Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Water-Logged Till it Sank

I first came across a JS article way back when Dave Ransburg was a councilman. Dave is quoted in the JS that he felt the buyout of the publicly owned water company, could be accomplished for approximately $60 million. At that time Sandberg, Ransburg and Ed Glover were all outspoken buyout advocates. Voting against the buyout study were Leonard Unes, Bill Spears, Andre Bohannon and Steve Kouri.

Tonight’s vote I believe included only two councilpeople from the late 1990”s; Sandburg still voting to continue the study with a plan to buy and Bill Spears voting no, period.. Tonight’s vote showed that 5 1/2 years later, neither had changed their opinion.

Common sense prevailed and demagoguery fortunately failed. The buyout pursuit failed by a large margin, only Sandberg and Grayeb voted to continue this money train down the drain.

To review; Grayeb was worried about foreign ownership of our water which is B---S--- since all water in the United States is owned by the good old USA. That argument continued to lose steam so Grayeb continued his demagoguery by saying time and time again that our water rates were the highest in the USA, in fact double the rate of other cities. I previously blogged that Grayeb was wrong and tonight Councilman Nichting put this lie to rest by reading off the names of a dozen or so communities had higher water rates than Peoria. Nichting and I used the same official source; I believe Grayeb just wanted to believe his lie. Grayeb also tried to discredit the Illinois Commerce Commission. A note on the ICC; if Grayeb has long felt the ICC to be inept, he had only to ask his legislators to shape this commission up!! Grayeb also claimed there was not enough time to study the buyout. Five and ½ years to study something and then start over, reminds me of the bureaucracies Grayeb has worked for over his career.

During the council meeting, Sandburg read a tear jerking letter from some older citizen who previously voted “NO” but after she received more information, she would have changed her vote. This person did not want to reveal her identity. Speaking of being brave as both Sandberg and Grayeb challenged the council to “be brave” in their vote and then read an anonymous letter didn’t show much bravery at all. The letter could have been written by the PAAG group who pushed hard for continuing the buyout. Maybe this woman didn’t even vote the first time. How can you tell without her identification?? (The Peoria County Board will not allow an anonymous letter to be read on the floor of our horseshoe).

Grayeb again said there needed to be more studying done at an additional cost of ½ million dollars, more public forums held and more taxpayer money spent in addition to the millions already spent. (Grayeb didn’t attend the public forum that brought the President of IA to Peoria; indeed and very few people showed up as is typical in most forums) and more taxpayer money spent.

Now the council is faced with the interpretation of the PAAG contract. These investors probably won’t want to lose the money they invested. Whatever contract language that was signed by this group and the Peoria City Council should be followed. That’s why contracts are written. Otherwise, this subject if as dead as the recent mayoral and council election.

Thank goodness. Maybe now the council with there newly appointed member, can get back to the core business of running Peoria!!

10 comments:

Gary Sandberg said...

THe vote to pursue due diligence was 7-3 NOT 8-2 as you state. Sandberg, Grayeb, and GULLEY. If I wanted to "pull a Merle", I would point out your accuracy was off by 50%.

As for the anonymous letter, I called the individual and chatted with her for some length. She signed it and included her address. It was out of respect for her that I call people before blasting their name on the airwaves. Only politicans, like yourself and me, seem to enjoy that. As for the practices of the Peoria County Board, I see no reason to emulate any of them. Do you do a "Dunn and Bradstreet". fingerprint / stamp DNA test to verify authorship before you read them? I guess you and the Peoria Urinal Star share common values, in that respect. The writer was NOT ANONYNOUS, she just wanted her name to be held in CONFIDENTIALITY. Big difference except in the minds of small people or is that small minds of people, I forget. The chance that she is "associated with PAAG' in any fashion is highly unlikely. More likely is the significant number of water company employees and their friends and relatives that contacted me to oppose the buyoutdid so out of their "unique special interest"

Anonymous said...

Sour grapes Gary.

Merle Widmer said...

Aw, Gary, lets not nitpick; just get to the facts. "By a 8-2 vote the council opted to stop researching a buyout of the -----". JS 6/15/05.

You can continue to get as many concessions as you can from IA, but not on my property tax nickel.

"Morris, Sandberg and Ransburg voted in favor of a motion stating the buyout was not financially feasible" JS 4/8/05.

By an 81% to 19% the referendum said "do not continue efforts to buy IA".

Just can't trust the JS to get anything right!!

And you a professed populist!! Tears came to my eyes when you read that letter from the "little old lady from Pasadena". Made me wish I had written a letter in opposition of the buyout to Patrick and had Patrick read it, but, Patrick, please "don't use my name". Anonoymous by dictionary definition is, "having or giving no name". Webster's.

Remember you said you would not work with Peoria County because the "County always took advantage of the city". When I asked you how and when you said "back in 1982------". Are you saying you don't like Peoria County. Shucks!!

Gary, sooner or later, the taxpayer will realize the duplication going on by governmental bodies in this community. Maybe not in your politcal career of mine

I might as well tell those who do not believe IA has an office in Peoria, it does, at 123 S. W. Washington St. Ph. #671-3720. It's call center, like many corporations is in another city, Alton, Il.. At least it's not in India like some "local" companies.

Gary Sandberg said...

Now I understand why you are so smart on all the issues, YOU GET YOUR INFORMATION FRON THE JOURNAL STAR. Ransburg, Morris and SANDBERG voted that the purchase "was not finacially feasible" (4/8/05) ACCORDING TO THE TERMS OF THE CITY of PEORIA/ PAAG agreement. Come on Merle, you know that that agreement called for amortization over 26 years. That is why is WAS NOT FINACIALLY FEASIBLE UNDER THOSE TERMS of THAT AGREEMENT. Because the Journal star doesn't write the verbatum motion, you think you are scoring points. All you are doing is relying on the Journal Star as your data resource, a position I would think you would not choos to do. I don't, but then I am NOT AS SMART AS THOSE COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS THAT APPARENTLY FEEL COMFORTABLE USING THE journal star AS THEIR SOURCE OF INFORMATION

Maybe you can explain to your readers WHY THE COUNTY OF PEORIA ONLY CHARGES THE CITY OF PEORIA A "BOOKING FEE" for PRISONERS BOOKED AND NOT THE OTHER INCORPORATED COMMUNITES OR UNINCORPORATED AREAS OF THE COUNTY????? WHY WHEN THE COUNTY WAS PROVIDING PISS POOR ANIMAL CONTROL SERVICES and THE CITY WAS FORCED TO TAKE OVER TO GET ANY ACCEPTABLE LEVEL OF SERVICE THE COUNTY KEPT THEIR TAX RATE AT THE SAME LEVEL and EVENTUALLY PASSED THE REGISTRATION FEES ON TO THE CITY???????? or WHY THE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT WHOSE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR RAT ABATEMENT ELIMINATED THAT PROGRAM IN THE EARLY 90's and DIDN"T LOWER THE TAX RATE, but EXPECTED THE CITY TO ANTE UP THRU ITS RATE RATE THAT SERVICE?????

Gary Sandberg said...

Oh yeah Merle another question that is a take off from the County UNIQUELY ripping off the City, Why does the County have the CITY PAY DIRECTLY for two sheriff deputies. If I am not mistaken the CITY TAXPAYERS PAYS TWO/THIRDS (roughly) of ALL THE COUNTY EMPLOYEES but THE COUNTY EXPECTS THE CITY TO PAY FOR TWO ADDIDTIONAL. Now I didn't get that information from your resource the journal star, but check it out and tell me why the COUNTY APPARENTLY ISN"T PROVIDING ENOUGH OF IT's BASIC SERVICES and EXPECTS THE CITY WHO ALREADY PROVIDES 2/3 of the REVENUES IS EXPECTED TO ANTE UP MORE. DUPLICATION????? .................... I have a better term but won't use it on your blog space.

Merle Widmer said...

Gee Gary, now you tell me these things. I've only been on the board for 4 1//2 years so I suspect you have a little more history. Did you bring these subjects up while Zan Ransburg was on the County Board? Also, you are surely aware that we made every effort to get together with your past mayor and dialogue on our differences and opportunities. You probably know that fell flat on it's face. (JSEB 7/17/05) "Note to city, county leaders: stop sparring" and JS 7/10/04 "Committee says it need support of city's leaders"."if we were approached in the spirit of cooperation---."

C'mon Gary, you've bee in politics a longime and you don't get cooperation from beligerence. You have never at any one time mentioned to me any of these complaints except the one about the animal shelter back in 1982. that's 23 years ago and a long time to hold a grudge.

I'll listen and work to help correct past mistakes but I need both sides of the story and open dialogue with the mayor, council and county representatives. You also know we as County Board members have very little controll over county elected officials such as the sheriff. Our major control over elected officials is setting their budgets on expenditures that aren't mandated.

I'll research these complaints and if you can open up your mind, Dave and I and whoever will be glad to discuss with you or whoever any ways to get better understandings and cooperation.

Need I remind you that only one newspaper is widely read in this area and I believe they get most of the things right, probably better than %50

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sandberg and Widmer going at it tooth and nail. Gotta love it!!!!
Glad to see Gary is paying attention.

Anonymous said...

I wish all of this energy would go into making this City and County a better place for its citizens. I as a citizen am tired of all of the bickering and fighting between each governmental unit and among each other in the positions you are all holding. You are all doing this while the area is falling down around our ears.

With this kind of attitudes we will lose more people then we will gain. Use that energy to deal with pertinent issues such as our horrible school system, our horrible streets, our horrible crime issues and the lack of civility among all of our elected officials.

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