Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sandberg Gives Thumbs Up - Peoria Times- Observer headline today

It was interesting to read DeWayne Bartel's endorsement of the $35 million for libraries and his interview with Councilman Gary Sandberg. Most interesting was that a reliable source told me that Sandberg announced his resignation as council library liason.

DeWayne says the delay of a vote last night was "only about a decision over location". Surely it couldn't be that Gary didn't have the 6 votes he needed to dump $35 more million dollars on the property tax payers who reside in the City of Peoria

I suspect it will be an interesting council meeting on June 24. It may all boil down to common sense.

There are only two sure things I'm told; death and taxes. I might add "big" egos and facts that get in the way of intelligent decisions.

My challenge to meet with me at Lakeview Library and show me a library "bursting at it's seams", inadequate parking and people using computers for "intellectual development." You know you can't or you would. Invite Mike Bailey, who lives in tazewell County and doesn't pay Peoria property taxes. People who own computers say they use the libraries computers because everything is "free".

I say a lot of young people are using the free library computers because they don't want their parent or parents to see what use they are making of these unsupervised computers.

Public Libraries - Mass Market Taste?

John J. Miller who writes for the National Review and is author of "A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America" writes "Every unpopular book that is removed from active library shelves such as Ernest Hemingway, Marcel Proust, Thomas Hardy, William Faulkner and Alexander Solzhenitsyn from the shelves of public libraries make room for a new page turner like James Patterson, John Grisham or David Baldacci, the three authors most checked out at the Fairfax County Public Library in heavily populated northern Virginia.

Mr. Miller raises a fundamental question: What are libraries for? Are they cultural warehouses that contain the best that has been thought or said? There's a fine line between an institution that aims to edify the public and one that merely uses tax dollars to subsidize the the recreational habits of bookworms.

Fairfax County may think that condemning a few dusty old tomes allows it to keep up with the times. But perhaps it it's inadvertently highlighting the fact that libraries themselves are becoming outmoded.

There was a time when virtually every library was a cultural repository holding priceless volumes. Imagine how much richer our historical and and literary record would be if a single library full of unique volumes had survived to our present day."

Mr. Miller says that the bottom line is that it has never been easier or cheaper to read a book and the cost of reading will get cheaper. If public libraries attempt to compete in this environment they will be increasingly be sen as welfare programs for the middle-class readers who would rather borrow Nelson DeMille's newest potboiler than spend a few dollars at their local Walmart or used book store.

The reality is that readers have never enjoyed a bigger market for books. They can download audiobooks to their MP3 players and listen to them anytime. Companies such as Google, Amazon (Kindle) and Microsoft are making material available to anyone with a computer and browser.

A used computer can be bought at the recycling center at 401 Rock Island for a little as $25 and free training. Check it out. I understand that's where many residents of PHA get their computers and training.

Miller continues "that instead of embracing this doomed model, libraries might seek to differentiate themselves among the many options readers now have, using a good dictionary as a model. Such a dictionary doesn't merely describe the words of a language-it provides proper spelling, pronunciation and usage. New words come in and old ones go out, but a foundation of linguistic and coherence has been laid. Likewise, libraries should seek to shore up the culture against the eroding force of trends.

This particular task will fall upon the shoulders of individual librarians who should welcome the opportunity to discriminate between the good and the bad, the timeless and ephemeral, as librarians have traditionally done They ought to regard themselves a teachers, adviser's and guardians of an intellectual inheritance.

the alternate is to morph into clerks who fill their shelves with whatever their customer wants, much as stock boys and girls at grocery stores do.

Good luck in finding Chrisopher Marlowes "Doctor Faustus" that has survived for more than four centuries but apparently hasn't been checked out at Fairfax library in two years.

After listening, reading, evaluating and seeing, I still contend the $35 million library request is mainly about computers, bricks and mortar and ego's. Meeting rooms abound throughout the community especially in our public schools. If the boys and Girls Club can use Trewyn School(they do now that the Grinnell location has been closed over a year) for free after hours, so can any other public body.

Sorry, I say they could use more money with better management and oversight of all financial transactions by an oversight committee of two or three councilpeople with a eye especially on the use of library credit cards.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Edward Szynaka - Peoria Public Library Director

This information was taken from the blog sites of the Peoria Pundit "History shows library expansion needs strict oversight" June 26, 2007, and the Peoria Chronicle "Shenanigans at the Peoria Library Board", June 25, 2007.

"Leading the charge for the passage of the advisory referendum (cost of the referendum, $100,000 dollars, $20,000 from the Caterpillar Foundation), was Mr. Szynaka who was appointed to the post in August 2006. Mr. Szynaka had been fired from his previous job. (Prior to that he had a management position in a Library system in Pasadena, California.) Voters might have like to have known about Mr. Szynaka's record from Indiana where he was in charge (in the beginning, at least) of a similar expansion project for the Marion County Library in Indianapolis. One of the first things he started work on here in Peoria was getting money to expand the library facilities, considered by many--especially the Peoria Journal Star--to be inadequate.

When asked, Peoria library board members said that they were aware of Szynaka's history, but considered it to just a case of politics being played by Republicans on the library board (Szynaka apparently is a Democrat). It seems to be a bit more complicated than that, and it doesn't explain other questions.

On it's Website, the Indianapolis Star still runs (ran) a multi-part series detailing how a modest renovation and parking project mushroomed into a $100,000,000.00 project that is still being plagued with cost overruns and questionable spending, including more than $60,000 on Szynaka's credit card that were never explained. Most of the libraries snafus are generally blamed on the contractors and other personnel hired by the board while Szynaka was still CEO.

From the Website of the Indiania Attorney General's office; "Nearly $60,000 has been returned to the Indianapolis/Marion County Public Library's operating budget since a state audit revealed misappropriated public funds. A final check of $22,446.00 has been received to cover the audit charges against former Chief Executive Office Ed Szynaka for questionable purchases and charges on the Library credit card.

We have worked with all parties involved to recover the thousands of dollars inappropriately depleted from the public library's operating budget without the added expenditure of litigation for taxpayer, Attorney General Carter said."

A State Board of Accounts revealed $21,372 in unallowable credit card charges paid from the library's operating budget. Former CEO Ed Szynaka was charged individually with making inappropriate charges of $23,766.00. The SBOA also charged the library for audit costs and referred the case to the attorney generals office for collection."

The Peoria Pundit continues "If there are library employees here in Peoria who are upset at Mr. Szynaka's management style, they are well-advised to keep their opinions to themselves. Back in Indiana, Szynaka was able to talk his board into firing a long-time library employee because she was critical of the the changes made there similar to the changes he wants to make here in Peoria. Minutes of that library board meeting are available in PDF format."

I have written many blogs related to this $35 million dollar property taxes funded drive and have questioned the whys of the need of 30,000 square feet of new space on the North side where I live. I have the availability of the Peoria Heights underutilized Library, the busy but not overcrowded Lakeview Library; I have visited Lakeview approximately 100 times in the last 52 weeks, and had the self check out machines been working, I would never had to stand in line more than a couple of minutes. The claim is that Lakeview is overcrowded yet the library has over 1000 linear feet of unused shelves. Stacks could be taken down to accommodate more computers.

Library users who live north and west of me (Edgewild) have the use of the large Dunlap Library. Many of the residents of the North side send their kids to Dunlap schools and the growth has resulted in new schools all of which have libraries. (All schools have libraries).

All libraries within 25 miles of Peoria accept Peoria Public Library cards at no charge. You can return any item checked out of any local library at any of these area libraries.

All library people I have ever asked for help are courteous and most could use more help and more pay.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Smaller, Less Intrusive Government

Former Presidential candidate Fred Thompson is quoted in the WSJ as follows:
Conservatism is alive and well in America; don't let anyone tell you differently. And by conservatism, I don't mean the warmed-over "raise your hand if you believe..." kind of conservatism we see blooming every election cycle. No, I'm speaking of the conservatism grounded in principles based on enduring truths; an understanding of the importance of human nature in the affairs of individuals and nations. Respect for the lessons of history, the importance of faith and tradition. The understanding that while man is prone to err, he (she) is capable of great things when not subjugated by a too-powerful government."

Well, Fred, spoken like a politician. This is what I would like to believe but so many contradictions arise daily that I question how alive the conservatism I believe in is fairing.

County Health Department Administrator Announces Resignation

In a letter dated May 22,2008 addressed to Dr. Steve Roehm, Board Chair of the County Health Department, Peoria County Health Department Administrator, Andrea Parker announces she has taken a position as IDPH Peoria Regional Health Officer effective July 31, 2008.

County Board members received this information from the County Board Administration this A.M.

Obama Facts?

Truth seekers are welcome to refute any information contained on this site.

Edmund Burke said it another way: “All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in this world is for enough good men to do nothing.”

All text and attachments are checked by McAfee ViruScan

Barak Obama - 50 Lies and Counting: Posted on Political - Elections and Campaigns .Share with friends

1.) Selma Got Me Born - LIAR, your parents felt safe enough to have you in 1961 - Selma had no effect on your birth, as Selma was in 1965.

2.) Father Was A Goat Herder - LIAR, he was a privileged, well educated youth, who went on to work with the Kenyan Government.

3.) Father Was A Proud Freedom Fighter - LIAR, he was part of one of the most corrupt and violent governments Kenya has ever had

4.) My Family Has Strong Ties To African Freedom - LIAR, your cousin Raila Odinga has created mass violence in attempting to overturn a legitimate election in 2007, in Kenya . It is the first widespread violence in decades.

5.) My Grandmother Has Always Been A Christian - LIAR, she does her daily Salat prayers at 5am according to her own interviews. Not to mention, Christianity wouldn't allow her to have been one of 14 wives to 1 man.

6.) My Name is African Swahili - LIAR, your name is Arabic and Baraka (from which Barack came) means blessed in that language. Hussein is also Arabic and so is Obama.

7.) I Never Practiced Islam - LIAR, you practiced it daily at school, where you were registered as a Muslim and kept that faith for 31 years,until your wife made you change, so you could run for office.

8.) My School In Indonesia Was Christian - LIAR, you were registered as Muslim there and got in trouble in Koranic Studies for making faces (check your own book).

9.) I Was Fluent In Indonesian - LIAR, not one teacher says you could speak the language.

10.) Because I Lived In Indonesia , I Have More Foreign Experience - LIAR, you were there from the ages of 6 to 10, and couldn't even speak the language. What did you learn? How to study the Koran and watch cartoons.

11.) I Am Stronger On Foreign Affairs - LIAR, except for Africa (surprise) and the Middle East (bigger surprise), you have never been anywhere else on the planet and thus have NO experience with our closest allies.

12.) I Blame My Early Drug Use On Ethnic Confusion - LIAR, you were quite content in high school to be Barry Obama, no mention of Kenya and no mention of struggle to identify - your classmates said you were just fine.

13.)An Ebony Article Moved Me To Run For Office - LIAR, Ebony has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn't, and never did, exist.

14.) A Life Magazine Article Changed My Outlook On Life - LIAR, Life has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn't, and never did, exist.

15.) I Won't Run On A National Ticket In '08 - LIAR, here you are, despite saying, live on TV, that you would not have enough experience by then, and you are all about having experience first.

16.) Present Votes Are Common In Illinois - LIAR, they are common for YOU, but not many others have 130 NO VOTES.

17.) Oops, I Misvoted - LIAR, only when caught by church groups and democrats, did you beg to change your misvote.

18.) I Was A Professor Of Law - LIAR, you were a senior lecturer ON LEAVE.

19.) I Was A Constitutional Lawyer - LIAR, you were a senior lecturer ON LEAVE.

20..) Without Me, There Would Be No Ethics Bill - LIAR, you didn't write it,introduce it, change it, or create it.

21.) The Ethics Bill Was Hard To Pass - LIAR, it took just 14 days from start to finish.

22.) I Wrote A Tough Nuclear Bill - LIAR, your bill was rejected by your own party for its pandering and lack of all regulation - mainly because of your Nuclear Donor, Exelon, from which David Axelrod came.

23.) I Have Released My State Records - LIAR, as of March, 2008, state bills you sponsored or voted for have yet to be released, exposing all the special interests pork hidden within.

24.) I Took On The Asbestos Altgeld Gardens Mess - LIAR, you were just part of a large group of people who remedied Altgeld Gardens . You failed to mention anyone else but yourself, in your books.

25.) My Economics Bill Will Help America - LIAR, your 111 economic policies were just combined into a proposal which lost 99-0, and even YOU voted against your own bill.

26.) I Have Been A Bold Leader In Illinois - LIAR, even your own supporters claim to have not seen BOLD action on your part.

27.) I Passed 26 Of My Own Bills In One Year - LIAR, they were not YOUR bills, but rather handed to you, after their creation by a fellow Senator, to assist you in a future bid for higher office.

28.) No one in my campaign contacted Canada about NAFTA - LIAR, the Canadian Government issued the names and a memo of the conversation your campaign had with them.

29.) I Am Tough On Terrorism - LIAR, you missed the Iran Resolution vote on terrorism and your good friend Ali Abunimah supports the destruction of Israel

30.) I Am Not Acting As President Yet - LIAR, after the NAFTA Memo, a dead terrorist in the FARC in Colombia, was found with a letter stating how you and he were working together on getting FARC recognized officially.

31..) I Didn't Run Ads In Florida - LIAR, you allowed national ads to run 8-12 times per day for two weeks - and you still lost.

32.) I Won Michigan - LIAR, no you didn't.

33.) I won Nevada - LIAR, no you did not.

34.) I Want All Votes To Count - LIAR, you said let the delegates decide.

35.) I Want Americans To Decide - LIAR, you prefer caucuses that limit the vote, confuse the voters, force a public vote, and only operate during small windows of time.

36.) I passed 900 Bills in the State Senate - LIAR, you passed 26, most of which you didn't write yourself.

37.) My Campaign Was Extorted By A Friend - LIAR, that friend is threatening to sue if you do not stop saying this. Obama has stopped saying this.

38.) I Believe In Fairness, Not Tactics - LIAR, you used tactics to eliminate Alice Palmer from running against you.

39.) I Don't Take PAC Money - LIAR, you take loads of it.

40.) I don't Have Lobbyists - LIAR, you have over 47 lobbyists, and counting..

41..) My Campaign Had Nothing To Do With The 1984 Ad - LIAR, your own campaign worker made the ad on his Apple in one afternoon.

42.) My Campaign Never Took Over MySpace - LIAR, Tom, who started MySpace issued a warning about this advertising to MySpace clients.

43.) I Inspire People With My Words - LIAR, you inspire people with other people's words.

44.) I Have Passed Bills In The U.S. Senate - LIAR, you have passed one BILL in the U.S. Senate - for Africa , which shows YOUR priorities.

45.) I Have Always Been Against Iraq War- LIAR, you weren't in office to vote against it AND you have voted to fund it every single time, unlike Kucinich, who seems to be out gutting you Obama. You also seem to be stepping back from your departure date - AGAIN.

46.) I Have Always Supported Universal Health Care - LIAR, your plan leaves us all to pay the 15,000,000 who don't have to buy it.

47.) I Only Found Out About My Investment Conflicts Via Mail - LIAR, both companies you site as having sent you letters about this conflict have no record of any such letter ever being created or sent.

48.) I Am As Patriotic As Anyone - LIAR, you won't wear a flag pin and you don't put your hand over your heart during the Anthem.

49.) My Wife Didn't Mean What She Said About Pride In Country - LIAR, your wife's words follow lock-step in the vain of Wright and Farrakhan, in relation to their contempt and hatred of America .

50.) Wal-Mart Is A Company I Wouldn't Support - LIAR, your wife has received nearly a quarter of a million dollars through Treehouse, which is connected to Wal-Mart.

Peoria City Council Please Note

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Barnes and Noble, America's leading book retail bookseller reported a wider first quarter net loss, cut its sales forecast and said its same store sales fell 1.5%. Barnes and Noble now predicts sales to be slightly lower instead of slightly positive for the year.

The company is still considering buying the failing Borders Bookseller whose shares are trading this morning at $6.93 down from a 52 weeks high of $24.15. Barnes and Noble shares fell today to $28.75 from a 52 week high of $43.90.

These books stores are multi-purpose stores similar to the type of library you are being asked to expand by $35,000,000.00.

Peoria has much higher priorities on which to spend this money. You are already funding our libraries at over $11,000,000.00 a year while nearby Peoria Heights and Dunlap Libraries are under used. Both within easy driving distance of North Peorians.

With some small revisions, the Peoria area would be over served by libraries. Stacks of unused books can be taken down and this space used for additional computers although more and more people are able to use digital systems to access information at their homes.
Studies show that poorer people use libraries less than the more affluent. Same as in our public school systems.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Libraries and Booksellers vs. Digital

"Aristotle lived during the era when the written word started displacement of the oral tradition, becoming the first to explain that how we communicate alters what we communicate. That's for sure. Now we are early in an era where digital rhetoric is replacing the more traditional written word. Ir's already an open question whether constant email and multitasking leaves us overloaded humans with the capability to handle longer-form writing." (Think books)

This article in the WSJ continues, "To expect future generations to be satisfied with printed books is like expecting Blackberry users of today to communicate by writing letters, stuffing envelopes and licking stamps."

Forty years ago we were warned that electric technology is within the gates and we are numb, dumb, deaf, blind and mute about its encounter with the Gutenberg technology on and through which the American way of life was formed.

Digitized words can be spread at low cost in newly interactive ways. Amazons Kindle, now on the market can deliver 100,000 books wireless in less than a minute whether you are in the back of a taxi, at the airport, driving, or resting in bed.

The libraries being proposed for Peoria will be obsolete before they are built. Plus they will be in almost direct competition with Barnes and Noble and Borders. Barnes and Noble closed today on the NYSE at $29.87 down from $43.90 a year ago and Borders closed at $6.99 down from $24.16 a year ago. Borders is struggling so bad that the WSJ says there is dialogue between the two for Borders to be taken over by Barnes and Noble. "Barnes and Noble Studies Bid for Border" in today's WSJ.

Doesn't speak well for these tax paying multi-purpose "libraries" does it?

There will always be a need for printed media but the use of printed media is shrinking in useage. What we are planning is in direct competition of the tax-paying private sector with easy chairs, food and drink, meeting rooms, printed media, digital that will soon not need a "library" to access and unsupervised computers. Plus a few thousand linear feet of almost obsolete "reference books".

I remind you that not one high school principal, high school librarian or Mary Ward, Director of Peoria Public School Library and Technology Center, were consulted as to what they see in the way kids are using libraries now or how they might use them in the future.

How do I know this? I asked them.


Library's Unlikely Advocate: Sandberg

According to JS reporter, Scott Hilyard. Not unlikely at all. The $35 million dollar library "keeping up with the Joneses" project will cost property tax payers in Peoria over $2,000,000.00 a year thru approximately 2036. All from property taxes. Mr. Sandberg's property tax bill for 2007 is $403.12 TOTAL. Out of this amount his bill includes $16.50 for library tax. As an example I will pay $271.00 library taxes for 2007 and after the library bonds are sold I will pay an additional approximately $104 per year for 30 years. Mr. Sandberg will pay an additional $5 a year.

While Mr. Sandberg has invited me to move to his neighborhood where taxes are minimal, that has nothing to do with the use of libraries. Any person of any income, ethnic, gender, age or adjacent counties can use the library. Mr. Sandberg has the use of approsimately 30 libraries in the area for $16.50

Many of the people who voted yes to spend $35 million and counting when you add overhead, do not pay homeowners property taxes or minimal amounts as does Mr. Sandberg.

Surprise,Mr. Hilyard, i think not.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Pacific Institute and Education

I attended the hyped visit by Lou Tice of The Pacific Institute at the Civic Center Thursday. Mr. Tice addressed approximately 3000 community leaders, the vast majority of them from District #150. I'm not sure what I was expecting but Dr. Fischer, Associate Superintendent of Peoria Public School District #150, summed it up in a handout at the event titled, "I'magine: Setting the Foundation for Excellence". Dr. Fischer wrote "Lou Tice was compelled by the courage and the passion of Peoria educators and the community, to share with us a tool; that will give us an opportunity to look at how we can change. It's a tremendous responsibility for each of us, to hold ourselves accountable for what we say, how we say it, and the impact our words have on our children, spouses, parents, and our peers. Are you willing to accept this change?"


While we all should know by now "there is no free lunch", we don't, this was no freebie as touted. Lou Tice, a personality, spell-binder, story teller and actor was not here out of the goodness of his heart but to "sell" the services to teachers and administrators of K-12 kids.

Dr. Fischer continues, "Our Administration has applications available for each school interested in participating in Pacific Institute. Schools will be selected based on commitment and available funding. See your building principal for more information."

Money for the district should be no problem. After all, they own expensive property around town such as on Prospect, they are getting ready to spend as much as $123 million over the next few years for new schools, etc. They have a yearly budget of over $163 million and growing rapidly.

Joe Markum, Caterpillar Manager and Pacific Institute Facilitator, said the the "training has allowed his family to dream bigger, make bigger vacation plans, set and reach higher goals". He says, "Every night before bed, I sit down with my kids and ask what the best thing that happened to you today. What are you looking forward to tomorrow, as opposed to talking about a bad grade they got or something else. I try to get them going to bed thinking about something positive for the next day".

Probably pretty typical of most kids today especially after they reach the age of fourteen. Wouldn't you say?

If I ever come back in another life, I hope to be a consultant especially in the public sector. That's where the big bucks are; you get to travel, smooch with all kinds of "important" people, live in an "ivory tower", eat high off the hog and get a lot of publicity. And afford a staff to do all the work.

With all the high paid administration; one retiring soon just bought a $450,000 house, with all the retired talent in Peoria who mostly work for nothing, why do we continually bring in highly paid consultants and "experts" charging us to tell us what we already know including thinking "outside the box" which is so old it has long been a cliche.

District #150 current Vision Statement says "We take pride in educating and graduating each student prepared and inspired to contribute to the world".

And try as hard as they might, Caterpillar elite do not understand an archaic public school system with 7 unpaid board members and a bevy of Superintendent's managing an $163 million budget.


How Big Brother Stole the American Spirit

"Who stole the American Spirit, ask Gary D. Jones of Belvidere, Il., in a letter to the editors of the WSJ. No one, he says. "Many Americans have chosen to abandon it in favor of blind faith in government solutions. They seem to have forgotten (some never new about "spirit")that the government got it's strength from the people, not the other way around".

In defense of many of those who are unhappy with what goes on while existing on this sphere; I believe that most of us are unhappy; look at the number of divorces and suicides and drug use (don't forget to count excessive use of alcohol as a drug), at many times during our lives; most of us still do not look for government to do things we should do ourselves. There probably are more crooked citizens than there are corrupt politicians. There probably are as many "tort" capitalists as there are "tort" attorneys. There are as many incompetent people in businesses as there are in the public sector. There are probably as many college graduates disappointed in job offerings existing in their chosen fields when they graduated as there will be this year. There are disappointed people who didn't set a foot in college because they weren't college material or felt they didn't need advanced education.

Hopefully, as in the past, there will be more less unhappy and disappointed people who will help pull this country out of the seduction offered by socialism. These I refer to as the "responsible culture".

I believe people who have climbed on the "change" bandwagon with the "Pied Piper" are down deep as disenchanted with themselves as they are with the Democrat and Republican politicians. They want change but they are expecting someone else to be the "changees". And they aren't sure what it is they want changed unless it gives them more money to spend, now. Who is going to pay for it after they are gone is not their problem.

But it is always easy to pass the blame to government and capitalism. It's becoming harder to accept responsibility. In fact, that is the way many have been brought up and the feeling of less responsibility is accentuated by the liberal medias.

What shocks await people in future years. Those with degrees in psychiatry will flourish.

So sad.

Tyrannical Regimes

From the WSJ: "So it is with China and with tyrannical regimes (such as Myanmar, Sudan, Darfur, Venezuela to name a few): The party is convinced it controls everything. But it is often unexpected events that reveal fault lines in the system, the hypocrisy of public discourse, and the almost unbearable injustices. Even as the people of Sichuan attempt to recover from this deadly quake, we learn that scores of children have died from an epidemic of hand, foot and mouth disease that has sickened 10's of thousands. All of this reminds us of panics of recent years provoked by the SARS virus, avian flu and the AIDS epidemic.

Epidemics and natural catastrophe's(or not-so-natural catastrophes,if the Three Gorge Dam should also crumble) are more serious threats to the Communist tyranny than democratic pamphlets disseminated on Web sites. The party has resolved to imprison dissidents. But in the face of viruses, popular beliefs and earthquakes, the parties stand naked." (From the book, "Empire of Lies: The Truth About China in the 21st Century; Sorman).

We have so many previously non-registered or even now not registered to vote citizens complaining about our country and how they hate it like Reverend Wright with his rant "God damn America" (many more might agree) if he had said "God damn some of the leadership of America, both black and white", that I continue to ask them to leave this country and go to places that are all in "harmony" like China, Mexico and Africa.

Why don't they leave? They are socialistic believers with "farts" coming out of the wrong end, irresponsible people looking for big brother to do it all for them. Most believe that the world owes them a living wage, jobs; qualified or not, free health care and same sex marriage, to name a few of their warped desires.

Why leave when they down deep know this is the best country in the world to live. They are unwittingly moving this country down the path to socialism and eventually a tyrannical government they will not like at all. Then it will be too late to leave for "utopia".

Civics 101

From my daughter Mary Jo Greytak come the following: "Post-Dispatch (St. Louis) editorials and select letters to the editors would lead one to believe that the state of the union is all the fault of president George W. Bush, that he has complete control and that Congress is helpless to make changes necessary to lower gas prices and solve other problems causing the present distress on the economy.
A quick check of my Civics 1012 book proved what I suspected. Democrats control both houses of Congress and can pass legislation needed to correct problems--problems that have been exacerbated greatly since Democrats took control 16 months ago.
If they caused that much damage since taking control, should we consider removing them from office?" Author - Jim Enright of Oakville

Thanks, M.J.. we get a lot of Bush bashing up here and he does deserve a lot of criticism. He has been in office more than 7 years and most of the time he had a Republican Congress. they could have done more on immigration control, drug proliferation, health care and pushed much harder for nuclear energy and rail movement of people and merchandise. Now the costs are rising offsetting some of the advantages that could have been offered had his administration and Republican leadership pushed harder for change.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

$35 million For Peoria Public Libraries!!

If the City Council votes to give the Library Board any part of $35 million they are begging for, this community will be taking another step to drive property tax payers out of the City.

A new book by Mark Bauerlein titled "The Dumbest Generation" and summarized in the WSJ Bookshelf by David Robinson, associate director of Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy, states that "ageing baby boomer parents, rather than passing down a fixed, canonical culture to their kids, encourage a modern-day version of their own rebellion, inviting younger voices to disrupt stodgy cultured communities".

Bauerlein writes, "The present is a good time to be young only if you don't mind a tendency to empty-headiness. Cultural and technological forces, far from opening up an exciting new world of learning and thinking, have conspired to create pubic ignorance so high as to threaten our democracy.

Adults are so busy imaging the ways that technology can improve classroom learning or improve the public debate that they have blinded themselves to the collective "dumbing down" that is actually taking place. The kids are using their technological advantage to immerse themselves in a trivial, solipsistic, distracting online world at the expense of more enriching activities-like opening a book or writing a complete sentence.

The printed word has paid a price-from 1981 to 2003, the leisure reading of 15-17 year-olds fell to 7 minutes a day from 18. The real action has been in multi-tasking. By 2003, children were cramming an average of 8 1/2 hours of media consumption a day into just 6 1/2 hours-while watching TV while surfing the web, reading while listening to music, composing text messages while watching a movie.

This daily binge isn't making kids smarter. The NEAP has pegged 46% of 12th graders below the basic level of proficiency In science, while only 2% are qualified as advanced. In the political arena-participatory Web sites may give young people a "voice" but their command of the facts is shaky. 46% of high school seniors say its "very important to be an active and informed citizen" but only 26% are rated as proficient in civics.

Between 1992 and 2005, the NAEP reported that 12th grade reading skills dropped dramatically, only 24% of 12th graders are 'capable of composing organized, coherent prose in clear language with correct spelling and grammar"

In summing up this book review, Mr. Robinson says "the children of future years will learn from their elders how to make the most of digital life just as soon as there are elders in place to offer instruction. The "elders" now don't seem to have a clue.'"

"Students may not open many books but they know how to text message while watching TV. If you believe the people who are using computers in our public libraries are using library tools to assist them, you haven't been paying attention".

They are not. Go see for yourselves.

The computer system crashed again over the weekend and books cannot be put on the shelf as they cannot check them in as they are returned by the user. The system was down for over four months recently. The libraries in Peoria just started checking books out electronically this year while other libraries in the area have been doing electronic check for years and years. You don't need new buildings to properly run a system. Peoria Public Libraries have been poorly run even while departed Sue Herring was Librarian.

All good people though, but so was my mother who I would not have wanted to run a library. People associated with librarians love books and would never discard one unless they were commanded to. We have at least a million books in the community that haven't been read for years including thousands in our public school system.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Who Said What?

With a short spring and a long summer ahead of us we voters should be trying to sort out facts from half-truths and outright fiction. Be careful of myths says the editor Of Vanity Fair and the author of, "Are we Rome? The fall of an Empire and the Fate of America". I quote him, "Myth is more important than history. History is arbitrary, a collection of facts. Myths we choose, we create, we perpetuate."

"The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice." (author unknown)

New york - "Physical-Education Study Finds Shortfall in City". Only a fraction of New York City's elementary and middle schools are meeting legal requirements in physical education, according to a new report.
A study by Public Advocate Betty Gotbaum and City Comptroller William Thompson found that 80% of elementary and nearly 50% of middle schools have no sports of fitness programs of any kind.
Students in kindergarten through third grade are supposed to have physical education daily. Those in the fourth through the sixth grades are supposed to have P.E. three times a week.

I know some Peoria Schools do a good job and many don't. Also I note that by the time all kids wander into the gym during P.E. that by the time they get settled down and role taken and other interruptions, like kids with slips excusing them from any physical activity, approximately half the time allocated to actually doing some physical activity is one half over.

I'll say what others are afraid to say: some of these kids are lazy and fat and look for any excuse to avoid physical exercise including any activity that requires work. And sadder yet, none including administration and the "parent" seems to care.

Dennis Duggan McMahon of San Francisco says "As usual in government, no one in particular seems to be taking responsibility for the serial failures (of schools)- which of course is part of the problem. There is little incentive for getting it right, because no one below the level of a political appointee ever loses a job for getting it wrong."

And as a reminder as to why the RiverPlex wound up on the Riverfront, I quote Carlotta Bielfeldt (the Bielfeldts' contributed $5 million), "because I wanted it there". Couldn't have been because their son had invested a lot in properties on and near the riverfront, could it?

Some of you may recall the first time I met Gary Bielfeldt was when I was head basketball coach at Heyworth High School and Gary played for Octavia. Heyworth won 73-49 even though Gary scored 18 points. Gary was an all around good athlete who later on became an outstanding business success in Peoria.

"If we don't fill those potholes out there, no one is going to. That's our job." (one of the more famous quotes made by now former City Councilwoman Gale Thetford.

An editorial by the JSEB back on October 28, 1999 said, "If residents don't want to give up something, they should be prepared for a tax increase." As my aquaintance Jim Anderson would say "give me a break".

A sage statement similar to many statements made by politicians and pundits.

Ever wonder what happened to the land swapped for the valuable riverfront property where the RiverPlex now sits? You're not alone. It sets as an empty lot with apparently no viable commercial value. Assessed by a "professional" assessor for only $5 a square foot, any takers out there?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Newspapers/Magazines vs. Electronic Media

No way will I give up my daily local newspaper; my Wall Street Journal or Forbes Magazine. I can scan printed media rapidly, select the articles I wish to read in detail and review the balance in a matter of minutes. Then I can settle in; usually an hour or more, and enjoy or become alarmed or say "I told you so" as I read on, clipping what I want to file and hopefully to blog on later.

For example, today's JS reported "Shaky Foundations, ICC sees a "frightening" increase in number of students who must take remedial courses."

Of course, "I told you so", as did thousands of other concerned people starting years ago, so what's new? Make the taxpayers pay for our public schools that are susposed to be educating our kids and then pay property taxes again to support the community colleges to teach what the public system should have taught. Do you really believe that our school systems are reaching a majority of kids who are participating in the formal school education process? Many of the lower grade teachers are doing a great job with kids who are trying to learn as much and as fast as they can. With good teachers, learning progress is made until the kids reach the upper grades, maybe as early as the fourth grade. Then many with high promise start to lose interest in the system.

They become bored and easily distracted. Reading becomes less of an interest and talking on cells, playing computer games and now text messaging takes their interest from the classroom.

Why? At this point all kinds of hormones start kicking in and kids start visibly separating into "gangs", "cliques", "by cultures", "opposite sex,(and sex) by ethnic grouping, by "prejudice"; some kids who did so good slow down or stop doing well because they don't want to "show up" their "disinterested friends". These separations can be both good and bad. Most good families want there kids to be selective with who they associate. Kids with more attentive parents take notice and regularly consult with their teachers and counselors as to what's happening when their kids are in class and in the hallways, study halls, at lunchtime or participating or not participating in extra-curricular activities. Eventually many parents move to better schools or decide to home school if dissatisfied.

So what's new? As long as the emphasis is on keeping kids in the classroom whether they are learning or not, (pays off by body count thru government subsidies), as long as leaders feel that expensive new schools are the answer to better learning, as long as discipline is not enforced, as long as schools open late and close early allowing kids to have too much unsupervised time; they'll find something to do and it likely won't be homework, working, picking up litter, helping around the house including cleaning up their rooms or visiting the library to scroll on free computers. Yes, many will do constructive things. The ones who don't are the ones we later set up perpetual care funds from welfare, to free health care to baby care to prisons.

And mainly, if the need of a good education is not "sold" to the kid; if the education field cannot attract and hold good teachers; if the entire business of education isn't turned on it's head we will see an acceleration of what happened in a California School yesterday, 600 kids involved in a school fight, schools closed down because of threats, curriculum's and teachers so dull that even the best students struggle to maintain interest and finally if the unions keep increasing their stranglehold on what they know to be inept systems, all medias will have plenty of "breaking stories" about our own groups of homegrown terrorists that are being "hatched" by uninterested and uneducated "women" and their gangbanger "boyfriends".

Not all people can be lumped together as failing, including myself, but together we are ALL affected by what goes on in our community and it all starts the day a child is conceived. Overall, we appear to not be doing a great job or there wouldn't be such a clamor in this country for "change". Most clamoring for change don't know exactly what to change and how to do it but the slogan sounds good.(From what I can discern they are also trying to pick the wrong guy).

What is most needed are better trained, better teachers, better paid by performance teachers, less union strangling of the system and a complete changeover of the leadership system as I've detailed many times on this site.

Stories of interest in today's WSJ are "Becoming Little Red Riding Hood", by Glenn H. Miller, a child psychoanalyst, "How the Grimms' fairy tales give children a model for living". Bet more than half the kids and teachers in #150 wouldn't know who Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were and the messages they attempting to convey. Or approximately what years they published and revised "Children and Household Tales". Worth reading, especially if you are raising a family.

Another article is "War Funding Still a Sticky Issue for Democrats". It sure is.

Another article is "Inflation Data May Create a False Sense of Security"; it sure does to me. Another is "Union Forge a Secret Pact with Major Employers", giving the union the right to designate which of their locations, and how many workers the union can seek to organize. These actions by major employers put a greater burden on smaller unionized employers both in the private and public sector.

I greatly enjoy the "Letters to the Editors" of all newspapers but moreso the letters published by the WSJ. Today's letters debate the advantage and disadvantage of making ethanol from grains used in foods of all kinds, human and animal.

The article that disgusted me was titled "Dress-up: Moms Put their Tykes in Star's Clothes". Exactly what we need in a world of child predators and adult acting and looking kids. The article says "It's hard to pin down what's behind this fascination with the sartorial splendor of celebrity offspring. Are the stars having more babies? And is the media paying for intimate details of star's family life and exclusive baby pictures?

And we wonder why this country looks nuts to many in the rest of the world.

Anyway, we claim the "more you learn, the more you earn" and that to many is what it's all about.

So sad that more than enough money is apparently what so many in our society feel that it is what it's all about.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Priorities for America by Robert Lohman

Robert Lohman of Bartonville, Il. wrote this "letter to the editors" of the JS on 2/21/08. With his permission I am putting his letter on my site for others outside of our area to read. I've never met Mr.Lohman but he and I seem to think pretty much alike. Mr. Lohman wrote "A to-do list for the next president":

Encourage private business to start rebuilding our rail transportation. Thousands of new jobs would be created.

Build new oil refineries.

Drill for oil in the West, in Alaska, off shore and anywhere else we can find it .

Get the EPA (and I add, the radical environmentalists and our U.S. Department of Land Use off our backs)

Get the federal government out of the school business and leave these affairs up to the state (I add local communities).

If people smoke and cannot afford medical insurance, then they should not be eligible for federal medical assistance for the purchase of insurance. If they can afford $300 and up for cigarettes per month, then they can afford insurance.

No more free medical insurance for illegal aliens. When they come to emergency rooms for treatment, they should be taken care of and deported. No more free anything for illegals.

If a child is born in this country to an illegal, then he or she should not (automatically) become an American citizen. How and when did this get started?
Finally, we need to move away from our trek toward socialism and in November elect a president who will give more attention to the American taxpayer and do what is good for the U.S.A.

Well stated, Mr. Lohman. Unfortunately, the person closest to that platform who is running for the office of President of the United States of America, is John McCain and he is a long ways from being the person I would like to see as president of this country. McCain still gets my vote.

Mr. Lohman wrote another letter to the editors printed in the JS on 5/3 "Promises and political ploys", about the pandering to the uniformed about the foolishness of abolishing the federal gas tax. This tax is supposed to go to keep up the maintenance of our federal highway system. That money would need be captured in some other form of federal tax.

And the oil companies would merely raise their prices to bridge the savings gap. A bad idea, Schock and McCain. Obama finally got one thing right from his political advisers.

We need more informed people like Mr. Lohman to make his feeling known and to help this country survive and progress as most of us really would like.

Barack Obama - Not my President to be

The essay below was written by a Vietnamese immigrant, a fellow with a most unusual name. Kaitz currently teaches philosophy at the University of San Francisco .

Obama's Anger

By Ed Kaitz

'The anger is real. It is powerful, and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.'
- Barack Obama

Back in the late 1980s I was on a plane flying out of New Orleans and sitting next to me was a rather interesting and, according to Barack Obama, unusual black man. Friendly, gregarious, and wise beyond his years, we immediately hit it off. I had been working on Vietnamese commercial fishing boats for a few years based in southern Louisiana . The boats were owned by the recent wave of Vietnamese refugees who flooded into the familiar tropical environment after the war. Floating in calm seas out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, I would hear tearful songs and tales from ex-paratroopers about losing brothers, sisters, parents, children, lovers, and beautiful Vietnam itself to the communists.

In Bayou country I lived on boats and in doublewide trailers, and like the rest of the Vietnamese refugees, I shopped at Wal-Mart and ate a lot of rice. When they arrived in Louisiana the refugees had no money (the money that they had was used to bribe their way out of Vietnam and into refugee camps in Thailand), few friends, and a mostly unfriendly and suspicious local population.

They did however have strong families, a strong work ethic, and the 'Audacity of Hope.' Within a generation, with little or no knowledge of English, the Vietnamese had achieved dominance in the fishing industry there and their children were already achieving the top SAT scores in the state.

While I had been fishing my new black friend had been working as a prison psychologist in Missouri , and he was pursuing a higher degree in psychology. He was interested in my story, and after about an hour getting to know each other I asked him point blank why these Vietnamese refugees, with no money, friends, or knowledge of the language could be, within a generation, so successful. I also asked him why it was so difficult to convince young black men to abandon the streets and take advantage of the same kinds of opportunities that the Vietnamese had recently embraced.

His answer, only a few words, not only floored me but became sort of a razor that has allowed me ever since to slice through all of the rhetoric regarding race relations that Democrats shovel our way during election season:

'We're owed and they aren't.'

In short, he concluded, 'they're hungry and we think we're owed. It's crushing us, and as long as we think we're owed we're going nowhere.'

A good test case for this theory is Katrina. Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and assorted white apologists continue to express anger and outrage over the federal response to the Katrina disaster. But where were the Vietnamese 'leaders' expressing their 'anger?' The Vietnamese comprise a substantial part of the New Orleans population, and yet are absent any report claiming that the Vietnamese were 'owed' anything.

This is not to say that the federal response was an adequate one, but we need to take this as a sign that maybe the problem has very little to do with racism and a lot to with a mindset.

The mindset that one is 'owed' something in life has not only affected black mobility in business but black mobility in education as well. Remember Ward Churchill? About fifteen years ago he was my boss. After leaving the fishing boats, I attended graduate school at the University of Colorado at Boulder . I managed to get a job on campus teaching expository writing to minority students who had been accepted provisionally into the University on an affirmative action program. And although I never met him, Ward Churchill, in addition to teaching in the ethnic studies department, helped to develop and organize the minority writing program.

The job paid most of my bills, but what I witnessed there was absolutely horrifying. The students were encouraged to write essays attacking the white establishment from every conceivable angle and in addition to defend affirmative action and other government programs. Of the hundreds of papers that I read, there was not one original contribution to the problem of black mobility that strayed from the party line.

The irony of it all however is that the 'white establishment' managed to get them into the college and pay their entire tuition. Instead of being encouraged to study international affairs, classical or modern languages, philosophy or art, most of these students became ethnic studies or sociology majors because it allowed them to remain in disciplines whose orientation justified their existence at the university. In short, it became a vicious cycle.

There was a student there I'll never forget. He was plucked out of the projects in Denver and given a free ride to the university. One day in my office he told me that his mother had said the following to him:

'M.J., they owe you this. White people at that university owe you this.' M.J.'s experience at the university was a glorious fulfillment of his mother's angst.

There were black student organizations and other clubs that 'facilitated' the minority student's experience on the majority white and 'racist' campus, in addition to a plethora of faculty members, both white and black, who encouraged the same animus toward the white establishment. While adding to their own bona fides as part of the trendy Left, these 'facilitators' supplied M.J. with everything he needed to quench his and his mother's anger, but nothing in the way of advice about how to succeed in college. No one, in short, had told M.J. that he needed to study. But since he was 'owed' everything, why put out any effort on his own?

In a fit of despair after failing most of his classes, M.J. wandered into my office one Friday afternoon in the middle of the semester and asked if I could help him out. I asked M.J. about his plans that evening, and he told me that he usually attended parties on Friday and Saturday nights. I told him that if he agreed to meet me in front of the university library at 6:00pm I would buy him dinner.

At 6pm M.J. showed up, and for the next twenty minutes we wandered silently through the stacks, lounges, and study areas of the library. When we arrived back at the entrance I asked M.J. if he noticed anything interesting. As we headed up the hill to a popular burger joint, M.J. turned to me and said:
'They were all Asian. Everyone in there was Asian, and it was Friday night.'

Nothing I could do, say, or show him, however, could match the fire power of his support system favoring anger. I was sad to hear of M.J. dropping out of school the following semester.

During my time teaching in the writing program, I watched Asians get transformed via leftist doublespeak from 'minorities' to 'model minorities' to 'they're not minorities' in precise rhythm to their fortunes in business and education.

Asians were 'minorities' when they were struggling in this country, but they became 'model minorities' when they achieved success. Keep in mind 'model minority' did not mean what most of us think it means, i.e., something to emulate. 'Model minority' meant that Asians had certain cultural advantages, such as a strong family tradition and a culture of scholarship that the black community lacked.

To suggest that intact families and a philosophy of self-reliance could be the ticket to success would have undermined the entire angst establishment. Because of this it was improper to use Asian success as a model. The contortions the left exercised in order to defend this ridiculous thesis helped to pave the way for the elimination of Asians altogether from the status of 'minority.'

This whole process took only a few years.

Eric Hoffer said:

' do not win the weak by sharing your wealth with them; it will but infect them with greed and resentment. You can win the weak only by sharing your pride, hope or hatred with them.'

We now know that Barack Obama really has no interest in the 'audacity of hope.' With his race speech, Obama became a peddler of angst, resentment and despair. Too bad he doesn't direct that angst at the liberal establishment that has sold black people a bill of goods since the 1960s.

What Obama seems angry about is America itself and what it stands for; the same America that has provided fabulous opportunities for what my black friend called 'hungry' minorities. Strong families, self-reliance, and a spirit of entrepreneurship should be held up as ideals for all races to emulate.

In the end, we should be very suspicious about Obama's anger and the recent frothings of his close friend Reverend Wright.

Says Eric Hoffer:

The fact seems to be that we are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about. Vehemence is the expression of a blind effort to support and uphold something that can never stand on its own.

· 'You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

· You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

· You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

· You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer.

· You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.

· You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.

· You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

· You cannot establish security on borrowed money.

· You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.

· You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.'

—William J. H. Boetcker

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Education Summit - Peoria School District #150 - June 2002

Ah yes, the Summit held for three sessions at Lincoln School. At first the school board wanted to charge $15 per person but the media scotched that idea. 175 people attended the first session with slightly less participants the next two evenings. I was there all three nights and felt as some of the media did that we may be moving in the direction new Superintendent Kay Royster wanted #150 to move. Out of the summit came 50 ideas with the top 9 as follows: Increased parental involvement; reading at grade level; class size; race and diversity; Marketing District #150; vocational training; educational equality for all students; discipline and Edison Schools. Money and adequate facilities were ranked by the attendees as 14th and 16th.

So then a few months later District #150 assembled 40 people to meet behind closed doors as the JSEB says at "the bargain price of $60,000. Didn't the Summit do the same think last summer?" Royster with all her great sounding ideas (think Obama) is long gone and the district not much better off than most of us can see. Summit's, closed door meetings, consultants by the dozens and new facilities moved from 16th place of need by the community to #1 by the board and administration.

Let's look at the top nine goals determined at the Summit and see how far we've come in 6 years.

Parental involvement - less today than then. Actually many of the teachers do not want the parents to come to school, visit their classes and observe the general chaos that goes on. I know, I visit. Some teachers won't even look at me let alone introduce me or ask me to address the class. On the other hand, how can child bearers and sometimes unkown "fathers" be held accountable? No one ever taught them how to be a parent. Not at home or in #150.

Reading at grade level. How about two levels back for most kids from the third grade on or earlier?

Class size - #150 is consolidating meaning less and less kids are coming to school or classes will be larger.

Race and diversity - This community is more separated today than in 2002. Diversity when forced has less affect. Consider some of the colleges that accept students who are bound to fail but at least these institutes of higher learning have met their "quotas" of minorities.

Marketing: My idea as quoted in the Peoria Times-Observer on 6/12/02 "District #150 has not sent enough missionaries out in the field to spread the good word", Widmer said.

Vocational training - mainly all talk for 16 years with maybe 600 students taking a few courses and that includes computer usage. Plus the few kids Caterpillar works with for their hopefully own employ later.

Educational equality for all students - meaning what? The students have only so many good teachers to teach them. Many teachers should not be teaching so how can you have equality? Again, I know, I visit and watch and listen. But all kids in any classroom have an opportunity to learn even from the worst teachers.

Discipline - Once past third grade discipline is next to impossible because the "window" was broken a long time ago and parents and administrators and experts sad "kid will be kids, let them be themselves; don't harm their self-esteem". Now windows are broken with abandon and it is too late for many of these kids. Now the schools are filled with these kids (they later fill our judicial, juvenile courts; our jails and prisons).

Edison - Loucks Edison was an impressive school when I visited it about 4-5years ago when they had a white principal and assistant principal. When the principal (and several good teachers left the following year)left and went to Dunlap, Loucks went downhill to the point of the use of a bullhorn to try to maintain order in the cafeteria. I know first hand that Nicole Wood and her staff do an excellent job at Northmoor as does Valda Shipp at Franklin. Same for Rolling Acres.

There are other good principals like Mrs. Jankovetz at Columbia, The principal at Whittier (now at Manual), Kellar, Hines, Woodruff, Richwoods (now retired), Peoria High, Charter Oaks and many other schools. The biggest breakdown is at the top as it usually is when entities are in trouble. But as I said in my comments on C.J. Summer's site,unless the whole public school system is overhauled someone will be writing these same words 50 years from now.

I have never intended to lump all administrators, board members, teachers, principals, coaches, janitors, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, substitute teachers and parents together. Peoria has some great people among all these categories. But the community has failed to have the right leadership in the right places at the right time. This community, a long time in denial, has never accepted a thoughtful contrarian view. The leaders only want to work with their peers who all think alike.

The community has a great race and culture divides within the races. I reject saying that the community is racist, black or white. Most black people go one way and their kids follow. Most white people go one way and their kids follow. An article I read today said that college students meet to support Obama and the white kids sit at one table and the black kids at another, When they agree to support Obama; most college kids are liberal and are dreamers because they are being taught by liberal professors, the blacks leave together and go one way and the whites leave together and go a different way. That sums up Peoria. Last night I went to a fundraiser for Percy Baker attended by approximately 100 people. Ten white people and 90 blacks. Last week I went to a community development question and comment session. 90 white people and 2-3 black people. I don't know what the mix was at Peoria Promise last night, a reported 500 or more in attendance. (Poor planning to have the events on the same date and hour); Percy deserved a better turnout.

I see Peoria and this country 50 years or sooner divided in enclaves far more divisive than we are now. It may even be too late for common sense to enter the equation as many black kids are determined they are NOT going to follow the successes of white people or even the successes of blacks like Thomas Sowell, William Raspberry, Ward Connerly, Cosby, Tiger Woods and Juan Williams to name a handful.

Peoria has rightfully gained a reputation of a lot of talk and little of the right kind of action. Usually the ideas don't fit our pocketbooks or are shoved on people who would rather see the money spent on the necessities of life rather than on tax spending enhancements.

I and many other believe we know most of the answers and I've posted many of them on this site and in approximately 25 letters to the editors I've written in the past 20 years.

The "fire in my belly" is burning out. My days in public service will probably end by my decision in early 2009. The days when I feel like blogging are less and less. It's time for me to relax and enjoy more of life. I've done a lot and a majority of people support my actions. Many other do not. Not a great problem for me but maybe they should look honestly in the mirror.

I can.