Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm back...and so is the council.....

First the good news....Tonight the city council of Peoria honored a group of students who will represent our fair city in Germany later this year. The group, a percussion group called Pulses of Hope, a branch of the ELITE Program, is one more offshoot of the well known youth advocate, Carl Cannon. Carl's many contributions to our community could only be described as impressive, and it is with great respect and pride that I can say I know the man, and admire his enthusiasm and passion for the children of our community. We are a better place for his efforts, and we are truly blessed to have him. Well done to the young men and women of Pulses of Hope, and well done, Mr. Cannon.

And now, the bad news. Once again bureaucracy wins out over common sense and fiscal responsibility.

In the form of Item G on the consent agenda, the awarding of the Exclusive Contract to Barracks and Chefs Catering for catering services to the great Peoria Money pit known as the Gateway Building. Surprisingly, it was Councilperson Van Auken who moved to remove this from the consent agenda and objected to the awarding of only two services, saying the original plan was to have four services instead. Guess one of her campaign contributors didn't get the bid. Anyway, the ensuing discussion brought out some interesting points, with Sandberg interjecting that the Gateway building was, indeed, a money pit that has failed to show a profit. He insisted that this latest move was simply doing the same thing and expecting different results (the definition of insanity). Gary favors an open bid process, which was also supported by Gulley, and Beth Akeson suggested that the building simply be rented to groups who would then provide or arrange for their own catering. There were several other suggestions, but when it came down to it, the measure passed with only one nay vote, Sandberg. Even the fiscal conservative Akeson went along with the ludicrous proposal, although the word Exclusive was removed from the proposal, leaving the door open for other caterers to get the contract as well. Frankly, Beth, I would have had more respect for you if you had stuck to your suggestion and voted no with Sandberg.

The remainder of the items went fairly smooth until item 8 came up, the improvement of West Ridge Road with ornamental street lamps. Four of the residents were granted time on the microphone (Tom Stafford, Cathy Kiley, Kevin Sibley, and a fourth speaker, I did not catch their name), and all four were opposed to the idea on the grounds of financial hardship (the city will assess the property owners for a portion of the improvements). A petition was cited which was circulated 4 years ago for the approval of this project, and it was pointed out that many of those residents no longer live in that area or on that street. Apparently 64 signatures were on that petition, and there has been a 60% turnover in the residents of the area since that time. There has to be some sort of obligation being met somewhere, since Councilman Riggenbach, in his fair and unbiased manner, pointed out that he had received 17 calls in favor of the motion and only 3 opposed. Interesting that, when the floor was given to the public, none of those in favor were there to speak. Long story short, the motion passed, with only Gulley objecting. You heard me, Gulley, not Sandberg. Had to be some heavy politicking somewhere.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. Barbara Van Auken wins the "WTF" award tonight for her support of the ludicrous idea to make the section of Loucks Avenue that runs from Sheridan to McClure a two way street to "enhance business accessibility". Really? Barbara, there aren't any businesses between Sheridan and McClure on Loucks. The neighborhood on those blocks are all residential. Furthermore, if you did turn the street two way, when you reached the end of Loucks, you would have to turn right. There are no provisions for creating a left turn lane onto McClure, so you would be turning back into the same area you were attempting to leave. I have absolutely no idea why anyone in their right mind would even think of such an idea. I travel that route daily, since I live off McClure on the East Bluff, and can tell you for a fact that this would do nothing to improve traffic, enhance business, or do anything else that might look like an improvement. One more way to waste taxpayer dollars, I guess.

Noticed also that Councilman Weaver ended up abstaining on several issues due to owning property in the affected areas. Chuck, is there any area of town where you don't own property?

Had to leave at 8 pm, so I didn't catch the rest of the show. I'll check C.J.'s remarks to see what I missed.

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