Sunday, August 21, 2016

The problem with domestic violence in Peoria...

... there's a lot of it. Don't believe me, take a look at today's Commitment Report.  A review of previous reports will show there's an on-going problem.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Saving homes in the East Bluff isn't part of the plan

Why are Third District Councilman Tim Riggenbach and associates with the East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services (“EBNHS”) acting as if they are surprised that houses are now being demolished in the East Bluff?

There is no plan or real desire to save historical homes on the East Bluff. Why? Because it would be contrary to the so called "neighborhood revitalization initiative" involving the Greater Peoria Local Initiative Support Corp. ("LISC"), EBNHS, Chicago-based IFF developers, the state of Illinois and the city of Peoria.

In an article that ran in the March 15, 2016 Peoria Journal Star, Riggenbach credited LISC for being awarded a $3 million grant from the Illinois Attorney General to help fund the initiative. The money came from the state’s share of settlement funds from national foreclosure suits against a variety of banks (not clear if this includes US Bank, the owner of the now demolished Frye property).

In the March article, the executive director of  LISC, said his organization looks to build six single-family homes in the East Bluff while rehabbing eight others. The work is to be completed in the next two years.

In the same article, Riggenbach said that 20 dilapidated homes in the East Bluff are scheduled to be demolished in 2016, adding that a recent LISC program involved 120 projects in 60 different East Bluff homes. Those projects range from applying lipstick new paint, to putting on a new porch in some homes.

A look at the work being done on the rehabbed homes will show that the work is sub-par and in several instances, the residents have complained to the EBNHS. One porch in particular was torn out accidentally and had to be replaced, while the concrete stairs on a house in the 1800 block of Wisconsin remain unfinished for close to a year.

The EBNHS, who is responsible for hiring the contractors to work on the rehabbed homes, recently ran out of money claiming “unforeseen expenses” rehabbing the homes in the Community Core. Those unforeseen expenses are said to include a new furnace for one property, garage repairs for another property, something that cost $4,337.57, something that cost $10,109.80 and something else that cost $15,000.

The East Bluff Neighborhood Special Services District Contract between EBNHS and the City of Peoria, was recently revised to allow LISC to restructure the EBNHS Board, following a retreat with the City of Peoria.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Everything you need to vote...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Black Lives Matter: A lesson for those who care to learn

Cartoonist Kris Straub has come up with a simple, cartoon strip
that neatly summarizes the stupidity of such arguments.

A simple, quick lesson on the Black Lives Matter movement vs making the flip statement that “All Lives Matter."

To argue that Black Lives Matter, is not the same as arguing that others don’t – simply imagine a silent “too” at the end of the movements name. It’s just there is a major issue that we need some special focus on right now – like the burning house.

Black Lives Matter is an urgent call to action, but All Lives Matter is just a glib sentiment. The difference is as stark as that between “I love you”, and “Don’t you just love people?!”

It is easier for those who might benefit from this unjust status quo to flat-out deny it exists, than to check their own privilege.

Should all lives matter? Yes. Do they? No. That’s why we need the Black Lives Matter movement and a president smart and progressive enough to understand that.  Source

Friday, August 12, 2016

East Bluff: Strong PPD presence McClure & Prospect

Possible convenience store shooting... and WMBD TV was at the scene. A victim showed up at Methodist with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. PPD not sure if the shooting took place at the gas station.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

SEVERAL members of Peoria's Black community...

UPDATED: Video from last nights' City Council meeting. Jump to the Citizens' Opportunity to Address the City Council @ the 1:45 mark.

Call for At-Large City Councilwoman Beth Akeson to resign. Letting the Council know that they are not pleased with their decision to remain silent in the wake of Akeson's tweets, BLMPeoria and supporters have formally put the Council on notice.

The meeting was inclusive of a constituent of First District Councilwoman Denise Moore letting her know "exactly" how many feel about the new grocery store that replaced Aldi.

Check back here tomorrow for a more thorough account of exactly what transpired at one of the Peoria City Council's most interesting meetings Ever!

At-Large Councilwoman claims tweets regarding Black Lives Matter was a "mistake"

UPDATED with video:

It was mentioned on Twitter that Akeson met with "African-American leaders" before her press conference. Who What Where When and Why hasn't that been reported?

Akeson stated that none of her colleagues on the Council have asked her about her tweets, but indicated that they may be discussing it behind her back.


This afternoon, before a packed house, Peoria City Councilwoman Beth Akeson addressed racist tweets aimed towards people who she claimed are "ill equipped" to have children and Black Lives Matter, calling the tweets a mistake:

Photos and tweets from Ryan Piers of  WMBD1470
Although  a reporter from Peoria Journal Star was present at today's press conference, this story has been brewing for more than a week, and the Peoria Journal Star has not yet published a report.  In the meantime, WMBD 1470 and WMBD 31 have done a great job of covering the story, with Shane Gustafson's coverage of the story resulting in his being blocked from Councilwoman Akeson's Twitter page.

Read Shane's play by play from the press conference here. Watch WMBD31 News for the full story.

Photo: Shane Gustafson WMBD31 Twitter

Change Peoria and Illinois State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth...

found tweets of At-Large Peoria City Councilwoman Beth Akeson disturbing and important enough to make a statement against them. However, the local newspaper has yet to run a single article on anything related to the unfortunate tweets that Akeson sent to the City of Peoria via the #Peoria hashtag.

First District Councilwoman Denise Moore, who reportedly thinks Akeson’s tweets reflect poorly on Peoria City Council, is the only member of the Council who has commented. Moore told 1470WMBD:
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion. One would hope that the opinion that someone expresses is based on having all the facts. In this particular case, I don’t believe that was the case. My hope is that she takes the time to become learned about issues prior to making such public statements.
Change Peoria is calling on Akeson to meet with Black Lives Matter Peoria, concerning the controversial tweets, which many view as racist. Members and supporters of BLMPeoria plan to attend tonight's City Council meeting in protest.

Akeson, has since planned a press conference for this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. at Peoria City Hall. The Open Discussion, which was planned with BLMPeoria and Akeson for Wednesday, August 10, 2016, has been postponed. Akeson will be a guest on WMBD’s Greg and Dan Show at 7:40 a.m. Wednesday. From the BLMPeoria Facebook page:

Click here to go to  BLMPeoria Facebook Page

Friday, August 5, 2016

Call to action for Peoria's Black community to address Beth Akeson Tweets

Click here to review the video...
BLMPeoria's Facebook page is featuring a video from Ms. Chama St. Louis addressing her disappointment at tweets that At-Large Councilwoman Beth Akeson sent to the City of Peoria (#Peoria) and the Black Lives Matter (#BLM) national group. The video is a thoughtful and passionate call to action to Peoria's Black community, who Ms. St. Louis (and others) feel need to step up.

Akeson, first tweeted a derogatory statement on July 11, 2016, and then followed up with a shout out to @BLM and @DonaldTrump on August 16, 2016. 

On July 13, 2016, State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth and Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis attended a vigil in Peoria that was held after the shooting deaths of two black men at the hands of police officers. At that time, the Mayor made the following statement:
Mayor Ardis:  I think that the “black lives matter” is extremely relevant and I don't think it's a racist statement, I think people are getting a little bit hung up. Nobody said black lives matter more than anybody else's. People don't need to be afraid to say, ‘you're right black lives do matter".
Recently At-large Councilwoman Beth Jensen called for a resolution to support Muslim citizens against "Islamophobia." Councilwoman Akeson was the lone no vote (9-1) on the resolution.

Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth:  “We have to remain unified if we want our communities to be strong and have the ability to flourish because communities divided, fall! What they're saying is that black lives matter, too or black lives matter also, or black lives matter as well. [They’re] not saying that black lives are any more important than anyone else’s but I think what they are saying that black lives aren't any less important than anyone else's.” 
“The fact of the matter of it is there's a great deal of anger out there. Individuals are tired of waking up every day and seeing men, whether it be for having skittles, an iced tea, selling a CD, selling a loose cigarette going for their license an ID people are tired of seeing them killed on video and nothing happening, People are tired of abject violence and seeing police officers who are trying to protect and serve the community and trying to provide an environment so that a peaceful protest can happen. For them to not be able to go home to their families; it's unacceptable."

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Black Lives Matter Peoria to meet with Councilwoman Beth Akeson

Councilwoman's tweets prompt advocates to take action - from CiProud
Recent tweets made by At-Large-Councilwoman Beth Akeson has caused an uproar. The tweets, take direct aim at Black Lives Matter and are viewed by many as racist. The Tweets have since been deleted and Councilwoman Akeson's Twitter page is now locked. (Click images to enlarge.)

Councilwoman's tweets prompt advocates to take action - from CiProud

As a result Black Lives Matter Peoria has opened discussions with Akeson about her Tweets and will be sponsoring an Open Discussion/Town hall Meeting:

BLMPeoria Facebook page.

Monday, August 1, 2016

East Bluff break-in in broad daylight

This story has not been reported in the local media.

On what was a beautiful, Friday afternoon members of the neighborhood watch on the 2400 block of N. Atlantic saw what they believed to be two young men enter the home of a neighbor who had just left for work. The PPD was called and they spent close to thirty minutes trying to talk the culprit out of the home. 

While watching the incident take place, the neighbors talked and discovered that there had been four other attempted break-ins in the area, within the last month.

Police preparing to climb in through the window; the officer couldn't fit.

Friday, July 29, 2016

NAACP calls for national moratorium on charter schools

Last week at the NAACP National Convention in Cincinnati, the delegates voted in a new resolution on charter schools. It’s approval as policy will not be official until the National Board meeting in the Fall of 2016. However, this is a big news story that (I suspect because of the political conventions) has not yet entered the traditional media.

The 2016 NAACP convention voted and approved the following resolution. It originated from the California Hawaii NAACP.

The 2016 NAACP delegates at the national convention called for a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charters.

NAACP chapters in various places have gone rogue supporting charters— know that the force of the national organization is NOT on their side. Read more here...


As the charter school turns ... over

PEORIA — High turnover, of staff and on the board, was a running theme Thursday at the Quest Charter School board meeting.

Though board members didn’t specifically discuss staff turnovers, it was on the periphery of discussions about the budget, staff bonuses, and a back-to-school update. Read more here...

Homicide on the East Bluff

Another clear example of why Special Service District monies should be applied to public safety rather than the low income rental program that Councilman Riggenbach is pushing on the neighborhood.

Thursday evening residents got the rare opportunity to speak with Councilman Riggenbach and Chief of Police Jerry Mitchell about crime in the East Bluff. And then this...

Police are investigating the death of a man found shot in the back yard of an East Bluff house late Thursday.

The victim was found about 10:23 p.m. in the yard of a house in the 400 block of East Republic Street. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a news release from the Police Department.

Earlier in the evening, about 8:48 p.m., a ShotSpotter gunfire detection alert summoned officers to the same block on Republic. However, at the time, police found nothing that would indicate a crime scene.


East Bluff residents discuss quality of life concerns with local figures
Police investigating Thursday night homicide
409 republic male down in yard not breathing

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This is what OSF should be doing in the East Bluff

Johns Hopkins University will give dozens of its employees $36,000 grants toward buying a house in the East Baltimore Development Inc. development during a one-day sale on September 10.

The grant is available to most full-time benefit-eligible employees. The money can go toward buying one of the 42 houses near on 1700 block of Eager Street or renovated rowhouses located on Washington, McDonogh or Chester streets.

The grants, paid for by Johns Hopkins' "Live Near Your Work" program, is part of a larger effort to bring new life to the Towns at Eager Park development area, said Andy Frank, special adviser to Johns Hopkins University's president.

"We want to focus on building a large and diverse community," he said. "We really want to create excitement for this new area and want our employees to take advantage of it."

The new homes, three-story brick-front, one-car garage houses built by Ryan Homes, start at $260,000. Home buyers could get an additional $10,000 if the they use Ryan Homes mortgage loan company.

Johns Hopkins' website suggests home buyers to take advantage of a city tax credit for the first five years of ownership, which starts at 50 percent tax reduction.

Though Johns Hopkins has not said where the one day sale will take place, grants are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Read more here...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Request to reconsider funds issued to East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services on Agenda

At last week's City Council Meeting the Council voted unanimously to release funds from the East Bluff Special Taxing District to the East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services. This week, there is a request to reconsider:

City Council Agenda, July 26, 2016 - Everything you need to vote. - Everything you need to vote.: Register to vote. Check your registration status. Get your absentee ballot. Fast, free, easy, secure, nonpartisan.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What's up with the East Bluff Special Taxing District?

The East Bluff Health & Safety Loan (H&S Loan) is designed for East Bluff homeowners in need of financial help in bringing their properties up to health and safety standards. The Health and Safety Loan is made possible by Special Service District (SSD) funds and EBNHS funds. 

In a letter to the City of Peoria, dated May 26, 2016, the East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services (EBNHS) disclosed that it failed to meet the Health and Safety Loan Program match of $10,109.80 for 2015. Additionally, they have admitted that another $29,447.37 was diverted from the Health and Safety Loan Program.

EBNHS has not disclosed exactly what the diverted tax monies were used for.

EBNHS submitted a plan to pay back the monies to the Health and Safety Loan Program, which included raising rents, and an immediate repayment of $10,000, made possible by a donation. 

A check of the minutes for the EBNHS show no discussion of any deficit in or diversion of the Health and Safety Loan Program monies; nor is there any mention of receiving the donation; or any mention of the decision to divert the donation. Below is a draft of the minutes for the May 19, 2016 EBNHS Board meeting. The draft no longer appears on the EBNHS website:

Why do the homeowners within the East Bluff Neighborhood Special Taxing District continue to settle for this taxation without representation? When will the special taxing district end?


Sounding the alarm... the Peoria Journal Star Editorial Board.
"Allow us to beg the public’s patience ... to sound the alarm, in the perhaps vain hope that local taxpayers will someday have had enough to elect representation that actually analyzes the history of ... subsidies and concludes that they have for the most part not delivered as advertised. Alas, if past is prologue, there will be few if any public objections to speak..., as the populace now sleeps."
Will we continue to accept taxation without representation?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

LISC to have input on East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services Board and Bylaws. Why?


Section 1(f) "The composition of the EBNHS Board shall be restructured and the bylaws revised, as necessary, following a board retreat facilitated by the LISC and the City of Peoria."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

EBNHS diverts Special Service Area funds AGAIN.

"... funds that were specifically designated for the Health & Safety Loan Program were diverted to EBNHS operational expenses and to fund the Community Core initiative. Further, we understand that some of the matching funds that the EBNHS was to contribute to the Health & Safety Loan Program were not deposited in the segregated Health & Safety Program account. In total, we believe that approximately $29,447 of funds have either been used for non-permitted purposes and/or not deposited into the Health & Safety Program in violation of Section 3 of the Agreement."
This statement is from a May 2, 2016 Default Letter the City of Peoria sent to Kristina Gamez, Executive Director of EBNHS:

The EBNHS response - raise rents to pay the money back:

And then the City Council "forgave" the diverted funds and gave them more tax dollars from the East Bluff Special Taxing District:

According to Gamez: The money — about $25,000 — was spent on a new furnace for one property and garage repairs for another, among other things.

City resuming tax payments to east bluff organization...

Rest in peace Mr. Sandberg.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

More shooting: Lexington Hills

Two shot early Thursday morning in Lexington Hills apartment complex

By Journal Star public safety reporter 

PEORIA — Two people were shot at a Peoria apartment complex early Thursday morning. Police were called at 4:37 a.m. to the Lexington Hills apartment complex. Police confirmed two people were shot in the 3400 block of West Oakcrest Drive. Both suffered non life-threatening injuries, police said.

Shooting on Bigelow Street last night

From scanner traffic:

From the local newspaper:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Shootings are up in Peoria

... and nobody's talking about it.

From June 26, 2016 pjstar.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Peoria, "the populace now sleeps."

Sounding the alarm... the Peoria Journal Star Editorial Board.
"Allow us to beg the public’s patience ... to sound the alarm, in the perhaps vain hope that local taxpayers will someday have had enough to elect representation that actually analyzes the history of ... subsidies and concludes that they have for the most part not delivered as advertised. Alas, if past is prologue, there will be few if any public objections to speak..., as the populace now sleeps."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Brunch

Celebrate the East Bluff!  
East Bluff Open House and Mural Dedication
Thursday, November 12, 2015


Riverfront Museum


Prairie Center for Arts - FREE Demo


FREE Art Reception

Combined Opening Reception:
Saturday, November 14, 6:30-8:30pm
Featuring music by guitarist Barry Cloyd. Free admission, donation requested

ISz: desperate times call for disparate measures
November 14-December 19 Preston Jackson Gallery

As if viewing twenty Dali images at once through a kaleidoscope, a Chicago artist’s fantastic compositions barely bring order to a swirling mass of disparate but delightfully surreal combination of patterns, colors and shapes.

A Small Wonder Gift Shop
November 14-December 19 Gallery 3R

A small wonder means small work from local artists and that means work priced for holiday gifts! Gallery 3R is turned into a gift shop for small works of art. Just like a gift shop, buyers may take home the item at the time of purchase. Shop early for the art lover in your life….maybe that person is you! Glass, ceramics, paintings, sculpture, jewelry, original prints and lots more will be on display.

More information...

League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria

Co-sponsored Event:  Storm Water/Combined Sewer Overflow &Possible New Utility Tax

The League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria, with the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club and the Peoria NAACP will host a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9 at the Advanced Medical Transport auditorium, 1718 N. Sterling, Peoria, IL. on the topic of Storm Water and the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) and possible new utility tax.

The event is sponsored at the request of the City of Peoria’s Public Works Department. City staff will make a presentation and answer questions.

Peoria’s storm water issues and CSO problem should have been addressed before 2015, and is the subject of a lawsuit by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The 100% Green Solution to the CSO that the city has proposed to settle the EPA lawsuit against the city is cheaper initially, employs local businesses and labor, but has higher operating costs. And it depends on citizen acceptance. (The alternative to the ‘green solution’ is an initially more expensive pipe solution.)

  • The proposal is strictly based on square footage of impervious surface of each parcel - so residential and commercial (including non-profits and schools) would have the same rate. (Some other nearby communities use a flat residential rate.)
  • The average residential figure of $20 a month for a storm water utility fee starting in July 2016 was suggested at committee meetings.
  • Credits and/or incentives may be used and should be asked about at the Nov 9 meeting. Credits and incentives would possibly be offered because a homeowner or business changes something to significantly lower the amount of storm water going to the city's system.
  • Information and videos of what other communities have done to solve their CSO problems are at:

The city’s staff will be at the meeting to discuss the problem and possible solutions, and answer questions.

For more information: Cheryl Budzinski 309/253-9594;

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Brunch

Vanguard of the Revolution:  

Posted in memory of Manual graduate, and member of Black Panther Party, Mark Clark.

With groups around the country taking on issues of police brutality and accountability, in February, Democracy Now went back 50 years to another movement confronting the same issues. They spent an hour looking at a documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival called "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution." 

It tells the history of the Black Panther Party through rare archival footage and interviews with party leaders, rank-and-file members, journalists — and even police and FBI informants. It features extended excerpts from the film and speak with one its subjects, Kathleen Cleaver, who served as communications secretary of the Black Panther Party and is now a law professor at Emory University. They also speak with Stanley Nelson, the film’s award-winning director. The film is set to play in theaters and air on PBS later this year. Jump to the 9:30 mark for Vanguard.