Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Transparency in Peoria Totally Lacking

With the Journal Star, our only local major newspaper unable to report the news properly and the TV stations time spent mostly on advertising, where is the challenge to local "movers and shakers" on factual transparency?

Here are just a few examples: What ever happened to the million dollar lawsuit against the city for supposedly not doing their due diligence when they wisely voted against buying out the water company. The vote was 6-5 against with newcomer George Jacobs casting the deciding vote. He told me it was after reading my blogs on the subject, he felt it was not in the best interests of the city to vote to buy. Jacobs is sorely missed on the City Council.

In case you forgot, it was supposedly a lawsuit filed by 10 community leaders who invested $100,000.00 each to support the buyout. (When the water company went up for sale several years later, not a peep was heard about this status of this lawsuit. (names furnished on request).

Remember when community big money wanted to buy out Cilco? What happened?

Why did the Peoria County Economic Director resign after only 4 months on the job and after thousands were spent with a 'search' firm to find him? Hm.

Why after Peoria County's first or second highest paid employee (the counties capable IT Director, Russ Haupert, and good luck, Russ, wherever you are now) leave on Oct. 5, 2011 and no move as yet being made to replace him? Interesting.

On July 22, 2011, Glen and Polly Barton announced that they were funding an approx. $5 million new entryway into Glen Oak Park and a new parking lot with construction to start in late 2011. The only change I've seen to date is the removal of two tennis courts, badly needed at that location. Why the delay? Could it be possible because the zoo is losing large amounts of money than planned? I note no bragging of attendance in the JS in 2011..

Why is their no talk of when and where the Peoria Park District will be locating and what will happen to Lakeview Museum. (long rumored to be the new home of the PDC; all 33,000 sq. ft.)

On the Children's Playhouse, so far funded by only $10,000 of tax dollars, slated to occupy the Peoria Park Pavilion and still short some millions of dollars in funds after years of fund-raising. Is it possible some of the people who were going to fund the still unfunded Peoria Riverfront Museum have not parted with the money? Or what?

What happened to the 40 acres still not deeded after all these years, by Bradley to the Peoria Park District? This land lies off Rt.91, 2 miles south of Dunlap and purchased by Bradley as part of an 163 parcel of farmland for $13.000.00 an acre to be used as a swap for Meinen Field so that the donated Shea Soccer Field could be built.

What happened to the $10 million Dave Ransburg said he would personally raise to finish the funding for the new museum? If funded, which most of us who pay attention, know that it's not fully funded even though the JSEB claimed it was fully funded over 24 months ago? And why, if fully funded, was the County Board still seeking New Market Tax Credits less that 7 months ago?

There is no transparency coming from Andrew Rand, County Board member who heads up the construction committee of the PRM. Call him and ask him if you wish. Or call Ransburg and see what you can l;earn that is factual.

Why isn't the PRM Endowment Fund fully endowed by now when the financial guru's who supported the boondoggle sorry, project) said fund raising would be relatively easy for such a community enhancement?

Was $5.5 million taken from public taxes to push the endowment funds up to $9+ million? On 11/7/2009, Patrick Urich, now City Manger, said that $5.5 million tax referendum dollars could go to help fund the endowment "but those should be the last dollars that go into the project."

Just a reminder to Peoria residents. Don't forget to ask for your 15% discount on entry fees, as yet unpublished, but estimated to be around $9.50 for adults. This was a 15%'er promise, probably like IMAX, made by the museum people and union leaders at the UAW press conference and seconded by the two Bradley professors, who claim $14,000,000.00 a year, every year in NEW business would be drawn to Peoria because of the museum and VC.

Why, at the last press release from the museum leader did he not name the the replacement screen for IMAX and just say "a large screen"?

Why did the JSEB not question why a Florida marketing firm recieved a $74,000.00+ contract to promote the new Bel-Wood. The vote to go non-local was spearheaded by Republican Mary Ardapple (Apple's Bakery) and oppossed by Republicans Baietto, Elsasser, Harding. Rosehbohm and Trumpe and no Democrats

(Strange when the Democrats on the County board always insist on hiring locals, especially union people)

The above asks only a few of the questions about the lack of good reporting and a of lack of transparency. But then, maybe the community is so numb over the end??? of the depression or recession that they would rather that more circuses be built to occupy their attention.


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