Friday, September 19, 2014

Peoria County's New Nursing Home, Heddington Oaks Bigger Money Drag on Taxpayers Than Projected

Heddington Oaks, the new $53 million, 214 bed, Peoria County Nursing Home, opened in June last year with expectations from our then administrator and strong board supporters like Democrats Phil Salzer, Allan Mayer and Andrew Rand,  that it would be self-supporting. From as much information as I can gather with out filing a FOIA, it appears to be far from self-supporting. The old nursing home, BelWood, still standing empty, cost  Peoria County taxpayers over $3 million to operate. It is my understanding that a 30 year note was taken out by the county. Now these yearly note payments, along with the $3 million to fund operating costs, are not being covered by resident fees as projected.

Heddington Oaks is probably the most modern nursing home anywhere in the area. It serves a largely Medicaid population with a number of rooms designated for Alzheimer clients. Not a peep as to how this facility is doing financially from the JSEB who strongly supported this new facility. Maybe because a number of the clients do not come from Peoria County but from counties like Tazewell County where the JSEB main editor lives and Tazewell or no other county pays Peoria County any tax to support Heddington Oaks.

Interesting but sad as another "projection" has apparently missed it's target. As a reminder, Medicaid clients are also supported by other various taxpayer supported government funds. Read my many blogs on BelWood by entering BelWood on my upper left hand search bar. You will find the various reasons why I did not support this expensive facility.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chicago Cubs Ivory Tower Guys - Some Advice

If you plan to be a contender next year with some new major league caliber newcomers, then fire your manager NOW. This guy is no major league manager. He isn't college head coach caliber. But then you must surely know that but as usual, you are afraid to "pull the trigger".. If you retain this manager, the Cubs will NOT be a contender in 2015.

I'll take bets now.

Peoria Progress Since Monday, April 15, 2005 - "Lest We Forget"

Look this blog up by entering "$60 million Peoria Park District budget",  Enter in the upper left hand corner of this blog or any of my 2600 blogs I've posted to date.. Read on to reach my prediction of a $60 million yearly PPD budget . Of all the predictions I made over the years almost all have come true or will soon come true.You will find that in 2005, I predicted that the Peoria Park District was spending beyond it's means. I predicted an upcoming  $60 million dollar PPD budget. The JS says it is now $52.5 million with a defict of $1.36 million this year and no way out but to close at least one golf course, close the Central indoor pool, and reduce employees. Renovating the vacant Lakeview Museum building cost more that $2.75 million and maintenance costs to this 33,000 square ft. structure will far exceed the cost of maintenance occurring when they occupied the Pavilion, their old headquarters now being remodeled to become the Peoria Playhouse. This playhouse was originally scheduled to open in 2007 and is still not totally funded and with no indication it will be endowed by the private sector.

Meanwhile, erosion runs rampant through 8500 acres of parkland with no money allocated by the PPD for erosion control. Note the growing delta in the Illinois River coming from soil from park grounds in the area north towards Chillicothe.

The PPD 40 acre sports complex wasn't built partly because of the drain of debt from the RiverPlex, the $1 million lost per year by poor decisions regarding PPD golf, once a profitable ventures, Kirk Wessler points out that some tennis courts have cracks big enough to break an ankle, growing high fees are out of reach for long-time park golfers. those in poverty can't afford the rising costs of most park activities and the African Zoo highly touted spectacular entrance  off Prospect never materialized. But Queen Bonny got her magnificent renovated headquarters that will soon be needing a new expensive roof, while the Old IDOT building on Knoxville owned by the PPD is deteriorating.

Meanwhile, the amount of money the park can borrow (bonds) has shrunk considerably despite the protestations of the Peoria Journal Star that that the park is very solvent. But they do not print how much is borrowed from who and what money they can yet borrow.  Just like the public doesn't know how much is still owed on the PRM or the size of it's endowment and how much of the meager endowment fund was created in a clever accounting maneuver, paid by the taxpayers. While Dave Ransburg's pledge to "personally" raise $10 million, was a bad joke.

Meanwhile, population in Peoria County is shrinking and sales tax missed estimates by ONLY $1.5 million and the PRM actually lost close to $2 million when operating costs are included.

Then there is the large deficit at Peoria County with only Board Member Bob Baietto asking questions about the performance of the relatively new Heddington Oaks which rumor has it as "losing it's ass".as the deficit is made up by property tax payers. Then there is still the deteriorating old BelWood Nursing Home and the mess out at the old deteriorating Hanna City Correctional Center, whose ownership was taken over by Peoria County without a plan for its use.

Not true, some say? Then prove me wrong with facts. Just don't let ACTUAL facts get in your way.

Meanwhile the more "committees" are being formed to study the problems as so many of the old committees turn out to be just that. Committees. Like many like me don't know? Big, bigger and huge egos all the way from the B & G Club up. and down.

So sad

Saturday, September 13, 2014

POTUS Says More Countries Lining Up As a Coalition Against ISIS

Mr. President, who are these countries? What are they going to contribute. EXACTLY what and EXACTLY when? OBO, you may go down in history as the greatest "bullshitter" since Bernie Madoff. You are all mouth and a "day late and a dollar short".

For those who may not be noticing ALL the damage he and like minded politicians are doing to this country, your progeny will. One wag said 'if he was so bad a president, why is the stock market so high'? Sorry, but that is the mindset of so many people; they believe if they are doing well the country is doing well.

So sad.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bank Of America Pulls It's Buy Recommendation From Caterpillar

Cat's year to date high of 111.59 vs. it's year to date low of 81.87 shows a nice gain for their stockholders who usually buy and hold. I suggest that you read more on Cat as analysts average being right about 50% of the time. Plus other analysts often disagree, Somewhat comparable analysis of TASER. Both are good buys for the longer run but TASER stock is at least 7 times cheaper that Cat. and Cat pays a substantial dividend and TASER does not pay any dividend.

Peoria Chief Baseball Year End Statistics in the JS Missing Most Important Element

What's missing? Attendance and a breakdown of attendance. How many freebies? Usually a lot are included. How many kids tickets are included in attendance figures including Dare Day kids attendance. Why important? Well, even though the JS sportswriter may believe this is a Public Ball Park; in order to save money the JS now has a golf reporter now covering  baseball, it is supposed to be a PROFIT MAKING PRIVATE  ballpark (AT LEAST THAT IT WAS HOW IT WAS SOLD TO PRIVATE INVESTORS back in 1994 when I bought as many shares as Pete did) owned by the stockholders even though Rocky seems to feel he inherited the club from his dad who was also minority stockholder.

Unfortunately, most stockholders who aren't buddies with management will not find out till spring how the club did financially and whether it will need to go back to the City (taxpayers) to see if the City can cut them more survival deals. We stockholders not in good graces with Rocky, Don Fites and a couple others running this money losing project, usually don't get any real information until tax times. My $50,000.00 loss was long eaten up and whether I still own any shares of stock remain a mystery. At least I never get more than 2 documents a year from Rocky, one including my profit and loss statement, always a loss including last year. Whether I still own any shares I might be able to learn by asking Rocky. My relationship with him is that I would not stoop so low as to have to ask since I have been trying to sell my stock since at least 1999 through Rocky.

Some ask why I bought in. Easy. I bought my stock in 1994, 20 years ago when the club was still at Meinen. I also wanted to keep minor league baseball in Peoria. I did not believe and told Pete and JS.  Pete, before his death was known by some as Peoria's nicest con man, that a move to the so-called riverfront was NOT GOING TO BE  the finacial salvation of the club. To date, my yearly 2 page, mostly blank, financial statement from the Chiefs, prove I was right but Pete got his wish for a $23 or so million dollar stadium and that was all most people were interested in, especially Caterpillar.

So anyway, you JS sportswriter, how about attendance figures with a breakdown or is Rocky still reviewing these figures while making all other statistics available to the you.Or didn't you ask or care since you don't own stock in this PRIVATE club??

As a side note, minor league clubs like the Chiefs are always bragging that "so and such" now major league star once worked their way up through the minor league systems. Surprise! I guess that most major league stars come directly from high school or college. Or am I wrong in believing that minor leagues are supposed to DEVELOP high school and college players into major league players?

Also, one might ask why all the thousands of others who play yearly in minor leagues are seldom, if ever mentioned, never even play one game in the majors? Good question, Merle.

Journal Star in Such Bad Shape Financially They Can't Afford Proof-Readers??

I don't look for the grammatical errors in the JS. They just stand out..See if you can find a headline on today's Sports page where they printed "to" instead of "two" Just one of dozens I've noticed lately throughout this news rag.

I also need to go to the library tomorrow and read what "reporter" closed a business in a small community BEFORE the owners had made public anything about closing. The "closing" article appeared on Sunday, September 7. Just like JS "reporter" Matt Buedel who reported I had an upstairs room when I have lived for 24 years in a ranch style home. Why did he INTENTIONALLY  do that? A further effort to make me look bad by making the believer believe there was adultery being committed in a "upstairs" bedroom.when there was no adultery being committed anywhere in my house.

In my book at least 3 of the reporters couldn't hold a job unless they wrote for the National Inquirer. Who are the other two? Hint. Two of them write a weekly column and one used to be be listed as an editor!!!

I will need to go to a local library to see who wrote the article that closed this local business before the business KNEW they were closing if they did say they may plan to close someday. The JS was just performing as usual, hear of an event that can embarrass someone and than act as jury and judge and often times providing sentencing before anyone is found GUILTY. If found innocent, they then bring up as much other events to embarrass the accused so that no one is ever found innocent by the JS unless they are friends of someone influential at this rag, Therefore, no is ever really found innocent by the many medias and many of their viewers or readers

Do I make grammatical mistakes? Sure, but I don't get paid to blog nor can I afford a proof-reader.

Alleged Murderer of 5 of His Own Kids Was Typical Teenager

Yeah, all he was arrested for previously was possession of cocaine, car stealing, burglary, and forging check. His dad called him a "typical teenager"?? Sure, and what is his so-called DAD. A typical adult?

So sad.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Sensible Comments in Sunday's Journal Star Opinion Section

Thanks to good citizens like Joshua Cox, Sonya Wilson, Mary Hayes. John T. George, Nancy Pilger, Heather Olsson, who has 7 children and sounds like she is a good Mom, and last but not least, Mike Schwerer, who all wrote sensible Letters to the Editor this past Sunday.

There is not much "meat" in the JS these days with advertisements taking up about 40-50% of the space. And rumor is the JS just laid off more people. But I like to read sensible commentary even from the JSEB.

Thanks, again.

Politcians Votes Not Always as They Appear

Let's take the Peoria County Board. A few of you remember a poorly written article in the JS about a County Board vote to place a referedndum on the ballot about whether or not to eliminate the Recorders office run by a Republican and combine it into the County Clerks office run by a Democrat. Fewer yet may havve noticed that the two most powerful officials on the County Board, Board Chairman Tom O'Neill and Chairman wannabee, Mike Phelan,both Democrats, voted with the Republicans to oppose this action.

So anyone can vote however they want. Right? Yes, but here is the rest of the story. A few years back there was heated debate at the board level and in the press about whether to keep the elected Auditors office run by a Democrat or to make the position an appointed one or whether it should exist at all now that the county has created the new position of a Financial Officer plus the fact that the County hires their own paid internal auditor.

The Democrats where all about leaving the situation as it was and no action was ever take. Now, how does this relate to the Recorders proposed elimination? Once the Democrats counted the votes they knew they could afford to throw a couple votes over to the opposing Republicans hoping to further defer the possibility of the elimination of the Democrat run Auditors office. This maneuver often happens unnoticed by the voter who believes the elected official is ALWAYS acting for the benefit of the common good.


Best case in point was the County Board vote on whether or not to let PDC expand their current Pottstown location or not. Six of us were selected to sit on a review board and all 6 of us APPEARED to be in favor of the keeping the location based on our listening to six days of expert testimony. The committee, backed by administration,  thought we had enough votes in favor of expansion figuring if the 29 year old location was ever going to contaminate the water, which it won't, it would contaminate, expansion or not.

When the final vote was held last voter around the horseshoe was the Board Chairman. This vote was taken VERBALLY against my vehement protestatipons. At break time before the vote the chairman told me privately that he was in favor of the expansion. However, when the verbal vote began around the horseshoe, the vote was 9 against and 7 for when the vote got to him.  Seeing that the 'no" voters where going to win, he evidently changed his mind and voted with the no voters.One voter didn't show, possibly afraid to cast a vote either way. Had the one Democrat voter shown up to vote yes as he said he was going to, then the charman probably have voted yes and a 9-9 vote would have allowed espansion savings businesspeople and taxpayers millions of dollars over the years.

No way should have this vote been verbal. Also the committee that sat through all the testimony, was to present our findings to the full 18 member board. This never happened. Why not? Ask Patrick Urich, our administrator at that time now struggling as Peoria City Manager.

Possibly to make amends, the Chairman later enthusiastically promoted PDC to replace Waste Management as the approved hauler and manager of the City/County Landfill on Cottonwood road.

Another voting anomaly occurred when Republicans in Caucus agreed to support a Democrat for Chairman. When the vote came verbally. this vote should always be private, the two top Republicans changed their vote to another Democrat who won. The Democrat who won learned what they did and the top Republican didn't get the committee chairmanship he thought he was promised.

Me, I voted for the Democrat the Republicans had agreed on. Such is politics most people never hear about. That why newspapers are struggling. They can't afford investigative reporters.


Illinois - Governor Election Will Not Save State From Further Despair

While I will vote for the Republican and hold my nose - If the Democrat is re-elected, I'll lie to people I meet and tell them I'm from Wisconsin, Indiana or Nevada. After the election this state under any circumstances will still be a state run by the powerful public unions and it their elected supporters, largely Democrats like our local big-spending Dave Koehler and the Chicago Mafia like Madigan and Emanuel. Some large corporations may benefit by the election of Brauner and Caterpillar might "get more goodies" for staying in Illinois and feel better about building their new headquarters in the spaces in Peoria I;ve already predicted.

For those of us who still own property here and haven't transferred our taxing address to Florida, can only look forward to higher taxes with less benefit accrued from being further over-taxed or having all fees and fines increased. The uncounted  unemployed will gradually surface showing more people living in poverty and on other government subsidies. The influx of more illegal intruders will overload all social services including education and prisons, some prison employees are already making over $200,000.00 a year, this figure bloated by overtime. In turn, further bloating are already bloated pension systems.

So sad.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Peoria Illinois Movers and Shakers - a- Most Optimistic Group, But......

Nothing major has been built in Peoria that has lived up to projections in the last 15 years. Starting with the $23 million downtown privately owned minor league baseball stadium financed partially by somewhere in the vicinity of 8 million taxpayer dollars; then needed to be bailed out recently by the City Council, forgiving about $1.6 million debt. All taxpayer dollars.

Next came the RiverPlex which was supposed to be self-supporting according to the Superintendent and Park Board President. Only to find out it could not pay off the note to build the entity that competing strongly with the private sector and had to extend the note payments an additional 6 years. The drain on park finances prevented the building, the highly promised by Cassidy and Noble, major league softball complex to host national tournaments. Even though the land to build on was part of a trade between Bradley U. and the PPD; Meinen Field where Bradley soccer is now located for 40 acres of land Bradley (part of 162 acre deal that Bradley paid an unprecedented $13,000 an acre) located at the corner of Rt. 91 and Fox Rd.for the PPD to build this widely promised sports complex.

The RiverPlex drain on park resources also resulted in large increases in fees; one example are park shelters that a few years ago cost $25 to rent are now $75 and caused the cancelling of at least one previous free event. This drain also caused a high neglect of erosion as witnessed by the growing delta of soil on the west side of the Illinois River. Now the park is running a greater deficit and will need to close a golf course (park golf courses always made a profit in the past) or close Central Pool. The PPD has used up all but $500,000 of reserves that stood at over $3,000,000 just a short time ago

The highly touted African Zoo with a redesigned entry off Prospect with a widely illustrated new signage never happened. In fact, the Glen Barton Foundation had to contribute the resources to build the new entry and souvenir building..Attendance is published to be only 200,000 a year up from 170,000 before the $32 million expansion. The park, intended for family events, sought and secured a liquor license to hold weddings, etc. all in competition with the private taxpaying sector.

The museum attendance projected to be 240,000 a year drew 157,000 thru the June 30, 2014 or was it through the calendar year ending December 30, 2013?? PRM figures have always been difficult to obtain and to my knowledge, they do not have a certified audit. The JS reported the financial loss to be $600,000 but hastened to say "this was not taxpayer dollars" but then failed to say where the money then came from to cover this deficit. If it came from the Endowment Fund, which the public does not know how much is really in this fund, and the public does not know that through an accounting maneuver, about one-half the endowment came from the 1/4% sales tax which is indeed public dollars. The museum project itself, reputed to cost $99,000,000 was funded by approximately 67% taxpayer dollars when it was promised to be supported by just 33% taxpayer dollars.

Now we have the Civic Center reporting a deficit of 9 times projections ($875,000.00) with attendance falling from 640,000 to 520,000. An amazing drop during a reputed growing nationwide economy.

Then we have the Gateway Building, last reported losing $500,000 a year, the failed Technology Center downtown, the growing of what appears to be somewhat of a scandal on who owes what on the highly touted Marriott Courtyard, where I for one,, anxiously await the census figures as the Peoria taxpayers were put in the position of backing $30 some million of construction loans.

Should I even mention the NOW projected deficit at Peoria Public School District #150 as being an astounding $12,000,000.00 with loans outstanding for up to 30 years. Or the Peoria City Council debt in the millions with a sales tax shortage this year of $1.5 million, taxes needed to meet the debt on the museum and some shaky information coming out of the Peoria County Board who, as most of the public is unaware, owns the highly under performing riverfront museum.

Then there is the Warehouse District that is expected to bring 'booko' new residents to revitalize the down town that none of the big projects have so far failed to do. Again, projections, none of which have been met in the past 15 years.

You won't find all I blog in the media. But I have kept extensive files on every projected mentioned here. All is not what the IB and others write is true about this river city if you also look at the condition of our public streets, the growing number of empty commercial buildings and the abandoned houses all over certain parts of the city.

I myself am an optimist or I could never have started the company 50 years ago now know as Widmer/Interiors located on north Allen Road in Peoria. Unfortunately, my realism has not won me a lot of friends as witnessed by the JS and some other media who are never interested in "the rest of story".

Been going on for over the past 15 years so I'm pretty much used to it. The old saying of "don't let the facts get in your way" were never truer as Don Axt so aptly put it several times in LTEs to the JSEB over the years..