Sunday, April 15, 2007

Library Referendum - More Facts and Thoughts

The JS said today that “most of the candidates to be voted on Tuesday support the referendum”. I don’t think anyone was opposed to the printing of an advisory referendum on Tuesday’s ballot. But many of the newly seated and current councilpeople are going to have to think twice, whether the referendum passes or not, before they lay out $35,000,000.00 for non priorities when our streets, curbs, sidewalks are falling apart, our school system needs some overhauling, the claim there is still need of a fire station and more security for citizens to feel safer. At Peoria’s incarceration rate there may soon be a request for a jail expansion if you want to keep the bad guys off the street and out of your homes. Which of these are more important? More computers and meeting spaces?

The day before the primary election in March, I noticed that two candidates had jumped the gun and placed their yard signs at Lakeview Library. Not only is illegal to put signs on Park District Property; the PPD owns all the Lakeview land, but is not the type of action that you would expect from a city councilperson. The signs bore the names of Thetford and Montelongo. Montelongo is the only person who to date has told me to stop sending him emails because he didn’t agree with what I was saying. At that time, he was President of the Chamber of Commerce. I note they did not endorse him. If you’re wondering, they did endorse me; I just didn’t accept any money from them for my campaign. I’m sure he’ll work well with the County if he gets elected.

In looking through the Library’s Proposed Strategic Plan, page 4 shows a picture of the beautiful Seattle Public Library. Comparing Seattle’s library is like when the PPD replicated Cincinnati’s recreational center, located on the Ohio River, right here in Peoria. Seattle and Peoria comparison? Peoria and Cincinnati? Peoria and Memphis? Give me a break. Okay, no problem, just show me the money, yours, not mine.

A letter to the editor today said that “When you look at places like Rockford, Elmhurst, Arlington Heights, Springfield Missouri, Muncie and Indianapolis you see modern libraries, not one left over from 40 to 50 years.” My goodness, the Jones got ahead of us again so let’s catch up whether we can afford it or not. My home, built in 1976 will soon need to be relegated to the junk pile. Why have my taxes on my “old” house risen every year but one since 1989? I don’t believe we’ve seen anything yet. Figure in what many feel are already too high property taxes, the $32,000,000.00 zoo and the still unpaid for RiverPlex; never able to meet the principle and interest on it’s bond. According to the promises made us, it was supposed to be profiting over $600,000.00 a year by now. Consider the Peoria Museum, not yet off the drawing boards, the big question mark about the expanded Civic Center, the Park Board moves to first Knoxville Ave. and then to the vacant Lakeview Museum after the new downtown Museum is built, the $35,000,000.00 Library Plan, the $500,000.00 a year money losing Gateway Center, a Renaissance Center that is still in a development stage, the Transport still in early development , the Springdale Cemetery question and the possible development of more of Southdown TIF’s.

Did I leave out the $60,000,000.00 plus Peoria Public School District #150 PARTIAL overhaul? Yes, the $60,000,000.00 Downtown Museum. Inflation will carry it to closer to $70 million when completed.

Did I also leave out public pensions that are increasing rapidly every year, especially the cities pensions, along with health costs and “A Mild Job Market Projected for Peoria”; April 2007, InterBusiness Issues. Did I leave out that we are a one major company city with a population that has shrunk from 120,000 in 1980 to 113,000 today? Did I leave out that most all the hospitals do not pay property taxes, including St.Francis?

Some will say I’m negative; no, I’m just a realist speaking as and individual property owner in the City of Peoria. I note the home I was born in and built in 1925 still looks the same from the outside and is occupied by a hard working family who has no intention of replacing it even though it is now 82 years old.


Since there was no organized public dissent about the Library Proposed Tax Increase, I expect the referendum will pass. I know some of the Council read me and know I am speaking as an individual. Those who don’t read me will get a copy of all I’ve blogged on my site after the new council is seated.

If you believe in what you’ve read written by me, pass it on.



Anonymous said...

Yea I'm with you. I'm not buying the library bullcrap. My property taxes are high as it is. I'm voting NO.

Anonymous said...

72% in favor. The people have spoken.

Anonymous said...

Maybe so, but the city council should determine wheather librarys are a prioity over public safty, public schools and other infrastructure.

Merle Widmer said...

I suggest but can't prove that 50% of the people who voted yes have not set foot in a library in the past two years. Also, only 22.6% of all registered voters in the city voted so 78.4% could care less. I suggest that approximateldy 70% do not use any library at any time anywhere or they would have been concerned. I suggest that so many registered voters have lost touch with government that they feel their vote is of no value. Maybe it is the result of the failure of our public schools to instill any sense of responsibility in them. Which, of course, if they didn't vote, it was of no value.

I do as did the approximately 4000 who voted no.

With mounting costs of providing services to a growing land mass with a shrinking population, the council should determine whether of not our underused (pick the day you think any public library would be "bursting" at the the seams and I''ll meet you to see firsthand since I haven't seen that on one day in 15 years) libraries are priorities over public safety, public schools; who all have libraries, and a crumbling infrastructure.

Sobeit. I predicted that with all the hype and no organized opposition, who could say no to all the bright futures of library users and the "promises" being made.

Anonymous said...

78% percent of the people could care less because according to Merle they didn't vote. So that in effect diminishes the mandate from the people. Since less than 50% of the people voted in Merle's election last November does that give Merle less authority as a county board member? Or was I wrong in noticing that the election had consequences and that he was indeed sworn in despite the turnout?

Anonymous said...

Let's not overlook that Merle was elected by his peers as Vice-Chairman by a vote of 15 to 3. Nor the fact that Merle was the only candidate for any public office in probably Peoria history who put up only one yard sign at the insistence of Tim Swain and who did not spend any money of his or anyone else's for a mailing. And got elected. Did Florida win the NCDAA or Ohio State? Who will be remembered most?

Less litter and no paperwork to file.

Gee, Mr. anymouse, you continue to sound like someone with a real grudge. Maybe only elected once to V-C in 22 years on the board, Merle has already been elected twice in only 6 years, or maybe someone who neeeds to vent and is afraid to do it to his face.

Anonymous said...

Totally missed the point. Merle diminshed the referendum mandate by ranting on low voter turnout and noting how large a percentage did not vote.

I simply asked that since Merle's own election last time had a low voter turnout, if that was meaningless also or if in fact elections have consequences and if indeed he was sworn in. That was my sole point.

Anonymous said...

You lose again. Ironically, by the same margin - whopping - that you lost to Cassidy when you ran for Park President. Get the message. You are generally on the wrong side of most issues.

Anonymous said...

Truth is that Merle was given the VC position on the county board becuase it has less to do than a Lt. Governor of Illinois or a "Maytag repairman." It is a ceremonial job you place old semi-senile goats in so they feel important but have no power. It is no secret that all 4 of the other Republican county board members received powerful appointments as committee chairs. Not Merle, wheel him up to the front,put a gold star on his lapel, tie him down and let the others run the show. Too senile to understand his disenfranchisement or his colleagues' shrewdness in sidelining him. Enjoy the perception of power though. In a year and a half even that illusion of power will be gone. Watch, wait and learn...sows will be flying in pink tutus before Merle Widmer ever has a "leadership" position on the county board again.

Anonymous said...

Ah gee, one of you anonymous's. Merle, has been re-appointed to the City/County Landfill, one of two County Board Members, he just got appointed to be the the liason between the County and the Peoria Area Convention Bureau, was appointed to be one of two County Board members to be the liason between the County and the City, ect. Widmer and Sous and Jabob and Spear. All this year to date. Poor Merle has been recognized as a leader in this community for forty years.

How about you, you sound jealous and you are a falsehood teller? Isn't there another name for a falsehood teller?

Are you the guy that said Widmer "was dirt" in 2002 and since then he has been elected to whatever post he asked to elected a total of 5 out of 6 times? Check the record. You are challenged to post your leadership positions.

Anonymous said...

Some have said politicians are susposed to go with the majority. Some of those believing that also indicate they are people of faith. I remind you the Jesus was nailed to the cross by the "vote of the people".

Read the Bible.