We know what Sage is up to

By:  Diane Benjamin At last Monday’s Bloomington City Council meeting, David Sage was adamant that an agenda item signed by 6 Council members be on this Monday’s Committee of the Whole agenda.  Tari Renner attempted to stall, but it is on the agenda:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15300   Instead of bringing it up Monday, it has played out in […]

Even State Farm doesn’t want to be downtown?

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve received several reports from citizens about State Farm leaving their building in downtown Bloomington.  One person just commented they are in the process of moving out the last group now. When did the evacuation start? Why isn’t that public knowledge? Did the Bloomington City Council know? Is the City of Bloomington  […]

Guest Editorial: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Citizen??

GUEST! (In response to this story:  https://blnnews.com/2017/11/15/who-called-the-officer-to-the-retreat/) .  Once upon a time there was a Scary Citizen who actually stood up in public and told The Truth!   And that is enough to scare the bewillikers out of the King and his court!  That is enough to conjure tales of mean and terrible citizens who insult or […]

Who called the officer to the retreat?

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington claims no calls exist! Evidently an officer took it upon himself to show up at the City Council retreat at The Den just for fun. The report I received showed he stayed for an hour.  That’s an hour he wasn’t out patrolling or doing other work.  Bloomington wants […]

Tari: H**l of a mess

By:  Diane Benjamin One more recap from Monday’s City Council meeting: VenuWorks recapped what they wanted to bring to the BCPA, including saving an estimated $200,000 a year in operations. VenuWorks has access to an email list of 409,000 people in Central Illinois to help promote shows VenuWorks has plans for new revenue including concessions […]

Downtown Task Force gets slapped

By:  Diane Benjamin The “Special” meeting before the 7:00 Council meeting has discussions about the library and the City property tax rate. The Library Board wants a tax increase but they don’t know what it is for.  Either they are going to continue plans to expand where they are or they are going to use […]

Public Comment last night

By:  Diane Benjamin Public comment went over 30 minutes last night.  That set a new precedent for allowing it to go over 30 minutes without a Council vote.  Keep that in mind when Tari doesn’t want to allow all the speakers in the future.  The 30 minute time limit should only apply when someone is […]

The 6 again

By:  Diane Benjamin During alderman comments at the end of last night’s Bloomington City Council meeting, Alderman Sage inquired about a request he submitted to put something on the agenda.  5 other alderman signed the request with him.  As the conversation progressed Sage became more emphatic, Renner attempted to dismiss  his request. Sage demanded a […]

Downtown Loons

By:  Diane Benjamin TIF districts are like Greek to most citizens.  If you don’t understand them, government will continue to redistribute money and call it Economic Development. TIF’s made easy:  Government sets a Tax Increment Finance area.  All government bodies in the area have to agree to forgo tax increases due to increasing property values.  […]

Guest Letter to the Council and Mayor

Dear Council Members and Mayor, If you are not able to answer the below questions, please refer me to the correct staff members. On August 28, 2017 members of the Bloomington City Council (or at least 5 of you) voted to turn the Downtown Business Association into a government entity. The DBA was given $850K […]

Normal’s Economic Development Exposed

By:  Diane Benjamin Chris Koos recently spoke at a “State of McLean County” event.    See the newspaper story HERE Koos thinks his job is reducing economic inequity, delivering opportunity, social equity and sustainability. If his claims were true, the Council wouldn’t be set to raise property taxes to fill holes in their budget. Stealing more […]

One more retreat note:

By:  Diane Benjamin I reported in Part 1 that Hales blamed the past Council for approving building Fire Station #5:  https://blnnews.com/2017/11/08/49548/ Hales claims the Council needs to assert their authority instead of always taking staff recommendations. Two points to consider: Voting against a Fire Station will get you accused of not caring about Public SsafetyHales could […]

Bloomington: Monday’s bills

By:  Diane Benjamin Source:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14998 Citizens may not realize when they pay bills by credit card the City gets charged a fee for accepting the card.  Just for one month there is over $81,000 listed as “Credit Card Fees”.  See PDF page 161-163.  That’s money that can’t be used for anything else.  There are other charges […]

Retreat: Part 2

By:  Diane Benjamin The second session of the retreat was 3 hours and 33 minutes.  I DID NOT LISTEN TO EVERY SECOND!  I jumped around and listened to more than half.  It was obvious Quality of Life is not going to be in proposed cuts.  The discussion involved real spending for the first time in […]

Council Retreat Recap – Part 1

By:  Diane Benjamin I wasn’t able to attend the retreat last Saturday, so I FOIA’d the audio.  Of course it’s long, so far I’ve listened to part one.  A link is below.  The documents they are discussing can be found HERE  Below are comments I had while listening to the audio, it’s not a story in […]

The Perils of Public-Private Partnerships

By:  Diane Benjamin If you need evidence that Public-Private partnerships mean taxpayers lose, look at the Coliseum/Grossinger Motors Arena.  The City of Bloomington pretended to oversee operations, they failed the taxpayers. The “private” part of these partnerships think they don’t have to disclose where the money goes.  A far better plan is to outsource entire […]

Past Due TIF Reports?

By:  Diane Benjamin Yesterday I did two stories on past due Tax Increment Financing reports: https://blnnews.com/2017/11/03/is-normal-hiding-tif-data/ https://blnnews.com/2017/11/03/bloomington-plays-the-same-tif-game/ First:  It is ridiculous the citizens have to wait over 6 months after a year-end for financial information. Second:  If you look under Finance on both the Bloomington and Normal websites, there are NO links to TIF reports.  […]

Irony of the Day!

By:  Diane Benjamin The below is what the City of Bloomington has in this year’s budget for Public Transportation: Bloomington has more than doubled what they give Connect Transit.  Yes, that structural deficit is the Council’s fault.  Even with more of your money, CT continues to lose between $800,000 and $900,000 every month. Tomorrow the […]

Bloomington plays the same TIF game

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal has not submitted TIF reports to the Comptroller as required:  https://blnnews.com/2017/11/03/is-normal-hiding-tif-data/ Bloomington hasn’t either: warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com Bloomington TIF Past Due The Comptroller’s  office must not know Bloomington created another TIF in October 2016 for downtown.  They will when I notify them. See the Council minutes here for when the TIF was created:   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=11542 […]

Retreat! Yep, but it’s a secret

By:  Diane Benjamin Tax receipts are flat.  The City of Bloomington is facing more “structural deficits” they created.   What to do, what to do? Let’s hold a retreat Saturday at the Den where it can’t be video taped!  The citizens have no right to know we are going to raise property taxes: Packet PDF page […]

Legal: Employee Investigations?

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve written before about the City spending resources to prosecute employees when arbitration reaches a different conclusion than the one the City wants.  Remember Scott Oglesby?   https://blnnews.com/2013/05/06/the-real-story-of-scott-oglesbys-firing/ Now they are doing it again.  This time it’s a fireman, Jon Caponi, who was arrested in 2016 for domestic violence.  See the newspaper story […]

NIOT has no moral authority!

By:  Diane Benjamin Not In Our Town only means some people in town are not allowed to have opinions.  Any mention of ILLEGAL and immigrant together could lead to public flogging!  Laws aren’t meant to be obeyed, it all in how one “feels”. NIOT proved who they really are the first time Tari attacked me […]

What’s a “bona fide plan holder”?

By:  Diane Benjamin Nobody checked into why David Hales left Bend Oregon after only 2 years and all the records were sealed.  See this story:  https://blnnews.com/2013/09/17/who-is-city-manager-david-hales/ Obviously nobody in Joliet did any independent research of David Hales either since the Council had no idea 5 people were charged with 111 felony counts while he was in […]

Lunch with people who sue: Renner

By:  Diane Benjamin When the last Downtown Bloomington TIF ended, I hear David Bentley wasn’t happy with the money he got to rehab the CII East Building.  He sued the City in 2014. See the 2014 TIF report here:   ftp://ftp.illinoiscomptroller.com/LocGovTIF/FY2014/06402530/14TIF06402530Dwtwn_Cendistrict.pdf Since the TIF was pretty much over, expenses for legal fees were all that is […]

Official Misconduct: Gov Credit Card Use

By:  Diane Benjamin I hope the Illinois State Police investigation doesn’t take two years in the Bloomington case, but charges were filed against a former Champaign County official in September for personal use of a government credit card in 2015: Former Champaign County Supervisor of Assessments Joseph Meents, 44, of Fisher, charged in September 2017 […]

What Tari used to say:

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari Renner is a master at campaigning, it’s the governing part the citizens have a problem with.  When he ran for reelection he repeated the same talking points over and over and never varied from the script.  Truth didn’t matter, only the talking points.  The uniformed fell for it. The first time […]

Pantagraph: Explain why Tari is scared

By:  Diane Benjamin The local paper has an article about the Cease and Desist email Bruce Meeks sent to the mayor.  See it HERE I don’t know what the writer means saying Meeks is “raising questions” about the airline ticket to Japan, but I wonder why Renner chose to go after Bruce Meeks when I was […]

Downtown isn’t the City Core!

By:  Diane Benjamin Downtown businesses didn’t even support the Downtown Bloomington Association.  Now the DBA employees are happy City employees complete with higher salaries, benefits and pensions! The Coliseum and the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts (BCPA) were supposed to brings hoards of people downtown. The Visitor’s Center in the McLean County History Museum was […]

Fed up with the Renner Lies: Bruce Meeks

By: Diane Benjamin Bruce Meeks has had enough of the lies the Mayor of Bloomington is spreading.  Today this email was sent to the Mayor. _____________________________ October 25, 2017 VIA EMAIL RE: CEASE AND DESIST – DEFAMATION Tari Renner 2 Sable Oaks Court Bloomington, IL 61701 Dear Mr. Renner It has come to my attention […]

Pantagraph Editorial

By:  Diane Benjamin Anonymous Editorial writer published one today against Tari Renner:   http://www.pantagraph.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-mayor-needs-to-change-his-ways-and-fast/article_5de7dedd-4ac6-5590-8ebe-f5c1c1f95d2b.html You can decide for yourself why they wrote it. Even though a comment by Bruce Meeks stating he had never sued the City was published in THEIR paper, the writer allowed Renner to claim yet again Bruce has been suing for 5 […]

Flashback: The last Renner rebuke

By:  Diane Benjamin February 20, 2015 The Council issued a Resolution, they did not censure Tari Renner for his remarks made on BlnNews.com.  The entire video of the meeting is below, it doesn’t officially start until 8:49.  Most of the meeting is Public Comment. (starts at 19:00).  A copy of the Resolution they passed can […]

UPDATE WJBC: Going to ever ask questions?

WJBC has posted the audio and a story:  http://www.wjbc.com/2017/10/25/renner-council-spat-shouldnt-impact-city-manager-search/ Tari:   Maybe the Aldermen who won’t return your phone calls understand the public business is required to be done in public.  See the Open Meeting Act you frequently violate.  Of course it could be they don’t want to hear more lies any more than citizens do. Did […]

The Letter

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari has thought he is god’s gift to Bloomington since the day he got elected the first time.  He planned to RULE, not serve.  Every action he has taken from his first day on the job proves that.  He has no concept of what most people think a mayor should be. The […]

County isn’t getting the money

By:  Diane Benjamin I could have predicted what would happen last night with sharing expenses to redesign the Towanda-Barnes/Ireland Grove intersection.  $900,000 is a lot of money, but I bet this Council won’t even approve spending far less.  The proposal was for the County to pay half and the City half. That intersection is: Not […]

Where to start, where to start, where . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin Unpacking last night’s Bloomington City Council meeting will take more than one story! Let’s start with Tari Renner getting his PCard taken away.  Just hit play below to hear his comments. Tari claimed Finance Director Patti-Lynn Silva runs a great shop, there are no abuses of the PCard policy. Tari must not […]

Remember when Tari claimed officials had been assaulted?

By:  Diane Benjamin See the VIDEO in this story:  https://blnnews.com/2017/10/10/should-renner-be-back/ What Tari claims has happened is a FELONY.  Were police reports filed? NO! Why was it denied? I originally tried to file for a longer time frame, but they told me it was too long.  Then the City lost my response to a request to narrow […]

Tari needs to give Bruce Meeks an award!

By:  Diane Benjamin Last Saturday a guy mowing grass for one of Bruce’s neighbors fell in a hole near his house: Bruce grabbed a ladder and climbed in the hole.  The mower had landed on the guy, luckily it didn’t cut him. Bruce got the mower off of him and waiting in the hole with […]

Connect Transit: September Fleece

By:  Diane Benjamin See the September report here:     https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4zAZemF_qQuX0JzckFHNFZJV1k/view Revenue from riders doesn’t come close to pay the wages of the employees:   The total operating loss appears to not be a red flag for anybody: Government can’t come up with a way to transport people without losing $833,895 in one month? The loss […]

Monday: Brick Streets

By:  Diane Benjamin Since a few people on the council think the remaining brick streets need to be saved, the Council will hear how much it will cost at the Special meeting.  This is the 10 year projection:  PDF page 76  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14866 I added the zeros the presentation conveniently leaves out. When the eventual ordinance hits […]

Can the Council READ?

By:  Diane Benjamin PDF Page 10:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=12766 Last April the Council unanimously approved spending $114,999 to hire Greenplay to develop a Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Master Plan. Keep in mind, the only reason for Master Plans is to bind the hands of future Councils because millions have been spent planning.  Even with this massive expense, […]

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