Friday, September 26, 2014

The General Motors Farce

This was forwarded to me some time back in 2014. Sorry I'm late in getting it on my blog site.  Merle


This is sort of long but bear with me as I think you can save some money on your next car and also know a little more about politics, unions, and how the system works. 
If you are thinking about buying a nice used car wait a few months, or even a year, as used car prices are going to be dropping just like housing prices dropped in 2008-2011.  Why? For the same reason. Too many people bought a house who couldn't really afford it and now too many people have bought a car they can't really afford. 
I started noticing a few months ago that an increasing number of people were coming into the shop and seemed to really want a nice piece of furniture, but said "I can't really afford it." I said "oh" and looked outside to see that they had a new car or truck worth $20 to $30,000.  "Oh again and I gave it the Italian salute!"
Then in January I read where GM had shipped huge inventories of cars to dealers and the dealers didn't have to pay for them until they were sold (not an unusual practice). What was unusual was that GM booked the sales, which made their profits look much better. "Oh", a third time and I happened to mention to Paulette that GM stock was a short sale (meaning you borrow the stock, sell it and if or when it goes down you buy it back at a lower price. So far it is down 12% and going much lower, I believe.) 
So what else did I learn in the meantime, and why do I say wait to buy a good used car or even a new one?  Read below:
"Almost 90% of GM's borrowers are sub prime. And that's not all.
The amount of credit GM offers car buyers more than doubled during 2013. You can see the amount of "consumer receivables" – that's outstanding car loans – in the chart below. The total amount of outstanding debt on GM's cars increased by more than $12 billion in one year.
GM's impressive receivables growth was fueled by relaxing credit standards. Just as loan quality was seriously deteriorating... GM began loaning a massive amount of money to sub prime buyers. Not surprisingly, the amount of GM loans in default has begun to soar – nearly doubling in two years.
The worst thing you can do at the end of a credit cycle is extend massive amounts of extremely low-quality debt. This is what drove Lehman out of business. This is what bankrupted Bear Stearns, too.
In 2010, roughly 70% of GM's loans were sub prime and total lending was around $8.6 billion. Today almost all of GM's outstanding loans are sub prime and the total outstanding amount is more than $22 billion.
It is no exaggeration to say that the entire rebound in General Motors is built on sub prime lending. And those loans are about to collapse."  End of quote.
Not only that but GM is a festering sore left over from the "give the company to the unions back in 2010 and screw everybody else including the bond holders." Today GM is controlled by the unions and more or less run by those same unions and the politicians.  
If you don't believe read this quote:
"When General Motors emerged from bankruptcy 40 days after it entered in 2010, the Obama administration had a lot riding on a turnaround in the car business. Some of these interests were obvious: The federal government had invested around $50 billion in the company. It wanted to be repaid. (It would eventually lose around $10 billion on this bailout, far more than it lost anywhere else.)
When car sales fell by 30% between 2007 and 2009, the decline in autos made up about half of the total decline in retail spending.
And then there were the unions.
They'd gone into the bankruptcy proceedings holding GM common stock as the backing for their voluntary employee beneficiary association (VEBA) health care trusts. The shares were worthless. GM's pension was also underfunded by almost $30 billion. Without a massive turnaround at GM, the Democratic Party's second-largest and most loyal constituency (after the teachers unions) was going to suffer a complete economic wipeout. The Ratt (Steve Rattner, the "car czar," implicated in public corruption suits, and disgraced former private-equity manager) was put in charge of making sure that, no matter what, the unions got their money back.
His solution was simple: Give the unions everything. He left the pension fund completely untouched by the bankruptcy – not a single penny was cut from the company's funding burden. That's unlike every other bankruptcy in American history. Normally, obligations to pension funds were treated like other unsecured creditors. But in GM's case, legitimate bondholders received only 10% of the value of the business post-bankruptcy. The U.S. and Canadian governments took roughly 40% of the value of the business, earning back about 80% of what they had loaned the company.
The unions, though, were paid in full. Owed $20 billion in VEBA funding, they got 17.5% of the new stock, $6.5 billion in preferred stock (that paid a 9% coupon), and a note worth $2 billion. Their huge position in preferred stock guaranteed that virtually every penny the company would make for decades would end up with the union."
So,now if you've gotten this far you not only do know why car sales are going to drop but lots of used (repossess) cars are going to be coming onto the market.  Not only that but car sales are going to drop like a rock when the bad credit spree ends, just like the housing spree ended. And, with that the economy slows and the stock market drops. Remember the old saying? "So goes GM so goes the country." Well, that time is almost here and I don't think it's going to be pretty. Check back with me in a year or so and we'll see how this all turns out.
Sometimes investing is just common sense. You keep your eyes open and see what is happening around you. Then you gather a few more facts to back up your observation. If I had done that when my daughter first starting buying Starbucks coffee many years ago I would have a lot more money today -- but I didn't.  
"Note: The contents of this email have been read by the National Security Agency. There is no expectation of privacy."


Illinois Opportunity Project

The Illinois Opportunity Project
Dear Merle,
This article is also available at

The Illinois model of governance is doing a real number on education and job creation.

Well, two numbers actually: 50 and 66.

50th is the place Moody’s projects Illinois will finish nationally in job creation in the Year of Our Lord (House Speaker Mike Madigan) 2014.

66 is the percentage of Illinois 4th graders who do not read at 4th grade level, according to the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests.  61% of 4th graders cannot do 4th grade level math either, according to those same NAEP tests.

Combine those two numbers with the fact that only New Jersey exports more of its college-bound high school seniors than Illinois and one begins to get a sense of both the magnitude of the brain drain and the reason for it.

As to the matter of jobs, the depressing Moody’s report follows the disappointing December jobs report nationally. Remember we exported the Illinois governance model to Washington, DC, in 2008. These tragic numbers reflects the problematic and persistent duality of people who are looking for work but are unable to find full-time employment and an increasing number of people who have stopped looking for work.

The costs imposed by this double whammy that concern me are not the relatively minor dollars associated with extending unemployment and other social welfare benefits.  The real cost is the Illinoisans who have lost a sense of self-worth, purpose, and place in society as their potential goes unrealized.

Your job is not who you are but it represents an important part of what you do. Character is forged through work.  In “Ideas Have Consequences,” University of Chicago English Professor Richard Weaver wrote of the “prayer of labor” observing, “Pride in craftsmanship is well-explained by saying that to labor is to pray, for conscientious effort to realize an ideal is a kind of fidelity.” By contrast, Weaver warned, “No society is healthful which tells its members to take no thought of the morrow because the state underwrites their future.”

Everyone who is able should engage in the “prayer of labor” not solely to “make a living” and to be self-sufficient but because not doing so is spirit-stultifying.

We hear much talk of the importance of equality from Governor Pat Quinn, who has been playing the politics of resentment and class envy in Illinois since the bygone days Barack Obama spent toking up with his Hawaiian Choom Gang to “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”

As to education, if equality is the order of the day, what of equality of educational opportunity for children left to rot in school systems that do not educate and have not educated children for successive generations?

How much longer shall we rationalize systems that discriminate and thus foreclose opportunities based on zip code and household income? Per the NAEP test results, the industrial organization of K-12 education is clearly not producing defensible results.  And remember, spending on K-12 education in Illinois has increased three-fold in the past two decades (in real terms).

It turns out that central planning works no better with job creation or education than it does with health care.

Worse yet is the permanence of the failure central planning imposes on its victims because the after-market prescriptions are simply no remedy for its ravages.

You cannot raise the minimum wage high enough, extend transfer payments long enough, or create social welfare schemes expansive enough to retrofit adults with the critical thinking competency and marketable job skills they should have acquired as children.

Properly understood then, grade school test scores and unemployment rates do not represent a struggle over statistics but rather they quantify the chances of civil society’s survival.

- Dan Proft

P.S. I discussed this same issue at the Current Events Club in Glenview on Tuesday. Watch a 60 second clip of my talk at that event here.
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How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty

"Sons of Wichita" is the title of this most interesting book. For years, I read about this dysfunctional extremely wealthy family and their effect on society but this book is probably the most insightful I've ever read about the good and evil manipulations of the upper classes. And the good and evil, sometimes unnoticeable (to most of us in the medium and lower classes)  manipulations of big and bigger and more powerful, bureaucracies and the elected..

Those of you with a political and social  bent will find this non-fiction book hard to put down. The author, Daniel Shulman, wrote this book over a two year span. It was published this year, I;m hopeful there is a followup book on the Koch families by someone who is deep in factual investigations. Another good factual read should be published at the end of the 2016.

Politics has a dirty element, no matter who the players. I'm both glad and sorry I was a participant starting largely in 1992, the year I sold my business. I probably would have been more involved if I had been born into wealth instead of an 11 member struggling farm family. I'd also probably be dead by now instead of being an aged survivor to help bring out facts of  happening, in our world. past, present and future.

For the record, I decided not to run again in 2010 after 10 years of service on the Peoria County Board.. The County Board had more than substantial balances in ALL funds in 2010. Now this county is probably in worse financial shape than it was when I was first elected in year 2000. Then, the county was in such bad shape that we had to borrow $1.5 million to meet the payroll and couldn't afford the $7 million to put a new roof on BelWood, install a sprinkler system, new plumbing and electrical systems. Today, we are stuck with a new 'BelWood', built with borrowed money, somewhere in the vicinity of $47 million. With board members caught with the option of cutting employees and raising fees.

And a loss of $900,000.00 in the first 6 months of this year, despite the over $3 million paid each year by Peoria County property taxpayers plus all the money Heddington Oaks receives from other taxpayer funded government bodies. I'm sure the employees and residents enjoy our largess.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

PUBLIC NURSING HOMES - How "Truth Stretching" Created Heddington Oaks - 90% of What the Peoria County Board Did and the Peoria Journal Star Reported Were Lies

The first BIG LIE  was the referendum in 2008. To refresh the memory of  Peoria County property payers who care, the question on the referendum said "Shall the maximum rate of the tax levied by Peoria County for the purposes of MAINTAINING  a county nursing home, Bel-Wood, be increased from .025% to .06%." I supported this referendum never believing that our Administrator, Patrick Urich, now Peoria City Manager, NEVER intended that Bel-Wood be maintained because he and the Democrat majority wanted the glory of a new tax supported $53 million Heddington Oaks. A "safety net" for the poor, it was called.

In the first 6 months of this fiscal year, Heddington Oaks lost an additional $900.000.00. Did the JS report this? What do you think the Journal Star would do? It's Mike Bailey and Company's nature to help cover-up problems on anything they supported. And did they ever NOT support any of the "boondoggles" in Peoria??

Fourteen years ago, BelWood County Nursing Home could have been totally remodeled for around $7 million. Approximately 7 years later, the job was quoted by a reputable contractor out of Springfield, for $12 million. This did not fly with our administrator and the Democrat majority on the County Board. A local contractor was brought in and estimated around $19 million. This figure did not please those running the board so they received an estimate from the same local firm for $29 million, then to my knowledge a final one for $33-4 million.

The administrator wanted a new building and a majority of the board concurred. I did not. On June 7, 2010, the JSEB wrote,"The cost of the new rebuild, pegged at $45 million today,(actual cost $53 million, JS June 6, 2014) would be covered by an existing tax, approximately $3.4 million in property taxes, both direct and indirect, that county residents (not true, only Peoria County PROPERTY taxpayers) pay to support the facility, now named Heddington Oaks, Now, Heddington Oaks has lost over $900,000 in just one-half year of 2014, not including the property taxes of around $3 million collected each year to support the new HO Peoria County Nursing home.

In order to get approval from the State of Illinois, Peoria County had to submit evidence that it would be almost as cheap to build as to remodel. Here again, I quote the Journal Star Editorial Board. "After seeing that the cost to make the renovations was nearly as high as the price tag of a new building - and thus unlikely to get the OK from the state oversight panel - board members ultimately decided in June 2009 to construct a new building instead."

A contingent of Democrat board members took the figures $33-4 million to renovate and $45 million to build to Chicago to present before the State Health panel. The State Health panel consisting of a majority of Democrats gave their immediate approval.

On 6/6/09, I wrote on the opinion page of the JS. opposing a new structure as being unaffordable while the final estimate for remodeling was Pat Urich and the consulting firm dreams.. On 6/10/2010, I wrote on the JSEB "Spotlight" page, "Costs too high for county to keep supporting supporting any type of county nursing home" Almost all counties in the State of Illinois had ceded the safety net for the poor to the state and private nursing homes. BelWood was always considered to be a safety net; now it is a luxurious facility unaffordable to many county property tax payers. Our then administrator, Patrick Urich told me this new facility would be self-supporting along with what the state was contributing through Medicaid.

All private nursing home must not lose money or they would go out of business. Not government owned nursing homes, they just raise taxes, at least here in Peoria. Tazewell County gave up their public nursing home many years ago as an esample.

So now Peoria County itself is running a deficit and looking for ways to cut costs. When the subject of the badly missed projection of Heddington Oaks was brought up, it was quickly shot down by Board member, Jimmy Dillon whose close relative allegedly has West Peoria City Hall offices in the same complex. Other Democrats claimed a board meeting was the wrong venue for discussing problems at Heddington Oaks. As of September 1, 2014, 13 of the 2114 Heddington Oaks county owned nursing home, were still unfilled.

So many lies to taxpayers, most of whom seem apathetic. Not unusual in this community. But most everything envisioned by the "movers and shakers' in this community have been built, all that remains are rising taxes to cover operating and long-term bond costs.

Some, again say my facts are wrong. Call a press conference and I will present my facts which are ACCURATE and i could expose a lot more such as what the maintenance supervisor at BelWood told me personally that he was instructed to not repair anything not ABSOLUTELY necessary. Then pictures were taken of what needed repairing (one contractor told me he could do the work for $25,000.00 which I have in my possession, but only because I asked for them) and shown to the State Health Board to show why it would cost $33-4 million to renovate Belwood.

So sad, but there is no glory in renovating. "New" is the big word in this community while so many buildings like BelWood, Cub Foods on Knoxville, etc., sit empty.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Peoria County's New Nursing Home, Heddington Oaks Bigger Money Drag on Taxpayers Than Projected

Heddington Oaks, the new $53 million, 214 bed, Peoria County Nursing Home, opened in June last year with expectations from our then administrator and strong board supporters like Democrats Phil Salzer, Allan Mayer and Andrew Rand,  that it would be self-supporting. From as much information as I can gather with out filing a FOIA, it appears to be far from self-supporting. The old nursing home, BelWood, still standing empty, cost  Peoria County taxpayers over $3 million to operate. It is my understanding that a 30 year note was taken out by the county. Now these yearly note payments, along with the $3 million to fund operating costs, are not being covered by resident fees as projected.

Heddington Oaks is probably the most modern nursing home anywhere in the area. It serves a largely Medicaid population with a number of rooms designated for Alzheimer clients. Not a peep as to how this facility is doing financially from the JSEB who strongly supported this new facility. Maybe because a number of the clients do not come from Peoria County but from counties like Tazewell County where the JSEB main editor lives and Tazewell or no other county pays Peoria County any tax to support Heddington Oaks.

Interesting but sad as another "projection" has apparently missed it's target. As a reminder, Medicaid clients are also supported by other various taxpayer supported government funds. Read my many blogs on BelWood by entering BelWood on my upper left hand search bar. You will find the various reasons why I did not support this expensive facility.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chicago Cubs Ivory Tower Guys - Some Advice

If you plan to be a contender next year with some new major league caliber newcomers, then fire your manager NOW. This guy is no major league manager. He isn't college head coach caliber. But then you must surely know that but as usual, you are afraid to "pull the trigger".. If you retain this manager, the Cubs will NOT be a contender in 2015.

I'll take bets now.

Peoria Progress Since Monday, April 15, 2005 - "Lest We Forget"

Look this blog up by entering "$60 million Peoria Park District budget",  Enter in the upper left hand corner of this blog or any of my 2600 blogs I've posted to date.. Read on to reach my prediction of a $60 million yearly PPD budget . Of all the predictions I made over the years almost all have come true or will soon come true.You will find that in 2005, I predicted that the Peoria Park District was spending beyond it's means. I predicted an upcoming  $60 million dollar PPD budget. The JS says it is now $52.5 million with a defict of $1.36 million this year and no way out but to close at least one golf course, close the Central indoor pool, and reduce employees. Renovating the vacant Lakeview Museum building cost more that $2.75 million and maintenance costs to this 33,000 square ft. structure will far exceed the cost of maintenance occurring when they occupied the Pavilion, their old headquarters now being remodeled to become the Peoria Playhouse. This playhouse was originally scheduled to open in 2007 and is still not totally funded and with no indication it will be endowed by the private sector.

Meanwhile, erosion runs rampant through 8500 acres of parkland with no money allocated by the PPD for erosion control. Note the growing delta in the Illinois River coming from soil from park grounds in the area north towards Chillicothe.

The PPD 40 acre sports complex wasn't built partly because of the drain of debt from the RiverPlex, the $1 million lost per year by poor decisions regarding PPD golf, once a profitable ventures, Kirk Wessler points out that some tennis courts have cracks big enough to break an ankle, growing high fees are out of reach for long-time park golfers. those in poverty can't afford the rising costs of most park activities and the African Zoo highly touted spectacular entrance  off Prospect never materialized. But Queen Bonny got her magnificent renovated headquarters that will soon be needing a new expensive roof, while the Old IDOT building on Knoxville owned by the PPD is deteriorating.

Meanwhile, the amount of money the park can borrow (bonds) has shrunk considerably despite the protestations of the Peoria Journal Star that that the park is very solvent. But they do not print how much is borrowed from who and what money they can yet borrow.  Just like the public doesn't know how much is still owed on the PRM or the size of it's endowment and how much of the meager endowment fund was created in a clever accounting maneuver, paid by the taxpayers. While Dave Ransburg's pledge to "personally" raise $10 million, was a bad joke.

Meanwhile, population in Peoria County is shrinking and sales tax missed estimates by ONLY $1.5 million and the PRM actually lost close to $2 million when operating costs are included.

Then there is the large deficit at Peoria County with only Board Member Bob Baietto asking questions about the performance of the relatively new Heddington Oaks which rumor has it as "losing it's ass".as the deficit is made up by property tax payers. Then there is still the deteriorating old BelWood Nursing Home and the mess out at the old deteriorating Hanna City Correctional Center, whose ownership was taken over by Peoria County without a plan for its use.

Not true, some say? Then prove me wrong with facts. Just don't let ACTUAL facts get in your way.

Meanwhile the more "committees" are being formed to study the problems as so many of the old committees turn out to be just that. Committees. Like many like me don't know? Big, bigger and huge egos all the way from the B & G Club up. and down.

So sad

Saturday, September 13, 2014

POTUS Says More Countries Lining Up As a Coalition Against ISIS

Mr. President, who are these countries? What are they going to contribute. EXACTLY what and EXACTLY when? OBO, you may go down in history as the greatest "bullshitter" since Bernie Madoff. You are all mouth and a "day late and a dollar short".

For those who may not be noticing ALL the damage he and like minded politicians are doing to this country, your progeny will. One wag said 'if he was so bad a president, why is the stock market so high'? Sorry, but that is the mindset of so many people; they believe if they are doing well the country is doing well.

So sad.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bank Of America Pulls It's Buy Recommendation From Caterpillar

Cat's year to date high of 111.59 vs. it's year to date low of 81.87 shows a nice gain for their stockholders who usually buy and hold. I suggest that you read more on Cat as analysts average being right about 50% of the time. Plus other analysts often disagree, Somewhat comparable analysis of TASER. Both are good buys for the longer run but TASER stock is at least 7 times cheaper that Cat. and Cat pays a substantial dividend and TASER does not pay any dividend.

Peoria Chief Baseball Year End Statistics in the JS Missing Most Important Element

What's missing? Attendance and a breakdown of attendance. How many freebies? Usually a lot are included. How many kids tickets are included in attendance figures including Dare Day kids attendance. Why important? Well, even though the JS sportswriter may believe this is a Public Ball Park; in order to save money the JS now has a golf reporter now covering  baseball, it is supposed to be a PROFIT MAKING PRIVATE  ballpark (AT LEAST THAT IT WAS HOW IT WAS SOLD TO PRIVATE INVESTORS back in 1994 when I bought as many shares as Pete did) owned by the stockholders even though Rocky seems to feel he inherited the club from his dad who was also minority stockholder.

Unfortunately, most stockholders who aren't buddies with management will not find out till spring how the club did financially and whether it will need to go back to the City (taxpayers) to see if the City can cut them more survival deals. We stockholders not in good graces with Rocky, Don Fites and a couple others running this money losing project, usually don't get any real information until tax times. My $50,000.00 loss was long eaten up and whether I still own any shares of stock remain a mystery. At least I never get more than 2 documents a year from Rocky, one including my profit and loss statement, always a loss including last year. Whether I still own any shares I might be able to learn by asking Rocky. My relationship with him is that I would not stoop so low as to have to ask since I have been trying to sell my stock since at least 1999 through Rocky.

Some ask why I bought in. Easy. I bought my stock in 1994, 20 years ago when the club was still at Meinen. I also wanted to keep minor league baseball in Peoria. I did not believe and told Pete and JS.  Pete, before his death was known by some as Peoria's nicest con man, that a move to the so-called riverfront was NOT GOING TO BE  the finacial salvation of the club. To date, my yearly 2 page, mostly blank, financial statement from the Chiefs, prove I was right but Pete got his wish for a $23 or so million dollar stadium and that was all most people were interested in, especially Caterpillar.

So anyway, you JS sportswriter, how about attendance figures with a breakdown or is Rocky still reviewing these figures while making all other statistics available to the you.Or didn't you ask or care since you don't own stock in this PRIVATE club??

As a side note, minor league clubs like the Chiefs are always bragging that "so and such" now major league star once worked their way up through the minor league systems. Surprise! I guess that most major league stars come directly from high school or college. Or am I wrong in believing that minor leagues are supposed to DEVELOP high school and college players into major league players?

Also, one might ask why all the thousands of others who play yearly in minor leagues are seldom, if ever mentioned, never even play one game in the majors? Good question, Merle.

Journal Star in Such Bad Shape Financially They Can't Afford Proof-Readers??

I don't look for the grammatical errors in the JS. They just stand out..See if you can find a headline on today's Sports page where they printed "to" instead of "two" Just one of dozens I've noticed lately throughout this news rag.

I also need to go to the library tomorrow and read what "reporter" closed a business in a small community BEFORE the owners had made public anything about closing. The "closing" article appeared on Sunday, September 7. Just like JS "reporter" Matt Buedel who reported I had an upstairs room when I have lived for 24 years in a ranch style home. Why did he INTENTIONALLY  do that? A further effort to make me look bad by making the believer believe there was adultery being committed in a "upstairs" bedroom.when there was no adultery being committed anywhere in my house.

In my book at least 3 of the reporters couldn't hold a job unless they wrote for the National Inquirer. Who are the other two? Hint. Two of them write a weekly column and one used to be be listed as an editor!!!

I will need to go to a local library to see who wrote the article that closed this local business before the business KNEW they were closing if they did say they may plan to close someday. The JS was just performing as usual, hear of an event that can embarrass someone and than act as jury and judge and often times providing sentencing before anyone is found GUILTY. If found innocent, they then bring up as much other events to embarrass the accused so that no one is ever found innocent by the JS unless they are friends of someone influential at this rag, Therefore, no is ever really found innocent by the many medias and many of their viewers or readers

Do I make grammatical mistakes? Sure, but I don't get paid to blog nor can I afford a proof-reader.

Alleged Murderer of 5 of His Own Kids Was Typical Teenager

Yeah, all he was arrested for previously was possession of cocaine, car stealing, burglary, and forging check. His dad called him a "typical teenager"?? Sure, and what is his so-called DAD. A typical adult?

So sad.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Sensible Comments in Sunday's Journal Star Opinion Section

Thanks to good citizens like Joshua Cox, Sonya Wilson, Mary Hayes. John T. George, Nancy Pilger, Heather Olsson, who has 7 children and sounds like she is a good Mom, and last but not least, Mike Schwerer, who all wrote sensible Letters to the Editor this past Sunday.

There is not much "meat" in the JS these days with advertisements taking up about 40-50% of the space. And rumor is the JS just laid off more people. But I like to read sensible commentary even from the JSEB.

Thanks, again.

Politcians Votes Not Always as They Appear

Let's take the Peoria County Board. A few of you remember a poorly written article in the JS about a County Board vote to place a referedndum on the ballot about whether or not to eliminate the Recorders office run by a Republican and combine it into the County Clerks office run by a Democrat. Fewer yet may havve noticed that the two most powerful officials on the County Board, Board Chairman Tom O'Neill and Chairman wannabee, Mike Phelan,both Democrats, voted with the Republicans to oppose this action.

So anyone can vote however they want. Right? Yes, but here is the rest of the story. A few years back there was heated debate at the board level and in the press about whether to keep the elected Auditors office run by a Democrat or to make the position an appointed one or whether it should exist at all now that the county has created the new position of a Financial Officer plus the fact that the County hires their own paid internal auditor.

The Democrats where all about leaving the situation as it was and no action was ever take. Now, how does this relate to the Recorders proposed elimination? Once the Democrats counted the votes they knew they could afford to throw a couple votes over to the opposing Republicans hoping to further defer the possibility of the elimination of the Democrat run Auditors office. This maneuver often happens unnoticed by the voter who believes the elected official is ALWAYS acting for the benefit of the common good.


Best case in point was the County Board vote on whether or not to let PDC expand their current Pottstown location or not. Six of us were selected to sit on a review board and all 6 of us APPEARED to be in favor of the keeping the location based on our listening to six days of expert testimony. The committee, backed by administration,  thought we had enough votes in favor of expansion figuring if the 29 year old location was ever going to contaminate the water, which it won't, it would contaminate, expansion or not.

When the final vote was held last voter around the horseshoe was the Board Chairman. This vote was taken VERBALLY against my vehement protestatipons. At break time before the vote the chairman told me privately that he was in favor of the expansion. However, when the verbal vote began around the horseshoe, the vote was 9 against and 7 for when the vote got to him.  Seeing that the 'no" voters where going to win, he evidently changed his mind and voted with the no voters.One voter didn't show, possibly afraid to cast a vote either way. Had the one Democrat voter shown up to vote yes as he said he was going to, then the charman probably have voted yes and a 9-9 vote would have allowed espansion savings businesspeople and taxpayers millions of dollars over the years.

No way should have this vote been verbal. Also the committee that sat through all the testimony, was to present our findings to the full 18 member board. This never happened. Why not? Ask Patrick Urich, our administrator at that time now struggling as Peoria City Manager.

Possibly to make amends, the Chairman later enthusiastically promoted PDC to replace Waste Management as the approved hauler and manager of the City/County Landfill on Cottonwood road.

Another voting anomaly occurred when Republicans in Caucus agreed to support a Democrat for Chairman. When the vote came verbally. this vote should always be private, the two top Republicans changed their vote to another Democrat who won. The Democrat who won learned what they did and the top Republican didn't get the committee chairmanship he thought he was promised.

Me, I voted for the Democrat the Republicans had agreed on. Such is politics most people never hear about. That why newspapers are struggling. They can't afford investigative reporters.


Illinois - Governor Election Will Not Save State From Further Despair

While I will vote for the Republican and hold my nose - If the Democrat is re-elected, I'll lie to people I meet and tell them I'm from Wisconsin, Indiana or Nevada. After the election this state under any circumstances will still be a state run by the powerful public unions and it their elected supporters, largely Democrats like our local big-spending Dave Koehler and the Chicago Mafia like Madigan and Emanuel. Some large corporations may benefit by the election of Brauner and Caterpillar might "get more goodies" for staying in Illinois and feel better about building their new headquarters in the spaces in Peoria I;ve already predicted.

For those of us who still own property here and haven't transferred our taxing address to Florida, can only look forward to higher taxes with less benefit accrued from being further over-taxed or having all fees and fines increased. The uncounted  unemployed will gradually surface showing more people living in poverty and on other government subsidies. The influx of more illegal intruders will overload all social services including education and prisons, some prison employees are already making over $200,000.00 a year, this figure bloated by overtime. In turn, further bloating are already bloated pension systems.

So sad.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Peoria Illinois Movers and Shakers - a- Most Optimistic Group, But......

Nothing major has been built in Peoria that has lived up to projections in the last 15 years. Starting with the $23 million downtown privately owned minor league baseball stadium financed partially by somewhere in the vicinity of 8 million taxpayer dollars; then needed to be bailed out recently by the City Council, forgiving about $1.6 million debt. All taxpayer dollars.

Next came the RiverPlex which was supposed to be self-supporting according to the Superintendent and Park Board President. Only to find out it could not pay off the note to build the entity that competing strongly with the private sector and had to extend the note payments an additional 6 years. The drain on park finances prevented the building, the highly promised by Cassidy and Noble, major league softball complex to host national tournaments. Even though the land to build on was part of a trade between Bradley U. and the PPD; Meinen Field where Bradley soccer is now located for 40 acres of land Bradley (part of 162 acre deal that Bradley paid an unprecedented $13,000 an acre) located at the corner of Rt. 91 and Fox Rd.for the PPD to build this widely promised sports complex.

The RiverPlex drain on park resources also resulted in large increases in fees; one example are park shelters that a few years ago cost $25 to rent are now $75 and caused the cancelling of at least one previous free event. This drain also caused a high neglect of erosion as witnessed by the growing delta of soil on the west side of the Illinois River. Now the park is running a greater deficit and will need to close a golf course (park golf courses always made a profit in the past) or close Central Pool. The PPD has used up all but $500,000 of reserves that stood at over $3,000,000 just a short time ago

The highly touted African Zoo with a redesigned entry off Prospect with a widely illustrated new signage never happened. In fact, the Glen Barton Foundation had to contribute the resources to build the new entry and souvenir building..Attendance is published to be only 200,000 a year up from 170,000 before the $32 million expansion. The park, intended for family events, sought and secured a liquor license to hold weddings, etc. all in competition with the private taxpaying sector.

The museum attendance projected to be 240,000 a year drew 157,000 thru the June 30, 2014 or was it through the calendar year ending December 30, 2013?? PRM figures have always been difficult to obtain and to my knowledge, they do not have a certified audit. The JS reported the financial loss to be $600,000 but hastened to say "this was not taxpayer dollars" but then failed to say where the money then came from to cover this deficit. If it came from the Endowment Fund, which the public does not know how much is really in this fund, and the public does not know that through an accounting maneuver, about one-half the endowment came from the 1/4% sales tax which is indeed public dollars. The museum project itself, reputed to cost $99,000,000 was funded by approximately 67% taxpayer dollars when it was promised to be supported by just 33% taxpayer dollars.

Now we have the Civic Center reporting a deficit of 9 times projections ($875,000.00) with attendance falling from 640,000 to 520,000. An amazing drop during a reputed growing nationwide economy.

Then we have the Gateway Building, last reported losing $500,000 a year, the failed Technology Center downtown, the growing of what appears to be somewhat of a scandal on who owes what on the highly touted Marriott Courtyard, where I for one,, anxiously await the census figures as the Peoria taxpayers were put in the position of backing $30 some million of construction loans.

Should I even mention the NOW projected deficit at Peoria Public School District #150 as being an astounding $12,000,000.00 with loans outstanding for up to 30 years. Or the Peoria City Council debt in the millions with a sales tax shortage this year of $1.5 million, taxes needed to meet the debt on the museum and some shaky information coming out of the Peoria County Board who, as most of the public is unaware, owns the highly under performing riverfront museum.

Then there is the Warehouse District that is expected to bring 'booko' new residents to revitalize the down town that none of the big projects have so far failed to do. Again, projections, none of which have been met in the past 15 years.

You won't find all I blog in the media. But I have kept extensive files on every projected mentioned here. All is not what the IB and others write is true about this river city if you also look at the condition of our public streets, the growing number of empty commercial buildings and the abandoned houses all over certain parts of the city.

I myself am an optimist or I could never have started the company 50 years ago now know as Widmer/Interiors located on north Allen Road in Peoria. Unfortunately, my realism has not won me a lot of friends as witnessed by the JS and some other media who are never interested in "the rest of story".

Been going on for over the past 15 years so I'm pretty much used to it. The old saying of "don't let the facts get in your way" were never truer as Don Axt so aptly put it several times in LTEs to the JSEB over the years..

Tesla to Expand in Nevada - Surprise?

No, Nevada is a "right -to - work" state. And while Tesla officials will never admit that was the "major" reason, it was most prominent in the final decision.

Meanwhile, Illinois, about dead last in everything except people moving out, was never in the running. Sure, there were other considerations like a closeness to Fremont, CA where they now have a facility and a ready and willing work force but RTW will always be a major factor in any major companys expansion decisions where there is a strong  need for 'blue collar' workers.

Guns Can Kill People - Yes, I Fully understand Guns Can and Do Kill

I'm not going to dwell on the sad situation where a young girl accidentally took the life of an adult. I only know about this case by news media so I will not try to judge. But what were the parent of parents thinking? Where either present? Why did the instructor let her handle a loaded highly automated weapon? Why did her parent/parents want her trained to use such a killing machine at such an early age?

Too many questions and probably not enough common sense.used by all concerned.  So sad that accidents like this happen and are blamed on the weapon. I do not belong to the NRA but I support all those good members with common sense. I do believe, however, the organization should elect a new president. Too many times it appears he speaks about a forest without seeing the trees.

Again, alcohol is the major contributor to vehicle mayhem of approximately 41,000 deaths a year, yet advertising glorifies these killer machines and there is no movement to remove them from our societies, nor the drivers sometimes with multiple DUI convictions.

But guns, like this writer, are easy targets.

And yes at the age of 88 I was arrested and charged with a misdeanor.. Sorry to disappoint my detractors that (I was never indicted) such as "as frick" and "frack" who write the Monday "Word on the Street" column in the Peoria Journal Star. Both have called me in print a freak and a weirdo. Isn't there an old saying "it takes one to know one"? But then, we were always taught that 'ignorance is bliss'. and the JS hands out more than a fair share of ignorance as being 'gospel

So sad.'.

American Wanna-be Terrorists Fight for the ISIS?

Are they citizens of the U.S.A. or just reside here? Do they return here after they have joined the ISIS? Travel back and forth with funds for the ISIS? Are their passports legitimate or purchased on our black market? Is the FBI checking their backgrounds and the backgrounds of the people they hang out with?

The ISIS organization has been identified by this country as a terrorist group. If Obama wasn't playing golf or on vacation he could take action to stop these "Americans"" from re-entry into our country. Of course, we have an OPEN border with Mexico which is already causing so many problems that the average citizen has difficulty or has stopped trying to understand. Since Obama seldom has a plan that 'holds water' I suggest that Hagel and Congress put an end to whatever if going on because what is happening is NOT in the best interests of the U.S.A.

I suspect some of my questions are being answered. If not enough questions are being answered with action then our fearless leaders are wading into deep and murky waters from which this country may never return.

Better believe that a larger segment (than we rural "hicks" might imagine) of the population of our country are applauding these "brave' men and women terrorist  'wanna-bes' who are now dangerous terrorists in ISIS training.

So sad that we are fast becoming a nation of hand-wringers and wimps led by many members of Congress and a continual scary president.

Monday, September 01, 2014

How Old is Too Old to....?

do what, was a discussion on Fox TV today.  Play competitive tennis at the age of 89? NO, never too old.  I last wrote a blog on Super Senior Tennis on November, 2004. Much tennis happenings in the last 10 years.. Some sad happenings such as death of the editor of the quarterly new letter, Doug Crary, my European doubles partner one year, Jason Morton, of Phoenix, a world champion many times over, Tom Brown, a Wimbledon or U..S Open winner and my doubles partner on 9/11, and several dozen other senior champions who I had the pleasure of enjoying friendships and playing with or against in my 32 year of enjoying this most aerobic game.

I am fortunate to have the health and competitive spirit to compete and enjoy tennis at the age of 89. I played and won three out of four half hour matches today giving me 8 wins and 3 losses in my last three outings. We have a group that meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the clay courts at Glen Oak Park. Any age is welcome to play but most of the players are in their late 50's up to Doc Stafford who won't tell his age but is over 90. We play half an hour matches with winners moving up and everyone switches partners. Today we had twelve players and last Monday we had 17.

I first started playing tennis at age 55 with my former workmate at Widmers'  and and today a State Farm Insurance agent, Bob Humbles. Bob was a four letter winner at Manual and a star basketball player for Bradley. He is also a class act winner of many Tri-County tournaments, this year losing to Mario Palmeri, a local legend. Last year Bob beat Mario.

I have had considerable fortune in playing winning tennis tournaments in Peoria and all over this country, Canada, Cancun, Austria,  Bermuda, etc  accumulating approximately 225 awards. Locally, I won 5 Tri-County's, 5 Twin City Opens in Bloomington-Normal,  Pekin, and 8 championships at the Western Open in Danville. I twice was a finalist at the World Senior Games in St. George Utah,, won a Phoenix, Az. Senior open, and won several Phoenix Park District tournaments.

On 9/11, I was playing a National Tournament; there are 4 a year, clay, grass, indoor hard court and outdoor hard court, at the Army-Navy Club in Arlington, Va. where we witnessed the American Airlines plane piloted by Muslim terrorist seconds before it hit the Pentagon  A year later I was back to Arlington winning 4 singles matches in a 32 entry consolation bracket before losing a 3-setter in the semi-finals to the champion.

I was Peoria Country Club open winner, ( I once won 33 consecutive senior doubles sets at the club).  I won a number of Senior Olympics tournaments and a finalist in St. Louis losing to a national ranked player. I had pulled a hamstring winning 2nd in the long jump and was unable to play my finalist tennis match.

Bob Orr from Pekin and I won a Mid-west Sectional tournament (5 states)  at Lansing, Michigan in year 2000, winning 8 straight matches over three days. In a tournament at Baton Rouge, La. I won a 3 3/4 hour singles match but paid for it the next day by pulling a hamstring, disappointing my doubles partner now deceased, John Moorhouse who was Bradley tennis coach  for 10 years. Local notable finals wins were over John and Bob Orr in Twin-City singles finals.

I was several times kidded about why I couldn't beat Terry Glynn, a local legend and my only defense was that Terry was nine years younger than me. Same with John Seigrist, 10 years younger,another local legend who I lost all 3 tournament matches, all 3 setters

Anyway, what experiences! Playing against Pancho Gonzales, Torbin Ulrich, Hugh Stewart, Bob Sherman, Jason Morton, Bob Brown, Ed Kauder etc.,all once world ranked players. And once being selected to play the National Sectionals at Tuscon, Az. and being selected to represent the East in a tournament against the West at Morgan Run Country Club in lower California, playing at some of the best clubs in the country including the Foothills at Santa Barbara, Seattle Yacht and Tennis Club, Pinehurst, N;.C., clubs all over the Gulf Coast of Florida, Vancouver, Canada, Sn Diego, Bermuda Island, and Fountain Hills and Sun Lakes, AZ. where Claire and I owned a home.

If I am successful in winning my battle against cancer, (won't know until the end of October) I plan to play at least 2 National tournaments next year as I'm eligible to play in the 90's in January, 2015. And providing I can find a doubles I can no longer handle singles with my health problems recently mentioned. I'll also be playing at my favorite club, Payne Park, in downtown Sarasota. I had won 82 out 104 sets before returning to Peoria this spring.

So much to look forward to and remembering that "how old is too old" a myth as long as one can avoid pushing up daisies.