Thursday, October 30, 2014

FireFly: For Those of You Who Have Forgotten the Millions of Taxpayer Dollars Lost With This "Should Have Been Foreseen" Boondoggle

Enter "FireFly" in the Search Bar in the upper left hand of this blog. Especially, the JSEB and some JS Reporters, "Frick" and "Frack", the two who called me IN PRINT weird and a freak. And the JS reporter who added an upstairs bedroom to my one story ranch house in order to make me the criminal instead of the victim. And I was the one who was dumb enough to report the theft.

Peoria County Administrator and a Majority Of Board Members Seem Poised to Lend ELM of Peoria Millions

Lee Graves, who founded ELM, is a VERY wealthy person who is smart enough to know that if he can get millions from Illinois taxpayers at an interest rate estimated to be 3%, that he would be a fool not to take advantage of this taxpayer handout.. If Graves's business is so financially stable, he could fund the money personally, use Venture Capital Investors or borrow all the money needed from the banks himself.

Banks will always lend the money when they have the taxpayers backing. In event of default, the banks ALWAYS stand first in line to get repaid.

The sad part about Grave's maneuver is that County Board Members nor their administrator are competent loan officers. In the 10 years, I pointed this flaw out numerous times. I was able to stop one and possibly two, wealthy business persons from taking advantage of the boards lack of experience.

In my years on the board, no one in administration EVER checked to see if the jobs promised ever happened. Several of the county loans soured, especially FireFly. I was the only board member who consistently pointed out the flaws in FireFly's presentation. The leading local politician who strongly supported the loan was David Leitch.

Look up "FireFly" on my search bar for my blogs on this major boondoggle. I told our administrator at the time of the loan, that FireFly did not need a few million from Peoria City and Peoria County but that they needed several hundred million to develop, market and distribute their batteries. Our administrator, Patrick Urich, now Peoria City Manager, did NOT advise board members to turn down this bad loan. At the time, Peoria County did not even have a Financial Manager, a point I campaigned on in 2000. Board members who are paid around $7,000 a year are hardly qualified to be loan officers.

The JS Editorial board should take up this issue, BEFORE a decision is made by the County Board and the recipient laughs all the way to the bank as many other recipients have done over the past approximately 20 years.

Chad Grimm - A Jump From Health Club Manager to Illinois Governor Would Be a Halloween Nightmare

Union Democrat bosses throw 6 figure dollars to this Libertarian's non-campaign, believing, probably correctly, that the additional votes he would draw would come from disgruntled Republicans and Independents. and stick this near bankrupt state to four more years of disastrous Democrat rule.

Just a  another dirty trick by dirty Democrats and dirty union bosses

So sad that this country and workers are led by so many Socialists masquerading as ordinary U.S.A. citizens looking after everybody's'  best interest, but in reality, their interests; the loot they gain by being reelected.

Grimm is regarded as loose cannon but the Libertarians could care less. They just want anyone whose mouth moves to be on the ballot. Grimm has already run for two offices in Peoria and lost badly. Reports are that he recently addressed 8 schools. About what? Physical education? To slip in remarks to pass on to their parents to not vote for Republicans is what I've been told. Who made this decision? What do we have well paid health and physical education teachers for?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bladder Cancer Chemo Treatments a Success?

I'll know before the day ends tomorrow, How do I feel about it? Well, I'm pretty much a positive pragmatist. Never heard of a positive pragmatist? Whatever will be, will be, and I'll go on living for the next day to come. And the warm days of playing tennis in the southland.

"Frick" and "Frack" Boast of Accomplishments Not Yet Accomplished

Today's "Word on the Street" written by 2nd rate reporters at the JS brag about the RFM, the  nearly completed Marriott Courtyard and the Louisville Slugger Complex as "done deal' accomplishments for the community

Yup, done deals, but any accomplishments of the three above mentioned, are waiting in the wings. Despite that the taxpayers of Peoria have a major stake in all, figures like attendance, censuses, financial stability, etc. are difficult to come by. We seem to have a local newspaper that finds it more important to sell ads than report the news. The JS does run most obits 3 or 4 times so it looks to visitors that we have an awful lot of people dying in the neighborhood.

And didn't the Civic Center lose a bundle last year, Believe I blogged on that.  (Interested in what I wrote? Just enter "Civic Center" in the upper left hand corner 'Search Bar' on this blog to find my older blogs) No doubt a blessing it was built but it's recent expansion is casting some concern whether it will be a financial success. Maybe Bradley would have built a basketball stadium on campus making games more of a student draw. And hockey ice would not be a problem for the basketball players and slick court flooring. Maybe the IHSA might find a campus setting more desirable and not so close to Big Al's and other downtown vices..


Bustos Ranked 16th Out of 100 Being Best in Controlling Government Wastefull Spending.

And many wonder how Illinois is so financially strapped. Oh, yes, blame it all on Republicans and George Bush.

And the Republican Mayor of Washington, Il. has thrown his support behind Democrat Quinn because Quinn brought financial and other aid to his community when it was literally destroyed by a tornado or series of.

Like as if a Libertarian Governor maybe named Darth Vader wouldn't have done the same??????? Or a more likely Republican Governor named Rauner wouldn't have done the same??  Even George Ryan would have done the same! Why George even gave $2 million of your taxes to the privately owned baseball club but that didn't stop the City of Peoria giving the owners an extra $1.6 million last year. Plus the debate-able figure of $5 million the City gave to the private owners when the stadium was being built. Politicians have no problem finding worthwhile projects to support with YOUR MONEY.

And yes, I endorse likable and competent Judy Topinka and capable Dan Rutherford, who recently got the "short end of the stick" by the liberal media, any time he runs for ANY political office.

And Bobby Shilling over Bustos? Any day.


So if Democrat Lisa Madigan saved the State of Illinois $15 Billion and all highly ranked Democrats like Quinn and a couple hundred other highly ranked Democrats did the same, why can't Illinois pay their bills??

Oh, blame it on George Bush. Ok, I understand.

Peoria County Deficit Totals $5.5 Million,. Not $3 Million as the JS Publishes

$3.5 million budget deficit, $1.5 million Highway Department deficit and $500,000 withdrawn from Emergency revenues. And, yes, Heddington Oaks, the relatively  new County nursing home, lost $900,000.00 in the FIRST HALF OF FISCAL YEAR 2014 despite $1.5 million support from Peoria County property owners who also support 17 OUT OF PEORIA COUNTY clients who pay no property taxes to Peoria County.

To make up some of these deficits, most of which will still be around at this time next year, the County plans to raise property taxes, raise fees, and cut staff. When you cut staff that means you already had too many unnecessary people on the payroll.

How did the County get in this serious financial situation? Ask the Democrats, who control the board. .Like Allan Mayer, who is up for election with the Republican candidate more than qualified to do a better job than Mayer. Mayer, as he personally states, has strong ties to the Democrat mess in Springfield. Mayer is a career Democrat politician who believes one balances a deficit budget by spending more.

For a more competent board member candidate like Oyler to lose this race would only prove the point, that no matter how incompetent the incumbents are; they are extremely difficult  to unseat.

And remember, all the Peoria County Democrats voted to own the Peoria Riverfront Museum building. The museum is proving to be a major financial disappointment. Firing the administrator and replacing him will NOT increase attendance and make the museum financially stable now nor in the future.

Journal Star Endorses Rauner - Then Criticizes Him For Soliciting Skilled Workers From Overseas

JS - Do you think the Editorial Writers sometimes live in a cave? Most of the business community have for years claimed not enough U.S. students were taking the hard courses that lead to jobs like medical doctors, engineers, scientists, high tech,etc. These business leaders and even unions have appealed to parents, high school and college leaders to entice more youth to take these hard courses.

Those appeals are not and have not worked for years so business leaders appealed to immigration to open the doors to foreign graduates who thrive on hard work during their schooling. Stop setting ridiculous quotas on skilled foreigners and cut back drastically the number of immigrants that are allowed into this country bringing few, if any, work skills.

Look at all the skilled people working at Caterpillar, Keystone, the Ag Lab, our Medical Doctors, hospitals, etc., who are from foreign countries. But the JS says Rauner is taking jobs away from local workers because of his support of common sense immigration measures that help stop companies from sending more work overseas.

Where skilled workers abound.

These remarks by the JS Editorial staff are attempts to tone down their endorsement of a competent business leader and throw a steak to a proven incompetent Quinn, offsetting their endorsement of Rauner, an endorsement probably dictated by their boss, Gateway Media.

Whenever a Republican holds a minority stake in a business that commits errors, the Democrats and the Liberal media place all the blame on most all Republican candidates. Democrat incumbents, according to the liberal media, can do no wrong, yet they are the ones that have put citizens in a serious state of unease.

I note that GM errors on ignition problems alone have caused 30 known deaths and hundreds of injuries. Also air bag defects have caused many deaths and injuries. Does the JS and the liberal medias condemn GM and car manufacturers and the Democrats who support them and suggest that buyers avoid buying from these companies? Or criticize people like Social Democrat George Soros for his investments in companies that lay off or close plants or do they just need Republican businesspeople politicians to blame when good intentions go wrong in companies in which the Republican candidate does NOT have a controlling interest.??

As I've written many times, the best people for the difficult road ahead, do not run for political office for fear of the gorilla liberal press will take every opportunity to tear their personal lives apart. Franklin Roosevelt had a mistress, John Kennedy had many trysts and seductions; brother Ted swam and ran for his life and let his alleged "mistress" drown, Bill Clinton having oral sex at the White House yet the liberal press, says "boys will be boys". Note these are all Democrats

Republicans have some illicit loves also; allegedly Dwight Eisenhower. And we all know about the extremely competent General who was forced from his post causing a lack of his leadership as one of the MAJOR failures thereafter in Iraq. And left the leadership to an incompetent I nickname OBO because he apparently never had a school nickname. Most unusual?

What a shame that the best are like the rest of us; far from perfect.

Quinn has had 6 years. Look to Illinois to be totally bankrupt with Quinn at the helm for FOUR MORE YEARS.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Friends, I question your intelligence if you cast a vote for 6 years of failure. Four more years of Quinn will see Illinois as a bankrupt state.

I'm sending this from my "Think Pad". Please THINK carefully before you vote. Voting the party line must go the way of the dinosaurs.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chicago Bears - Wait Till Next Year

Or next decade with this coaching staff, quarterback and 50% of the players. Remind me of the Chicago Dubs. Look good one game and like s--t the next 2 out of three. Good thing I was multi-tasking today or would have been a waste of my time watching.

"Soldier Girls" A Must Read Non- Fiction Book

Written by Helen Thorpe detailing the battles of three women at home and at war. Not for the faint-hearted. I couldn't put the book down. So exhilarating and so sad.

Drug Hypocrisy Rampant in the U.S.A.

Comic strip in the liberal St. Louis Dispatch titled 'Parenting No-No's Lesson #2 by Terri Libenson - The Pajama Diaries, shows a couple toasting their daughter with glasses of alcohol while holding hands and proudly saying "To our little drug prevention expert" upon her graduation from D.A.R.E.

Rahm Emmanuel, Chicago's Mayor  has it right. Most police chiefs in the area have it wrong.Alcohol is by far the worst widely used home wrecker and killer in the U.S.A. How many "closest alcoholics" in Peoria alone? I estimate the figure to be in the 10,000 range including one in my immediate family.

In 2010, out of 43,000 vehicular deaths in the United States of America, 16,000 were contributed to alcoholic abuse.

Most alcoholics will not admit they are alcoholics just like drug users and abusers will adamantly deny to any "bluenose" that  they use drugs of any kind.

Last night in Peoria, Il. every place that sells liquor by the glass or open bottle, Country Clubs, bars, night clubs, etc.,were near capacity and some stayed that way until 4:00 A.M. Plus another 35,000 were drinking at home or smoking illegal pot. No, I do not condone heroin, meth, hash, etc., or the abuse of legal prescription drugs.One does not have to tell me that the use of pot ALWAYS leads to using stronger drugs any more than using ordinary LEGAL pain pills can lead to an addiction. 

We legalized booze many decades ago. No way would the people allow the privilege to drink openly be  taken away. Yet we have failed to legalize a far less dangerous drug, marijuana,  that is widely used and contributes next to no vehicular deaths and destroys a fraction of the homes that the abuse of alcohol does.

One Police Chief in the area said stupidly, "It would set a bad example". What a hypocrite.The only Chief that got it near to right was the Bartonville Chief of  Police. The others were afraid of being voted out of their lucrative jobs.

Of course, many working in our failed drug intervention programs would lose their jobs including the gung-ho door busters ironically called 'Swat Teams'.They could be trained, if trainable, to be drug preventions specialists and the money collected on taxes could be used to support the care and treatment of those addicted to any drug including the worst one, alcohol.

Gun killing by gangs fighting for space in the illegal drug trade, would eventually fall by 75% in the U.S.A. The killings by  and in Mexican and U.S. A., etc.,drug cartels, would decrease dramatically.

I do not, nor never have used any drug besides booze and the only time I got drunk was once in college and at that time I could not afford a car so my buddies took me home. My parents never told me not to drink; they drank very little and my Dad stopped smoking,never in the house or car, at 55, but they warned me as did my grade school teacher, not to abuse either. But I do know that most parents who think their juveniles are not using and sometimes abusing liquor and are not smoking pot, are living in "ivory towers".Even kids who are highly religious hang out with their peers on usually very regular times without parental supervision, which is impossible to always provide, will, when they get older, often admit that yes, they did smoke a little pot, drink and have sex. Or worse that they may never admit. 

Whatever legal pot distribution system installed such as in Colorado, will be flawed as ALL humanoids are flawed. Any one who says they never committed an immoral act, is a liar Many believe that attending church in a church building will absolve them of their sins. Or go to confession. B------t.

So sad that so many people who could be productive, as Emmanuel says, are instead wasting away in jails and prisons. The righteous have caused more problems in societies that they could possibly believe. But they are similar to their kids who cheat in the classroom, steal from them, drink their booze when no adult relative is around, have sex before marriage, have sex by 13, etc., will deny, deny and deny.

This has never been a politically correct blog site. And this blogger has never been convicted of anything in a court of law. Neither am I a "bluenose" and would hope I will never become one.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Guns: They Will Never Be Removed From Civilain Ownership Nor Will All These Guns Be Registered

No matter whether their are a million or more interpretations of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution or the 14th Amendment to the Bill of Rights. A most interesting read is "The SECOND Amendment", a biography written this year by Michael Waldman. The book includes a couple dozen of pages of backup notes and references to the hundred or more books witten on this subject..

Mr. Waldman has an impressive background. He sums up this well researched document of the much of the non-lethal "gun battles" that started nearly 200 years ago and rage to this day, "We can be true to the spirit of the Constitution and the animating forces behind the Second Amendment if we understand that above all else, whenever possible, the ability to make and set gun and other policies through the messy, imperfect democratic process is the ultimate 'right of the People'".


Peoria, Il. Over Built in Retail and Taxpayer Funded Public Entities?

Kmart closing and another large retailer on the brink. Civic Center with unusually high losses does not bode well for the new hotel complex, the PRM at the beginning of a predictable long losing streak (when you ask the local public what they would like to see in this museum after it's attendance predictions plunged and you may remember that this was not to be just a LOCAL museum but a REGIONAL museum, when you see the largely privately owned ball park asking for relief from the City and receiving that relief through taxpayer dollars, the Peoria Park District cash strapped, the County property taxpayer owned Heddington Oaks losing $900,000.00 in the first 6 months of this fiscal year, sales tax collections down considerably, streets and curbs in seriously bad condition, etc. some of you may agree with me that the "wealthy movers and shakers" may have "moved and shaked'" too much.

I left out the troubled public school system, District #150, bonded up to their eyeballs and the IAW's aging underground water system. And the over flowing Greater Peoria Sanitary system and under staffed security systems, etc.

I know it is articles like this that anger people but many of our leaders, not just locally, are similar to the ones who designed the Titanic as unsinkable.

Of course, we are over built in eating establishments; nothing new because they lead the country in bankruptcies, but not in drinking and show an tell establishments.

So sad.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Peoria, Il., K-Mart is Closing

Never heard a peep from local medias. Interesting.

Next retail store closing will be the one I predicted would close about 5 years ago. I was wrong but I feel their landlord was desperate and cut a heck of a deal. Which store am I referring to???

The impact of the re-vitalization of East Peoria was seriously underestimated by the politicians, unions and press. Remember, the money to pay off the Peoria County owned PRM bond debt,comes from sales taxes from Peoria County, not any other county.

And Peoria County Board Democrat, a politicians politician, Allan Mayer, once called me Peoria's nut. Unfortunately the County, the City, the Park District, the ball park and the Civic Center don't have enough "nuts" like me. Did you figure out who the two Bradley Economic Professors are who predicted the Cat Building and the PRM would alone bring $16 in NEW sales into Peoria while ex-Peoria County Administrator says the City came up $1.5 million short in SALES tax revenue last fiscal year.


P. S. Mayer is up for re-election.Oyler should be a new Republican County Board member replacing incumbent Democrat Mayer.. Hopefully, he would be a common sense Republican as some of the most recently elected Republicans to the board appear by their actions to be pseudo-Republicans or are afraid of alienating their business customers. Another reason why 'RETIRED" people make the best decisions uninfluenced by special interests including their own special business interest.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Private Sector USUALLY Eats Their Losses When Dealing With Customers in the Public Sector

When Lakeview Library was built or re-built, my company was unfortunate to receive the order for the library shelving. The librarian showing everything tan but the supports and bases. After the shelving was installed and books replaced, the librarian came in to approve our work. She then said that she meant the entire "stack" was to be tan. I offered to discount the "stack" considerably but she said she wanted the stack all one color. So we contacted the manufacturer who said he would refinish if we brought the parts back. The librarian couldn't wait until new parts were manufactured. So we disassembled and hauled the parts back to Ringgold, Georgia. Our driver waited overnight and then brought the refinished parts back to Peoria. We re-installed the shelving only to find the paint on the re-finished metal started to flake. This time, we reordered everything new. We took down the old shelving and reinstalled the new. She was happy and my company lost a bundle.

The "stack" is still in use at Lakeview, except I believe she later had the end panels repainted a different color.

There is a name people use sometimes to describe an unreasonable woman but I can't recall what is is but it starts with a b.

Matthews Retires - How is the Hotel's Census Doing?

One of many questions by those of us paying attention and unanswered by local media is this. The deadline to complete the remodeling of the old Pere was March 1, 2013. The deadline was NOT met. The penalty for not meeting the deadline was $41,000.00 a month. Did the City of Peoria collect the penalty?

Since no one, including the local medias, did not report this addition (to my knowledge) to the financially strapped City coffers, my speculation is, no, they did not.

Why not? The developer ran into problems he didn't anticipate. In the priavate sector, you eat the losses. Maybe the City did collect. Anyone help me out here?

And by the way, why didn't any of the media and local "movers and shakers" comment on the $16 million in new business that the Cat Visitors Center and the new museum were to bring into the City of Peoria? Who made this widely publicized statement? Why, two economic gurus' from our own Bradley University.

City administrations recently noted that sales taxes were down by $1.5 million. I said at the time, these gurus' were wrong. But who was I? Just a guy that started a business in 1964 with $5,00.00; $2,500.00 borrowed, and built it to $11 million sales under harsh circumstances. I sold this business in 1992 with NO bank loans or any other loans outstanding.

The building still bears my name 22 years later. But "Mutt" and "Jeff" or "Frick" and "Frack", who write a Monday column in the JS print I'm just a .........

From 2000 through 2010 I served on the Peoria County Board, electing to to run again as I was 85 years old, and left my position with ALL County funds in a positive condition.

And yes, I was arrested once in my life, but never found guilty. Sorry to disappoint some of my detractors.

Peoria County - How Did it Get in Dire Financial Straits??

Peoria County is controlled by Democrats. A majority of the Board are Democrats. The past administrator and the current administrator are Democrats. They voted to abandon BelWood Nursing Home and build a new $53 million new nursing home. (The Democrats said County owned nursing homes are "safety nets" for the poor). The new home, Heddington Oaks lost $900,000.00 in the first half of 2014. It was supposed to be self-sustaining. You recall that Heddington Oaks, like BelWood is also supported yearly by approximately $3 million of property taxpayer money.

Approximately $49 million of the $53 million to build Heddington Oaks is borrowed money to be paid back in 20-30 years with interest. In the meantime, the old nursing home, BelWood must be maintained of demolished. Estimates are $1.5 million to demolish.

Peoria County is one of the few counties, 7 at last count in 2O10, to publicly own nursing homes. The County now owns the Peoria Riverfront Museum, a museum that does not come close to meeting projections in attendance.

Peoria County also unwisely accepted the closed Correction Center on Rt. 116. The only use of the area is for old record storage. And at least one board member has the key or combination to the enclosed deteriorating 42 acre complex. To visit the records storage, two people must be present. More waste of time since the round trip is around 32 miles.

Now, Peoria County wants to cut 40 jobs, either through early retirement offering those accepting a check for $10,000.00 and $25,000.00 in extra health care benefits. Most of the cuts are to come from the Sheriff's Dept. according to the Journal Star, which makes one wonder if the county was over-staffed. No public comment yet from Republican Sheriff  McCoy.

I recall back in the mid-2000's, cuts were made in county employment yet I heard personally of no complaints by the public. I also learned that most of the positions cut were eventually filled.

In the meantime, complaints are coming from the rural area about the condition of county roads. Less and less information about what is happening to taxpayer dollars spent in the public sector is coming from our main local paper and local TV Stations. Saturday's front page of the JS had 7 FULL page ads out of 13 pages and the few reporters left at the paper are writing columns "outside" their area of history and overall knowledge. 

A good example is my next blog.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Peoria, Illinois Park District A Long Time Victim of "Biting Off More Than They Can Chew":

The Peoria Park Board, led by attorney Tim Cassidy, always bought all of Queen Bonnie's dreams of making Peoria another Cincinnati, Portland, New Orleans, or Memphis on the riverfront. They have missed every projection starting with the acceptance from the State of Illinois of the old IDOT Building on Knoxville (which they still own and maintain) the RiverPlex, the approximately $30 million zoo expansion and now their expensive move of park headquarters to the recently deserted 33,000 sq. ft. building. Plus the money they will need to borrow to the remodel the now empty old YWCA building while borrowing more money to pay for the upkeep once remodeled..

.While Pat Quinn and the Democrats stick the taxpayers with paying off all the monies owed by public entities like the Peoria Park District and the overwhelming debts of the State of Illinois.

Do not expect the closing of Donavan Golf Course and deals with private organizations to take over Central Pool to come anywhere near to closing the deficits the park district is facing presently. Expect the deficit to rise higher next year partly caused by the deficit funding RiverPlex, far greater maintenance costs of the new park headquarters, the maintenance of the new trail and the aging expense of other park facilities

The park can stave off some further deficits by raising fees and possible property taxes. The movement of dollars out of the area served by the Peoria Park District, to different tax collecting entities such as Tazewell County plus reductions in state and federal monies, was evidently not anticipated.

Back in 2002, Cassidy and Noble protested emphatically that these deficits would never happens.

I do not oppose nice things. But I've always believed one should;d have the means to pay their debts without sticking the taxpayer,especially when so many park activities are not FREE..

What is the old saying that is true? "Shit happens". Hmmm. But this s--t should have been forseen if they had a couple of intelligent business people on this "upaid" board.

What is the Queens salary? Around $135,000 plus all benefits and a later sizebale pension. Hmmm, again.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

PPD Should Raise Property Taxes to Cover Park Deficits

So writes Curt Wardelman on the JSEB Opinion page. I suggest Curt must live in another County or if he really lives in Peoria possibly with a wealthy property owner. Or he is very wealthy himself. Typical political leadership; cover incompetency by raising taxes. Curt and others of the same mindset, pay attention to how and why the "leadership" of the Peoria Park District led themselves into this 'pickle'.

 Raise already very high property taxes in the Peoria area?? Good grief, Curt.

Pregnacy No Danger to Mothers

So writes Carol Arnold of Metamora on the JSEB Opinion page. Really, Miss Arnold???? Good grief.

ISIS Terrorists Compared to Abortionists

On Oct. 4, Darrell Pine of Peoria wrote on the JSEB Opinion page the above. Really, Darrell. I suggest you go to either Syria or Iraq or both and combat the ISIS while at the same time promoting the evils of abortion.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Common Core Falters

From The Hechinger Report [Independent Education News], Friday, October 3, 2014. See
More teachers are souring on Common Core, finds one survey
By Emmanuel Felton

Fewer teachers are enthusiastic about Common Core implementation and fewer think the new standards will help their students, according to a survey sponsored by education publisher Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The percentage of teachers who are enthusiastic about Common Core - a set of academic guidelines in math and English that more than 40 states have adopted - is down from 73 percent last year to 68 this year, according to a poll of 1,600 teachers across the country. And while more teachers continue to believe that the standards will help not hurt their students - 48 percent compared to 17 percent - the percentage of teachers in the survey who think the Common Core standards will be good for most of their students is down sharply from 57 percent in last year's poll. The percentage of teachers who think it will hurt has more than doubled from 8 percent to 17 percent. And the percentage of teachers who think the standards won't make much of a difference remained the same at 35 percent.

Related: Hope and anxiety: What do teachers think about the Common Core standards? [
-think-about-the-common-core-standards_14897/ ]

Teacher enthusiasm appears to be declining despite the fact that more teachers report that they are prepared to teach Common Core - 79 percent this year compared to 71 percent last year - and more say implementation in their schools is going well - 68 percent compared to 62 percent.

Margery Mayer, president of Scholastic Education, points to factors outside school buildings as the reason for decline.

"Among the three most cited external factors viewed as problematic, teachers identified uncertainty about their states continuing with the Common Core. This tells us that many of the debates permeating the national dialogue are reaching and affecting teachers," said Mayer. "Despite all of this, the data says that the further along teachers are in implementation, the more likely they are to be optimistic towards the impact of the standards on their students' skills."

The survey, which was conducted in July, came after a bruising few months for the Common Core in state capitols across the country. Politicians have succeeded in getting the standards either revoked or put under review in several states. Some critics have argued the Common Core is federal overreach because it was endorsed by the Obama administration during the Race To The Top initiative, which incentivized states to adopt more rigorous standards. Others have linked the standards to increased testing and student data collection.

Related: The 'common' in Common Core fractures as state support falters  [

The political furor over the standards has spilled into both mainstream and social media. And while the survey didn't ask about how politics were affecting teachers' perceptions of the standards, the survey did find that the teachers who had positive feelings about Common Core were more likely to have received information about the standards from professional development sessions than their peers and less likely to have received information through either the media or social networking.

The number of teachers that report receiving information about the standards from the media increased from 19 percent to 32 percent. The number reporting getting information from social media doubled from 9 percent to 18 percent.

In a separate poll recently released in Tennessee, where a debate about whether to keep the standards has escalated in the past few months, only 39 percent of teachers said they believe the standards will help students, down from 60 percent last year.

Related: Will weak teacher training ruin the Common Core? [

The poll also found that a majority of Tennessee teachers - 56 percent - want the state to scrap the standards.

The hostile political environment for Common Core may not be the main reason for the decrease in support among teachers, however. The survey found that teachers with negative views of the core are more likely to express concerns that the standards are not grade appropriate and more likely to worry about how student standardized test results will affect teacher evaluations.

The survey of more than 1,600 teachers - an update of a 2013 survey also sponsored by Scholastic and the Gates Foundation - asked teachers from the 40 plus states and that District of Columbia implementing Common Core to respond to the same set of questions asked the previous year.

On the top of teachers' Common Core wish lists: 86 percent say they need more Common Core-aligned instructional materials, 84 percent say more quality professional development, and 78 say they need more planning time and opportunities to collaborate.

Federal Workers Are Rewarded When They Waste Your Money

This IS OUR tax monies!!
October 1, 2014
By Diana Furchtgott-Roth
The federal government's fiscal year ends on September 30, concluding the month-long spending spree known as "use it or lose it" season in Washington--resulting in a slew of questionable purchases this month:
• The IRS spent $2,410,000 on "toner products" in a single purchase.
• The Department of Homeland Security paid $251,016 for "Aeron Mesh Task Chairs" and $15,198 for two pianos. Music to sooth Russia's President Putin, perhaps?
• The State Department obligated $24,969 for a "50 inch LED HD TV" for the embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, while the embassy in New Delhi, India, made a $20,362 alcohol purchase. This brought the total booze tab for the State Department to nearly $100,000 for the month of September.
• The Department of Veterans Affairs spent over $1.8 million on artwork, including $375,000 for a "Lobby Piece" and$285,000 on a "parking structure facade project" for the Public Artwork Commissioned Project at the Polytrauma & Blind Rehabilitation Center in Palo Alto.
But it does not have to be that way. If federal workers were rewarded on the basis of saving taxpayer dollars rather than on spending them, some of these expenditures could be eliminated.
Of course, these purchases are a drop in the bucket compared to our total 2014 budget deficit, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates will come in at about $506 billion ($3 trillion in revenue and $3.5 trillion in outlays). The year 2014 is an improvement upon 2013, when the deficit was $680 billion ($2.8 trillion in revenues and $3.45 trillion in outlays). The deficit is driven by entitlement spending, not pianos and paintings.
Even so, there should be a way to save last-minute unspent dollars, rather than spending them.
Funds appropriated to federal agencies must be obligated before October 1 or be forfeited to the Treasury. Agencies are encouraged to spend every last dime in their budgets to justify their current funding levels, in an attempt to avoid becoming a target for future spending cuts in Congress.
This results in a predictable rush for agencies to spend the rest of their budgets in the days before the end of the fiscal year. A 2013 National Bureau of Economic Research study
 by Harvard professor Jeffrey Liebman and Stanford professor Neale Mahoney found that federal spending on contracts in the last week of the year is five times higher than the weekly average.
Here are two suggestions for how to align bureaucratic incentives with those of taxpayers.
Agency employees could receive a bonus from a pool of funds equal to the smaller of half of the agency's unspent funds, or ten percent of employee salaries. (This cap would avoid the cancellation of an aircraft carrier turning federal workers into millionaires.) Pity the poor administrator determined to spend all of an agency's funds, thereby denying every employee a bonus.
Alternatively, all employees could receive an additional 1-step pay increase in the agency with the greatest savings as a percentage of its budget. All employees with the greatest increase in spending year-over-year would receive a 1-step pay decrease. Again, agency employees would compete to see who can cut costs the most.
The next Congress could make these changes and send a bill to President Obama for his signature.
Many of the purchases made during September are emblematic of government wasteLast year, the State Department spent $5 million on crystal glassware for several embassies from the Vermont manufacturer Simon Pearce and $1 million on a granite art installation for the embassy in London. TheWashington Post reported that the notorious IRS Star Trek parody video and the "lavish conference" it was screened at resulted from the 2010 use it or lose season.
Poorly vetted I.T. purchases made during use it or lose it season can have a lasting impact. In 2010, Liebman and Mahoney found that I.T. projects signed at the end of the year were about six times more likely to be of a lower quality than projects undertaken during the rest of the year.
Wasteful purchases are hardly restricted to the final months of the fiscal year. The State Department spent $400,000 on a statue entitled "Camel Contemplating Needle" for the Islamabad Embassy, in a contract order dated March 7, 2014. On June 6, 2014, the Department spent $125,199 on a Fourth of July celebration at the embassy in Ottawa, Canada.
The year-end federal spending spree will last right up until midnight September 30 as federal workers try to use up valuable unspent taxpayer dollars. The rush to spend in the month of September is a case study on the misalignment of the interests of taxpayers and federal bureaucrats. With a little resourcefulness, such as bonuses for reduced spending, Congress could encourage agencies to save money, rather than spend it.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Peoria Illinois Park District Gets $2.5 Million From Democrat Quinn For Recreation

Of course, PPD President Tim Cassidy, a lawyer and a strong Democrat is a very poor guardian of taxpayer dollars. And Queen Bonnie while explaining the PPD would also need to kick in $1.4 million quickly stated that this PPD borrowed money would not add to the park's unusually high deficit. She states that the money would come from new bonds, bonds that must be repaid with interest. Bonds, that the JS and other naive voters must feel are paid for by "autumn leaves" which are becoming more plentiful.....

Much of the money will be spent to remodel a gym with air-conditioning to compete against the likes of the Clubs at River City, a privately owned club that pays large amounts of money to help support the park. The gym also competes against schools with gyms that SHOULD BE OPEN all year round.

The rest of the money is SUPPOSED to be spent to remodel the old YWCA facility and it's surrounding grounds.

Back in 2002, I widely predicted this day of huge park deficits would come but the JSEB, mainly Barbara Manz Drake and Mike Bailey, Bailey, who lives in Tazewell County, wondered publicly who a businessman like myself could be so wrong. Of course, Cassidy and Noble kept raisng fees so they could avoid raising taxes until they finally reached and impasse as shown by the recent publicity on over-priced and under-maintained park golf courses (I predicted someday a $60 million budget for the park. It now stands around $53 million and rising).

While the property tax payers are stuck with the increased taxes that I long ago publicly predicted, Democrat union bosses express thanks to Quinn for getting the State of Illinois further in debt for things like museums, zoos, and recreation centers (think the Riverplex that could not meet their bond payments as Cassidy and Noble promised) that create hardly any livable wage jobs after the construction money is spent. As one union boss told me, "we don't give a damn what is built, we need jobs". Of course, their generous union pensions will pay for their personal tax increases so "what the hey".

For those few of you who read me hoping to abuse my name, do not know all the good I have done for this community, including the company I founded in 1964. I employed over 70 people when I sold it in 1992. 22 years later my name still stands on the company mast.

And I have never been convicted of any offence in any court of law.

Air Strikes Far From Defeating the ISIS

And it's followers; thousands meeting in Mosques all across the world and in the United States of America. Today, 3 air strikes were initiated with TV commentators stating that one vehicle, one artillery piece and one tanker were destroyed. At the same time, 6 new vehicles, 2 new artillery pieces and 3 tanks crossed the borders into Syria and Iraq also today, all to support these "merchants of death" who POTUS believes can be annihilated without "boots on the ground".

All I can add is 'dear God' and ask the sane American people to hold he and his ilk responsible for all the deaths of our armed forces and innocent people loyal to  the United States of America.

Does Obama do some good? Sure and so did Bernie Madoff.

Peoria Public School District 'LATHANS' Want Summits' to Listen to Public Input

Such a sad request coming from so many sincere but incapable people serving as public servants; both paid and unpaid. Let's go back in time when the citizenry was also highly concerned about the direction #150 was heading. On June 3, 2002, a summit was called by board members and the Superintendent and staff. The meeting was called "The future of education in Peoria". Over 200 interested citizens signed up. The meetings were held over three days, 5:30-9:30  at Lincoln Middle School. No paid consultant ran these meetings. "The purpose is simple and important: to bring together concerned people from all across District #150 to create a shared vision for our public schools. The results of our work will provide the foundation for moving forward together". An eighty-five page document summarized this well-organized meeting.

I was in attendance all three evening and participated in 3 sessions, sometimes moving from one to another. The summit brought some 60 key recommendations. Few were followed with intensity.I have a copy of this document and would be willing to give it to Zach Oyler if he or one of his followers wish to study the contents. In fact, all board members and the current Superintendent should thoroughly study this document before calling another summit'

Did the summit succeed? Probably not as well as expected or the district wouldn't be in the somewhat sorry state it is in today.