If you leave your doors unlocked, is it legal . . .

By:  Diane Benjamin It’s David Hales fault! That is John Butler’s claim to justify the missing bucks.  I blame David Hales too, and the Council, and the Mayor who all shut their eyes and pretended nothing nefarious was happening with taxpayer money.  The joint was audited!  Except concessions never were.  Johnny Butler made sure of […]

Monday’s bills – FOIA’s filed!

By:  Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll for 1/22/2018  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15632 Tari finally filed an expense report – 1st one since his PCard was yanked: _________________________________________ Council and staff weren’t eating at your expense in December.  I wonder what event is 1/27?  There is nothing on the City Calendar.  Buy local?  Ha. _________________________________________ This guy is getting an […]

“Yes” shows trust in Council

By:  Diane Benjamin Editorial in the Pantagraph March 3, 2004:  (available at the library) Does anybody trust the Council?  Poll below↓ . . . .  

False Flag

By:  Diane Benjamin The contemporary term false flag describes covert operations that are designed to deceive in such a way that activities appear as though they are being carried out by individual entities, groups, or nations other than those who actually planned and executed them. This statement perfectly describes the meeting Tuesday night held by […]

Yes, they lied

By:  Diane Benjamin First the news:  Pepsi is not paying the Ice Center anymore for naming rights ($50,000 a year), the Coliseum is no longer receiving $125,000 from Pepsi as a sponsor there!  Both deals expired 3/31/2016.  I bet you didn’t know that!  total lost:  $175,000 Nothing is clearer than the lies told by Arena […]

The Cost of Bloomington’s Recycle FAILURE

By:  Diane Benjamin I love my readers because frequently we collaborate to find information.  See this story from yesterday which included documents for the IEPA showing the City of Bloomington illegally dumped materials at Lake Bloomington:    https://blnnews.com/2018/01/16/bloomington-failed-to-recycle/ The reader found the bids from April of 2017 for cleanup.  I found the Council Action this morning.  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=12738 […]

UPDATE: Bloomington failed to recycle!

See the cost in this story:  https://blnnews.com/2018/01/17/the-cost-of-bloomingtons-recycle-failure/ __________________________________ By:  Diane Benjamin I received a tip months ago about the City of Bloomington illegally dumping contaminated dirt, concrete, and other materials they dig up from water main breaks at Lake Bloomington. I did a FOIA request with the IEPA for documents, I received 14.  Since this was […]

(Not Pepsi) Ice Center profit

By:  Diane Benjamin I filed a FOIA request for the profit and loss at the Ice Center.  Note – it isn’t “Pepsi” anymore because they chose not to renew the sponsorship almost two years ago:    https://blnnews.com/2018/01/10/quit-calling-it-the-pepsi-ice-center/ The Ice Center did show Revenues of $990,556.60 and Expenses of $853,498.89 for a profit of $137,057.71. This is […]

Bond NOT being paid from road funds

By:  Diane Benjamin It has taken weeks to get an answer from the City, but we finally know the $10,000,000 bond payments for roads are not coming out of the Motor Fuel Tax or 1/4% Sales Tax that is dedicated to roads.  Payments are made from the General Fund: It doesn’t change the fact that […]

ROADS aren’t a priority in Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin The video below is from the cell phone video by Angela Scott of the Black-Sage-Schmidt Town hall held January 9, 2018 at the BCPA.  I go to meetings to listen, but I ended up talking anyway. The City of Bloomington claims to be doing priority based budgeting, but their priorities aren’t the […]

Dixon residents were mad, why aren’t you?

By:  Diane Benjamin I just got back from seeing All the Queen’s Horses at the Normal Theater.  It’s the story of the $53.7 million theft by a City employee in Dixon Il. The movie is fabulous, you have one more chance to see it tomorrow night at 7:00.  Buy tickets on-line, the theater was close […]

Update: Tari, Tari, Tari – WJBC

I reported on December 28th State Farm was leaving downtown!  Nice to see SF finally admitted it.  https://blnnews.com/2017/12/28/state-farm-is-leaving-downtown/   By:  Diane Benjamin Mayor Renner appeared on WJBC yesterday – hear him HERE Couple of notes: He called a special meeting for next Tuesday because he thinks the people who volunteered to be on his downtown task force […]

Quit calling it the Pepsi Ice Center

By:  Diane Benjamin Proving yet again that essential items slip through the cracks at City Hall, Pepsi did not renew the naming rights contract for the Ice Center.  Either nobody is looking for a replacement or nobody wants to buy the sponsorship. The naming rights expired the same time the Coliseum naming rights expired:  March […]

Rennerwitz and Burtejka

By:  Diane Benjamin I attended the Black-Sage-Schmidt Townhall meeting last night at the BCPA.  At most 30 citizens attended and many staff members.  The aldermen didn’t waste a lot of time going over what people already knew.  Most of the time was questions and answers, mostly about budget issues. One citizen asked why a NO […]

More from last night, must see video

By:  Diane Benjamin Must see video is below the Council video! Even though “Friends of the BCPA” showed up at Public Comment to urge the Council to approve hiring their fundraiser, Karen Schmidt got the agreement tabled.  She claimed not enough discussion has taken place about the future of the Creativity Center.  Or, maybe she […]

Council shift-last night

By:  Diane Benjamin Is the Bloomington City Council finally waking up?  Do they realize they have no wide-spread support for their downtown spending when the roads are still crap? Alderman Bray pulled a revised Council schedule from the Consent Agenda in order to cancel next Monday’s Committee of the Whole session.  Renner doesn’t understand that […]

Coliseum – FOIA denied

By:  Diane Benjamin While I was reading a mountain of stories from before the Coliseum was built, I saw mention of the City obtaining insurance to protect them from fraud or theft involving the management company. I filed this FOIA request: My request was denied in full. The interesting part is the reason given for […]

Ecology Action Center is livid

By:  Diane Benjamin The local environmental activists thought they had their plan to force EVERYONE to recycle in the bag.  They spent two years meeting with people they call “stakeholders”.  Even if you did hear about one of their public meetings or hearings, I bet you didn’t go. Details here:  https://blnnews.com/2018/01/06/robustelli-wrong-scritchlow-right/ Their plans to use force […]

Another City employee!

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight Bloomington City Council:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15546 PDF page 55. This item is on the Consent Agenda.  That means it won’t be discussed unless an alderman pulls it. The documentation doesn’t say what this person will do, what the job description is, what the salary will be, or what happens if the “Friends” don’t have […]

The SAD Coliseum history

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve been reading a TON of media stories from before and after the Bloomington City Council voted to build the Coliseum. Judy Markowitz didn’t care what people thought.  She was going to build it and nothing was going to stop her.  She really believed she was saving downtown.  Mike Matejka and former […]

Another one bites the dust

By:  Diane Benjamin Downtown Bloomington is dead.  The only people who don’t understand that were elected by the people who didn’t bother to vote last April.  The Coliseum and the Cultural District failed to revitalize downtown.  When will the Council quit throwing money away?  When you change who is on the Council!

Robustelli wrong, Scritchlow right!

By:  Diane Benjamin This week the McLean County Land Use committee rejected forcing people to recycle.  An amendment was brought to the committee by newly appointed member Ryan Scritchlow.  Even though Board member Carlo Robustelli is not a member of the Land Use Committee, it didn’t stop him from making this comment on Facebook: Carlo, […]

History: People smarter than government!

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve always been a huge fan of history.  People who don’t know history repeat the same mistakes over and over.  The current crop of Council members are doing just that because they don’t know Bloomington’s history – especially of downtown. Judy Markowitz didn’t want to wait for the results of the non-binding […]

Bloomington (questionable) spending

By:  Diane Benjamin Monday’s Bills and Payroll:  http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15550 More spiked pension expense: More Interest-Free loans? I don’t care how great the cause is, what statute allows the City to hand out your money to people they chose?  Most people call this vote-buying: More handouts:  I’m guessing the City if buying tickets to a Chamber event for […]

Insider Payoffs – Chamber of Commerce

By:  Diane Benjamin The McLean County Chamber of Commerce is the poster child for insider payoffs.  They have their own Political Action Committee to aggressively get the candidates elected they want.  The candidates they want elected are the big spenders, therefore the Chamber is the ENEMY of taxpayers. The 2018 Bloomington Budget shows why they […]

Knuckleheads

By:  Diane Benjamin Pre Tari Renner the City of Bloomington didn’t have any staff doing economic development.   See the 2012 job titles HERE For the year ended 4/30/12, the Economic Development Council received $65,610.04   http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=6242 BN Advantage didn’t exist. Was Bloomington better or worse? Post Tari Renner – 2017 The City now has a full time […]

Bloomington PDF page 13:

By:  Diane Benjamin http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=15344 This statement is in a letter to Mayor Renner delivering the completed financial statements as of April 30, 2017: The letter is signed by David Hales and Patti-Lynn Silva. Director of Finance. Since Hales is gone, Patti-Lynn needs to explain why the financial statements weren’t released until December – 8 months […]

Found in the Financial Statements

By:  Diane Benjamin We used to get lots of interesting information in the City Manager’s monthly reports.  The City Manager quit doing them because the reports showed information the City didn’t want you to know – like monthly tax receipts and library traffic. The financial statements the City just got around to releasing from almost […]

State Farm is leaving downtown

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve heard from a reliable source that State Farm is not  remodeling their downtown Bloomington building.  It will be empty in mid January. Grand Cafe is not going to re-open. Maybe you can help compile a list of businesses no longer downtown. Lancasters Chocolatier Mueller, Reece & Hinch Attorneys Who else? Anybody open  […]

Facade Grants to WHO?

By:  Diane Benjamin Continuation of: https://blnnews.com/2017/12/26/lets-talk-tifs/ https://blnnews.com/2017/12/26/who-got-tif-money/ I don’t know why Fuller Facade Grants are included on the TIF report.  Usually they are on Bills and Payroll.  The grants are named after Harriett Fuller, but paid for in the budget.  See more information about these grants here:  http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=4101 These grants are just another way to funnel […]

Let’s talk TIF’s

By:  Diane Benjamin If you don’t understand that Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a slush fund for government friends, the Town and Normal and the City of Bloomington will continue to use them to funnel money to people they want to fund.  The theory is the money will be recovered with increasing property tax values […]

Updates: Miller Park, Normal West

By:  Diane Benjamin About this story:  https://blnnews.com/2017/12/22/food-ban-at-miller-park/ A few people are trying to convince me that food won’t be banned at Miller Park, but I can’t get them to explain what Jay Tetzloff meant when he aid: “Once we have a concession stand you won’t be able to bring your food in” I’m told that when […]

Food ban at Miller Park!

Update: https://blnnews.com/2017/12/23/updates-miller-park-normal-west/ By:  Diane Benjamin I could write volumes about last Monday’s 7:00 pm Council meeting at the BCPA.  For now, just listen to a comment made by Jay Tetzloff during his presentation to the Council about the zoo. Jay is all excited about having food available both inside and outside of the zoo for […]

Center Street bridge closing?!?

By:  Diane Benjamin Back in June of 2015 I took pictures under the Center Street bridge for this story:    https://blnnews.com/2015/06/03/24853/ It appeared then to be failing apart. Last Monday a guy named Rick Phillipi (sp?) spoke during Public Comment at the 7:00 Council meeting.  He has been tracking this bridge for many years, he is […]

Budget meeting – the video

By:  Diane Benjamin The video of the December 20th budget meeting at the BCPA has been posted.  The camera angle does not allow viewers to see the data the crowd got to see. One thing is clear:  Council members like Scott Black believe government is the answer to every problem, they just need to spend […]

Video posted! Who doesn’t care about your safety?

By:  Diane Benjamin The video from last Monday’s Council meetings are finally posted.  If you want to listen to all the public comments about the “welcoming ordinance”, start at the beginning.  I know many of you watched the comments made by Chief Heffner.  His biggest point was:  This ordinance jeopardizes public safety! His comments were […]

Why are Bloomington salaries $6,196,593 higher?

By:  Diane Benjamin Since the biggest expense the City of Bloomington has is employees, I took a look at the employees in 2012 and four years later – 2016. The payroll was $6,196,593 higher in 2016 than 2012.  But why? Total compensation per year is on the City website:    http://www.cityblm.org/government/advanced-components/documents/-folder-170 2017 is really for the […]

Chili Cook-off: the pics!

By:  Diane Benjamin See previous stories:  https://blnnews.com/2017/12/13/how-do-they-get-any-work-done/ When I was reading the volumes of emails the City of Bloomington employees sent to each other, I noticed some referred to pictures posted on the City’s intranet.  I FOIA’d the pics. I received 31, here’s a few of them.  Keep in mind, this is a party they threw […]

Tari needs to tell the truth

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari has a problem with the truth. Remember how he constantly claims the City has 100 fewer employees than it used to?  He uses that as an excuse for almost everything. He left out a little detail I found in the almost year old financial statements the City just released.  See PDF […]

City should have sued their consultants

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington paid consultants before building the white elephant.  They predicted revenues of $7,000,000 a year and net income of  $2,319,000 a year.    https://blnnews.com/2015/07/21/coliseum-the-jokes-on-you/ The City has now gifted the financial statements from almost a year ago – 4/30/2017.  The Coliseum audited statements are included:    http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=15348 Revenue for the year was […]

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