Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Merle's Musings

WSJ today says "Borders (the bookseller) Profit Plunges, sales fell 13% and Borders has laid off 900 workers so far this year. Which reminds me, your City Fathers approved $27 million in new and expanded libraries, those taxes will start coming home to roost in about another year or so.

WSJ today says "Global Slump Seen Deepening" while Jim Vergon, Museum Committee key spokesman says "if we don't build the museum, every year will see a $4 million dollar rise in construction costs and the museum has already been delayed three years because lack of PUBLIC funding". What happened to all that PRIVATE money that was to be contributed so that the public would only pay 33%? (Brad McMillan before the Peoria County Board in February) If the referendum passes, the public would be paying approximately $80 million of the overall development of the block contains a new mental health treatment center, a new drug rehab center, a new school, more pothole filler, whoa, stop me, I got confused over our spending priorities; oh yes, a museum, the number one priority of the "movers and shakers" (those with guaranteed large pensions, handed down wealth, huge salaries and bonuses and smart tax attorneys)and who are behind the spending of $640,000.00 to "educate" the public to vote yes.

On 1/28/09, Karen McDonald who can only repeat figures she is given, she is not going to make them up, wrote "About $35 million in public funding is needed to make the project happen; the museum's backers expect to secure private contributions and grants totaling $42.5 million". Actually, it is the other way around with about $80 million in public funding.

And grants from the government come from your money.

These promoters are well schooled in promoting the "benefits" without mentioning the risks of maintaining this now $80 million dollar museum (using Vergon's statement of escalating construction costs). Remember why museum spokesperson, Methodist Hospital CEO Michael Bryant said Methodist was stopping construction because the business climate dictated that this was not the right to to keep building? Has it occurred to anyone that the Cat Visitors Center construction costs have only risen from $40 million to $41 million? (JS, 1/28/09) Think about it. Also that the museum is to be built by ALL UNION labor and that some of the construction will not need to be bid? Or that PIPCO headquarters building is surrounded by 8 Build a Block signs?

Remember One Technology Plaza building downtown that Diane Cullinan, now Oberhelman, whose husband Doug, a Caterpillar VP, and Clark Engineering, now Farnsworth, I believe, sold space to a largely naive Peoria County Board for approximately $1,000,000.00 in 2000? Guess who is leasing all or part of that property from the county? You are right, Caterpillar. After years of trying to sell the property, the county has found no buyer and the building is not being used as a high tech incubator type building as hyped by the promoters. Another missed projection?

Another headline is "Accounting Firms That Missed Fraud at Madoff May be Liable". the accounting firms contend that their primary role is to make sure the financial numbers their clients supply, add up, and but now to detect fraud. And another article "Consultants Touted Firm Accused in Fraud". No, don't tell your kids to grow up to be cowboys, consultants make the best money and will almost always give you the answers you are seeking as they are accused of doing in the Madoff fraud.

This old saying fits some projections in Peoria, "Figures lie and lairs figure". At the risk of repeating myself, financial people and accountants work with figures presented to them, not the other way around.

And in closing, a picture of anarchists organizing to disrupt the Group of 20 in London shows one of the protesters with rings all over his face, including one in his nose. We put rings in our pigs noses to keep them from reeking destruction before we rendered them into ham and bacon. This pig anarchist has no redeeming or edible value to the world. A larger ring fitted snugly above his shoulders would be more appropriate.

Whoa, more yet. Hidden from most every bodies view was a small article in today's WSJ "Social Security Increases Face Hit from Recession", the recession is projected to wipe out increases for 50 million Social Security beneficiaries for the next three years. This news will bring more tears to those living on a fixed income and who listened to their financial planners and saw their investments drop by 50% or more. And to the elderly disabled lady who I talked with yesterday; a lady who had her property over valued by an eager County Assessor and a questionable Peoria County Board of Review; appealed to the state, was advised she had a refund coming but is still waiting for her check. I'm sure Koehler, Leitch and company feel good about getting $10 million for a "museum" while this widow cries over her sad financial situation. Dump more taxes on the public and raise the "fee to see" these "public" facilities. The fixed income people say thanks for building the museum. Just what we need is another tax-sucking enhancement. But it "adds to the areas beauty" as Jerry Klein of Metamora, formerly of the JS, says in his LTE. I suggest Jerry never visited a Peoria Public School where 70% of the kids are eligible for poverty assistance. Nor will he ever spend any of his retirement living in the large poverty pockets of this community. Nor pay Peoria's escalating property taxes.

I'll leave with some good new. The market was up today. But then again tomorrow.....


Brad Carter said...

In regards to constructions costs, states across the country are seeing bidding wars just so companies can pay the bills.


"From major highway construction to small sidewalk improvements, bids are sometimes close to half as much as public works officials had projected."
"'I've never seen better bidding in my 35 years in transportation," said Dennis Fay, head of the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency.'"

Accordingly, this is not the case in Central Illinois because "It's better here".

Anonymous said...

Merle, Merle, is really getting time for your MRI scan of what little brain you may still thinks there are some wiring problems up there...insulation defects? a few shorts? not enough power? Time to call your local neurologist for some pills....