Normal plays health experts

By: Diane Benjamin The Normal Town Council held a special meeting last night to address the COVID outbreak around campus. Guess what! Protests are exempt from regulations so as not to trample on the 1st Amendment. Funny how Normal has no problem trampling on YOUR rights under the 1st Amendment: …to petition the government for […]

What about Landlords Pritzker?

By:  Diane Benjamin People have been emailing Public Comments to the Bloomington City Council instead of calling in.  I’ve always considered Public Comment for the PUBLIC, not for the elected officials.  Most hardly pay attention.  Meanwhile citizens like hearing what other citizens have to say to elected officials. I FOIA’d these comments for 6 meetings.  […]

Heyworth: Zoning Meeting tonight

By:  Diane Benjamin Heyworth is adding information about local government to their website.  Agendas for all meetings should now be posted 48 hours in advance:   http://www.heyworth-il.gov/local_government/index.php An agenda is not posted for this meeting as required by the Open Meetings Act.  Since it appears Heyworth is trying to inform citizens by expanding available information I […]

Normal Recap Part 2

By:  Diane Benjamin City Manager Pam Reece claimed they posted audio of Public Comment from the previous meeting.  All I see is a deleted video. Lesson from this Council meeting: Cummings wasn’t on video this time during the pledge.  Coincidence? If you want to talk for more than 3 minutes during public comment – first […]

Update: Stan Nord makes a GREAT point

A little of what Craig Stimpert and Ron Ulmer said at public comment is on this WHOI news report:  https://hoiabc.com/news/town-of-normal-opts-to-keep-property-taxes-about-the-same-cutting-budget-instead By:  Diane Benjamin Since there is no video of Public Comment from Monday’s Council meeting, there is no permanent record of what was said. Stan Nord left this comment this morning: In case the above […]

Kirk Allen Back for Public Comment

By:  Diane Benjamin Kirk Allen of Edgar County Watchdogs was back before the Bloomington City Council again.  We will find out what happened to Officer Squires before he resigned. Kirk spelled out in his comment why the citizens need to know what happened.  Squires was suspended before he resigned.  Kirk read the applicable emails we […]

Tiritillli Public Comment found + another sports complex

By:  Diane Benjamin As reported in this story, the Public Comment by Marc Tiritilli was cut from the posted video at the 9/30/2019 joint meeting of the McLean County Board, Town of Normal, and Bloomington City Council:  https://blnnews.com/2019/10/07/comment-cut-from-video-tiritilli/ I filed a FOIA Request with Bloomington since they had posted the rest of the video.  It […]

Kirk Allen’s Public Comment

By:  Diane Benjamin You can watch Public Comment on the City website, but I filmed Kirk’s comments from a different perspective.  Kirk spoke to Council several years ago and his comments were mysteriously cut – just him – the video worked fine for all the other people.  That was one reason I filmed him. Another […]

Ah . . Public Comment

By:  Diane Benjamin Normal Town Council last night: First to speak was Craig Stimpert. (4:27) The topic was pensions funding and the constant raising of property taxes to fund them.  Craig called this Town practice unsustainable.  The Town uses property taxes because they refuse to make pension funding part of the budget.   He called out […]

More from the Normal FOIA – the mural

By:  Diane Benjamin I wonder if Chris Koos will try to blame Stan Nord  for this: This is yet another company who contacted Stan.  They can turn the mural into a digital picture and save taxpayers a lot of money. Stan forwarded the information to City Manager Pam Reece: Have you noticed how Stan continually protects people […]

McBride proves why he shouldn’t be a Trustee

By:  Diane Benjamin The WGLT story about last night’s Normal Town Council meeting doesn’t mention RC McBride voted for the water rate increase:    http://www.wglt.org/post/water-fee-increase-solar-group-buy-making-repeat-appearances-normal Readers are left to surmise he did. This one is worse: I reported this story back on February 28:    https://blnnews.com/2019/02/28/ag-investigating-town-of-normal-again/ WJBC reported it on March 4:    http://www.wjbc.com/2019/03/04/normal-mayor-probed-for-alleged-open-meetings-act-violations/?fbclid=IwAR0mVvQsAVBRPrRVSWllpx_YPGc2YvMk0iHXYXWS0AWvxrBG0FXLxYbmvCg The […]

Public Comment – worth watching!

By:  Diane Benjamin The Council was close to sickly sweet to each other last night.  Not one of them mentioned the failed attempt by Tari Renner is bully them into passing the welcoming ordinance. Citizens did however.  Just hit play to watch Public Comment.  If you want to see the guy Sonny Garcia calls a […]

Update: Tari on WJBC

It looks like WJBC is going to hide the Tari interview, it isn’t posted.   By:  Diane Benjamin Tari again forgot he changed the rules for his “Open Houses” on WJBC this morning.  Evidently Scott Laughlin forgot too.  Funny how the City website still says you have to make an appointment:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/7500/17?backlist=%2fHome%2fComponents%2fNews%2fNews%2f4327%2f18%3fbacklist%3d%252F Did you know […]

Council fails again

By:  Diane Benjamin The majority of the Council thinks government creates prosperity.   The failure of the State of Illinois should be instructive, to them Illinois just isn’t doing it right. Congrats – you are getting another City employee with salary and benefits.  That makes 3 new downtown employees.  The Council failed to understand that past […]

Sports complex imminent

By:  Diane Benjamin Quality of Life.  Economic driver. Government thinks they create prosperity, the opposite is true.  They redistribute your money to their preferred providers for services they want.  Essential services, like fixing the roads, are immaterial. The Normal Town Council unanimously agreed to spend $47,000 on a study that will say exactly what they […]

These people spoke for you

By:  Diane Benjamin Your government runs over you when you don’t bother to stand up to them.  5 people did stand up last night, more need to join them. Public Comment: The first guy owns Joe’s Pub and is concerned about raising video gaming fees.  He asked when the tax increases are going to end […]

Quit giving your address!

By:  Diane Benjamin Some public bodies still ask you to state your address before speaking during Public Comment.  You are not required to according to the law. See this 2014 opinion from the Illinois Attorney General’s office:    http://foia.ilattorneygeneral.net/pdf/opinions/2014/14-009.pdf This paragraph sums up the decision: The Town of Normal and the Unit 5 School Board need […]

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 […]

Clerk’s guilt, to Tari it’s a joke

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari pretended he didn’t know what language was missing from the oath of office he took May 1st.  Funny since he supposedly took the correct vote before Monday’s meetings.  Did he not understand why he was given a new oath, or maybe he didn’t take it?  Nice try Mayor.  Just hit Play! […]

Stacking the deck

By:  Diane Benjamin Tari Renner has been seen shuffling the Public Comment cards at past meetings, likely resulting in “his” people being allowed to speak first. The last time the “welcoming ordinance” crowd showed up to pressure the Council, the majority of the speakers were for the ordinance.  One lady had a problem with the […]

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 […]

Normal: Forget something last night?

By:  Diane Benjamin See the agenda for the Town Council HERE One required item at every meeting of every public body is missing:  Public Comment. The Town Public Comment policy is still illegal because it requires signing up 2 hours in advance and speaking only to items on the agenda.  Since the agenda must be posted 48 […]

Council Monday night

By:  Diane Benjamin Every vote was 9-0 with virtual no discussion, so the Council part of the meeting was boring. Public comment was better.  Note to City:  The length of public comment isn’t 30 minutes – the time citizens spend talking is 30 minutes.  The chair is capable of wasting the public’s time. First up […]

ISU: You taught this?

Note:  A reader commented on the ISU student – Wes Ward (not Wood) By:  Diane Benjamin I tried to watch the video of Monday’s Normal Town Council, but never made it past Public Comment. Marc Tiritilli is still the voice of reason and fiscal responsibility.  I dare you to watch his comments without standing and […]

Council: No surprise Tari

By:  Diane Benjamin Council meetings are pretty boring now that no one is looking out for citizens.  It is fun to see big government types spin their wheels trying to justify their overreach to control the people, especially if you don’t live in Bloomington.  The Transportation Committee, supposedly to increase transparency, will get approved at […]

Avoid Normal candidate Chemberly Cummings

By:  Diane Benjamin I would have loved to post comments from the forums held for the Council of both Bloomington and Normal, but there wasn’t any insight gained.  Spending an hour listening the questions and answers doesn’t give the candidates much time to reveal themselves.  Some are purposely hiding their agenda to get elected. The […]

Koos, Council: Shut up citizens!

By:  Diane Benjamin Last night the Normal Town Council defied the Attorney General’s letter and made only minor changes to their Public Comment Policy.  They relied on the opinion of their City Attorney Brian Day who formerly worked for the Illinois Municipal League. First, you need to understand what the IML is.  See this story:  […]

Another Pantagraph reject letter

By:  Diane Benjamin This time the writer didn’t get a response from the Pantagraph after submitting this letter, it was just never printed. The writer sent it BEFORE the primary, and since it still applies there was no reason it wasn’t printed, except it doesn’t reflect the views of the paper.  The name has been […]

Normal: What the media is missing!

By:  Diane Benjamin Evidently the media can’t read or they have a short attention span and can’t make it through the 7 page Attorney General letter declaring Normal’s Public Comment Policy illegal. It is MUCH more than the 45 day rule.  That one was a no brainer! See the changes Normal is planning to make […]

Normal’s Debt and Public Comment Policy

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve heard that one guy running for re-election on the Normal Town Council is telling people as he campaigns door to door the debt isn’t a problem.  I believe he is actually calling other candidates liars for questioning the debt. Hit play on the video below from last Monday’s meeting.  The speaker […]

I Smell a Setup!

By:  Diane Benjamin Think back to when Bloomington’s Public Comment Policy was changed to 30 minutes.  Tari Renner was out of the country, Karen Schmidt was acting mayor for that meeting. Since Renner has never been fond of Public Comment, and previously it had only been 15 minutes, he probably wasn’t happy when he got […]

Pravdagraph writes fiction?

Note: The original version stated Doug Fansler is running for Normal Town Council, he isn’t. By: Diane Benjamin The new name for the local newspaper was coined by a resident of Normal with experience in the FAKE NEWS they report.  Since other media outlets get their news from the paper, it’s easy in Bloomington-Normal to […]

ISU’s Illegal Public Comment policy

By:  Diane Benjamin Complying with the law doesn’t matter when citizens “interfere” with government’s ability to do whatever they want! Normal is the perfect example.  The entire Council, Mayor, and City Manager are pretending they asked the Attorney General to rule on their policy.  They didn’t.  TWO citizens want Lisa Madigan’s Public Access office to […]