Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Stay the Course??

Ex-Peoria one term Mayor, Lowell “Bud” Grieves weighed in Saturdays edition of the JS offering his reasons for supporting another term for Dave Ransburg. As a resident of Peoria and an ex-business man, teacher, coach, resident of Peoria and currently Vice Chairman of the Peoria County Board, I’ll enter the “why I support Jim Ardis”side of the contest. Let’s examine Mr. Grieves credentials: His service as a one term mayor will not put him among the most memorable of Peoria Mayors. In October 1999, he suggested some type of property tax hike, then in January proposed some sort of property tax reduction. In the January 15, 2000, the Journal Editorial Board said of
Grieves, “he is at risk of becoming the mayor who tries everything and accomplishes nothing". He appears to lack focus, consistency and direction”.

Grieves wanted higher parking fees (approximately $215,000.00)which would scare more business away from downtown, he wanted to use excess HRA taxes as a source of city revenue, he strongly supported a downtown ball park (we got one that missed it’s projected attendance last year by 93,000).” The city of Peoria invested approximately $5 million dollars in the infrastructure surrounding the ballpark with the expectation of getting that back from business growth around the ballpark. Three years later the city is still waiting and will probably wait a lot longer. He strongly supported the RiverPlex which lost approximately 7 million dollars in its first 40 months of operation.

He was involved in late tax payments by the G&G Hotels as well as tardiness in liquor license renewals at G&GPacket Co. which he owned at that time. He suggested that Peoria School District 150 incorporate the Bible in its curriculum and people of non-Christian religions took offense, prosecutors investigated his lingering ties to G&G Packet Company.

He proposed the $5 million dollar taxpayer gift to Midtown Plaza. He strongly supported the city buyout of the water company which I believe the voters will strongly reject in April. The taxpayers should reject this buyout that has no real idea whether city ownership will be a boon or a bust. Whenever business or public entities stray from their core responsibilities, statistics show only three out of ten succeed. (Wall Street Journal March 2005)

In the May 2 issue of the JS, results of Dial-A-Vote showed the following opinions on Mr. Grieves performance as Mayor; 319 votes gave him a high C, 196 gave him a C, 185 gave him a D, 62 gave him a B, and only 28 gave him an A.

He was a champion of TIF, which denies District 150 a share of additional property taxes for twenty years. “He hired as the cities chief image booster a man who had filed for bankruptcy, can’t pay his rent, and lists on his letterhead such non-existent branches in London and Malaysia”. (JS July 23, 10, 1997)

Mr. Grieves, who lists his address as Canton. Il. , strongly supported the proposed Promenade which would have cost the taxpayers anywhere from $71 million to $99 million according to a letter I received from Bob McCord of Illinois Mutual on 11/28/99.

The plea to the voters by Ransburg and his supporters like “Bud” Grieves, is to “stay the course.” Take a look at the “course” we are on. Ransburg supported the RiverPlex, the ballpark, the Gateway Building, One Technology Plaza, the $5 million gift to Midtown Plaza, the proposed new Zoo which a PPD official told me, is so far away from reaching it’s goal of $32,000,000.00 that the PPD Board is proposing that the PPD sell bonds to make up the deficit so that construction can start this fall as scheduled!! The PPD is already obligated to pay back over $24,000,000.00 in accumulated debt.

At this late date Ransburg is purporting to help School District 150 with some of their problems but according to school officials he is a little late in the game.

I have for some time warned Peoria taxpayers to expect substantial increases in property and other taxes over the next few years if we “stay the course”.

I strongly support Jim Ardis for a financially stable growing Peoria and beware of smooth talking ex-politicians who plan to grow Peoria on their own egos and your taxes.


Anonymous said...

Merle, as usual, you get lost in the tangent. You spend 2/3 of your posting criticising Grieves, engaging in the logical falacy of ad hominem attacks. Who cares if Grieves is evil in carnet, if he makes good points, concede them, if not articulate why. Your recitation of Ransburg's failings seem too focused on support for the PPD's zoo expansion. Last I checked, he was Mayor of Peoria, not president of the park board. You lose credibility for legitimate points like his actual votes when you tar him with Grieves or Cassidy's initiatives. Do you really want to have to defend the positions of everyone who has ever supported you? Your insights should be more focused on the Mayor, not those who support him.

Merle Widmer said...


Good Points, I'm comparing Ransburg to Grieves and I'm sorry I left out Jim Maloff. Peoria would have had more economic progress with the approximately $400,000,000.00 (maybe more) that has been spent, mainly on the downtown area, under a stronger and more inclusive leadership. I believe that what this community is seeking is a change because they want to "stay the course" on things that will make the structure of this whole area more attractive to not only holding what we have but attracting new businesss Do you really think the higher taxes that will be needed to maintain all these enhancements will appeal to new and old business? While the Med-Tech looks good on paper, aren't we a little late in the game? And aren't we depending on more money from a finacially strapped State of Illinois? And hasn't most of the local money been spent? Where will the money needed come from? Those of us with common sense know it will come from higher taxes.

We all complain about the finacial condition of our national and state finances, but by continually asking the government for more entitlements for enhancements is what got the country in the sorry financial shape it is in today and Peoria is right up there in asking for more federal and state entitlements.

Incidently, when you are Mayor of Peoria you should be looking at what our schools, park districts an other entites are doing because they are scrambling for the same tax dollars the City of Peoria seeks.

Peoria has to much on it's plate for the funds available without raising more taxes.

It' past time for a change in leadership. But I believe the path chosen is reflective of the Titanic. Time will tell.