Talk About Close!

April 9, 2009

Well, we all thought the mayoral election would be close but not the eleven vote difference that has been reported in the unofficial tally (one tenth of a single percentage point). There are still some absentee and provisional ballots to be counted so, it may be awhile before we know the final outcome.

The voters deserve the right to have an accurate count of every vote so we need to be patient and let democracy run its course. While we are being patient, we intend to make this process as quick as possible so it will be possible to get to work on the critical issues facing Bloomington.

No matter who wins, I hope this reinforces the lesson that every vote matters!

Thank you all for your ideas and support!


Ten Days to Go!

March 28, 2009

Our campaign is kicking into ‘high gear’ as we enter the last day days. Everyone is very optimistic about our chances to win and make meaningful change in City Hall. The reception in our door-to-door field work has been fantastic! The voters of Bloomington seem to realize that we can do better – that we must do better!
What issues do you think we should be addressing in the Election’s ‘home stretch’?
Do you have any other suggestions?

Two More Debates This Week!

March 18, 2009

The three candidates for Mayor will debate again this evening, Wednesday March 18th at the Bloomington Police Department at 7pm.  And, we will meet again tomorrow night, Thursday March 19th, at the Harvest Family Worship Centre, 712 West Locust Street (also at 7pm).   Please come out, listen and ask us questions.  This election comes at a critical time for our city.  We have a serious financial crisis to resolve along with challenges in public safety, our 911 radio communications system and establishing a regional water supply. I hope to see you there!

Debate Week!

March 14, 2009

All three mayoral candidates will be debating this week – five times!

The first three debates are on Monday, March 16th.  At 7am the three of us will speak to the McLean County Republican monthly breakfast and entertain questions ‘from the floor.’  This event is at Eastland Suites.  At 10:30am we will travel to Peoria for a taped debate on Channel 47 (I’m not sure when it will air but I’ll keep you ‘posted’).  And, at noon we will all be back in Bloomington for a joint presentation at the Kiwanis lunch (Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts).   

On Wednesday evening March 18, the McLean County League of Women Voters is sponsoring a candidate forum at the Bloomington Police Department (the Osborne Room) at 7:00pm. 

Finally, the Gridley Allin Pickett neighborhood association is having the three of us speak on Thursday evening at 7pm (the location has yet to be confirmed).

What sort of questions would you like us to answer?  If the format permits, I will bring up your questions and concerns at these events.

Thanks for your interest and involvement and I hope to see you at these events!

A Great Boost and Honor From Our First Responders!

March 5, 2009

I was deeply honored and humbled to have received the formal endorsement of Bloomington’s Police and Firefighters this afternoon.  This was the first time in the history of Bloomington that our first responders endorsed a candidate for Mayor.

We held a press conference at Beningo’s Restaurant on  the Westside today at noon.  Nearly forty of our city’s bravest and finest turned out for the event. 

In preparing my remarks I was a bit intimidated at first.  I was intimidated because words simply aren’t good enough to describe the efforts of our local firefightes and police officers.  Their role in our community is too significant to dumb it down into a bullet point or sound bite.  Our homes our streets, our businesses, our children and our elderly are all safer because of their great work.   All I could do was to say “Thank You!”  I thanked them for all they do for our great city.  I thanked them for their unprecedented endorsement.  And, I thanked them for their confidence in me.

I look forward to working with them on improving their morale and public safety in our community when I’m elected Mayor on April 7th.

We should be proud of our public safety officers!

February 24, 2009

This last Friday evening (February 20) I had a four hour ‘ride on’ with the Bloomington Police Department.  Afterwards, I spent an hour or so sitting with our 911 emergency dispatchers as they answered calls.   Although I’ve been Chair of the County Board’s Justice Committee for nearly seven years and have more than general knowledge of our public safety operations, it was an incredible ‘eye opening’ experience!    The dedication and professionalism of our police officers, firefighters and dispatchers really came through. 

 In one of several traffic stops for a suspected DUI, for example, the officer I rode with explained what informal ‘tests’ and observations they use to determine whether to formally administer a ‘breathalyzer.’  In a later stop, he explained why we followed certain protocol in making an arrest and transporting the detainee to the jail.   The officer had me ‘tail him’ through an investigation of a local warehouse for gang or drug activity.  As I listened, the 911 dispatchers handled a variety of ’emergency’ calls from a felonious assault in progress to a kidney stone attack.  Their compansion  and dedication really showed in how they spoke to the people on the other end of the line and tried to calm them down and assure them that help was only minutes or seconds away.   The GPS tracking system was also amazing.  The dispatchers ‘track’ every available police car in the City and know where they are and how fast they’re traveling at any given moment. This allows them to effectively decide who to dispatch to what emergency or situation.

My experience suggests that we have every reason to be extremely proud of our first responders in Bloomington.  They are wonderful dedicated public servants.  It is too bad that their morale has declined to nearly crisis levels in recent years as a result of administrators who don’t listen to them or haven’t shown them much respect.   I am more convinced than ever that we need a ‘hands on’ mayor in City Hall.  A Mayor can help make a difference in the morale of our police, dispatchers and firefighters by, at the very least, working with them, listening and making them realize how valuable they our to our city.

Attack on the ‘Trail’ Highlights need for Cooperation!

February 19, 2009

The recent stabbing on Constitution Trail highlights the need for greater intergovernmental cooperation between the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal – especially on public safety.  We may be two different jurisdictions but we are one community.  Our problems don’t begin and/or end at Division Street.  I believe that we must be more proactive in working with the Town of Normal and our other intergovernmental partners on these common problems – including McLean County.  One idea I’ve had since announcing my candidacy for Mayor last Spring is to have joint public safety facilities for both Bloomington and Normal.  We could ‘pool’ our resources and build a single facility for police and fire from both jurisdictions.  Not only would it save money and improve response times but, during very serious problems, we would have double the available staff to respond.