RALLY Peoria

Every community stakeholder must be invited to the planning table at the onset of every project for as many meetings as it takes. Every stakeholder has a responsibility be treated with respect and respect each other as well as to promote unity, learn their individual duty and create our destiny together. Every stakeholder can be likened to a raindrop and "One raindrop raises the sea. -- Dinotopia"

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dr. Suess

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” -- Dr. Suess

Happy Tuesday! :)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bill Rutherford - Advice to Live By

Bill Rutherford leaves a lengthy legacy as recounted today at the memorial service held for him. Bill was your friend, even if you had known him for a minute. His charismatic manner and his deep concern for his fellow men (women, children, flora and fauna .... ) was always evident.

I remember having met him through our mutual concern about conservation of open space along the Illinois River --- the Riverplex formerly known as the RecPlex. Several weeks later, while discussing this community issue, we talked about other topics and I mentioned that my car was in the shop and I was going to rent a car. Absolutely not, Bill would not hear of it. He had just gotten his second car back from someone else who had needed to use it and Bill would be at my home at 7 pm that night to deliver the car. He would hear of no refusal. That was Bill generous and caring and using his position in life to ease the cares and burdens of others. I admit, I loved driving his white Diesel Jetta --- almost wished my car would have been in the shop --- forever! :)

Alice St. Clair, his relative through the Rutherford family line --- shared a quote from Bill who was taught by his father, Leslie ---

"Good things happen when people get involved".

This is oh so true and Peoria would be great, actually everywhere would be great if people got involved. That is what is missing, civic engagement at multiple levels ..... here's hoping that Bill's legacy is further fulfilled by Central Illinoians and the many people whose lives he touched
throughout the entire world.

How to be Happy
The time to be happy is now,
The place to be happy is here
The way to be happy is to make others so.
(Also quoted today!)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Snow Plowing --- Completed in what time period?

All citizens:

What is your opinion of:

(A) when the first pass and
(B) curb to curb should be completed (i.e. number of hours after the end of the event) based on this recent snow fall - November 20 - December 1, 2006?

What are your recommendations? SOLUTIONS?

Thank you for your help.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Russell Would Sponsor Line Item Legislation

An inquiry was sent to all incumbent and challengers for the the 46th Senate District and the 92nd Legislative District regarding the sponsorship of legislation.....

Senator Shadid and Representative Schock and Candidates Koehler, Russell and Spears:

If you are elected in this fall election, would you be willing to sponsor a state law to have the PBC portion --- the tax rate and amount to be listed as a separate line item on taxpayers' property tax bills in the state of Illinois?

Yes or No and why

ONLY one response received to date from the 13 October 2006 inquiry. Perhaps it was too scary for any other candidate to answer due to the date sent. Thanks Ernie!

Karrie,Thank you for your email. I appreciate that you are taking the time to check out where my opponent and I stand on the issues, not just what you read in the paper. To answer your question, I would be happy to sponsor a bill to list the PBC tax rate and amount as a separate line item on tax bills. I believe that this is important because the people of Peoria deserve to know where their tax money is going. A responsible government must be accountable to the people, and transparency is the first step to responsibility.Karrie, if you have any other questions, please feel free to email me again.Thanks,Ernie

More information for consideration when you take your voting privilege to the polls on November 7th.

Back Home

Sorry to have not kept up with the Blog and the entire school issue over the summer. When one's mom dies unexpectedly, a daughter is just at a loss (probably a son too).

Sadly, the administrators and elected officials for both D150 and the PPD just don't get it. Their mantra is like the Borg -- 'Resistance is futile' as they continue on their misguided path to build a school in the park or perhaps more schools in/near additional PPD park land, especially if SB2477 is overridden during the Fall Veto session by the efforts of Sen. Shadid, Rep. Leitch and Schock-- the money will be more than $60 million to bond for school construction.

An update to the Alms/Partridge lawsuit against the PPD for alledged Open Meeting Action Violations is that Judge Barra has set a trial date of December 7, 2006.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

SB2477 --- Tick Tock Goes the Clock

Yes, that all around lovable piece of legislation that was passed on May 10, 2006 by both houses of the Illinois Legislature is due to automatically (no signature needed by the Governor) become law in sixty days ---- July 9, 2006 being the due date, unless vetoed by the Governor.

So, perhaps you will find it important enough to call Sen. Shadid at 673-8404 and Rep. Schock 672-9292 and Rep. Leitch 685-3900 and ask that they convince Governor Blagojevich to veto this bill.

You can also write or call the Governor:

Dear Governor...Send correspondence for Governor Blagojevich, to contact the governor or to the Office of the Governor, 207 State House, Springfield, IL 62706; (217) 782-0244 or (312) 814-2121 [TTY (888) 261-3336]. (NOTE: Should a response be required it will be mailed to you via the United States Postal Service, so it is important that you include your name and complete mailing address.)

We are still trying to figure out what was the basis for our state representatives (as heard on audio recordings from the Illinois Legislature) telling their Springfield colleagues that they 'had the full support of the city council' on this piece of legislation (documents sited in subsequent telephone conversations with state reps and city council members, as well as checking for any type of resolution of endorsement from City Clerk Haynes, DO NOT support the state reps assertion.) Please stay tuned for a report back.

So, please call or sit back and wait for the black hole (SB2477) to suck your $$$$ from your pocket.


Meanwhile, tick tock goes the clock and tick tock grows the crock of manure that surrounds the entire school siting issue.

Rep. LaHood has stepped aside so that the City Council and D150 can work out some type of agreement to pursue the idea of a joint venture around an undecided site near the current Glen Oak School. Again the 15 acre idea surfaces but you might ask, what about the only 5 acres D150 was to purchase and the 5 acres that the Peoria Park Distrcit was to add to site --- that only equals 10 acres ---- if D150 plays the 15 acres sonata then they can cry no $$$ crocodile tears to move back to Glen Oak Park. Remember D150 already purchased properties and they just must be wise stewards with taxpayer $$$$$ unless the intention is to take advantage of the unintended consequence of using the PBC funds to build the school in the park and not to use health life safety bonds.

Anyway, another special use is required to take the R-3 park land and use it for a school site, shouldn't be too difficult as the Park District just gained approval for ALL of Glen Oak Park to potentially become a zoo overtime with only each new site plan at each new phase of the proposed multi-phase zoo expansion to get another seemingly rubber stamp of approval from the city council,

or will it be more difficult because the City Council would have to sign off on that zoning change for a school in a park that's morphing into a zoo ..... time will tell

especially in view of the fact that Director Noble sent a letter(dated April 27, 2006) to Pat Landes on regarding ZC 06-35B (Zoo Expansion):

Dear Pat:

This document is being filed as a courtesy to the City of Peoria. However, by agreement with City of Peoria Corporation Counsel, Randall Ray, please know that the Pleasure Driveway and Park District of Peoria, by submitting this document should not be seen as setting a precedent to allow the City of Peoria municipal zoning ordinance to thwart the broad statutory authority of the Peoria Park District to plan, build and operate parks and park facilities included within its 60 square mile district. ... The District does not believe it is subject to the City's municipal zoning ordinance nor does it believe it needs a special use permit for the Zoo or for any other park purpose in Glen Oak Park.

Corporation Counsel Randy Ray and Park District Attorney James Konsky will review the 'Wilmette" case as that case has been considered a "very narrow legal ruling."

Hum, where have we heard a similar phrase before "a very narrow legal ruling" --- you guessed it --- President Tim Cassidy (narrow interpretation) when asked about the alleged open meeting act violations about the Peoria Park Board talking about the 'sharing of park land without setting a price' for the proposed school in the park. At least they get an A+ for consistency.

Also, makes us think of the "Unofficial PPD Position" landfill expansion support letter that Director Noble sent and was later recanted by the Park Board 2-22-06 Park Board Minutes, page 7 , any similarity?

We'll have to ask Randy Ray what type of agreement he has entered into with the Park District on behalf of the City of Peoria, which would preclude him from following the decision of the Illinois Supreme Court as quoted below. Stay tuned for another report back.

By the way, the "Wilmette" case; 112 Ill.2d 6, 490 N.E.2d 1282; Wilmette Park District, Appellant, v. The Village of Wilmette, Appellee; No. 62258, Supreme Court of Illinois, March 19, 1986.

Neither the Illinois Municipal Code nor the Park District Code provides park districts with immunity from the zoning ordinances of their host municipality. Nevertheless, the park district takes the position that because the General Assembly has granted park districts authority to operate parks, it impliedly follows that the legislature intended to confer zoning immunity to park districts in instances where zoning may affect park operations.

We find no merit in this argument. The General Assembly has not granted park districts the exclusive authority to operate parks. Indeed, all municipalities, home rule or otherwise, are authorized to establish and operate parks (Ill.Rev.Stat.1983,ch. 24, pars. 11-98-1 through 11-100-1.) Absent an explicit statutory grant of immunity, the mere fact that the park district, a local unit of government, has a statutory duty to operate its parks cannot be extended to support the inference that it can exercise its authority without regard to the zoning ordinances of its host municipality.

That's the decision of the Illinois Supreme Court. We're not lawyers, nor are we giving legal advice .... just siting publically available information for you to make informed decisions (even if you disagree with our views).

So, please prove us wrong, that should Sb2477 become law, that all communciations by D150 would immmediately terminate as they take their $60 -75 million taxpayer $$$$ ball and go play on whatever playground they decide to build.

Please stay tuned for another episode of "As the Kingdom Turns"!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

PCF - Top 10 Reasons to Love the Zoo Expansion

In today's PJ Star Forum (10 June 2006), citizens aka taxpayers can read that the Peoria Civic Federation (PCF) loves the zoo.

It would be ever so sweet if the PCF members actually talked with the taxpayers who live in the older neighborhoods to find out what the taxpayer on the street thinks of these 'new fangled' ideas to make Peoria's older neighborhoods great.

Please don't count me among the turnips who just fell of the truck . . . exactly what OBJECTIVE data would support the following PCF's Top 10 'Pie in the Sky' claims regarding the proposed zoo expansion:
  1. enhancing our community's quality of life;
  2. will provide better educational programming;
  3. serve as a source of collaboration with local, state, federal and international conservation efforts;
  4. will offer amazing recreational opportunities for all families;
  5. will help strengthen our economy;
  6. will attract and retain employees;
  7. will serve as a tourist attraction;
  8. will provide an exciting venue for corporate events and convention activities;
  9. can even offer stabilization to the surrounding neighborhoods, serving as an important anchor for the community;
  10. ... the second stage of expansion, including an iconic grand entrance and welcoming area, can be built and opened along with Africa! Reaching this goal of $6 million will require the support of our entire regional community.

Taxpayer on the Street Response:

  1. (a) Ask the East Bluff Residents if they want the zoo expansion (guess what the answer is ---- NO!) and (b) Ask any neighborhood leader what will enhance our community's quality of life ... think reduction in crime, noise, litter, increase in responsible social behavior, well maintained properties .... ---- zoo expansion won't even make the top fifty list;
  2. Remains to be seen;
  3. Think Wildlife Prairie Park. Think Bill Rutherford. Bill tried for years to coordinate and collaborate on a joint venture to relocate the zoo to Wildlife (and then to build a hotel as an tourist, economy boosting, end destination attraction) 'but for' the Peoria Park District ...) and yes, Wildlife to "serve as a source of collaboration with local, state, federal and international conservation efforts" would be perfect;
  4. Walking in the park, flying a kite, walking your dog, playing baseball, family picnics et al --- those are amazing recreational opportunities for all families and please remember that the St. Louis Zoo is free!;
  5. How??? New construction jobs??? part time zoo jobs with no benefits???
  6. The Glen Oak Zoo ala Africa! is going to attract and retain employees???? Perhaps a St. Louis, or Brookfield or a full scale zoo .... perhaps ..... but the Glen Oak Zoo??? which already loses $400,000 plus per year and now the expansion is already costing the taxpayers more --- the taxpayers are paying the interest on the Peoria Zoological Society's $10 million loan for which the interest rate is not to exceed 3.5% for a period of ten (10) years (during which time certain pledges are exempt from counting toward the loan principal) aka $350,000 per year in interest. (Please remember that the taxpayers have not been told the truth again by the Peoria Park Board, as no zoo construction was to have started until 90% of the money was raised ($20 million is 62.5% of $32 million);
  7. Remains to be seen, the size of the current Glen Oak Zoo is 8% and 24% if expanded compared to the FREE St. Louis Zoo;
  8. Perhaps ---- but not if you have to walk through the older section of the zoo which on a hot and humid day is a world class olfactory event;
  9. Exactly how does an expanded zoo offer stabilization to the surrounding neighborhoods, serving as an important anchor for the community??? --- would that be letting the animals run in the streets to scare the criminals, or locking the criminals up with the animals, or having more trafffic on an already heavily used street, or having more traffic accidents which have in the past prevented emergency services to be provided within the park to injured park goers, or would that be that the current zoo expansion design does not provide for fire services deep within the park or just how would the zoo stabilize the East Bluff??? And actually how does a zoo act as an anchor for our community????;
  10. Second stage of expansion (according to ZC-06-35B this is actually all part of the first expansion) but now that you mention it .... it does bring to mind that with the Special Use Application to rezone the entire park as a zoo (being site plan specific for each new expansion) then our East Bluff Neighbors have years, even decades and several generations in the future to be oohed and aahed by the future expansion plans to further destabilize their neighborhood.

Expand the zoo if you want --- just don't expand at Glen Oak Park. This idea is like putting a gorilla in a poodle's cage. Again, Think Wildlife.

Donors and PZS members, please ask yourselves these questions???

  1. As a surrounding property owner, would you want to live next to a facility that has to meet the Industrial performance standards of the zoning ordinance for lighting, sounds, and smells?
  2. As a surrounding property owner, would you be concerned about the proposed increased traffic from not 100,000 but a projected 160,000 zoo patrons combined with other specialized events and the untallied additional traffic from the Children's museum, along Prospect Avenue and Gift Avenue (secondary entrance to the zoo)?
  3. Would you be concerned that Fire Department apparatus access would be maintained where possible?
  4. Would you be concerned that where Fire Department apparatus access is not possible, 'sprinkle buildings where water is not adequate' is the standard that will be applied?
  5. Would you be concerned that the outer and inner loops of the park will be reconfigured so that the public access will be lost and significantly decreased?
  6. Would you be concerned that there are documents which show that emergency vehicles were blocked from providing emergency service because of major traffic congestion problems and a serious traffic accident on Sunday, March 28, 1998? (and perhaps there are other incidents)?

The public's safety, quality of life in the surrounding neighborhood due to traffic and congestion. lighting, sounds, smells and so on ... will be dramatically and negatively impacted. As in all real estate --- location, location, location, is the key and this proposed location is the wrong location.

For these reasons the Peoria City Council should deny the requested special use.

How about all stakeholders working together to build a new zoo at Wildlife?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ah Grasshopper - Follow the $$$$$

At the Peoria Chronicle, in reference to the Glen Oak Park site, Gary Sandberg made the comment,

"Follow the money, Grasshopper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "
Rally Peoria's very own --

Gra$$hopper Dateline
Volume 1 - Issue 1
(We know a little technical, ho hum... via the FOIA trail!)

April 4 -- Legal Notice to be published..... "Pursuant to Article 17-1 of the School Cole (should be Code) of Illinois, a legal notice announcing the required Public Hearing was published in at least one newspaper of general circulation on April 4, 2006. That notice set the time and date for the public hearing as May 8, 2006. It is necessary that at least one such Public Hearing be held prior to the adoption of the Amended 2005-2006 budget. Given that the Budget Hearing has concluded, the Amended Budget may now be adopted. " (PPS-Action Item, May 22, 2006, Background Information, Signed by Guy M. Cahill, Approved by Ken Hinton)

April 24 -- INFORMATION ITEMS - DISCUSSION OF SENATOR SHADID'S REQUEST -- Mr. Hinton made the following statement.......
  • "The Master Facility Plan, which was formally adopted by the Board of Education on November 21, 2005, set forth a commitment to build and revitalize our community with new state-of-the-art schools. The proposed school on the Glen Oak Park site would be an example of that commitment."
  • "However, due to recent events and out of respect for the Glen Oak community and in a sign of good faith, I am instructing my administrative staff to suspend the acquisition of property for the Glen Oak Park site effective 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 26th and ask the Board to delay their formal approval for the construction of a new school in the Woodruff Attendance area until a forum can be held."
  • "To those 6 property owners with whom we have already entered into contract, we will honor our obligations." (PPS-BOE Minutes, 04/24/06, pp. 264-265)

April 26 -- Suspended acquisition of property for the Glen Oak Park site effective 9:00 a.m. (PPS-BOE Minutes, 04/24/06, pp.264-265)

April 28 -- $140,000 - 2102 N. Prospect

April 28 -- $89,000 - 2144 N. Prospect

April 28 -- $125,000 - 2212 N. Prospect

May 2 -- $100 - 2102 N. Prospect

May 8 -- "7:00 p.m. PUBLIC HEARING ON THE BUDGET - Ms. Butler called the public hearing on the amendments to the budget to order at 7:00 p.m. There were no speakers. Mrs. Butler declared the hearing closed at 7:03 p.m. The amended budget will be voted on at the May 22, 2006 meeting." (PPS-BOE Minutes, 05/08/06, p. 268)

Again from the Peoria Chronicle, Mahkno's comments on May 25th, 2006 hit the mark,

"The problems this town has does not rise high enough for them to interrupt their daily lives for something messy like politics."

"If 500 people showed up at a council meeting demanding change… you bet they would notice. If 1000 people showed up at a council meeting demanding change… the council would get restless. If 10,000 people showed up downtown for the council meeting, demanding change… we would have a revolution in local politics. But… that would interrupt their baseball or basketball game. It might interrupt American Idol. We know American Idol is more important anyways"

Please wake up "Rip Van Winkle" and to the ramparts!!!!!

May 9 -- $98,000 - 2126 N. Prospect

May 9 -- $120,000 - 2206 N. Prospect

May 10 -- $133,500 - 2208 N. Prospect

May 11 -- $90,000 - 2142 N. Prospect

May 12 -- $82,000 - 2138 N. Prospect

Peoria County Government - Property Tax Information (please click link, then search by address or Property ID)

May 22 -- Budget amendment transferred $1.6 MILLION from (20) Operations & Maintenance to (60) Site & Construction/Capital Improvement.

Asked (on 05/22/06) for the statute covering this transfer --- Mr. Cahill's response was that he would have to conduct research to find the statute reference.

(Please note, a follow-up email was sent and still no response has been received from Mr. Cahill to date - 05/26/06.)
(PPS-BOE Agenda, 05/22/06, Action Item No. 8; Amended 2005-2006 Budget, p. 3 dated 5/5/2006, approved by BOE)

(105 ILCS 5/10‑22.33) (from Ch. 122, par. 10‑22.33) Sec. 10‑22.33. Interfund loans. To authorize the treasurer to make interfund loans from (1) the operations and maintenance fund to the educational fund or fire prevention and safety fund, or (2) from the educational fund to the operations and maintenance fund or fire prevention and safety fund, or (3) from the operations and maintenance or educational fund to the transportation fund, or (4) from the transportation fund to the operations and maintenance, educational, or fire prevention and safety fund and to make the necessary transfers on his books, but such loans shall be repaid and retransferred to the proper fund within 3 years. In case such repayment is not made within 3 years the regional superintendent shall withhold further payments on claims authorized by Article 18 of this Act until repayment is made. (Source: P.A. 89‑3, eff. 2‑27‑95.)

105 ILCS 5 / School Code, ARTICLE 10. SCHOOL BOARDS

Any attorneys, any school attorneys out there???? Is this the correct statute? Is there another statute(s) to cover this type of transfer?

May 22 -- "Prior to the moratorium on real estate purchases for the Glen Oak Park School Site, Purchase Contracts for listed property purchases were executed."

(Please note, that it would appear --- from April 24, 2006 at the BOE Meeting (sometime after 6 p.m.) until Wednesday, April 26th effective 9:00 a.m., D150's property acquisition went from 6 to 8 properties.)

(Also, asked (on 05/22/06) who was the signatory on the D150 real estate purchase contracts? --- No identification was provided.
(PPS-BOE Agenda, 05/22/06, Action Item No. 9; PPS-Action Item, May 22, 2006, Background Information, Signed by Guy M. Cahill, Approved by Ken Hinton)

Taxpayers are looking for equal treatment --- they are hoping that the BOE will employ the same "raise the bar, increase the rigor and relevance" standard which Superintendent Ken Hinton announced for increasing Lincoln School Academic Performance for civic engagement and open government for the taxpayer.

Does it seem curious ....

to reference the School Code section for a legal notice ---- yet need to do research to identify the section allowing for the transfer of $1.6 MILLION ?

that D150 seemingly COULD ONLY purchase these properties once D150 made an offer, especially when no intergovernmental agreement has been signed between D150 and the Peoria Park District to develop this proposed site? What happened to the concept of a purchase option?

that D150 is able to expend funds prior to the Public Hearing AND prior to the BOE vote to make a budget amendment to transfer the funds, $1.6 MILLION from (20) Operations & Maintenance to (60) Site & Construction/Capital Improvement?

that any expenditure over $10,000 has to be put out for bid AND the accepted bid has to be approved in a regular (open) D150 meeting by D150 BOE Members PRIOR to the receipt of services .......


and so on . . .