Leaders of this "drive", Brad Harding and Gary Sandberg, reported 1650+ petition signatures in total. My supporters, 15 in all and myself, collected 1080 of these signatures leaving all other involved in this campaign securing a grand total of 600+ signatures.
Wow, some effort, Gary and Brad!
If you recall City Councilman Sandberg said "every where he goes, he is besieged by people irritated" by the boondoogle $147+ million dollar Peoria Riverfront Museum Project.
Yes, I have no doubt that the 15,000 "no" voters on the public facility tax referendum this spring are even more disturbed that the PRM group spent $640,000 for an education program promising an IMAX theater before and after the referendum. Yet, they never had a contract with IMAX and the possibility of a contract at this late date, is greatly in doubt. A group went at taxpayer expense to visit an out of state "big screen" comparable?? what say, IMAX is a brand name draw, not a possible no-brand name XAMI or something.
Taxpayer should be concerned that the museum itself which includes the underground parking deck was started BEFORE the money was raised which is a contradiction of what an unconcerned Peoria County Board was told nothing would start before ALL the money was raised.
The PRM group and Peoria County have already spent approximately $14 million on design, consultants, out of town attorneys, trips, hotels and dinners, etc. and now more will be spent to configure the building to accommodate something other than the long promised IMAX.
Major reasons for the low number of signatures, bad timing, too short of time to reach 15,000 unknown voters who voted "no" on the referendum, no leadership from the two most vocal "leaders", Harding and Sandberg plus their apparent lack of effort, no money to advertise and a fear of Caterpillar and the unions. Plus a general apathy that the powers that run Peoria were going to go full steam ahead under ANY circumstance.
And evidently a lack of effort other than myself and 15 supporters, of which Steve Pauli and myself secured the most of our 1080 signatures.
My thanks to all who did sign these petitions and the hard work of the petition circulators, especially my group.
In the meantime Dave Ransburg has vowed to raise at least $10 million. Or more. Isn't that the same promise we've heard before? The endowment will be funded partially by collected pledges as Peoria County rolls over $6+ million to the museum from the facility tax.
It's called "creative bookkeeping". The private sector won't fund the needed $11+ million endowment so in a round-about-creative way, the PRM funds it with facility tax money. They all say, not so, we will now be able to fund the endowment with "private donations!
Interesting, but why would the moneyed set give more to the fund raising when they are ALREADY funding the museum building with 72% taxpayer dollars??
Good question, right???
Sandberg and Harding, the two "leaders" of this "drive" turned in there signed petitions, approximately 300 total at 3:20 PM today, about an hour before the deadline of submission. The Book Nook on University collected approximately 200 signatures. The best source in Peoria, in my opinion, for used books, buy, trade of sell.
My barber friends. Junction Barbers collected over 40 signatures and my friend, Joe Shyrock collected 60.
A lesson to be learned. Never brag about how you are going to cure a situation such as the switch by Peoria County to tax-payer-on-the hook General Obligation Bonds from private investors General Revenue bonds, IMAX to a big screen, a highly inadequate endowment (endowments are almost always funded by a philanthropist) until you have your "ducks" in line, leadership established and a willingness to put in countless hours.
This was not my "dog" but I accepted the challenge. My dog remains, show me the money and that this project will make Peoria a destination despite a new $27 million African Zoo, a new ball park, an expanded Civic Center, etc., all partially taxpayer funded, yet contributing LITTLE OR NO GROWTH IN PEORIA COUNTY IN THE PAST 10 YEARS.