Monday, May 25, 2015

First Lieutenant Richard R. Witzig From Goodfield, Il. - A REAL American Hero

No he wasn't an over-sized and over-hyped sports hero. He was a real American hero. When WW11 started he quickly enlisted. Always interested in aviation, he entered training to be a pilot. He took his first training in New Jersey and Bakersfield Ca. He earned his wings as 2nd Lt. at Luke Field in Arizona. Lieutenant Witzig was then sent to Hawaii for combat training, where he was promoted to First Lieutenant.  He was killed on June 27, 1944, while piloting a P-47 Thunderbolt over Tinian. With no real combat experience, 6 months from the day he enlisted he was sent on his first mission where he was shot down by a more experienced Japanese pilot.

Richard was the only son on John and Ethel Witzig. Devastated, they sold their business in Goodfield and moved to California. Richard's dad was my mothers brother. A plaque dedicated to him may be found on the Peoria Courthouse Memorial grounds as he was working for Caterpillar the day he enlisted. He is a true hero. Most sports heroes do not vote and few, except for ones like Officer Tillman, would ever consider enlisting to fight for our great country.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lowell (Bud) Grieves Brags on His Role in the Building of the RiverPlex

Former Peoria Mayor Grieves claims a large responsibility for the building of the RiverPlex on the Illinois riverfront. Here again are the facts: (see my many old blogs on this subject)
The RiverPlex, often called the RiverWreck or WreckPlex, was supposed to accommodate 18,000+ members. It has missed this target for almost 15 years.
The RiverPlex was supposed to have paid of it's loan in 10 years. It is now almost 15 years and the loan has never been paid in full to my knowledge. (Based on an article by a JS reporter)
The non-taxpaying-tax collecting RiverPlex hurt the existing clubs by originally undercutting pricing while the other clubs have paid millions of dollars in property taxes; the deficit passed on to property tax payers.
The RiverPlex takes up valuable land and pays no taxes. The City of Peoria under Grieves leadership (Grieves does not live in Peoria County) basically donated this land worth millions of dollars to the Peoria Park District, a district in such bad financial shape that they were forced to close a popular golf course, could not build the sports complex promised either at Peoria Stadium or land that was to be part of a trade with Bradley university in exchange for what is now called Shea Stadium. The PPD lacks erosion control on much of the 9000 acres it owns.(See a recent blog)
Superintendent Noble said the RiverPlex was a place where families could come to play. When finances became troubling as I predicted, the PPD was able to get a liquor license (Grieves himself made news when he backed his vehicle into a light pole while allegedly under the influence of alcohol) which also hurt existing businesses.
The St. Francis Administrator told me in 2002 that Park Board President Tim Cassidy "pulled a fast one on me" when he convinced Saint Francis to fund part of the building.
Wealthy Glen Barton, whose wife Polly was a leader in raising funds to build build the PPD African Zoo and the new Administration Building, bailed the park out with his wealth on more than one occasion.
The PPD Administration have made many vain attempts to close Taft Homes but negotiations have met strong public opinion.
The permit from the State of Illinois was issued with caveat that 1/3 of it's members were to be from poverty level residents. It took hardly no time after the permit was granted that the PPD Administration had this caveat removed.
Lowell (Bud) Grieves Administration is part of the reason that the City of Peoria is in the poor financial straits is is in but he keeps writing to the JS bragging about his accomplishments and advising the City how to run it's government (admittedly, the City needs advise) but from it's own residents who don't complain much publicly for 2 main reasons: retribution and knowing that the are listened to but not really heard. Perhaps that is not true for some of the residents, both wealthy and poor.

Many of the Letters to the Editors of the JS are sensible especially recent letters from Conley Stutz and Jack Baize Not to be overlooked are the factual letters from local retired doctor, Rida Boulas who has written often about the superior quality of health care in the U.S.A. compared to other countries. He has also been a critic of ObamaCare which as of now still leaves 31,000,000 uninsured.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Peoria County Board Members Collect Large Government Subsidies While Claiming to Control Government Growing Debt

Brian Elsasser, Carol Trumpe and Brad Harding, all Republican Peoria County Board members and all strong Aaron Schock supporters, vote and continue to vote to expand the government subsidies they receive for the farmland they cultivate or leave idle. This great country is being consumed by greed. And the greediest of all are 60%, plus or minus, of all elected officials. Democrat land owners and farmers are no exception.

The reason I point out Republicans elected officials is because Republicans believe that once they are in control of elected positions is that they will right all wrongs committed by the Democrats in recent years. A laughable situation. I was basically the only one on the Peoria County Board who supported the $13 million redo of BelWood and opposed the building of the money losing, property tax supported, the Taj Mahal Heddington Oaks and the same for the 66% taxpayer supported money losing ugly structure called the Peoria Riverfront Museum. (Once the figures I and a large number of others predicted, came out, the administrator was fired instead of the Board members he reported to and who APPROVED this boondoggle.

I suggest Republicans start with the voting out the subsidies they themselves are collecting. My dad was a farmer and the only government help he received was from the CCC, a government service that should have never been stopped. (It was stopped by big Democrat controlled unions) When I owned a business, I received no taxpayer subsidies and still made "a go of it". (If I'm wrong, please correct me in my comment suggestion box)

No matter who gets elected in 2016, don't expect our debt load to decrease. Too many good causes and out-reaching hands who all believe they should get taxpayer support.

Too bad and so sad.

Next blog will be on comments Andrew Rand made in the latest issue of IB.

Peoria, Illinois - All-American Rumble City

Possible the worst streets, curbs, etc., in the nation. And the problem is that they will remain that way. Why? Not enough money ($200 million finally DEMANDED of Peoria by the EPA to remedy the dumping of billions of gallons of untreated waste in the Illinois River). One major example plus many others. Also slower productivity by the workers. (New hires in this highly public unionized city are told not to "show the others workers up by working at full speed, or else")

Each year, some repairs and replacements are made while the same number of other sites are deteriorating. Many State of Illinois highways share the same sorry situation. When you drive the north-south road thru downtown E. Peoria, look, but don't hit. the crumbling curbs and imagine how many tires were and  are damaged when these curbs are covered with snow. And this is just one example.

Plus the State of Illinois is well on the road to going broke. If I were in business today, I would not sell to the state as it would probably take me years, unless I was politically connected, to get my invoices paid. It may not be many years before the same will be true of the City and County. Chicago is near the point of the sorry situation in Detroit.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Freddie Gray- Friend of Yours?

Forwarded to me by a friend. Merle

Here are the facts on the late Freddie Gray of Baltimore: 

Freddie Gray had a pre-existing spinal and neck injury and had severe nerve damage and scar tissue from an accident that Allstate Insurance was paying him for, in a structured settlement.  This monthly payment and drug money were his means of support.  Freddie had had several unsuccessful spinal fusion surgeries over the past 4 1/2 years.  His most recent spinal/cervical operation was a week and a half before he was arrested on April 12.  He was on doctor's orders to remain home and in bed to speed recovery from that major operation.  Instead, Freddie was out manufacturing and distributing drugs on the streets of Baltimore, and strenuously resisting arrest.

Freddie had a long criminal history (rap sheet):   many pages long for manufacturing and distributing drugs and controlled substances, including heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana.  He had been convicted of numerous other felonies including assault, firearms violations, breaking and entering, armed robbery, receiving stolen property, and the list goes on and on from his 18th birthday.  In Baltimore County, juvenile records are forever sealed except by judicial order.  (www.mdjudiciarycaseresearch)  Freddie, known on the streets as "Pepper", was 25 years old, 5'8" and weighed 145 lbs. when last arrested.  He had been incarcerated at least 12 times, the longest stretch being 2 years in prison in Maryland.

Freddie had recently tried to convert his structured settlement from Allstate into a lump sum payment from Peachtree Funding, of Atlanta.  Friends say he was confused by the paperwork and legal terminology.

Following his arrest, Freddie was placed into the paddy wagon by the police officers who had arrested him ---- black officers, all of them.  He could have easily slipped on the floor or bench, or twisted his neck or shoulders to reopen his recently fused and weakened spine.  Enroute to the County jail, the paddy wagon stopped once so that officers could put leg restraints on Freddie to calm him down and restrict his movement.

Freddie was a dangerous career felon, well-known to the BPD officers, with a damaged and healing spine and neck, and was supposed to be home healing a week and a half after surgery.  He should not have been running around on the streets of Baltimore committing drug felonies and resisting arrest.

So why are so many residents of Baltimore destroying their own city with looting and arson? Likely, they don't have the facts. 
By the way, none of the eight BPD officers who arrested Freddy has ever had a complaint against them for brutality or use of excessive force.
Freddie Grays arrest record:

03-20-15 dealing cocaine
08-28-08 possession of narcotics
10-05-12 illegal gambling
01-25-14 possession of narcotics over 10 grams
08-24-07 manufacturing and distribution narcotics
08/29-07 distribution of narcotics
09-16-08 distribution of narcotics
04-16-08 distribution of narcotics
05-09-12 distribution of narcotics
01-04-15 distribution of narcotics
12-31-14 distribution of narcotics
05-13-14 stolen property
07-16-08 distribution of narcotics
03-28-08 possession of narcotics
02-12-08 distribution of narcotics
09-29-13 distribution of narcotics
12-04-14 distribution of narcotics
12-04-14 possession of narcotics
03-20-08 burglary
03-20-08 possession of narcotics
09-21-07 distribution of narcotics
04-30-08 unlawful possession (two counts)

(Source Maryland Dept. of Justice)