Sunday, March 6, 2016

QUALITY OF LIFE vs quality of life

Before we can move forward to Part 2 of Bloomington In Crisis, I felt it necessary to have some clarity to better understand further discussion.

  Our local elected representatives take an oath when elected.
 What does that mean to you and I? What does that vow affect on a local level?
First and foremost, it vows by their affirmation - their sworn promise - among other things, to uphold the Illinois Constitution.
That compels an examination of exactly what that is.
  A quick review of the applicable language for this discussion reads from the 
Preamble of the Illinois Constitution that City Council Alderman are responsible and accountable to the citizens to uphold - or exercise - the following:
1.  To maintain a representative and orderly government;
2.  To provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people;
3.  To insure domestic tranquility.
  Article 1, Section 23 of our Illinois Constitution further establishes this and reaffirms the obligations City Council Aldermen are legally sworn to:
a.  To secure the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;
b.  secure these rights; and
c.  protect our property.
  Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution declares that a Home Rule Unit* - which Bloomington is ** - may perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare.
  What this Section of the Illinois Constitution essentially says in the legalese of Constitutional phraseology is the same thing that our Constitution mandates in its Preamble and Article 1,, Section 23: that the Home Rule Unit authority of Bloomington not only has the power to perform these functions, but is obligated to provide them.  What it does not state or imply is that local government officials may, at their whim,  ignore or deviate from providing these necessary, basic and fundamental requirements.
  What the supreme law of Illinois inherently identifies in these mandatory exercises is the requirement that our elected Alderman provide for and  guarantee the furtherance and protection of our Quality of Life.
  Quality of Life is a term citizens hear tossed around quite a bit lately, especially by our local government officials and elected Alderman. Quality of Life is a primary reason given to justify many of the components you will read about in the next Part of Bloomington In Crisis.
 Unfortunately, it appears that the quality of life referred to in the supreme law of the land is not the same quality of life being forced on Bloomington.
That Quality of Life is and has been ignored for some time and has been redefined by the City Council and local officials.
  So, lets set things straight and understand exactly what Quality of Life is. Quality of Life belongs inherently to the citizen. Quality of Life is not a thing that can be transformed or redefined by the whims of government, and it's not something government regulates or has control over.
Quality of Life belongs to the Citizen.
Quality of Life is accomplished by nothing less than the fundamental, foundational and basic elements guaranteed by the Illinois Constitution.  These basic elements are what lays the foundation for the things that are necessary for us to be able  to strive for, for us to be able to attain and achieve life, liberty and to pursue happiness.  
First and foremost, things that make our City function properly and effectively. Things like streets and roads that are maintained and driveable. Things like adequate sewers we can rest assured that will provide their expected function. Things like the basic infrastructure necessary to live life happily without unnecessary inconvenience. And, protection from harm - any harm - including harm from the government. We should not overlook things like reasonable costs and taxes that make enjoyable living in our City possible, but reasonable, necessary and bearable costs and taxes.
These genuine quality of life issues is what our elected Alderman swore an oath to and promised to provide us. By their oath and under the pretense of law, they promised. I ask, have they lived up to their promise? To their oath?
  Over the last few years the definition and identification of Quality of Life and Quality of Life priorities has been altered by local government administration.  Unfortunately, this new definition has failed to include the otherwise basic, fundamental and foundational needs envisioned by the authors of our Constitution. Sadly, and to the detriment of the City and to the citizen, this new urban and millennialist view has been accepted  and adopted by the majority of our elected Alderman,  and despite what we continue to read in our Illinois Constitution, displacing fundamental protections. While we still hear the terms, “health, safety and welfare”, the elements and components that define and identify them are absent in application.
  Quality of Life priorities are now defined as cultural, entertainment, recreational and even environmentally green and beautification priorities.  These factors have now displaced fundamental Quality of Life basic needs.  This is why citizens of Bloomington are witnessing the rapid decline in infrastructure standards, maintenance and repair along with the absence of any improvement in these suffering areas.
  While there is certainly nothing wrong with wanting the best of both worlds and that culture, entertainment and recreational activities are desired by the masses, these are simply extra-curricular amenities and activities  that provide further satisfaction once the basics needs are met - they are wants and not needs.  We must recognize there is a fundamental and significant difference between Quality of Life and life recreational satisfaction.
  It’s time the difference is recognized by citizen and City. We must hold elected Alderman accountable and responsible for the oath they swore to and what they swore to uphold.  Our City and our future depend on it.
  You choose: Quality of Life or quality of life?
  If we delay much longer and quality of life gets much better, there will be little the average citizen will be satisfied with in Bloomington and Quality of Life will be a thing of the past.

* Home rule is the power of a local city or county to set up its own system of self-government. Home rule is allowed under the state constitution. The authority to act in local affairs is transferred from state to the local government. Home rule shifts much of the responsibility for local government, especially the power to tax, from the state legislature to the local level.

** For a complete discussion on Home Rule, see


For The Good Of The Community

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bloomington In Crisis
Part 1

     In the almost 3-year absence of CITYWATCH from the local political landscape, significant steps have been taken that has brought the City to an unprecedented point. An itemized review of the progress (and that term is applied indiscriminately), clearly identifies the broad expansion and impact local government has forced on the City.
      Right alongside that expose' sits the explosive increase of local government administrative structure nicely fitted with new managerial/supervisory roles. As well, interestingly woven into the fabric of your government  is the perceived need for community and economic development experts.
     At the same time local service and performance levels appear to have diminished - is that irony, coincidence or just bad luck for the citizens? It would stand to reason that the number of rank and file workers have obviously been eliminated. Does it directly imply that providing basic fundamental services and needs to the citizen is not as important as developing a modern, green, built environments while creating a new culture for Bloomington?
     For all intents and purposes, it would be reasonable to conclude something is seriously out of balance.  Out of sync, if you will.  
    CITYWATCH is not the only one paying attention and noticing and CITYWATCH is not the only one concerned.
     Here at CITYWATCH, we haven't really been absent, we just haven't been here.  Our presence has never wavered nor disappeared. Never left the scene and never stopped paying attention. And, never have we abandoned our efforts to pursue and accomplish the CITYWATCH mission and objective.  But, we are here, now!
     In our revived status, we have decided to once again go public with our concerns, facts and with the wisdom and knowledge to try and inform and educate the public and the community of the critical issues impacting and affecting the citizens of the community.
     The observations of the activity that make up a series of plans resulting in an ongoing transition of our City have become rather alarming. A review of the components of those plans and what the transition is culminating in, leaves much room for concern.  One might almost say our City has been taken over, or, even worse, held hostage.
     The City's agenda with all its plans, taxes and fees, seems disconnected from the reality of fundamental and basic needs and only seems to worsen the state of affairs as our administration and most elected officials continue to ignore the reality.
     An article in Tuesday's Pantagraph emphasizes this and highlights the lack of basic needs for many in our community (
      It begs the question, as the article implies, are we a City facing crisis, or better put, are we already there?
     Yet, our local government continues to make and pursue plans that carve out huge blocks of the City for unnecessary and unwanted development, pursue plans that increase taxes and fees, all the while worsening the state of affairs for many while ignoring basic and fundamental needs - those that are necessary and wanted.
     In part 2, CITYWATCH will address those unnecessary and unwanted plans and  the agenda that seems to have become a trade-off for our community's basic needs.  Could those be the very plans that are pushing our City into a crisis?
     Find out next in Part 2 of Bloomington In Crisis.

For The Good Of The Community

Monday, February 29, 2016

Bloomington's Expression Of The American Ideal -
The Bloomington Culture

  In the effort to preserve Bloomington's posterity and its expression of the American Ideal, our citizens and our community must recognize and embrace Bloomington's own unique and individual culture - what has made Bloomington Bloomington and what sets it head and shoulders above other Midwest cities.  Bloomington's culture is important. Changing Bloomington's culture is immoral.  Silencing Bloomington's expression of Bloomington is wrong!


  Recently, it was announced that there were plans to introduce and implement a culture change in Bloomington.
  Unfortunately, along with the introduction of any agenda to implement culture change in Bloomington comes attached a plan that serves to displace our American ideals and Bloomington's expression of them - and that includes the preservation of our rich past and the future of Bloomington, and what has made Bloomington the City we have grown to know and love. It's why we stay in Bloomington, why others return, why some never leave and why we find reasons to make Bloomington home.
  Let's understand culture change for what it really is, at least according to the present application intended for Bloomington.  It may sound harmless, docile, and in fact, to some, it may even be perceived as a positive change.  But, nothing could be further from the truth in this instance.  In fact, while it may be a subtle transition, its effects are dramatic.
  Culture change is influencing individual and community behavior. By definition, culture change includes measures that are used to redefine personal beliefs and  alter behavior through modifications of first, the community, its surroundings and environment, then the individual through public policy  - that means by passing laws. Culture change is a precursor for constructing the fundamental framework for social engineering.  On a local level, citizens need only look closely at the many Master Plans,  Comprehensive Plans and the myriad of special plans for projects and programs foreign to Bloomington's own traditional culture to recognize the foundation for culture change is being built - and one that requires an ever-increasing financial burden on the tax-paying citizen.
  This is further identified by the redefined quality of life components that alienate the expression of genuine and fundamental quality of life elements of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness  - the life-blood of basic, fundamental needs that  guarantee  genuine quality of life.  Culture change not only steals the rich heritage of our past, it robs us of our future.
  Change the way Bloomington looks and feels in the pre-fab and built environment that present day plans are designing for you, create a new perception of your surroundings,  influence your perception and behavior and the way you act in your new surroundings, and voila', culture change is complete. Essentially, you have a city that is not organic, does not express Bloomington expression, but one that has been designed for you by planners foreign to Bloomington that have conditioned your behavior for the community someone else had decided you should live in.  Gone in the state of altered surroundings and new environment is the Bloomington culture that once existed.  It is replaced by a citywide facelift that forces a new philosophy and new concept of what Bloomington is,  should be, and  one that has removed any remembrance of Bloomington's own original and genuine Expression of the American Ideal.
  The American Ideal is enjoyed because of the exercise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, inalienable rights, private property, limited taxes and limited government.  All these things must work together and we must work together to preserve them.  In fact, not preserving them is anti-American!
  Bloomington's own ideals enabled and preserved from these fundamental cornerstones is marked by its citizens'  individual and collective expression of how these ideals allow us to make Bloomington Bloomington, and what its citizen's need Bloomington to be while embodying a standard to preserve that. Plans created by those foreign to Bloomington or cookie-cutter templates designed for every other city eliminates this organic and natural expression.
  The expression in terms of Bloomington can be traced to its unique Midwest American roots, traditions and character and must be preserved in order to maintain the uniqueness of Bloomington into the future.
  Of course, should this expression of Bloomington's American Ideal become alienated by a strange and foreign culture that is forced on us, this Bloomingtonian  community and the unique and special expression of its culture, and the City as we know it, will die.
  Let’s preserve Bloomington, its American Ideal and the unique and individual expression  that makes Bloomington Bloomington.

For the good of the community.



Yes, it's been quite awhile since we've been around. Unfortunately.
But, fortunately, we're back.
The time has come, however, for us to pick up where we left off.
There's much work to be done.
I hope you're ready for the fight.
We are!
I can hear the music playing -
It's time to dance with the ballerina!

Welcome back, Bloomington.

For the good of the community.