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 […]

Congrats Bloomington

By:  Diane Benjamin Somebody at the City finally read the Open Meetings Act LAW!  This note is included on the Agenda for Monday night: David Hales has an ongoing problem approving minutes.  Last March I had to file a Freedom of Information Act for the minutes of the meeting held 9/21/15.  What happened at that […]

Giebelhausen appears

By:  Diane Benjamin If you missed Jeff’s comments at last Monday’s Bloomington City Council meeting, just hit PLAY below.  He spoke during Public Comment, not on an agenda item. I’ve been thinking a lot about the proposals for a downtown hotel.  From on-line comments and emails, there is a lot of support for a hotel […]

Renner’s folly

By:  Diane Benjamin Review of the downtown hotel timeline: May 2015 Jeff Giebelhausen wants the City to pay $8.2 million for “shovel ready” land.  He wanted a fast answer – he claimed his option for the land had a time limit. It failed to get support of the Council. The proposal included tearing down the […]

Media setting you up

By:  Diane Benjamin The Pantagraph has a long history of “floating” ideas fed to them from local government.  It’s always the first step in making happen what government wants to happen.  Watchdogs they aren’t.  The last example was “sharing sales tax” – first mentioned in the paper and expanded since. Sunday more ideas were floated […]

Connect the dots

By:  Diane Benjamin Two months in a row Renner bought former Alderman Rob Fazzini lunch:  https://blnnews.com/2015/10/23/september-eating-at-your-expense/ For new readers, when Fazzini was an Alderman he created lots of news by saying things like “A gas tax doesn’t raise the price of gas”.  https://blnnews.com/2014/01/27/culture-tales-bloomington-council-retreat/ Fazzini was also behind the failed attempts for Modified Wards and Paradigm […]

Living off government

By:  Diane Benjamin Jeff Giebelhausen has a long history of doing redevelopment projects for government.  When taxpayers can be put on the hook for paying  part of the cost, projects the private sector would never touch are suddenly attractive. Tari salivates over downtown Bloomington, therefore Giebelhausen is on it! Here’s one of Giebelhausen’s past projects […]

TIF, Taxes, Talk

By:  Diane Benjamin Random thoughts on last night’s meeting: Congrats to Alderman Lower and Alderman Mwilambwe.  They stood up for citizens.  Public comment was moved to after the presentation against Lower’s wishes, Mwilambwe forced public comment before the Council “voted” to keep the project alive.  Not one speaker supported it.  Funny how none of the […]

Tuesday’s shakedown

By:  Diane Benjamin Here’s the hotel proposal for next Tuesday.  CA 02-16-16 COW No, I didn’t change the name – COW was already in it. I see a number of problems, let me know what you see. Part of Tuesday’s meeting is approving the minutes from the January 19th meeting.  Sick Leave Buy Back was […]

Fly on the Wall: Fazzini

I remember buzzing around a Council meeting and hearing former Alderman Rob Fazzini say “A gas tax won’t raise the price of gas”. I remember hearing Fazzini was behind the Paradigm fiasco to charge Bloomington and Normal more to haul off garbage so he could turn it into jet fuel. Now I hear Fazzini was advising […]

Scott Black spills the beans

By:  Diane Benjamin Alderman Tari junior, Scott Black, was just on WJBC talking about the three hour Executive Session last Monday.  It ended in the Giebelhausen downtown plan being killed. Evidently the discussion could have been held in public.  Black wasn’t shy about what was discussed.  Since the meeting was held behind closed doors, the voters will never know who said what and why. Black used […]

It’s simple Econ Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari:  Congratulate your Economic Development people for bring Hy-Vee to town.  It just cost you a Cub Foods.  I wonder who Green Top Grocery will put out of business? How many hotels were put out of business when Normal decided they needed a Marriott?  What will happen when Normal’s second hotel opens?  Still want a hotel in downtown […]

Underground downtown

By:  Diane Benjamin I get a lot of tips from readers, this is one of them. Decades ago downtown Bloomington was heated by steam.  Below the old existing buildings are pipes, and no surprise – they are wrapped in asbestos. Didn’t you find it strange that the Giebelhausen “shovel ready” project won’t be shovel ready?  […]

Confused? So are they!

By:  Diane Benjamin Mayor Tari wants the Front and Center building torn down so he can get a downtown hotel. Other City departments want the windows and roof fixed. Um.   Haven’t citizens been told over and over and over the City can’t force Huffs to fix the building?  It would take too much time and […]

WGLT, WJBC – anybody listening? Update

The WJBC Renner interview is now posted:  http://cdn.stationcaster.com/stations/wjbc/media/mp3/Tari_Renner__Bloomington_mayor__6_10_15-1433957937.mp3 The exact words Tari used to describe IPI were: they have an ideological agenda.  He switched the conversation to tax rates when he learned he was wrong.  He claimed Illinois has comparable taxes to surrounding states.  Why is everybody leaving Illinois? Other items of note: Tari has massive interest from […]

The Fox is raiding the hen house

By:  Diane Benjamin A vote on the Giebelhausen downtown redevelopment deal could be as early as June 18th.  Renner’s folly for a downtown hotel makes this project dangerous for the future of Bloomington.  Citizens said no public money, so Tari is borrowing it instead.  Does anybody trust their government?  Citizens said NO Coliseum, they did it anyway.  […]

Nothing will stop Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin Most council meetings are scripted.  The Mayor and City Manager take their favorite aldermen to lunch at your expense and brief them on how to vote.  If the ONLY conservative on the council, Kevin Lower, says anything – nobody but citizens care.  Expect the next 2 years to be filled with 8-1 votes. Besides Public Comment being part […]

Front & Center

By:  Diane Benjamin The City had no problem with massive legal fees fighting the arbitrators ruling on Scott Oglesby. The City had no problem with big legal fees to put Paradigm together before the citizens knew Bloomington was even involved. The City has no problem sending $50,000-$60,000 a month to the Springfield law firm for […]

Giebelhausen: Crony capitalism

By:  Diane Benjamin Tonight the Bloomington City Council will hear from a developer who wants to acquire buildings downtown, tear them down, and then sell the blank canvas to the City.  The price will be revealed tonight.  Assume it’s high or it would have been made public before tonight.  The agenda still says “possible vote”, […]