O’Dekirk said. “I don’t think […]

More City/Media Jocularity!

By:  Diane Benjamin Today the dead tree, as Ben Yount calls it, stated the City hired the Bronner Group back in 2015 to audit the Coliseum. Instead of “there’s an app for that”, my new saying is “I’ve got a story for that”. From September 17, 2015:  https://blnnews.com/2015/09/17/bronner-group-getting-your-money/ Bronner “discounted” their rate to $145 per hour!  […]

The CLUELESS are ruling!

By:  Diane Benjamin Attn:  Council If your information on ANY topic, especially the Coliseum, is from David Hales or Tari Renner you are getting “Fake News”. Jamie Mathy is quoted in today’s paper saying the Management Agreement with CIAM “literally forbid the city from having access to the raw numbers”.  SOURCE Jamie, why did the City […]

It takes guts!

By:  Diane Benjamin Your elected aldermen in Bloomington really have guts!  On the same day they found out at least $1 Million was stolen from you – they voted to slap higher sewer and storm water rates on the victims of their ineptness!  Yes, that would be Bloomington taxpayers. The conversation was really amusing.  Scott […]

MY Coliseum timeline

By:  Diane Benjamin Below are some of the stories I’ve written about the Coliseum.   Some are opinions, some questions, and some proven facts.  This isn’t everything, but it’s enough to prove the 5 Coliseum employees would NOT be under indictment of I hadn’t started investigating in 2013! Each link has a quote from the […]

UPDATE: David Hales needs fired today!

Listen to the interview here:  http://www.wjbc.com/2017/09/26/bloomington-officials-react-to-alleged-arena-fraud/ ________________________________________________ By:  Diane Benjamin Of course the Council will do nothing to David Hales for extreme S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g of the truth this morning on WJBC. Of course Scott Laughlin didn’t know enough facts to confront him. When a podcast is created I will add it to this story. Hales wasted […]

Spin machine is spinning!

By:  Diane Benjamin Celebrate!  Tari is returning from his “medical related” leave October 1st.  Just like everything the City of Bloomington does, his return will have NO Transparency.  Does he still have his government credit card?  If he does, Freedom of Information Act requests are about to spike! Remember the citizen survey a few weeks […]

Audits? The Coliseum was audited!

By:  Diane Benjamin The oldest story I wrote about the Coliseum is from December 2013:  https://blnnews.com/2013/12/11/coliseum-bleeding-bloomington-taxpayers/ But, look at this story from February 2014:  https://blnnews.com/2014/02/06/is-coliseum-management-giving-bloomington-their-share/ First lines of the story: Operations of the Coliseum are extremely complicated.  Management hired by the City is operating some functions without any over-sight or accountability.  The taxpayers deserve to […]

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