Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Political Yard Sign

Have noticed a definite uptick in the number of yard signs appearing for one candidate or another. Notably absent are those for Lance Jack, who is the only councilperson running for re-election to their seat.  I have only seen 1 or 2 Jack signs compared to dozens for Kang, Loos and recently Rebel

Monday, March 30, 2015

LAB Meeting

It looks as if La Paisano Taqueria, over on the west side of town, wants to add liquor to its menu offerings. It is just very hard for a restaurant, any restaurant, save a fast food one, to make a profit without offering at least beer as a beverage option on the menu. From the agenda for this Thursday's Liquor Advisory Board meeting

Application for a Class A2 liquor license for Los Chama, Inc. d/b/a El Paisano Taqueria at 100 North Glenview Drive Suite 103

Discussion of proposed changes to the Liquor Code regarding approval of changes in ownership or the nature of the business and requiring identification of all natural persons beneficially owning a liquor-licensed business

Friday, March 27, 2015

Loyalty Oath

The latest kerfluffle in the race for mayor is over loyalty oaths, or rather the signing of one. It appears that in the packet of papers each candidate receives is a loyalty oath, which has been included since the "Red Scare" days of the 1950s. Councilwoman Jane Adams says Mike Henry questioned if she had signed the loyalty oath (he says he did not) and she expanded on the situation in an email sent out today:

Loyalty Oaths in 2015?
In 2015 it’s hard to imagine that whether or not someone signs a Loyalty Oath is an issue in a city campaign. But just before the League of Women Voters debate began, Mike Henry came up to me, leaned very close to me, and in a low voice asked me if I had signed the loyalty oath that is included in petitions for running for public office. He had submitted a FOIA for my petitions, he said, and he didn’t see it.
I was too dumbfounded by his question to make much of a response. He turned and walked away. It was a momentary encounter. But quite disturbing. Why in the world would a Mayoral candidate challenge another Mayoral candidate about signing an obsolete and basically meaningless document?
I posted the incident on my Facebook page, where it has elicited a number of responses. Here is why I found the encounter disturbing:
I am old enough to remember when I had to sign a loyalty oath in order to work as a student worker in the cafeteria at SIU. I was about to embark as a volunteer for Freedom Summer – a project that aimed to gain voting rights and other basic civil rights for African Americans in Mississippi. At the time, many state governments, including Illinois, required all state employees to sign a loyalty oath.
In many places, organizations like the ones sponsoring Freedom Summer (NAACP, SCLC, SNCC, CORE) were considered “subversive”; in Mississippi the State Sovereignty Commission spent a lot of time and energy monitoring our activities. 
Nationally, the FBI kept files on tens of thousands of citizens who protested against the status quo, including participation in civil rights activities. Loyalty oaths could be, and were, used to threaten people’s jobs. Many academics and others – including a number who were refugees from Nazi Germany – were blacklisted. It was not a happy time for defenders of our civil liberties.
Thankfully, those days are behind us. In 1964 the U.S. Supreme Court found that Washington state’s loyalty oath was unconstitutional; as the Southern Illinoisan’s article states, Illinois’ loyalty oath was struck down by the State Supreme Court in 1969.
The Loyalty Oath that Mr. Henry questioned me about sounds increasingly archaic as the Cold War fades into history. As the Southern quotes Jackson County Clerk Larry Reinhardt, “It is a completely irrelevant form.”
If, as Mr. Henry states, the issue of whether or not I had signed the loyalty oath “had been brought to his attention by voters,” and, ”if he “didn’t think much of it after reading it,” why did he approach me in such menacing manner?
Whatever the case, this campaign is not about questioning citizens’ loyalties; it is about the future of Carbondale. As I said after the Southern Illinoisan debate ( video link here), voters have a clear choice: a “can do” attitude vs. “it can’t be done”; a primary concern for the future of the City, its residents and businesses vs. concern for the internal workings of City Hall; enlisting the energy and talents of our community to grow our economy vs. shrinking back to the “core obligations of our city government;” and developing strategic approaches to fiscal constraints vs. continually raising taxes.
My record is clear: During my four years on City Council I’ve written 166 posts (this is number 167) about issues facing the city. If you elect me Mayor, you will know where I stand on issues. And you will know that I will respond to your communications – and respond with respect, whether or not I agree with your views.
As a young woman I risked my life in Mississippi to help make the American promise of “liberty and justice for all” a living reality. There’s not a chance I’ll back down from that commitment now.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sales Tax

I see city council voted to raise sales tax by .25% to help cover the city deficit. However, half of the money is supposed to go to special projects, such as green spaces, bike trails, etc. This I have a problem. the city is running a deficit. This money should go to fill that deficit, not on special projects. $500,000 of the funds from the Saluki Way tax was supposed to go to fund green spaces and bike trail. So far. all I have seen has been some planing for a bike trail along the railroad right of way, which has not gotten much  beyond the planning stage. Get the city's books in order first, then spend money on special projects.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Brightfields Confirmed.

I saw in this morning's Southern that city council voted to issue the special uses permit to Brightfields for the installation of the solar array on the old Koppers property. When I saw the vote ran 5-2 in favor, I guessed that the 2 "no" votes were Jane Adams and Carolin Harvey and my guess proved right.

Bradshaw had already come out in favor of the project and I had heard second-hand that Jack and McDaniel had as well. Fronabarger is generally in favor of projects like this and Monty leaned toward it, with severe reservations, the last time I heard him discuss it.

Adams, however, had moved from strong support for the project to increased questioning about it as controversy and protests from those living nearby had increased. Since Harvey had remained non-committal in public regarding her stance on the development, I figured it a safe bet that they cast the two no votes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

City Council Meeting

You should attend tonight's city council meeting if you have any interest in either the Brightfield's solar project or city taxes as the council will vote on approving the special uses permit for the Koppers land on which the Brightfields project would go as well as a sales tax increase to cover the projected deficit in the budget. And, for pity's sake, if you say that the city should cut waste in order to close the budget deficit rather than raising takes, come prepared to tell the city where it should make the cuts.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Political Yard Signs

Apparently 'tis the season for political yard sign abuse. According to an email I received, the Henry campaign says over 90 of its yard signs have gone missing since their placement. The Adams and Kang campaigns have also reported signs missing or damaged, though not in such large numbers.

I also heard, (secondhand) of a landlord requiring a tenant to remove one candidate's signs from the yard, who then replaced them with signs supporting the other candidate. If true, this violated the tenant's 1st amendment rights six ways from Sunday.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Brightfield's Voting

Voting by council on the special uses permit for the Brightfield's solar array project takes place at the council meeting next Tuesday evening. In a letter to the editor, councilwoman Jessica Bradshaw says she will support the permit. I have heard second hand that council members Lance Jack and Corene McDaniels lean towards supporting it as well and I get the feeling Mayor Don Monty leans towards it as well. I have not heard how council members Jane Adams, Lee Fronabarger or Carolin Harvey will vote, but would guess that since Adams is a supporter of the Gigabit project for Carbondale, a similar forward looking project like Brightfield's would appeal to her.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Additional Taxes

Much like most people, I am not a fan of additional taxes. However, given the difficulty the city currently faces, I would not mind an increase in the sales tax, with a sunset clause, to cover the pension funding deficit. I would not want to see a tax increase to fund any additional city projects until we have current city expenditures back in balance.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New Mall Business

 From the Chamber of Commerce:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting ceremony for the grand opening of Urban Artsy at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, 2015.
Urban Artsy is the newest retail store in University Mall featuring SIU branded items, fraternity and sorority clothing, as well as boutique items for both men and women.  The store is located to the west of the mall’s main entrance near JCPenney.
Representatives of the Chamber, City and business will participate in the ceremony. The event is open to the public.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Though I am seeing more Adams and Henry signage out, the race for city council looks pretty anemic so far with only Adam Loos and Navreet Kang having many signs out.  There are 5 other people running for the council seats, including sitting councilman Lance Jack but no promotion from them yet. Maybe they are saving scares funds until the election gets closer.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Click It or Ticket

The C'dale police department posted the results of  the Click it or Ticket enforcement over Super Bowl Weekend on its website. IT seems they arrested 1 person for drunk driving, cited 6 people for not wearing seat belts and arrested 2 fugitives. Not sure how that compared to a typical Carbondale weekend but seems rather light to me.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mayoral Debate

Missed the mayoral debate/Q&A session tonight but looks as if a lot of people had interest in it as both the Civic Center parking lot and Town Square lots were full. 

Also have seen a number of Navreet Kang signs popping up around town including in the windows of D'lish 7 Spice Grill.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Splash Park Funding Suspended

Governor Rauner suspended funding for all park district construction projects today. Since both the Splash Park in Carbondale and The Hub project in Marion had that funding figured into their budgets, both suspended work today until they get some idea regarding what is going on. It appears that, much like the state appointments of last month, Gov. Rauner stopped funding everything and will then go though the list of grants and decide on a case by case basis as to what funds will get restored for what projects.

Rather raises hob with the Splash Park, since the project organizers had planned on a May opening, just in time for summer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Why Illinois Is in Such a Mess

Charlie Wheeler, of the Public Affairs Reporting Program at UI-Springfield, has a pretty good analysis of why the state is in the financial mess it is in and, no, it doesn't involve unions.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sabor de Mel Ribbon Cutting

In case you are free Tuesday around 11:30, Sabor de Mel will have its grand opening and ribbon cutting

Sabor de Mel Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to be Held at 11 a.m., March 10

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the grand opening of Sabor de Mel with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m., Tuesday, March 10, 2015.
Sabor de Mel is Carbondale’s newest restaurant featuring authentic Brazilian cuisine.  Owners Eduardo and Melba Gasto manage the restaurant and Melba lends her culinary skills to create genuine lunch and dinner fare. 
Representatives of the Chamber, City and business will participate in the ceremony. The event is open to the public.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Southern Illinois Gynastics Academy

I see the Southern Illinois Gymnastic Academy has opened in the old Gold's Gym location in EastGate Plaza. Two locations now, a Marion one and now Carbondale. Glad to see someone managed to find a use for that empty space.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Will be interesting to see if the city actually tickets anyone over uncleared sidewalks. The city contacted businesses after the heavy snow last year but never heard if any tickets got issued. I noticed very few residential sidewalks cleared after last month's snow but saw quite a few people out cleaning them off after this one. Mayor Monty sent out the following this afternoon:

Carbondale’s Acting Mayor Don Monty is urging residents and businesses to promptly remove snow from public sidewalks abutting their properties. Section 17-2-2 of the Carbondale City Code states: “Every owner and every person in charge or control of any building or lot of land within the City fronting or abutting a paved sidewalk . . . shall remove and clear away or cause to be removed and cleared away snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain from a path of at least thirty inches in width along the entire length of the sidewalk which fronts or abuts their property and the roadway.”  The snow, sleet, ice or freezing rain must be removed within 48 hours after the precipitation ends.

Acting Mayor Monty is particularly concerned that snow be removed from sidewalks in business districts, along heavily traveled streets (such as those on the City’s snow routes), along streets leading to schools or the University, and in areas with high densities of residents. He noted that he had driven through parts of Carbondale today and was pleased to see that some businesses and residents had promptly removed the snow from sidewalks. However, it is clear that many have made no effort to remove the snow, and in some cases persons clearing parking lots and driveways have deposited piles of snow on public sidewalks. It is also a violation of the City Code for persons to deposit snow on public sidewalks or around fire hydrants. After the previous heavy snowfall two weeks ago, many of the sidewalks were never cleared.

The reason for removing the snow from sidewalks is for public safety. When the sidewalks are not cleared of snow, sleet, ice and freezing rain, pedestrians are often forced into the streets. This is not safe. People can slip and fall causing serious injuries on snowy or icy sidewalks.  Persons with disabilities are particularly affected when sidewalks are not kept accessible. Children walking to school may try to walk in the street rather than trudge through snow. People without cars who need to get to stores may have to abandon their shopping due to safety concerns. Carbondale has many university students who do not have cars and rely on walking to get to the University or elsewhere in the community. As a community we all are trying to assist SIU in attracting and maintaining students, but Acting Mayor Monty has received messages from students expressing dismay over the failure of businesses and residents to clear snow from sidewalks.

The deadline for removing snow from public sidewalks from the most recent snowfall is Friday evening, March 5. Anyone who has failed to do so is subject to a fine. Also, anyone who has deposited snow on public sidewalks is subject to a fine. Acting Mayor Monty said that he has become very upset by the failure of many people, especially in the areas listed above, to remove the snow from public sidewalks. He and City Council members have asked the City administration to actively enforce the snow removal ordinance. Enforcement is a last resort measure, but many efforts to educate businesses and residents have not resulted in voluntary compliance; therefore, the time for enforcement has arrived.

Enforcement of the snow removal requirements is done by the Building and Neighborhood Services Division which can be reached by calling 457-3237. Persons who desire to complain about snow not being removed from sidewalks should call that number or may contact the City Manager’s office at 457-3226.

Acting Mayor Monty can be reached at 457-3229.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Energy Solictors

According to this notice from the city, we have door to door solicitors in Carbondale until the end of April. They represent Liberty Power, a energy aggregator competing with Homeland Energy, the city's current energy provider.. Liberty Power offers rates of .055 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to Homeland Energy's rate of .058. However, Homeland Energy offers 100% green energy while Liberty Power, it appears, does not. To me, paying .003 more per kilowat hour for renewable energy is certainly worthwhile. However, you do have the option of changing over to Liberty, all you have to do is sign the paperwork the solicitor offers.

Liquor Commission Agenda

Looks as if the state's decision to allow video gambling in the state has opened the floodgates here in Carbondale as there are 4 places on the Commisison's agenda tonight looking to get a liquor license for a video gambling/gaming establishment. I have to wonder if the Commission will show any concern about the number of these establishments wanting to open up within such a short period of time. I remember last year the council denied a special use permit to an auto loan company because of the number of similar establishments already in operation in Carbondale, nigh only eleven if I recall correctly. Here we have four video gaming businesses wanting to open at almost the same time with no concern, that I have have heard, coming from the council.