Thursday, March 31, 2011

BelWood New Nursing Home Misinformation

I wrote the email below on 11/18/10. This is an update.

Some more misinformation has been forthcoming since 4 plus months ago. Our administrator and soon to be City Manager, was quoted in the JS on 3/29/2011, as saying "BelWood bottomed out in 2004 so the county took a referendum to the voters. We have improved financially every year since then... Yes, because since 2004-2009, BW collected over $17 million in direct and indirect property taxes while receiving two subsidies from other county funds of over $500,000.00. In addition, the county received $237,000.00 of grant money that was to be used for a new sprinkler system but was used instead to pay for consultants, engineers, estimators, etc., for a new building.

Fact was that the referendum asking an increase "Annual tax rate from 0.25 (voted in in 1983), to .06%, was voted on in April of 2003, not 2004. Nowhere in the 2002-3 promotion of this referendum by the county was it mentioned that BW had a $4.1 million debt. Nor did the referendum mention the need for a NEW $50+ (actually $70+ million with interest for 30 years) million county owned nursing home.

It was only after this additional new property tax money came in that the county decided to pick up BW's indirect expenses which deducted $1,220,636.00 in 2008 alone.

Yet board members continued to say BW had to "compete" against the private sector while claiming they were a safety net for the poor!

The referendum and all promotions of the referendum never mentioned the county could build a new nursing home. It also said inpromotion of the referendum, "BW requires short-term OPERATIONAL assistance but in the long-term is and can return to a self-sufficient financial base."

On 1/20/2003, in a headline in the JS, "Peoria County Makes Case for Bel-Wood", no mention was made of this debt. Board member Budzinski was quoted as saying "they could close a wwing (BW has 6 wings) or they could sell it" and Board member Kennedy said "keeping BW rates low helps keep competion's prices low".

Good grief, keep BW's prices low to drive out private nursing homnes not financed by taxes?? Who actully PAY proert taxes and evidently make enough money to stay in business. When BW was losing money every year?? Only in the last few months did the board decide to drop "compete" from its promotional language.

Here is my email of 11/18/2010.

Misinformation about BW is and has been, rampant. Facts have basically been ignored or thought non-relevant.

Start with sprinkler system that had to be installed by year 2010. (Quotes of Lynn Pearson, Matt Neukirk, BW Administrator and the JS)

Fact is that the county need only show that a sprinkler system is in its plans by August, 2013.

The cost of the new BW "would be around $45 million and would be covered by an existing tax that county residents pay to support the facility, so said the JSEB on June 7, 2010. On 6/2/10, Karen McDonald reiterated in the JS, "The county plans to use money from an existing property tax levy that supports the nursing home to cover project costs." If so why a new $45 million 30 year bond?

Fact is that this tax started in 2004, over $17 million collected by BW since its enactment, a property tax that brought in $3.2 million in 2009, is used to cover the losses incurred yearly by the current BW.

Fact is that no way can the 2003 tax levy passed in 2003 cover the "nursing home project costs" as claimed by the Journal Star and its reporter.

Fact is that the County Board approved the borrowing of up to $51 million in soft and hard costs, including estimate of $1.6 million for demolition and $4+ million for site preparation for the new building. The JS last week reported that the project was around $40 million.

Fact is that census at 300 bed BW has been steadily decreasing, last report issued shows the census at a probable all time low of 214.

Fact is that many privately owned and funded and property tax paying nursing homes have dementia units, such as Skyline Apostolic Christian and Eureka Apostolic. Skyline offers home service for people with diseases like Alzheimer's with companions 24 hours a day.

The JSEB says that federal stimulus bonds will save the county $10 million over the term of the 20 year bonds.

Fact is that I question the $10 million savings (JSEB, June 7, 2010) and contend that this savings will at the expense of taxpayers somewhere. There are no free lunches when when the government claims to save you money. Someone pays for it. Also, the last I heard the bonds are going to be repaid over 30 years not 20.

The estimate on remodeling was $12.5 million in 2007. It rose in increments as the cost of the new building rose. The estimate to remodel or rebuild was done by the same company which cause some contractors in Peoria to "raise their eyebrows".

Fact is that the SA office says "there are always ongoing lawsuits in the nursing home business". I am aware of approximately $700,000. being paid by the county and its insurance company in the past few years.

Fact is administration circulated pictures of the rundown condition of BW to the media. A contractor friend of mine said he would do all the corrective work for $25,000. If you recall, the referendum of was to "maintain" BW yet maintenance was told starting around 2007 to "do only life-safety issue" maintenance. The maintenance work was then done and I have heard of no new issuances of violation K-tags in the past 6-8 months.

Fact is that administration proposed that $1.6 million of the new BW bonds could be used for dead record storage. Fact is that once the new structure is built, administration does not need to ask the board where records could be stored. With all the vacant space in downtown Peoria, much closer to the courthouse.

Fact is that if all of these dead records are destroyed, there are 2 copies available elsewhere Outside of the courthouse records maintenance would be costly as two people would have to make the trip each time as no single person should be allowed access to all other department records. The county would risk damaging lawsuits for accidently taken or pilfered confidential records.

Fact is according to admission records over 20 BW residents come form OUTSIDE the county which means that Peoria County taxpayers support nun-residents with no additional charges assessed.

Fact is that Peoria is one of a handful of county owned nursing homes and Sangamon and McLean County, closed their homes years ago with no noticeable effect on health care.

Fact is that when the taxpayers approved the increased tax levy for BW the majority believed it was to maintain the existing structure. They also did not know that BW was over $4 million in debt at the time, that BW accepted residents from other counties, nor did they know that BW could have been totally remodeled for $9 million, including interest on the loan in year 2000. Now the interest alone on the loan over 30 years will approach way over what the entire project would have cost in 2000.

Fact is as late as 2007, a resident was allowed to run up $147,000 in expenses before any effort was made to correct the situation. BW has had more than 4 administrators over the past 10 years. BW has taken excessive administrative time and will continue to do as BW has over 160 union employees. A few years ago, a BW union boss was alleged to have been caught sleeping with a resident. The matter was apparently hushed up.

Fact is that many siblings sell off their parents assets 3 year before filing for Medicaid. BW has approximately 160 Medicaid residents.

Fact is that our governmental bodies have no real idea how how Medicaid will be financed in the future and more of the nursing home costs, especially in 30 years, could become the responsibility of the area providing the service.

End of my 2010 email.

Skunked is Right - Also Glenn Beck's Book "Broke" Is a Must Read

"Skunked": Bill Gross On How "The U.S. Will Likely Default On Its Debt"
By Tyler Durden
Created 03/30/2011 - 19:26
In a letter focusing on what has been well known to Zero Hedge readers for about two years now [1], Bill Gross' latest investment outlook does the usual attack of Beltway stupidity (as if Congress is in any way competent of making math-related decisions - they do what Wall Street - that's you Bill! - tell them to do, and you know it), emphasizing the impossible math of total US entitlement liabilities (on a net present value basis), which Gross estimates at $75 trillion. That Gross conclusion is predetermined from the onset is not surprising: "Unless entitlements are substantially reformed, I am confident that this country will default on its debt; not in conventional ways, but by picking the pocket of savers via a combination of less observable, yet historically verifiable policies – inflation, currency devaluation and low to negative real interest rates." Then again, that America is bankrupt is not really news to anyone. Neither is it news, that Gross, as we first reported, no longer has any US bonds to dispose of. What will be news is the inflection point at which Gross starts purchasing Treasuries once again. And after all with $220 billion in AUM in the Total Return Fund, what else will he do: hold on to cash? Buy Netflix? Then the only question will be how Gross spins the inevitable capitulation of the re-hypocrisy trade, validating that he, in a narrow sense, and PIMCO in a broad one, is perhaps the biggest cog in the very system that Bill spends so many hours writing letters about and complaining against. But yes, even that won't be all that surprising to us. After all, in this bizarro world absolutely everything is now priced in.

Bill Gross Budget

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Prosperity Gospel - Depending on Miracles Is a Dangerous Way To Live

The prosperity gospel, so popular & pushed on so many poor and minority people, preaches the idea God gurantees truly faithful believers physical health and financial wealth, is not new. These preachers, often very wealthy from the massive contributions from the faithful believers, ususally show all the trappings of wealth, expensive cars, home, life styles, etc. Their message is all over radio, televison and now the internet yet most of these "believers" remain relatively poor throughout their whole lifetimes.

The prosperity preachers appear to be more interested in their own pocketbooks. But then, so are businesses that depend heavily on you, the often innocent taxpayer.

In the light of today's weak economy, perhaps the prosperity movement should consider focusing on financial literacy, personal discipline and saving for the long term, rather than emphasizing supernatural possibilities. (Like hitting the lottery jackpot) Churches can be effective in teaching people how to convert from a culture of borrowing and spending to a culture of saving and investing.

In Luke 15:28, Jesus is quoted: Suspose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (Not in Peoria but then Jesus was not aware of our culture today of consultants, enginners, moral lacking attorneys, architects and "blue sky" seerers.) In Jesus teachings, Christians have suffiecent content for financial guidance and prudent approaches to managing money.

Reasonable people know that faith in God must be accompanied by responsible actions to acheeive lasting prosperity. Educdation, hard work and discipline are key components to any authentic prosperity plan.

If God were a cosmic Santa Claus, then the entire economic crisis could be brought to a halt by making a list of needs and sending them to him.

My beliefs but the content of this article comes from DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., the senion pastor of the First Baptist Chuch of Lincoln Gardens, in Somerset, N.J. and appeared under the title of "Black Churches and the Prosperity Gospel", 10/1/10 in the WSJ.

With local elections on the horizon in Peoria, it is my fererent hope that those elected stop depending on miracles and risky projections to balance their respective budgets. The Peoria County Board on which I just completed serving 10 years, had a balanced budget when I retired. It was out of balance when I was first elected. Hope the new County Board members and new administrator help keep it balanced.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Knapp, Union Win - Edison is Booted

Other than moving out of the area served by #150, sending kids to private or parochial schools, Knapp and the union have finally been able to stifle competition from the privately owned Edison Group. The school board and administration helped by promoting unqualified minorities as principals and getting the district in the financial mess it is in.

When I visited Loucks Edison a number of years ago, the school was a model of success. Then the principal took a job with Dunlap and the new principal assigned to Loucks was so bad, he had to use a bullhorn in the cafeteria to keep order. The next step was closing Loucks and presenting the building to the new semi-charter school, Quest.

How many times have we heard administrations and union representatives wail "we can replicate Edison without paying Edison all that money".

Yet they never did. Already I am hearing negative reports on the new $40+ million (counting the contributions by the city and the interest on the long term bonds) Glen Oak School. And now Lathan wants to relieve Randy Simmons of his principalship at Peoria High, one of the best principals the district has ever had. A move allowing more interference by outside government into the operating of local schools.

As I said in previous blogs, zoos, museums, ball parks and recreational centers subtracted from all the negatives locally and negatives from the Democrats in Springfield and D.C. will be and are the major cause of this vital corporation to possibly relocate corporate headquarters elsewhere. They have already transferred thousands of jobs out of this area.

Elimination of the successful Edison concept will not help Peoria's efforts to hold and entice new businesses and new #150 residents. You don't judge schoolroom success on just "teaching to the test" but on the well-rounded social product produced. With the RIGHT principals, Edison was well worth the money.

Nicole Wood at Northmoor is one of the best examples. Edison has been a success with the "right" principals.

Less than $1 million and half a year to keep Edison out of a budget of $160-190 million dollars and outstanding bonds of near $100 million dollars.

Worse yet is few qualified people want to run for the school board.

Take another look at Knapp and his union buddies ridiculously high pensions. I've blogged the figures. To review just enter "pensions at #150" in my search bar area of any blog I've written.

Another sad day for Peoria.

Peoria County Health Report From Administrator Greg Chance

In addition, the area should be pleased that Mr. Chance was awarded an extension of his contract for another three years. For whatever it is worth, the actual name of the local health Dept, is Peoria County but still is called City/County.

Peoria County is Moderately Healthy

-Annual Rankings serves as a call to action to improve community health.

Peoria County continues to have moderately healthy residents in Illinois according to the annual County Health Rankings, released today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This is the second year of the County Health Rankings, the most comprehensive report of its kind to rank the overall health of all counties in Illinois by using a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long they live.

In reviewing the Report, Greg Chance, Administrator at Peoria City/County Health Department states, "While the Peoria County community health system has taken important steps to improve the health of our community, the Health Rankings indicates that there is more that we can do to help residents lead healthier lives."

• "The Rankings shows us where we are doing well and provides us with information about what is working, such as factors that influence our overall health with strengths in the areas of clinical care, access to recreational facilities, and the physical environment."

• "The Rankings also sheds light on factors that are making our residents unhealthy and what areas would make Peoria County a healthier place to live. Peoria County is at-risk for poor health when it comes to factors and behaviors that affect health, such as smoking, drinking, STDs, teen birth rates, single-parent households and unemployment."

• "The Rankings provides us with an opportunity to make people aware of steps we are taking to improve the health of our residents, like Community Health Improvement Strategic Planning. The Health Department is facilitating a committee of key community health system stakeholders formed to understand and incorporate action steps to a healthier Peoria County. The committee now has three workgroups that are developing strategic health improvement plans that the community can utilize to address the critical health issues of Oral Health, Obesity, and Reproductive Health."

Chance adds, "Everyone in our community has a stake in being healthy. Working together, we can make Peoria County a healthier place to live and work."

For more information about Community Health Improvement Planning and other public health issues, visit our website at and follow us on Facebook.

Voting Them All Out Solves Only One Half The Problem

The other half is finding the right people to run and CAN get elected. If they win and don't bring this country back in control of the common sense people, then try again and again until we get it mostly right or face a revolution in the next 35 years.

Unfortunately, most allow their common sense to be corrupted by the entrenched bureaucrats and lobbyists who actually are the most powerful people in government. I'm afraid the saying "fool me once, fool me twice...." doesn't work any more in politics.

Eligible voters who don't register and vote don't deserve much better and shouldn't complain about what is happening to this country. Or maybe they are too snug in their tenure jobs, seniority and have excess money.

If politicians would prevent to taking so much of our tax dollars, they wouldn't be obligated to bring back so much to satisfy the the moneyed people who got them elected in the first place.

Most people with sound guidance, take advantage of loopholes in our legal system. It may not be morally correct (Morals in business? Follow American Greed on Fox TV) but they are protected by bad laws. Who makes the laws? The politicians, influenced by the lobbyists and career public employees, who we elected to office.

Did you see 60 Minutes Sunday eve describing how our too high taxes entice corporations and other big money people to seek safe havens in other countries costing this country hundreds of billions of revenues? All they are doing is hiring smart attorneys to find the loopholes.

Merle And thanks, daughter Nancy. And read my LTE to the JSEB on Sunday's opinion page.

Charley Reese is retiring. His last column is this one. I know many will miss this southern gentleman...
He had a great run and we are all better off for it. Farewell, Mr. Reese, and thank you. Charley Reese has
been a journalist for 49 years.

Be sure to read the Tax List at the end.

This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be - read
it!! The article below is completely neutral, not anti republican
or democrat... Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando
Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it
is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the
judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It's a short but good
read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!

555 PEOPLE--By Charlie Reese
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then
campaign against them...
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are
Against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and
high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.
You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on
appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme
Court justices equates to 555 human beings out of the 300 million are
directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic
problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress.In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional
duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but PRIVATE, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.
They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a
senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I
don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician
has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 555 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that
what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con
regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive
amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who
stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.The President
can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution , which is the supreme law of the land , gives sole
responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving
appropriations and taxes. Who WASthe speaker of the House? Nancy
Pelosi. She WAS the leader of the majority party.
She and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they
want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 555 people who stand
-- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I
can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly
to those 555 people.When you fully grasp the plain truth that 555 people
exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow
that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red...
If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want
them in Iraq and Afghanistan ...
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement
plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 555 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and
whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can
reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom
they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief
that there exist disembodied mystical forces like "the economy,"
"inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from
doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 555 people and they alone, are responsible.
They and they alone, have the power...
They and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.
Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees...
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Be sure to read all the way to the end:
Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he's fed.
Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.
Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for peanuts anyway!
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.
Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.
Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.
Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.
Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won't be done
Till he has no dough.
When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He's good and sore.
Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he's laid...
Put these words
Upon his tomb,
Taxes drove me
to my doom...'
When he's gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax ...
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago,
& our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely
no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.
What happened?
Can you spell 'politicians?'
I hope this goes around THE USA at least 555 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!!

Just another routine day in the office.

Monday, March 28, 2011

IDOT - Flashing Yellow Lights

Mr. Williamsen is writing in reference to my recent blog "Flashing Yellow Lights" which you can easily find by entering same subject on my the search column on all or any of my other blogs.


Mr. Widmer,

My name is Brian Williamsen and I am a Community Relations Manager with the Illinois Department of Transportation. I'd like to pass along a video link and a brochure, featuring information on our flashing yellow arrow signals that we are installing here in District 4.

I understand this topic is something you have written about recently. If you wouldn't mind posting the video link to help us get the word out, we would appreciate it. Thanks very much!


Brian Williamsen

Community Relations Manager

Illinois Department of Transportation, District Four

(309) 671-4854 (office)

(217) 720-0443 (cell)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What Happens to the "Old" BelWood Building and Acreage?

Next to nothing has been reported in the media about what will happen to the 43 year old?? BelWood once the move is made to Heading Avenue. It will cost millions for demolishing, environmental testing and site preparation. If the building, now deemed unfit as a nursing home, is to be used for further Peoria County expansion and maintenance, more millions will be needed to be spent as the roof reportedly needs replacing, no small cost on such a large expanse.

Or will just a portion of the building be used and the rest allowed to deteriorate?

Talk about accusations about the lack of transparency by government by the Journal Star and other medias. The new building is being built on the basis of a 2003 BW referendum, that was sold to the public on incomplete information. An example was a quote by Peoria County Board Member and Health and Environment Chair, Lynn Pearson, that "BelWood would need to be closed if the referendum failed to pass", a falsehood, no information to the voter that BW was already $4.1 million in debt at the time of the referendum, that the whole building could have been renovated including new plumbing, wiring, a new roof and sprinkler system for less that $6 million in year 2001.

Later estimates for the same expanded construction for $12.5 million in 2007. Then, a consulting company was brought in and figure for both renovation and a new building jumped by millions of dollars in a very short period of 2 years or so.

Nor did the full board ever approve that over $1,000,000.00 of indirect property taxes were given to BW to subsidize operations (starting in slightly over one year after the 2003 tax levy hike was approved by the voters). Over $500,000 was additionally given to BW from other county funds for maintenance.

In 2007, the federal government authorized over $237,000 to help install a new sprinkler system. That money was eventually diverted to such things as architect, consulting cost, etc.

Or the BW was fined $10,100.00 a couple of years ago by the state for infractions that never appeared in any news media? When I asked the SA about lawsuits against BW, his answer was "that is the nature of nursing homes" and I was unable to get actual numbers or dollars.

Long ago, I was convinced that the County of Peoria should not be in the nursing home business. the County could afford to sell for a small amount just to get out from under the $3 million yearly property taxes. Board member Mayer says the county "is obligated" to spend the 2003 referendum tax increase forever on BW.

Oh, come on Allen. That why we have influential people elected to the State Legislature. To make and amend laws, not just to enforce them.

Transparency abetted by the media when the media complains of a "lack of transparecy in government?? You bet, goes on all the time.

$70,000,000.00 for a "safety net" for the poor?? Give me a break. Would the fact that the County board is dominated by Democrats and BW employes 160 union members (translates into Democrat votes) have anything to do with building a new nursing home home? Give me another break.

New $70 Million BelWood Nursing Home - Proceed Only At Property Tax Payer Risk

Dilemma is the proper word. Board members should be given a copy of a headline article in the February 20, 2011 issue of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, titled "State poised to build on its Medicaid pilot". 'With effort to contain costs, critic fear that Florida is courting disaster'.

"Hearings have begun in the Florida House and Senate on a plan to cut Medicaid costs by moving most patients into private, managed care, which lawmakers say would, along with other cuts, save more than $3 billion over 3 years. Medicaid will soon eat up 1/3 of the state budget, doubling since 2001."

Also,an article in the March 10, 2011 of the WSJ, section A17, by Scott Gottlieb, Assistant Clinical Director of the New York University School of Medicine, titled, "Medicaid is Worse Than No Coverage At All" needs to be read by the entire board.

In a recent report, 18 states listed curbing Medicaid spending as their top priority this year. Blame is put largely on the recession pushing more people into government health care. 17 states already require other Medicaid enrollees-poor children and pregnant women, among others, to sign up for managed care.

Also, Peoria County Board members, your administrator should provide you with copies of an article headlined "Managed Care Goes Private" in the February 21, 2011 issue of the USA TODAY. Illinois last year awarded contracts to two insurers, Aetna and Centene, to provide care, including long-term-care services, for 40,000 recipients in the Chicago area.

Managed Care or new or renovated County Nursing Homes are perhaps neither a panacea. However, if the board is insistent on staying in the county nursing home business, it is fair to say that the 2003 referendum is no longer a true vote of how the property tax payers in Peoria County would look at the long term debt that would be required to stay in the County owned nursing home business. Most property tax payers are not aware they are already paying $3 million in direct and indirect property taxes to support BelWood today.

This a copy of an email I sent to members of the Peoria County Board, Administration and other interested parties. I titled this email, "Medicaid Dilemma and BelWood Nursing home - a $$70 million New Building project". As I understand, land for this new building has not as yet been purchased.

I noted that "anyone who believes that Caterpillar will forever make Peoria its headquarters" need read no further than today's Journal Star headline.

I urge that more details be made available by the all medias to the public about his approximately $70 million dollar expenditure. BelWood is already subsidized by approximately $3 million a year in property taxes.

Peoria already has some "white elephants", more may surface later and the PRM and the new downtown hotel are certainly no sure bets on never falling back on what many feel is an already under-performing overburdened and taxed community.

Anyone who believes that Caterpillar will forever make Peoria it’s headquarters is not paying attention to what is happening on the world business scene. Already, it is rumored that the new Illinois Income Tax has already cost the Peoria area 400-500 new jobs from one company alone. New museums, new taxpayer owned nursing homes and expanded zoos and an iffy ball park, etc., will probably NOT affect Caterpillar's decision should they decide to someday move headquarters closer to emerging economies.

Illinois anti-business and excessive taxes probably will. Or the advantages offered by right-to-work states which Illinois certainly is not; a result of lack of new businesses moving into Illinois and Peoria.

It's a changing world and spending decisions can not be made as quickly and easily as they were 8 or so, years ago. Or even in 2007 when maintenance at B-W was put on hold with the exception of life-safety issue maintenance.

Who Plays the Illinois Lottery? Not Just Poor Math-Illiterates

So wrote Dave Ramsey, a nationally known personal finance expert in the JS on 2/21/10. Most poor people delay few pleasures and then expect those who responsibly stayed out of debt until they could do as Alexander Hamilton wrote, "The creation of debt should be accompanied with the means of extinguishment".

But then how would illiterate and just plain stupid people (or those who know better than anyone else wiser than they were)know this? Learned from their fathers? Maybe, if they know who they are and certainly not much from the woman who like in the old song sang, 'I'm just a gal who can't say no'. "Oklahoma" I believe.

Back on 6/2/05, I wrote a blog titled "Keeping Up" or keeping up with the Joneses. Many use debt trying to keep up with the wealthy using debt like "swords to cut through the jungles of greed". People who should have continued renting, were told by shrewd politicians and business shysters that home ownership 'was major only goal in life'.

"Renewed efforts to keep people in their homes by jiggling the terms of mortgages simply keeps them locked in with little chance of SAVING for other purposes. Government intervention in the mortgage market affects investment in our children's education and our retirement plans, creating shortfalls that will undoubtedly be met by demands for more intervention in these markets."

"Home ownership has been branded at the ultimate fulfillment of the American dream: upward mobility for us and poor children". (Written by Eugene M. White, a professor of economics at Rutgers University)

These are the people most likely to play the lotteries severely compounding their financial duress and urged on by free spending of OPM and being lied to by political and business shysters.

I'd say most poor people learned well from their parents and politicians and other shysters.

Me, I came from poverty, have no debt and paid cash for the house I live in. And I agree with many of my detractors, I'm not that smart. Maybe just more common sense than lottery players. Inherited from my frugal poor folks (nine kids) who didn't rely on the lottery or welfare but did hard work and punched no clocks, formed no picket line, didn't make fools of themselves like some teachers and union thugs did recently and didn't let the "door hit them in the ass" when it was 5 o'clock.

And no, I have never bought a lottery ticket nor gambled more than I could afford. And no, again, I wasn't caught in Jimmie's Lock Shop gambling bust, I had never been inside the building. (Inside joke known by a few of the old-timers still alive.)

Not bragging because at times I proved I wasn't very smart. I owe a lot of thanks to so many others.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Peoria County Bridge Repair - Lowest in Structurally Deficient Bridges in Seven County Area

Good job, Peoria County Board, Administration and our engineers. Only 15 bridges fall in the category of needed needed or badly needed repair out of 2200 in the entire State of Illinois. Repair funds for the bridge shown today in the JS have been sought since 2003. Construction will start before the bridge becomes called dangerous.

As I and thousands of others have repeatedly stated, repairs are never as exciting as ribbon cutting for a new something or other, like a museum, library, bridge or highway. Like a brand new shiny highway from Peoria to Chicago the 60 year too late loser (Kerners Curve) that one ex-council member, now new candidate, would still like to pursue.

Fortunately, our Republican Congressman Aaron Schock has asked that stimulus funds be redirected to repair of our bridges, roads and transit systems before we start all over again paying engineers and consultants to build new highways. (IB, 12, 2009). Highways that might get a vehicle to the general vicinity of their destination with money no one has. Unfortunately at that point, vehicles become tied up in massive traffic jams that way offset the few minutes saved by getting there faster. And cost hundreds of millions while leaving the old roads in need of constant repair.

Unfortunately, Transportation Director Ray LaHood, under command of his Democrat master, is still trying to push new projects such as a hi-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando, (80 miles currently connected by multi-lane highways) threatening the common sense new Republican Governor of Florida to accept hi-speed rail money or lose it, while Governor Scott is asking that the money be used where Schock recommends, repair of deteriorating old transit systems in the state.

Governor Scott realized that this project would be a massive waste of money and the billions offered the state (that the feds don't have without keeping the presses running) would only pay for the land acquisition, engineers, consultants, lawyer, the FEPA, more bureaucrats, etc., and then leave Florida with the impossible task of raising the money to build and maintain this proposed boondoogle.

But American greed ususlly entices many in the private construction industry and the unions to build something new we can't afford, as one local union chief told me, "we don't give a damn what you build, just build it. we need jobs".

The only part of that statement I agree 110% with? We need jobs.
But then I don't want to sound negative, do I?

Virgins: Is There a Shortage or Have Qualifications Been Lowered?

Al Qaeda virgin Rationing? I've sometimes wondered myself where all these virgins come from, what are their ages, what do they look like, whether they wear burkas or the new French bikini, or long underwear, locked metal chastity belts, what old man earthly mullah tests their chastity qualifications first, whether they show only their eyes when copulating....? And what about the women martyrs. Where would Osama find anywhere a virgin male among the middle east Muslim population of terrorists? Don't most of them raise sheep and fowl?

Or, especially, if these men visited Hollywood or Copenhagen or Bangkok?

And what happens to all the babies born to these millions of virgins? At what age do they start terrorist training? History tells us that their education is mainly restricted to memorizing the Koran. Where do they study and what is graduation age? Nine, ten......Or would these newborn, female or male, of the virgins, become virgins included among the 72 promised virgins per male? Or female martyr?

Some will find humor in this attachment but I can only find sorrow in a group of people lacking so much in self-esteem, so jealous of a modern lifestyle and being so lacking in common sense. Wonder if they are pressed to accept virgin lesbians, virgin transvestites, virgin bi-sexuals, 10 year olds, born again virgins, any ethnic group or non-human virgins?

All "kill the infidels" Muslims of course. Not my Muslims friends who are secular or at least, take a lot of the Koran "with a grain of salt".

Some will consider this as sick humor. Sobeit. I'll admit my major interest is that the "martyrs" be detained or killed before detonation. And that Osama and his ilk get to find out if there are any virgins left when they get there. Bin, you best hurry along.

We'll miss you.


BBC News Thursday (humor)

Muslim suicide bombers in Britain are set to begin a three-day strike
on Monday in a dispute over the number of virgins they are entitled to in the
afterlife. Emergency talks with Al Qaeda have so far failed to produce an

The unrest began last Tuesday when Al Qaeda announced that the number
of virgins a suicide bomber would receive after his death would be cut by 25%
this February from 72 to 54. A company spokesman said increases in recent
years in the number of suicide bombings have resulted in a shortage of
virgins in the afterlife.

The suicide bombers' union, the British Organization of Occupational
Martyrs (or B.O.O.M.) responded with a statement saying the move was
unacceptable to its members and called for strike vote. General Secretary
Abdullah Amir told the press, "Our members are literally working themselves
to death in the cause of Jihad. We don't ask for much in return, but to be
treated like this is like a kick in the teeth".

Speaking from his shed in Tipton in the West Midlands , Al Qaeda
chief executive Osama bin Laden explained, "I sympathize with our workers'
concerns, but Al Qaeda is simply not in a position to meet their demands.
They are simply not accepting the realities of modern-day Jihad in a
competitive marketplace. Thanks to Western depravity, there is now a chronic
shortage of virgins in the afterlife. It's a straight choice between reducing
expenditure or laying people off. I don't like cutting benefits, but I'd hate
to have to tell 3,000 of my staff that they won't be able to blow themselves

Spokespersons for the union in the North East of England, Ireland ,
Wales , and the entire Australian continent stated that the change would not
hurt their membership as there are few virgins in their areas anyway.

According to some industry sources, the recent drop in the number of
suicide bombings has been attributed to the emergence of Scottish singing
star, Susan Boyle. Many Muslim jihadists now know what a virgin looks like
and have reconsidered their benefit packages.


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Federal Government Spending Comparisons

Federal government spending has doubled in the past 10 years, the federal deficit will reach $1,6 trillion this year and combined state budget shortfalls amount to $139 billion and are rising.

One of the Democrats favorite talking points is that the economy boomed when Clinton was president, so now they want to raise taxes back to Clinton-era levels on the rich. Left out in their reasoning is that when President Clinton left office, federal spending was half of what it is today and its share of the economy was much less (18.5% of the GDP versus more than 25% of GDP this year).

So let's get back to to federal spending levels of the 1990's before we take tax rates back to the 1990's.

If federal government spending had grown at 2% per year during this period, the deficit this year would be zero instead of $1.6 trillion. If federal government had grown at a somewhat faster pace, but remained at 18.5% of GDP, the deficit this year would be $1 trillion dollars lower.

More businesses need to step forward to defend free markets and restore a reasonable balance between the private sector and the public sector. Instead, too many business leaders are instead seeking to do business with the government, gain favored status, get federal subsidies, acquire a financial backstop or secure trade protection.

Need a poster child? How about GE as today's version of corporatism or crony capitalism. Not just GE.

Courtesy of Ryan Dean of Salisbury, Md.

"The assault on the national government does not transfer power to the people. It transfers power to the historical rival of the national government and the the prime cause of its enlargement-the great corporation interests." (Arthur Schlesinger, June 7, 1995)

Courtesy of George Kovac, Miami

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Shariah Law in the United States - It's Coming

Gaffney Lambastes Florida Judge as 'Unfit' for Decision to Follow Shariah
Tuesday, 22 Mar 2011 05:25 PM

By Newsmax Wires

Frank J. Gaffney Jr., president of the Center for Security Policy, castigated a Florida judge as unfit to serve for his decision to follow Islamic law instead of state or federal statutes in a case against a Tampa mosque that ultimately could decide who controls $2.2 million in state money.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Richard Nielsen said he will decide in a lawsuit against the Islamic Education Center of Tampa, “whether the parties in the litigation properly followed the teachings of the Koran in obtaining an arbitration decision from an Islamic scholar," according to

"This case will proceed under Ecclesiastical Islamic Law," the judge wrote in his March 3 ruling.

Gaffney bristled at the ruling in a comment to Newsmax Tuesday, saying, “Any judge who would apply Shariah in an American courtroom — especially against the express wishes of Muslims seeking due process under laws promulgated pursuant to the U.S. Constitution — is certainly ignorant of the true, unconstitutional character of ‘Islamic ecclesiastical law.’

“Arguably, such a judge is unfit to serve on any bench in this country,” said Gaffney, adding that Nielsen’s decision augurs for the Florida Legislature and other state legislatures to enact “American Laws for American Courts” statutes.

In Florida, state Sen. Alan Hays and Rep. Larry Metz, both Republicans, have proposed bills to prevent Islamic law, or any foreign legal code, from being applied in state courts.

The Tampa case stems from a lawsuit filed by several male members of the mosque who say that, in 2002, they were unfairly and improperly removed as trustees, the site reported. The center later received $2.2 million from the state after some of its land was used in a road project, and who controls that money is part of the lawsuit, according to quoted the mosque’s attorney saying his client has appealed to the 2nd District Court of Appeal challenging Nielsen’s use of religion in the case.

"The mosque believes wholeheartedly in the Quran and its teachings," attorney Paul Thanasides said. "They certainly follow Islamic law in connection with their spiritual endeavors. But with respect to secular endeavors, they believe Florida law should apply in Florida courts."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Do you like The Peoria Chronicle?

Do you like The Peoria Chronicle?

Very much. A most informative site. See my endorsement on my blog site.

Merle Widmer

Glenn Beck - Author of "Broke"

No, I don't agree with hard left Democrat Jim Miles from Brimfield on his analysis of political analyst and author Glenn Beck.

I recommend all, Demos, Reps or Indies, read this book. You will not find fault with his confirmed sources, his analysis of the Reagen and Johnson administrations. You may not agree with the direction in which facts, not Becks show this country is going but you may learn some enlightening facts for the present and the future.

Merle Widmer's Blog Search

I've knocked out about 50 blogs so far this month. You may have missed some. Easy way to find any of my 1600 plus blogs is as follows:

Go to a blog I've posted.
In the upper right hand column you will see a "Search Bar".
If you want to know everything I've written about Chuck Grayeb, Peoria City Council candidate, just type in "Chuck Grayeb".
If you want to most everything I've written about the $27 million zoo expansion just type in "Zooillogical"
For the new still unfunded new museum type in PRM or Lakeview Museum.
Anything I've written about Dave Koehler, Ray LaHood, Aaron Schock, "Keeping up with the Jones, School District #150, the Peoria Park District, "Common Sense", etc., and so on.

All my old blogs from August 2004 can be found this way.

At the age of almost 86, I will not be blogging much longer. I plan to leave this site up as long as is legal.

Self-Serving, Special Interests and Weak Public Boards

None of this could have happened if our legislators and special interest boards (non-special interest qualified candidates are hard to find) and strong basically full time union bosses hadn't allowed extremes as described below to happen.

Teachers, administrators, etc., are no different from most employees. They will take all they can get from the boards to which they are SUPPOSED to report.

Review the candidates running for Peoria Public School District #150. Can you with common sense and no special interests, imagine any of these nice people sitting on an $160,000,000.00 private industry board??


Phoenix superintendent to retire, return
by Craig Harris - Mar. 22, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Phoenix's Isaac School District, which plans to shutter schools and lay off employees because of money problems, will let Superintendent Carlos Bejarano retire June 30 and return to his same job - with the same compensation and perks - the next day.

Bejarano, 58, will retain his $130,000 annual salary, an $8,400 car allowance, an $8,000 annual tax-deferred annuity, and a $3,000 community-affairs allowance to use at his discretion. The district also will give him $11,238 so he can buy health-insurance coverage, according to district officials.

Pensions in Arizona a soaring burden

Bejarano will receive an annual pension estimated at $104,650 after retiring with 35 years of service, records reviewed by The Arizona Republic show, bringing his total annual compensation to roughly $265,000.

The retirement agreement comes at a time when the district plans to close Lela Alston Elementary and Carl T. Smith Middle schools, eliminate roughly 75 positions including 20 teachers, and possibly ask remaining employees to take unpaid furlough days because of declining enrollment and less state aid when the new school year starts July 1.

The district must cut as much as $5.7 million from its estimated $41 million fiscal 2011-12 budget. More cuts would be made if the Legislature further reduces money allotted to public schools.

The school board's decision to let Bejarano retire and keep the same job comes despite what one former school-board member said were attempts by Bejarano to make it difficult for teachers and classified employees to do the same thing: draw a retirement and salary in a practice that critics call double-dipping.

Currently, the 900-employee district has nine workers who have retired and returned to work. Just one is a classroom teacher.

"It seems like people who needed a job and were earning low pay couldn't return to their same position, but the people at high-ranking positions can double dip," said Andrew Sandoval, a high-school Spanish teacher who left the board in 2008. "What's taking place is he is setting himself up for a great position."

Bejarano declined to answer questions.

District spokesman Abedón Fimbres said the superintendent was busy and did not have time until next week to discuss his employment. Fimbres said the district hires retirees in positions that are difficult to fill, and he said that since Bejarano took over July 1, 2008, student-achievement scores had increased and the district wanted to keep him.

The retirement system is one of six public pensions in Arizona. A 2010 Arizona Republic investigation found the pension systems are costing taxpayers at least $1.39 billion a year and that taxpayer contributions are rising even as retirees' benefits are continually increased.

The practice of double-dipping is common in Maricopa County. It involves hundreds of administrators and teachers who use a legal loophole to collect a full pension from the Arizona State Retirement System plus a paycheck.

But most employees who return to the same job do so at a reduced rate of roughly 80 percent of their ending salary to save money for their employers. Most districts also do not provide health-insurance coverage to retirees who come back to work, resulting in additional savings.

Bejarano is not taking a reduction in pay and the district is covering health-insurance costs for him and his dependents. The district also will pay a fee of nearly $6,700 to Educational Services Inc., a third-party contractor for whom Bejarano technically will work.

Working for a third-party contractor allows Bejarano to stay on the job yet remain in compliance with a state law requiring ASRS members to wait a year after retiring before returning to work to collect full benefits.

The practice of using third-party contractors to get around the state law has drawn the ire of some lawmakers who believe it is unfair. They are looking at reforming the financially troubled ASRS and other pension systems in Arizona. House and Senate leaders are negotiating a comprehensive reform bill that likely will make it more difficult for retirees to return to work by imposing new financial requirements on districts that hire them.

Currently, when educators retire and return to work, neither they nor their employers continue to contribute to the ASRS trust from which pensions are paid. Those costs are shifted to other ASRS members and their public employers. The result has been a drain on the pension trust, and many taxpayer-funded government agencies will see their contribution rates to the trust increase again July 1 in a bid to keep the trust healthy.

Because he no longer will have to contribute to the ASRS trust, Bejarano also will keep an extra $13,650 a year in salary. Jeff Gadd, assistant superintendent for business services, said the Isaac School District expected to have a net savings of roughly $7,000 from not making an ASRS contribution.

Gadd said the district has a policy that it does not reduce the compensation of employees who retire and return to the district, and it would not be fair to treat the superintendent differently.

"Obviously, his salary and number of years of experience is exceedingly high, so he will have a nice retirement," Gadd said. "The numbers get fairly large, but superintendents across the state have done this. They all wind up in this ballpark."

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American Priorities

Subject: With Deepest Respect

Lindsay Lohan is 24 and her story is all over the news today because
she's a celebrity,a drug addict and a thief.

Charlie Sheen is all over the news because he is a celebrity and has
multiple issues..

Justin Allen age 23,
Brett Linley age 29,
Matthew Weikert age 29,
Justus Bartett age 27,
Dave Santos age 21,
Jesse Reed age 26,
Matthew Johnson age 21,
Zachary Fisher age 24,
Brandon King age 23,
Christopher Goeke age 23,
Sheldon Tate age 27

Are all Marines who gave their lives this week for us.

There is no media for them. Not even a mention of their names.

Honor Them, by sending this on!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Peoria Council"s Folly - SouthSide Library

It wasn't too long ago that the City Council voted to give the library board approximately a quarter million dollars to renovate a Harrison Housing unit into a library. Then, they later voted to give the library board over $80,000.00 to install an elevator in the building.

Now the library sets empty. Worse is that the library hours were from 10-5 Monday through Friday which killed library usage from the start. Closed on weekends and open when people are or should be working or in class. I visited the library many times. It was busy only after school hours and in the summer for kids. Rows of books that had never been checked out and stuck together when I tried to remove them from a shelf.

The elevator could only be operated by the librarian and on my visits I found nothing on the second floor but some pottery class storage and 4 computers, two that didn't work, plus a surveillance camera and his and hers restrooms. Restrooms were also available on the first floor.

This just another example of how the city reached a deficit of $13 million. And soon the library will come asking for more money than the $40,000,000.00 they received courtesy of the property tax owners.

Time for change on the council.

Peoria Council's Folly - MidTown Plaza

On December 7, 2010, Councilman Sandberg asked how much is still owed on MidTown Plaza. The answer - a staggering $4,500,000.

Who is paying the yearly property tax on the building? Maintenance on the land and parking area? Who is paying utilities on the vacant Cub store? Who is paying insurance?

Are the taxpayers paying for those things also?

Sandberg voted no on the Plaza. Turner, who has been on the council for 16 years, voted yes.

While Sandberg is often a "lone ranger" even though he is mostly right, he has difficulty in convincing other to vote with him. New blood with some 'fire in their bellies' is needed on this council.

Peoria City Council Candidates Survey

Peoria Illinoisan Blogger posted these questions to the candidates on his blog site. Here are the answers. Note some did not answer which was their prerogative.

It is interesting that Eric Turner didn't have time to answer the questions. Put Eric Turner in my blog search bar. You will find my blogs on his failures to address concerns of citizens. I'm not alone.

Here are the questions and answers.


Peoria City Council At Large Question #2 Illinoisan
Do you believe Peoria is moving in a generally positive or negative direction?

Beth Akeson: In general I think we are on the wrong path because of a lack of vision, planning and very poor land use decisions.

George Azouri: I believe Peoria is moving in a negative direction. One major problem is that citylacks a long-term vision. The city does not put enough emphasis on the importance of protecting business owners and their businesses. The natural gas tax will adversely hurt businesses along with homeowners. To grow as a stronger city, we must encourage business owners, instead the council continues to impose new taxes and fees. The council squander taxpayer’s hard earned money on unwise investments. Some of these investments would include Firefly Energy and Globe Energy Eco-Systems LCC.Why in the world should we, as hardworking taxpayers, foot the bill for the council’s poor investments?

The time has come to listen to the priorities of the citizens on how they want their budget to be allocated. That is one thing I think we need to always do – are our city goals in line with the goals of the citizens? As I work with the community, the most important thing I need to do at this point is to earn the public’s confidence and trust because I’m going to be representing their interests. So when I have been speaking, I have been speaking in principles and those principles are really what is going to lead us to becoming an efficient and responsible government. There must be open, honest, transparent government. For example, the hotel deal was done behind closed doors. It is not conducive in building trust between the taxpayer and their representatives. This style of conducting business is at the heart of citizens expressing concerns about issues of trust. Lack of trust creates resistance to a number of projects in our city impeding progress for the entire community.

Chuck Grayeb: I believe with the needed course correction in the area of public safety and District 150 we can get our city back on track. This is Peoria’s Sputnik moment. In a couple of years, the water company buyout issue will reemerge. I hope the outcome will be different than last time, when we failed to buy it by one vote. If the San Koty Aquifer were oil, we would all be rich Emirs!

Gary Sandberg: Generally Negative. I feel this because even when it appears the Council recognizes the value of all portions of Peoria and create a vision and plan based on our diverse community and undertake massive and costly initiatives like the Southtown Area, the Downtown/Civic Center area, Development of the Heart of Peoria area with its form based districts, we limit our ability for success by never following thru in a comprehensive fashion. Selling a half block across from the new front door to a massive investment in the Civic center for $400,000 to build a blank wall one story limited use building is as negative as adopting the Heart of Peoria Plan and then granting variances or not following the principles at every opportunity. While engaging in these massive failed planning opportunities, we inadequately fund the basic core services that citizens and business expect of their local government.

Actions compounded like these result in getting farther and farther away from a community where the whole community has value, not just the fringe around the north and west sides.

Jim Stowell: Our medical and educational community is moving in a positive direction. Our global visibility is enhanced through Caterpillar’s dominance, but Peoria suffers due to perceptions and realities of an unfortunately growing poverty base that is not being productively engaged, or challenged.

Ryan Spain: The Great Recession has created challenges for all communities and taxpayers. Nonetheless, Peoria has weathered the economic storm better than most communities. City sales tax revenues are beginning to return. Jobless claims are dropping. And businesses have begun to invest again.

I think Peoria is moving in a generally positive direction. However, we need to work harder to create jobs, attract population growth to older neighborhoods, and ensure that our City budget is balanced and our local government is operating effectively.

Christopher (C. J.) Summers: Generally negative.

Eric Turner: Declined

Chuck Weaver: I believe we are at a critical time for Peoria and our country. This is a time when true leaders are necessary. Leaders who can influence others to action. My plan for “Revitalization Cells” is designed to engage D150, The City of Peoria, The Peoria Park District and the Citizens of Peoria to pull in the same direction to improve and stabilize neighborhoods in a systematic manner. I have been asked to lead numerous organizations. I can cast a vision, engage others in planning and implement a plan. I can’t wait to get started. Put me in coach.

Andre Williams: No response

This entry was posted on Friday, March 18th, 2011 at 6:00 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 Responses to “Peoria City Council At Large Question #2”
walk of shame Says:

March 18th, 2011 at 8:05 am
I love C.J.’s answer…to the point!

Eye in the Sky Says:

March 18th, 2011 at 10:03 am
Spain needs to ride with the 10 cars in the East Bluff on a nice warm night like lastnight .

I want to see CJ articulate his answers like he does his blog and so how stupid some of the others really are.

Tony Says:

March 18th, 2011 at 10:11 am
Why did Turner decline?? Hopefully, he will be declined. How come nobody mentions the new Library that no one can see. It’s a beautiful building but it is hidden behind a Menards. What a waste.
CJ, to the point. Gary, is spot on. Beth appears to have it right. Spain is full of BS as is Weaver. Bench them both. Grayeb appears stuck on an old issue, the water company. Williams apparently has no clue. Azouri makes some good points but not sure if he is right for the job.

PeoriaIllinoisan Says:

March 18th, 2011 at 10:17 am
Five days after my initial email, Eric Turner said he was too busy and was not given enough time. At that point I thought it unfair to the rest who did take the time, to extend the deadline.

Andre Williams responded almost immediately that he looked forward to engaging my readers, but I never heard anything more from him even with several follow-ups.

They are both more than welcome to add their answers as comments.

Voter Says:

March 18th, 2011 at 1:32 pm
While Summers’ answer was to the point, for someone who has never been on the council, he needs to elaborate more. What I liked about Spain’s and Weaver’s answers was that they are thinking positive, something this city needs a lot more of. That being said, I’m not voting for any of those three.

C. J. Summers Says:

March 18th, 2011 at 2:03 pm
I guess I thought he was looking for a short answer, given the wording of the question.

The negative direction of the city can be seen in two primary and related ways: our ever-increasing structural deficit and the desperation/fear-oriented decisions of the Council.

The structural deficit is a combination of several factors. The federal and state governments have cut their subsidies to cities and will probably be cutting them even more. Then there are the unfunded mandates (in particular, the pension system) over which we have no local control. But setting those aside, the City has contributed to the deficit by making unwise decisions on projects such as MidTown Plaza, Firefly Energy, and the expansion of the Civic Center. These all contribute to our debt service, and as Gary Sandberg has pointed out, if our debt service were a city department, it would be the third largest department in the city.

Our deficit problems are exacerbated by the council’s desperation mentality. You can see it in Turner’s defense of the Wonderful Development (downtown hotel project): “If we didn’t give them $37 million, they would have built the hotel in East Peoria.” You can see it in Grayeb’s defense of his vote in favor of MidTown Plaza: “I saw there was a developer who was actually willing to build something south of War Memorial Drive; I was thrilled!” You can see it in the variances that are given to the zoning code. You can see it in the way we give Wal-Mart and pizza parlors Enterprise Zone status for their greenfield developments. You can see it in the common refrain from several council members that “something is better than nothing,” as if “better than nothing” is the best we can expect in Peoria.

The result is that, in order to pay for all these poor decisions and developer welfare, we either have to cut our core services or raise taxes. The council did both. A 1% tax was levied on the Hospitality Improvement Zone. A natural gas tax was levied on everyone, including District 150. Since District 150 can only raise revenue through property tax increases, guess how they’re going to pay for the additional costs of the city’s natural gas tax? That’s right; they’re going to raise your property taxes. (I call this “the city raising property taxes by proxy.”) At the same time, fire equipment maintenance and replacement is being deferred and police officers are being laid off. And the city’s infrastructure continues to crumble.

For those reasons, I believe Peoria is moving in a generally negative direction.

C. J. Summers Says:

March 18th, 2011 at 2:13 pm
Vonster: I like positive thinking, too. But positive thinking doesn’t really answer the question. In order to come up with the right solution, you have to correctly identify the problem. Otherwise you can be all positive and happy, but you’ll only make things worse. What if the positive thinkers believe the problem is that we’re not investing enough in the hotel project? Or that we’re spending too much on firefighters?

My answer to this particular question may sound negative, but I have a positive vision for the future of Peoria. And I believe the fact I’m running for council shows my desire to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Eye in the Sky Says:

March 18th, 2011 at 9:26 pm
NEVER give the short answer. You hit the nail smack on the head. It does sound bad but you’re right if you don’t see the problems how can you fix them or avoid making REPEATS.

Billy Dennis Says:

March 18th, 2011 at 11:07 pm
Even if you disagree with C.J.’s answer (and I am sure there are those who do) you have to agree that his answer is a real answer that provides voters with real information and a sense of how he would vote on the council.

That cannot be said for some who answered this questionnaire.

Voter Says:

March 19th, 2011 at 6:57 am
I liked this answer. It was way better than the short answer. You are totally against adding anything to debt services (not saying that is a bad thing) so what is your plan to bring businesses to Peoria?

C. J. Summers Says:

March 20th, 2011 at 12:43 am
Voter: I don’t believe the role of municipal government is to give out direct subsidies to businesses — i.e., we shouldn’t be paying businesses to set up shop in Peoria. Rather, the role of municipal government is to create the market conditions that will attract businesses, and provide a level playing field where all businesses have the opportunity to succeed, not just a privileged few.

I believe a basic services platform is a pro-business platform. Safe streets, excellent fire protection, good planning/code enforcement, and good infrastructure benefit everyone — businesses and residents alike. We have to create and maintain a place where people want to live and work — then we’ll see growth. And when the city grows, the tax base grows. And when more people live here, it creates a market for more businesses.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Governor Quinn - Consumate Dirty Politician

Credit for this exposing blog goes to Marathon Pundit.


Illinois tax-increase job swap deal thwarted
Careen Gordon was an Illinois Democratic General Assembly member from Morris. During her unsuccessful reelection campaign last fall, Gordon said she was against Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed 33 percent increase in the state income tax. But in January's lame duck session, Gordon voted for Quinn's larger 67 percent hike. A few days later, Quinn nominated Gordon for a seat on the Prisoner Review Board--which pays $86,000 a year.

Both Quinn and Gordon deny a quid-pro-quo, but opposition to her nomination from the Illinois Republican Party and Americans for Prosperity created enough pressure that led Gordon to drop her bid for the job..


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Robert (Bob) "R.L" Lesnick Passes On

I regretted reading about the death of Bob Lesnick in this weeks JS. For many years Bob's company, Copy Products Corp., was problbly the most dominent copier dealer in Central Illinois. He had the ability and wisdom to gather up most of the leading copier franchises in the area and dominated the market; from Caterpillar to many of the major companies in Bloomington and other Central Illinois communities.

Handsome, personable and suave, he and the also departed personable John Smith, owner of Illinois Blueprint, were landmarks in Peoria for many years.

While I have not seen Bob in recent years, I pass my regrets to his wife Martha and their extensive family.

Memorial may be directed to: R.L.Lesnick Memorial, P.O. Box 335, Osage Beach, MO. 65065.

Tragedy in Japan - I Blog While Obama Golfs

This is an article from the Patriot Post forwarded to me by a friend.

I'm 85 when life expectancy is now 78. I, like hundreds of millions of others watched just about every TV Channel cover these tragic days.

A Democrat and strong union supporter (I support unions also, but not unions ruled by radical unions bosses and their thugs) named Yvonne criticized me in an email today for blogging while Japan suffers. Maybe she didn't know how Obama with his huge staff reacted.

An interesting read, Yvonne.


Alexander's Essay – March 17, 2011

Reality Check
BIG Meltdowns Imperiling the U.S.
"If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation." --Samuel Adams
The surfeit of images documenting human suffering and destruction in Japan after the 11 March Tohoku Earthquake and resulting tsunami is dreadful. Though the estimated 10,000 dead in Japan pales in comparison to the more than 200,000 dead in the Haitian earthquake of January 2010, the implications of the unfolding crisis, and its consequences for the 1.5 million Japanese men, women and children now homeless is staggering. Complicating matters is that, as of this writing, almost one-third of Japan's energy production capability is disabled, which is to say that providing basic resources and services for all of Japan is increasingly difficult.

Additionally, the crisis has significant implications for critical U.S. national security objectives and operations in the region, including containment of North Korea and counterbalance to the rapidly growing Chinese deepwater naval threat.

Japan is a vital national security ally in Asia and host to several major U.S. military staging and support bases. Under the post-WWII Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, the U.S. is committed to providing Japan with maritime and ballistic missile defense and disaster response capabilities. In return, the U.S. maintains a major military presence for deployment in the region, including the Seventh Fleet based in Yokosuka, Air Force fighter squadrons at Misawa and Kadena and the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force at Okinawa. More than 35,000 uniformed military personnel and another 5,000 DoD employees compose U.S. forces in Japan.

All that notwithstanding, on the day of the disaster in Japan, Barack Hussein Obama responded with a golf outing (his 61st as president) followed by an evening hobnobbing with major donors and his media sycophants at the annual Gridiron Dinner. While horrifying images of the quake and tsunami were seen around the world, Obama kept to his schedule, unwilling to interrupt it long enough to support Japanese leadership via the basic gesture of a reassuring interview with its national news service, NHK. He did find time, however, to record a presidential address on "Women's History Month."

To be fair, Obama issued a brief statement through the White House communications office: "Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan... The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable..."

"UNSHAKEABLE"? Perhaps he meant to say, "The friendship and alliance between our two nations will never melt down..." Who could make this stuff up?

By contrast, recall, if you will, 8 January, the day Arizona Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was among those shot by a sociopath, who killed six others. As that event unfolded Obama's PR team released real-time photos of their boss looking very "presidential" in the White House Situation Room, the intelligence management center run by the National Security Council staff.

Apparently, the crisis in Japan offered no immediate opportunity to convert tragedy into political triumph as did the attack in Tucson, so his tee time took precedence.

In the days since the Tohoku Earthquake, Obama has agreed to several televised interviews, all with domestic TV stations in 2012 election battleground states. Oh, and he took time to fill out his March Madness brackets and share his NCAA tournament picks with an ESPN reporter and camera crew before he and the First Family are head off to sunny Rio de Janeiro for the weekend. (Sometimes it is hard to distinguish Obama's lifestyle from that of a lucky lotto winner, except that the lotto winner is spending his winnings, not taxpayer earnings.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lucy and Charlie Brown

In the real world scenario, Lucy is a United States President and Charlie is a trusting revolt by the long oppressed people of North Africa. Worst of all presidents is Obama and Company. Help inspire and incite the oppressed to rebel against the likes of the monster in Libya and then back off or spout meaningless rhetoric when the revolution most needs real support.

Where might this country be today if France and other European friends of the rebels had deserted our revolution in its most pressing time of need?

This country has pulled the the "football" when the revolutionists (the Charlie Browns) trusted us so many times that it will be unlikely that any country will trust us for years to come.

From what I read and see, not many countries that could be our friends, trust us now.

Do you think Obama is doing everything he and this country can do to help Japan in their days of desperate need. Doesn't appear he is very personally involved. He appears to be speeding his time defending his poorly conceived ObamaCare and assisting the desperate union attempt to maintain their stranglehold on the public sector.

City Council Incumbent Turner Speaks

Eric Turner, who doesn't believe in term limits, was recently quoted in the JS that Citizens For Responsible Spending never vote yes on anything. He said if the City didn't finance the new hotel expansion, the hotel would be built in East Peoria. Stupid statement? New hotels, one with a Convention Center) have already been built in East Peoria and probably more will be built in East Peoria. Turner surely understands the hotel the city is financially backing with taxpayer money is to be built to save the Pere and furnish a larger, more modern, connecting hotel to the Civic Center whose leaders say that "without an expanded, modernized next door hotel, the Civic Center cannot attract big conventions".

Mr. Turner, are you insinuating that we voters for responsible spending would force the Peoria Civic Center to follow this new hotel to E. Peoria? I suggest you think before you talk to the press.

The JSEB and others want younger new blood to make this community a bigger success than a city with a $14 million deficit and no money to take good care of the BASIC needs of the citizens of Peoria.

Or grow in the private sector, other than sprawl which city councils have encouraged. Yes, I'm aware of some of the successes of taxpayer and private financing, like Peoria Next.

Like the old coach at Bradley. Time to step aside. The voters have a chance to force the issue but for one or two obvious reasons, you, yourself, will get the chance NOT to run next time your seat is up for vote on the council.

Then do the best thing for the community. Let the younger blood demanded have their shot at fixing the City of Peoria's problems.

And yes, we citizens for responsible spending, right now an apparent minority, will continue to say no when politicians like you and others on the council (and Governor Quinn and Company) keep spending more than you can pay back or bring an equal or better return for our taxes and for the overall good of all tax paying citizens, not just the "special interests".

When proof is presented of needed benefits other than usually "unsound" projections, we will and do vote "yes".

Peoria is Full of Hypocrites

Of course, those of us who aren't influenced by special interests already know that. Take one example - the new museum.

Our new City Manager said, and I've quoted it on this site, that no construction on the museum would start until ALL money was actually received.

Ho, ho. The $16 million endowment is about 1/3 funded. As of the first of the month, only 30% of the pledges were collected. (ask to se the PRM's Financial Statement) Good luck.

The $5 million that now Governor Quinn promised BEFORE he cancelled a special trip to Peoria to brag about his prowess has NOT BEEN recived and most likely never will be recived from a Governor who can't find the money in the state coffers to PAY FOR WHAT THEY HAVE ALREADY COMMITTED TO PAY.

The museum was to be built with a maximum of 43% public funding. (Letter stating so signed personally by Michael Bryant, Chairman of the CEO Roundtable and Jim McConoughey, President of the CEO Roundtable. This letter was addressed to me personally dated December, 11, 3008).

Now it will be 73% and possibly growing. Don't believe me? I challege anyone to prove me wrong on this site.

An IMAX was promised by almost anyone calling themselves "leaders" in this community.
Now our leaders say that it probably won't be.

I could go on and on and on about lies about just the museum let alone the Gateway Center, the garbage fee that our fathers say is really not a tax??, the ball park, Midtown, etc., etc., etc.

In April will come forward more hyprocrites. They will elect Eric Turner who lied to me more than once, he lied to the public on Lincoln Library. (Fortunately, John Morris isn't running, he is quoted in the JS that there had not been a new library built in Peoria in 40 years. What about RiverWest and Southside Libraries, both now closed? The leader among some other incumbents who have put this city in the worst financial position in its recent history is Eric Turner.

Turner, Spain and Sandburg; Sandburg, who is often right, but seldom gets any other votes from the council to support his position, will all be reelected by hypocrites.

The best candidates are Akeson and Summers. They will not be endorsed by the powers including the JS. Weaver has a business background but I fear he is too close to what is known as "the good old boys and girls club". He also wants to bring back buying the water company to 'finance new police and firefighters', a really bad idea. I told Weaver it will be hard to say no to special interests and it is the special interests who want the city to own the water company to add to our sprawl and avoiding approval from the ICC for more special interest sprawl.

More to come on Turner.

Gas Price Monoply - Are Dealers Lying?

How can all prices of gasoline at all pumps I drove by be the same price without collusion? All were at 3.59 and 9/10 except Marathon on Knoxville a penny cheaper.

Does one or two companies supply all the stations in Peoria and threaten them to keep the prices all the same or else?

I was in the retail business for 28 years. It was impossible for all of us to sell the same product at the same price without was was known as price-fixing.

The fix is in in Peoria, believe me. If I find it two or three cents cheaper in another county I will drive there even if it costs me more to do so.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

San Diego County Tags Grafitti Artists

They hired Graffiti Tracker, a web based graffiti analysis service. After County personnel photograph and upload pictures of graffiti, analysts identify whether it is gang related and report back to the county. In addition analysts can match distinguishing characteristics of graffiti from several locations to a particular vandal, tracking trends and migration, and consolidating data for the county to prosecute vandals.

The county was able to get nearly $90,000 in restitution from one family of one youth who sprayed about 100 pictures of his "art". If the 18 month pilot program pays off, the county will move to make it permanent. (Sound like Sand Diego County has some type of Uni-Gov that I believe will be one of new City Manager, Patrick Urich's major project.

Source - County News, March 14, 2011 issue. Read the whole article.

Jonah Goldberg Was Right Back in 2000

As he is today. Goldberg said,"this past decade should have been about something". It was, Terri Nolan of San Clemente wrote, "the millennium ushered in the zero decade. Zero down, zero accountability, zero oversight and zero integrity."

How true and sad. Now 2000-10 is history with all the statements by Terri Nolan of San Clemente; all these zeros came true. Does 2011 look much better? Despite all the optimism of "change", the fact remains that while a minority are better off, this world has not made much improvement for perhaps a majority of people. And that despite all the rosy promises made by our politicians in Washington and the State of Illinois.

Oh, sure, we made some improvements but now the money is ALL spent.

Because of the excesses of greed, the risk of using OPM in the public sector and the 60's attitude carried over to today's leadership, this great country is in decline and possible more rapidly than the optimists think.

And I'm an optimist. I'm still in the stock market. However, there are still a dozen good reasons why the city should not own the water company. (As Grayeb and Weaver and probably Urich will promote; if it's so profitable why don't the multi-millionaires in this city buy it?)

Nor do I believe the hundreds of millions we have spent or are spending downtown, will solve the city's and school districts financial and social problems.

By the way, Goldberg is a must read. Gene Robinson is not.

Monday, March 14, 2011

National Public Radio - Stop Taxpayer Funding Now

Stop funding this left wing socialist station and some of their affiliates. Listen carefully as they slant the news. Under the guise of not being racist they are a racist station.

I know there are many far left wingers among us, far more that the far right. I do not support the far right either.

Never did.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Candidates Forum March 24 - Another Reminder

Hi everyone,

FYI......on Thursday March 24th at 7 p.m. there will be a gathering at the
GAR Hall (corner of Hamilton and Madison next to South Side Bank) to
listen to candidates who are running for city council. There is parking
on the street as well as in the lot of South Side Bank.

If you haven't seen or heard the positions of the candidates on how they
are managing the city budget or how they perceive the importance of
saving older parts of our city and restoring rather than tearing down (for box stores)
homes and buildings........then please think about attending this event.

Everyone is welcome! And, if you think about it, please send this information to your email friends! For questions, please call 636-7022.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

ArcelorMittal Closes Hennepin Factory

Another death in what at one time promised to be the next big steel belt in the country. An article by Gary L. Smith, JS columnist, that ran on 1/4/2011, brought back old happy and sad memories. This plant was originally built by Jones-Laughlin steel company out of Pittsburgh. I have first hand knowledge of the excitement the news of a new major company in the Illinois Valley region promising hundreds of new high paying jobs. Other companies that produced products that would complement to J & L were expected to build in the area.

As J & L appeared to prosper, a few did. I am not sure what companies are left but I'm told only a few without much buying or hiring power.

I owned a branch Widmer Office equipment store in Peru and I was excited about the potential of new business not only for the valley but for my company also. I learned the name of the key contact at J & L in Pittsburgh, called and made an appointment. I booked a flight, met with J & L officials, asked them their needs and told them what I had to offer.

Returning to Peoria with high hopes from the positive dialogue with headquarters, I submitted a proposal letter and my proposition was accepted. J & L started with an office in a farmhouse. I recall hauling desks and chairs and other equipment in my station wagon to Hennepin. I assigned a Peru salesman to make regular sales calls and deliveries.

To shorten this story, J & L started buying office supplies, etc. and we delivered out of Peru and Peoria. My initial order was for approximately $25,000 of furniture and an agreement to furnish most of their office supplies.

As time progressed, the purchasing agent at J & L told me he expected more than good service; like what was in it for him. Lunch or dinner didn't count. He was looking for money, That was never the way I did business so shortly I lost the account to a company out of Chicago.

When J & L added more furniture, I was told the company had a contract with All Steel out of Aurora, a line that we did not represent. (Later on we became an AllSteel vendor, later replaced by Herman-Miller which is the major line my former company sells today).

The small town of Hennepin benefited greatly from J & L who financed a swimming pool, playground, etc. A new four lane highway was constructed from Rt. 89 down Rt. 29 to Hennepin, called back then the J & L highway.

As time progressed, J & L was merged or sold, I don't recall, with ArcelorMittal being the last tenant and now they too, are gone. What was once considered to be a growing new manufacturing belt stretching south to Peoria and north towards Chicago, turned out to another disappointment to Illinois valley residents.

The future of LaSalle County and surrounding counties providing high paying jobs are basically gone. One of my best customers, Carus Chemical, still appears to be thriving in the area.

One could write a book and someone probably has as to why all the bright promise this state once had for the manufacturing industry has faded away. It appears even Caterpillar will employ mainly office people as manufacturing appears to be heading to 'right to work states'. .
These are what I call "changing times"; these times being accelerate by the likes of Obama and Company, Quinn and Company and free spending and taxing Democrats like our own Dave Koehler. Less belligerent unions are on the horizon as witnessed by the relatively quick approval by the union of a long term labor contract with Caterpillar. Possibly, with Peoria County holding their ground with the AFSCME, and possibly with a more common sense school board and administrations, this area may grow at a faster rate than in the last decade.

Or it may be too late. Large private industry spending in the country is going to the red states and the massive public spending blue states like Illinois, will continue to sing the "blues".

So sad.

Obama - Off Shore Oil in Brazil OK. Why Not in U.S.?

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas.

But look on the bright side. If President Obama has embraced offshore drilling in Brazil, why not in the old U.S.A.? The land of the sorta free and the home of the heavily indebted has enormous offshore oil deposits, and last year ahead of the November elections, with gasoline at $4 a gallon, Congress let a ban on offshore drilling expire.

The Bush Administration's five-year plan (2007-2012) to open the outer continental shelf to oil exploration included new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. But in 2007 environmentalists went to court to block drilling in Alaska and in April a federal court ruled in their favor. In May, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said his department was unsure whether that ruling applied only to Alaska or all offshore drilling. So it asked an appeals court for clarification. Late last month the court said the earlier decision applied only to Alaska, opening the way for the sale of leases in the Gulf. Mr. Salazar now says the sales will go forward on August 19.

This is progress, however slow. But it still doesn't allow the U.S. to explore in Alaska or along the East and West Coasts, which could be our equivalent of the Tupi oil fields, which are set to make Brazil a leading oil exporter. Americans are right to wonder why Mr. Obama is underwriting in Brazil what he won't allow at home.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Illinois Basketball - Time For a Change

Up by 10 or 11 points with about 8 minutes to go, this talented bunch of under achievers lost to Michigan in the opening round of the Big 12 championship.

Coach Bruce Weber recruited these players who appeared to be a bit arrogant when leading and in disarray at the end of the game. I was switching back and forth between, the Atlantic Conference, DeeMak, the stock market, Fox news and the Illinois-Michigan game. Still, what I witnessed again was a team that appeared to think that they were too good to hustle and scrap through the entire game, not just when they felt like it.

I predicted 3 major coaches in the State of Illinois, would be fired this year. One is gone and Weber should be next. Nice guys can't handle kids who are and think they are really good but don't have the smarts and the guts to win consistently.

Maybe Illini alumni are satisfied with mediocrity. We will see as my predictions where, if not this year, next year.

Illinois should be no more than a bubble team and Missouri State is probably a better pick for the NCAA tournament.

Wasn't it rumored that McCamey thought of turning pro last year? I suspect he could be a regular on a team in Italy or Greece or maybe Brazil.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Flashing Yellow Lights Signal Confusion.!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I first saw the flashing yellow turn signal lights in the City of Peoria, my first reaction was that some of our "city fathers" finally realized how stupid it is to set idling your motor at a red turn signal when there isn't a vehicle or pedestrian in sight.

Later, I read the JS article by Terry Bibo, "New safety program has drivers scratching heads and honking horns". Good grief! Scratching head? A driver that doesn't know that yellow means caution; yellow has never meant stop or go but proceed with caution. Always did as far as I can remember.

The person scratching their heads should probably not be driving at all. Too bad vehicles no longer have metal bumpers that could give these "scratchers" a small butt and see if that would release their brains from "d'oh".

Reading further, I found it was IDOT, not the City of Peoria who has been paying for and installing this "modern thinking out of the box" procedure. How foolish of me to believe it was the city public works dept. whose snow plows tore up the edges of my lawn for about the fifth straight year. Whose city roadbeds rank with the worst I have ever seen in over 1,500,000 miles I've driven in my lifetime.

Then I read another JS article, "flashing lights create talk; too early to know impact. Installation began last fall at the most dangerous intersections and will continue into the spring. Bradley University has received an $150,000 grant to study the effects of the program; such lights are expected to reduce crashes by 30%".

$150,000 of money the state doesn't have to give to Bradley ivory tower folks to pocket while their students do the surveying? Like Peoria, with IDOT's 'money' was the first city to install "flashing" yellow lights at turn signals?

Not hardly.

And folks wonder why the country will someday NOT be the leader of the free world. If you are a new reader of my blogs, go back into my archives and then you won't ask me why.....