Daily (more or less) commentary on news and events in Carbondale and the Southern Illinois region, with occasional excursions to other locales.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
More on City Council Meeting
For those organizations, did we say, ‘We want a guarantee from you that you are going to succeed,’” McDaniel said. “No, we don’t say, ‘We want a guarantee from you.’ We give them the money and we trust that they will make the best decision that they can.”
However, if you look at the list of social service organizations the city supports (thumbnail #179), you will notice the most any one gets is $48,000. The two the councilwoman cites, Women's Center and Boys and Girls Club, get $12,500 and $30,000 respectively. and have to reapply for them annually. The reading and math proposal provides $150,000 annually, maybe a bit more, over a 5 year period with no provision for termination in the effect the program performs poorly. Hardly the same thing.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
City Council Meeting
Citizen comments on the budget opened up with a parade of council and mayoral candidates including Hugh Williams, Jane Adams, Sam Goldman and Don Monty. Though one speaker, Seymour Bryson, came out in favor of the mayor's proposed District 95 reading and writing program, all the others, including all the candidates, spoke in opposition to it, saying that, even though the projected finances of the city appeared improving, the program had no termination clause during its five-year duration if it proved not to work, and as written, no methods of evaluation regarding its success were included.
Another area of concern brought up was the recreation of the economic development manager position. Don Monty and Jane Adams were both concerned that the specifics of the position were unclear. What was the position's actual title, as it had two different ones in the budget and where was its position in the city's organization chart? Citizen comments closed when a younger community member, Baylon Earles, thanked the city council and manager for their work on the budget and improving the city.
Caught part of council comments on the budget. Steven Haynes expressed some concerns about the proposed economic development manager as far as how it fit into the city's organization. Both Mike Neill and Chris Wissmann focused on the longer term problem facing the city, that of pensions, with Wissmann pointing out, and the mayor concurring, that, given the rate of pension growth, the city would pay more in pensions to retired staff that it would in salaries to employed staff. Wissmann further pointed out the budget contains an increase of $400,000 for health insurance costs and $560,000 for retirement costs, such that hiring a new police officer, in Wissmann's example, was like paying for 1.47 officers.
I left the meeting as Corine McDaniels spoke in favor of the District 95, reading and math program, saying that, while it was true the city needed to concern itself with basic governmental functions, it also needed to work with the schools to help those who are the city's future.
I was mildly amused to see Chuck and Janet Vaught in the audience. Barely retired and returned from a Florida vacation and already back at council meetings.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Summer Enrichment Reading & Math Program
Also of interest is that this new program doesn't warrant a mention in the summary of the budget starting on thumbnail #10. Given that the city plans to spend $750,000 on this new program over the next 5 years, I would think it would get a nod or a note in the summary section of the budget.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Third, apartment dwellers help subsidize the recycling program for the rest of the city as the city doesn't pick up recyclables from apartments of 5 or more units but adds the recycling fee to their water/sewer bill. Finally, due to fuel price increases, the city expects to break even on recycling by the end of this fiscal year. It is much cheaper to haul stuff to Southern Recycling than the 20 miles out to the county dump.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Brent Ritzel's Endorsement of Steven Haynes
More Mayoral Meetings
AN EVENING WITH THE CANDIDATES FOR CARBONDALE MAYOR
The Arbor District Neighborhood Association has invited Mayoral Candidates Joel Fritzler, Steven Haynes, Sam Goldman and George Maroney to a meet and greet on THURSDAY, MARCH 24, FROM 6:30PM TO 8:30PM. The event will take place at Arbor District President Sandy Litecky ‘s home at 603 W. Walnut. Parking is allowed on the north side of W Walnut, west side of Maple and in the lot of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church at the corner of Poplar and Walnut. The Litecky ‘s home is located due west on the south side of Walnut - about a half block.
The evening will focus on neighborhood issues.
This will be an opportunity to meet the candidates in casual conversation. Sandy will have a prepared list of questions that she will ask the candidates at some point in the evening. They will each be invited to respond.
For more information contact Sandy at 549 9571
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
However, one does need to consider that a large number of those members are corporate businesses with headquarters elsewhere (Huck's, Wal-Mart, Kroger, to name a few), business members that do not have a location in Carbondale (Sam's Club, 17th Street Bar & Grill, Trails End Lodge) and a number of locally owned business members with businesses here but live outside of Carbondale (that's a problem both George Maroney and Joel Fritzler have alluded to in their interviews).
Monday, March 21, 2011
Metropolis Honeywell Plant Update
Remember that uranium enrichment plant that's locking out its workers? How good an idea is that? - HuffPost: "At the Honeywell Specialty Materials plant in Metropolis, Ill., the sole U.S. refinery that processes uranium for use in nuclear power plants, a union lockout has left temporary workers in charge of the facility. The locked-out members of United Steelworkers have erected 42 crosses in front of the Honeywell plant in memory of coworkers who succumbed to cancer in the past decade. Twenty-seven smaller crosses represent colleagues who survived a brush with cancer. When the plant began hiring replacement employees after the June lockout, the NRC found that management coached candidates on how to properly answer questions on a required examination to work there. According to the NRC, the temporary workers were given answers prior to questioning and were helped during the course of the evaluation process if they became confused. "The labor force was locked out and the Honeywell facility was trying to qualify as many operators as they could to make sure the plant could operate," NRC inspector Joe Calle said. "The process got overwhelmed, so to speak." Honeywell is run by big-time Obama backer David Cote.
City Council Forum
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Jane Adams Meet & Greet
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Granted the business may not have made the mess, but the person who made it is probably not going to come back to clean it up and business should not wait until cited by the city before taking action. Downtown needs more pro-activity and less re-activity.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The Southern on Lowrey
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The thing that struck me most about the forums was George Maroney's sense of humor. He didn't show much of one during his interviews or meet & greets earlier in the campaign but it certainly came out during these two events. Fritzler, only the other hand, wasted a good opportunity to differentiate himself from his opponents Wed. night during the "pose a question to your opponent" section of the forum and chose to ask what their favorite pizza topping was.
Overall the candidates acquitted themselves adequately. Suprisingly, I heard little mention of either downtown development or development of the northeast section of the city. Haynes and Goldman were mushc more general in their responses than were Fritzler and Maroney. Fritzler would like to remove moneys generated by the hotel tax from the Convention and Tourism bureau (which has funded a number of Mayor Cole's trips over the years) to the city's General Fund and would reactivate the city's street sweepers which were put into storage to save the city $200,000 per year, despite the fact that the city is still paying on them.
Maroney is also concerned about city cleanliness, though he didn't get as specific as Fritzler, feels that zoning regulations should be loosened and is very concerned about the amusement park completed proposed for Marion, which he feels will hurt Carbondale greatly if it comes to fruition.
Based on what I have seen from these events so far, it looks as if the election is really between Fritzler and Maroney
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
The Southern Moving
Friday, March 4, 2011
American Tap Lot
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Being for the Benefit of....
Benefit to support Ranchhod Hospice and Orphan Care Center, Kabwe Zambia
Emma's Revolution Concert and Silent Art Auction (sponsored by Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship and Cousin Andy's Coffeehouse)
Saturday, March 5, 2011, 7 p.m. Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship
Admission at the door: $18 for adults, $10 students
Meet the Candidates
League of Women Voters of Jackson County forums:
March 9, 7-8:30: Candidate Forum for Mayoral Candidates at Civic Center
March 21 7-8:30 Candidate Forum for half of Council Candidates at Civic Ctr
March 23 7-8:30 Candidate Forum for half of Council Candidates at Civic Ctr