Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My thoughts on Julie McCardle...

First off, I've only spoken with her a few times. When Laura Petelle was running for School Board I arranged a PTO meeting with her. I'd like to say that Julie, the staff and Faculty of Lindbergh, and the PTO were absolutely lovely to Laura. After Laura's PTO appearance, we both agreed that the connection she felt with the folks at Lindbergh was pivotal in her campaign. For that reason, and the fact that I consider Lindbergh our "neighborhood school", I feel a special passion for its continued success.

I understand that some parents and teachers were critical of Julie's style when she first arrived at LMS. I respect that and acknowledge that I wasn't there, so my opinion may not mean squat to some people. I'm cool with that, but I'm going to say this anyway - Julie got a RAW deal.

I have spoken with enough people close to the situation that I feel pretty comfortable with my grasp on things.

It is commonly accepted that Mary Davis, the former principal was well liked by many. In hindsight, I am suspicious as to how she achieved that admiration, but will leave it at that. A commenter on the blogs reported that Julie was "divisive". However, an LMS teacher told me that Lindbergh has been that way for awhile - that a clique-ish mentality existed long before Julie arrived. There are those who are on the team, and those who didn't make the try-outs - and I ain't talking about cheer leading. In fact, several teachers had expressed a fear for how well the new principal would fare.

When Julie arrived, people soon realized she was a stickler for the rules, and had a very no-nonsense approach to things. One teacher said that although she was considered strict, she really knew her stuff. Many were impressed with the vast knowledge that she had of curriculum, testing, evaluation and laws.

As the facts seep out regarding Julie busting up students that had used fraudulent addresses with the assistance of staff, and putting an end to the "I love you" payroll, having lived a full, eventful life, I can well imagine the hard feelings she may have created for herself. Those that were unable to maintain their "preferred" status under Mary Davis were soon relegated to "ordinary" citizen, parent, staffer, whatever. Those individuals sought each other out first for comfort, and then for strength.

I have heard several compelling stories (from more than one source) about how they worked to undermine her authority by capitalizing on the friendship they maintained with now Julie's boss, Mary Davis.

But aside from that, several commenter's on blogs reported erratic, nervous behavior on the part of McCardle. McCardle has reported through friends that she felt very intimidated and bullied by this network of scorned Davis supporters. I am well aware of the affects of bullying on individuals and feel that the series of events that transpired likely played a role if in fact she exhibited this behavior. Further, if she is incompetant, she has not had a nuetral set of circumstances to demonstrate that incompetancy. In other words, the actions of Davis negates the opportunity for any claims of incompetancy. Does that make sense? It does in my head.

I realize there are two sides to every story, and my perception may be skewed. If so, I doubt it is by much. Too much corroborating evidence.

The whole situation is disturbing. First, it is such a shame that these dynamics are going on in an institution that should be teaching kids mature adult behavior. Although I'm sure staffers were careful to disguise their pettiness in front of students, kids today aren't stupid and no doubt they picked up on some of the vibes. Reading some of THEIR comments on the blogs confirms this suspicion. How do you teach children that bullying is wrong when it is being modeled in the adult world all around them?

Secondly, why is Mary Davis still working? I've seen the docs with my own two eyes. I realize the allegations haven't been proven but I can read. These are some serious documented allegations.

Third, it will be interesting to see how the loyal "friends of Davis" will react to her if she is in fact found guilty. Friendship is great but stealing from kids would super-cede any sense of friendship I could feel with pretty much anyone - including my Mom. This is not to suggest in any way that I think my Mom steals from kids. Haha.

Fourth, why in God's creation did the school board vote to dismiss Julie before the facts were in? Never mind. Don't answer that. It's too troubling. One blog commenter noted that the accused is the same person responsible for the personnel reports that resulted in McCardles firing. How wrong is that?

I have received multiple reports that the District has informed staff and employees that as of the end of this month they will begin purging e-mails - despite the fact there is an on-going criminal investigation into the activities of its central administration. I have placed a call to the FBI and informed them of that fact.

Finally, I hope that somehow Linbergh can heal. We are here for our children. In 50 years, most of us will be dead and gone, but our children will be carrying our torch. How bright that torch will burn is up to us. Put your differences aside, kumbaya in whatever way you can, and get back to the business of helping our children grow to be the very best they can be.

Teachable Moment

The daughter loves to wear dresses, but she rarely wears them to school because of gym, playground and group time.

This morning, however, she had a yen to wear one to school. She picked out a pretty floral print with a loose flowing skirt.

I warned "Keep your skirt down and make sure you cover yourself up when you sit down".

Later, on the way home from school she announced she never wanted to wear a dress to school again.

Me: "Why not, honey?"

The daughter: "Because the boys kept trying to look up my dress".

Me: "I warned you sweetie, and that will never change. It's up to you to make sure that doesn't happen. No one should ever be allowed to see under your dress, except some day your husband".

The daughter: "Why would he want to then, Mommie?"

Me: "Hmmm, I wonder what the flavor of the day is at Culvers?"

Will I ever learn when to keep my big mouth shut? On second thought, please don't answer that.

Question of the Day...

If Superintendant Ken Hinton told his Board of Education to jump off a bridge, would they do it? Post your thoughts here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dear Peoria District 150 Board of Education,

Superintendent Ken Hinton has called upon you to tender a decision tomorrow, that, upon a majority of "yes" votes could begin the process of closing and shuttering our schools. Why the rush is a mystery, as we all know the budget is not due until September 30. There is also no urgency with the District bond rating either, contrary to what he would have you believe.

Only last week your Administration rolled out our $8,000 magic money machine, patting themselves on the back while they input the data needed to provide the desired output. Meanwhile, the public clamors to input data of their own and are rebuked. Fully realizing that all cost cutting avenues have NOT been exhausted, Mr. Hinton's illogical reaction is to prematurely call for your vote. He has represented your acquiescence to his wishes as a foregone conclusion. Since you are OUR representatives, it is your responsibility to insure that our ideas are aired as well. We trust that you will direct Mr. Hinton to give us time and opportunity to fully vet our own cost cutting suggestions through the magic money machine.

Now, according to Erik Bush, chairperson of the newly formed Budget Finance Committee, the district is following the Master Facility Plan to guide them in their closing of schools. To refresh your memory of the Plan, I have summarized it's "spirit" by highlighting the following paragraphs.

5. The school district should establish a clear commitment to making all facilities vibrant community centers for the neighborhoods that they serve (and where they are physically located). A corollary to this emphasis should be the development of a careful, detailed plan of implementation of the school closings and openings – a plan that absolutely minimizes disruption and negative impacts to the students, the educational setting, and the neighborhoods.

6. Every effort should be made by the school district to place students in facilities located in the neighborhoods where they reside. In tandem, every effort should also be made by the school district to absolutely minimize involuntary or arbitrary busing of students.

No displaced student would involuntarily have to leave his/her high school
attendance area by bus or other means to attend a District 150 school; that the
recommendations contemplated students attending a school as close in proximity
to their home as would be practicable; and, that no displaced student would be
involuntarily bussed “cross-town.”

Good schools are neighborhood anchors that attract and retain homeowners and
stabilize enrollments and property values, both of which are relied upon for the
funding of schools.

Develop and implement a comprehensive communication plan to explain the
proposed plan and its benefit to the community.

13. Continue the school planning, design and siting process by engaging all interested stakeholders in our community including students, parents, teachers,
administrators, neighborhood organizations, interested citizens, civic entities,
business community representatives and all others interested in developing
optimum learning environments for the children of District 150.

Since anyone with a degree of common sense would realize that few if any of these criteria have been met, we fully expect a "No" vote tomorrow.

However, for any of those who are vacillating, I offer the following comments:

Dr. Gorenz - Our family extends our prayers to your family as you embark upon the journey before you. May good health be yours again soon.

Mrs. Wolfmeyer - Occasionally I see the "fight" in you that I'm sure your constituents recognized when they elected you. Please channel that God-given quality towards the best interests of the children, and not the admin, the budget or any other entity. Your words in the Peoria Journal Star today were very disturbing:

“We know that these decisions we have to make are not necessarily the best interest of children right here today, but we’ve got to look at the whole district and have got to look at those (future) years to make sure that we have a district here that can serve kids in this area,” School Board vice president Debbie Wolfmeyer said last week.

We are unwilling to let ANY generation of children be the sacrificial lambs for generations before or after them. By your own admission a "Yes" vote tomorrow would NOT be in the best interests of the children that are under your care today. Therefore, a "Yes" vote will be an extreme dereliction of your duties.

Mrs. Spangler - You have paid your dues to the district- and your 5 year term is coming to an end. You have requested and received a leave of absence. Our families should always come first and your leave is well deserved. However, if you plan to resurrect yourself briefly for one vote to close our schools, after having missed months of public input and the comments of nearly 100 families, your vote can and will be challenged. The state school board code of conduct states:

6. I will encourage and respect the free expression of opinion by my fellow board members and will participate in board discussions in an open, honest and respectful manner, honoring differences of opinion or perspective.
7. I will prepare for, attend and actively participate in school board meetings.
8. I will be sufficiently informed about and prepared to act on the specific
issues before the board, and remain reasonably knowledgeable about local, state, national, and global education issues.
9. I will respectfully listen to those who communicate with the board, seeking to
understand their views, while recognizing my responsibility to represent the
interests of the entire community.

You were not at the board meetings to see, hear, and feel the input from the public. Reading about it later or watching it on tv is not sufficient. Communications to your official Board e-mail address are returned with the following message:

Due to a family issues over the next few weeks, Mrs. Spangler is not able to respond to phone calls and emails.

Your own sense of honor and duty should preclude you from making life altering decisions for these children. We should not even have to ask you to refrain from voting, but we will.

Ms. Butler, you are a public servant. This decision could rest on your shoulders. Please pray for God's divine intervention that he will in your moment of decision remind you to focus only on the needs of the children before you and nothing else.

Mrs. Parker - Your actions on the school board reflect a clearness of vision and a life of purpose. Please don't ever change.

Mrs. Ross - Several years ago you were asked to make a similar vote. Against great pressure from the status quo, you held firm to your core beliefs, voted your conscience, and you were right! Despite the promises made to you, the school closings not only didn't save the district money, but cost the district money, all borne on the backs of our students. Nothing has changed, and history will repeat itself.

Mr. Stowell, Although I appreciate your attempts to engage the public through social networking venues, much of what you say only accentuates the lack of confidence we feel in the School board. You can change that with a "No" vote tomorrow.

Mr. Hinton. You have lost your way. I do believe once the children were your primary concern, but at some point that changed. If you tender your resignation, I feel you can re-gain some of the respect that you once enjoyed. The only thing more frightening to me than you being in charge of $160,000,000 of public money, is you being in charge of almost as much of public building funds.

It is clear you seek a "do over" in your quest for charter schools, but if that is to happen, Mr. Hinton, you need to be as far away from it as possible. You may be willing to throw in the towel on this generation of children, but there are plenty of people still willing to fight for them and we will.

This is it. The future of many children rest in your hands tomorrow. Your collective decision will be pivotal. Will it fall on the side of the children, or will it be a continuum of adversity? We shall see.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

District 150 Priorities: I'll report - you decide!

Next Monday night Peoria Public Schools District 150 plans on voting once again for School closures. Next up on the chopping block, Kingman and Tyng primary schools. District watchers may experience a bit of deja'vu, as it was only a few years ago that they were singing the same swan song in anticipation of cost savings via the closings of Blaine Sumner and White Middle Schools.

For some background, consider the statements made in the following excerpts from the Peoria Journal Star

PJstar, Sept. 13, 2005-The facility committee in a presentation stated that consolidation was recommended because of the district's budget deficit. Closing schools and building new facilities would cut down on maintenance costs and improve the quality of education. The committee's goal is to save $5 million with the consolidation.

Some residents questioned the committee on why school renovation wasn't an option. Beth McDaniel attended the forum and said she believed the district was not focusing on the right things for bettering students' education.

"You guys jump too much. You're like a school district with ADHD," McDaniel said.

Residents said they understood the cost of maintaining a building, but thought renovating the schools would cost less than building new ones.

"I wouldn't mind a new building, but that's not going to make a better educational community," Katz said. "Renovate what we have. Keep what we have and don't look at ways to replace the buildings, but look at ways to alter the community involvement and engagement at the schools."

Sound familiar? It seems these remarks could have been made only yesterday. The beauty of history, however, is that we can look in retrospect at District decisions and see how their promises and consequences thereof held up. Although past behavior is not necessarily prediction of future, it's the best we got.

It would be reasonable to consider selling off real estate as an option for balancing a budget. At least that is what the district has argued. Is their intention to really save money, or could there be other conscious or subconscious agendas of which the public is not aware.
Peoria Journal Star, October 12, 2005
The district will try to swap vacant buildings for land to construct new buildings. If that doesn't work, it will try to sell the buildings. If no buyers are found, the district will attempt to transfer the properties to a financially sound organization with a plan for the space. If all that is unsuccessful, the buildings will be maintained or demolished.

Let's fast forward to Blaine Sumner today, closed as a middle School in 2006. Here is an exterior pic of this beautiful, all brick historic building.

The District instead of closing the school, thereby eliminating the maintenance and rehab costs as well as forfeiting its value in a sale, did in fact rehab it and moved Student Services personell in. The Student Services personell relocated from the Diagnostic Learning Center (DLC) on Wisconsin Avenue and into the Blaine Sumner School. The original DLC space remains vacant, and is still retained and maintained by the District.

Below is a pic of the Building Managers "office". His office is in a fullsized classroom the same size that my K-gartner shares with 28 other children! Next year, if Hinton gets his way, all classes will be further increased by 3.

From another angle:

This building is roughly 65,000 square feet. There are 80 employees that work out of it. According to an old Peoria Journal Star article, it had an occupancy permit for 500 people. There are approximately 2 people working out of each full sized classroom. Immediately after they closed it as a school, the district moved to AIR CONDITION it, and added FULL SECURITY complete with video monitors. There is also indication that they encapsulated some asbestos insulated heat ducts (not uncommon). In fairness, it is possible the asbestos remediation was done prior to its closing - not sure about that. Perhaps the District would clarify.

The building contains two lovely gyms. Here is the first one, used only as storage:

Here is the second one. Occassionally children from neighboring schools are bussed here to use this gym. The other gym (the one being used as storage) is definately the newer, nicer and larger of the two.

Here is the old school library. Completely vacant and not in use.

More storage:

and more storage:

Here is a room that is used by a few for child evaluations. I asked how often this room was used. Once person told us once a week for about 30 minutes, and someone else told us twice a week. It was beautful - fully lit up, furnished with play area and sofa and ready to go.

Here is a pic of the thermostat. It's hard to read, but the temp in the room was over 90 degrees. Not kidding!

Most of the employees that work there are part of the DLC. They provide support services to the students by way of speech, hearing, testing and act as a resource in recommending services. Much of their time is spent in the schools. Sources told us that over the summer, this 65,000 sq.ft. building is occupied by about 20 people. Over the Spring Break, there were about 5. This building costs roughly $250,000 year to maintain. The space they moved from - about $20K. I ask, where has been the cost savings to the district for justification of closing a school?

Some employees reported that they love the conveniance to each other for meetings and the space the building offers them to spread out. I don't blame them. Conveniant for them... too bad about the kids though. I would like to say though, that the employees that we all talked to were great. I have no problem what-so-ever with any of them or the work that they do.

Last night board member Jim Stowell posted the following on the Peoria Chronicle:

Either we drastically reduce labor costs across all functional areas, or we can’t afford to operate the current number of facilities. Those that we do operate, we hope take on the qualities of a “community center”. It is not 2005 and our costs have been greater than our revenue for an extended period. My desire is to help our district achieve financial stability while providing vibrant learning opportunities for our children. Every effort will be made to minimize hardships and inconveniences (unfortunately, there will be many), but these steps are necessary, in my opinion, to get us to where we need to go. The process will create obstacles and challenges, but it’s time to right size the district while planning for a better day.

I have a problem with this on so many levels. The excessive waste, (some of which is documented here and on numerous other blogs) overspending, and mismanagement by this Administration (and others) and this board which has given them the green light on just about everything has put this district where it is today - on the brink of financial ruin. Why is it that when the adults screw up, they look at our youngest, most vulnerable citizens - the students of which they exist to serve to shoulder the burden? My understanding is that the children that were moved out of Blaine Sumner have struggled even more academically since. I have not yet personally verified that claim yet.

It should be noted that current Board member Martha Ross voted NO to closing the Blaine Sumner School:

Peoria Journal Star November 22, 2005-Board President Alicia Butler and board member Martha Ross voted against them. "I'm fully aware that we need to cut costs. I can't in my heart of hearts look at this as a positive for our children," Ross said, adding she's concerned about the effect on displaced children, both academically and socially.

Martha is the board member that the other members felt didn't exhibit enough leadership or vision to be deserving of the board presidency.

Folks, I try to keep this blog happy and upbeat. I love Peoria and most everything about it. But when I see stuff like this, I realize sometimes, Peoria doesn't rock.

I'm not done...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blogger fight!

DeWayne Bartels of the Times Observer calls out the Pundit. Ha! Personally, I think they should have to strip down to one of those diaper looking thingy's and sumo- wrestle in the mud! Anyone wanna place any bets? This oughta be good.

Miracle on Water Street

Those were the sentiments expressed by Brad McMillan as the Block-heads watched their dream for a Peoria Regional museum become a reality last night. Over 100 people crowded the back room at Old Chicago Pizza Tuesday evening to watch the election results roll in.

Supporters embrace and lovingly accept the name of Block-head at Museum wrap party

It was a nail biter till the very end. When we first arrived, they had just posted the results of early voting - which were heavily in favor of the museum. That thrill was short-lived, however, as throughout the evening the pendulum swung in one direction and then the other.

Many of us were trying to predict the trends. It appeared that the city of Peoria was voting in favor at over 60% of the vote. The county, however, was less than enthusiastic and was returning "Yes" votes of less than 40%. So not only were we focused on the number of votes, but the percentages of the county and city that had reported.

Several hours into the evening, I noticed the stats were stuck on +88 votes in favor of the museum. The atmosphere could be cut with a knife. Girls were hanging on to each other for dear life. There was very little conversation. All eyes were glued, I'm telling ya glued to the overhead. I started breathing a little easier upon the realization that almost the entire county had reported, but only 50% of the city. I felt encouraged by the knowledge that with the city of Peoria turning in an average 60% "yes" vote, it was highly likely that the YES votes would end up in even higher positive territory.

Ryan Spain, the technology guru of the evening, agreed. Young people in politics are a gift from God, and Mr. Spain was exactly that last night. He had his computer hooked up to a thingy magiggy, and the thingy magiggy hooked up to an overhead. He and an accomplice must have hit the refresh tab over 1000 times last night as they studied the Peoria Votes site. They would then type up-to-the-minute results into a thingamabob - and poof - out popped the projections on the overhead. "Oohs", "aahs" and gasps perpetually filled the air. At one point, Senator David Koehler sat with Ryan as they concentrated and analyzed results.

Finally, we saw a shift- up 180 votes, up 240 votes, up over 400 votes - and then magically - 100% precincts reporting. The room went wild. People were hugging, laughing, crying, and hugging again! It was an awesome moment. I was so happy, feeling in my heart that the citizens of Peoria had just taken a huge vote of confidence in their community, their future and their children. My mind filled with images of thousands of present and future generations of Peorian's experiencing life altering moments. Of course, I have stated from the beginning that those are intangibles you simply cannot put a price on.

There was one point in the evening when the "yes" votes were down almost 200. For some strange reason, so unlike myself, I believed at that moment (and only for a moment) that the referendum would fail. I try to hold on to that feeling to acknowledge that for many, that is how they feel today. I hope in time, they will begin to see the value in the museum, too. They may be surprised.

Finally, I would like to address the incorrect notion that the museum plan was put forth and supported only by the privileged and elite. That is preposterous. Open your eyes and look around. The museum was supported by people from all walks of life. Parents, grandparents, teachers, students, educators, laborers, execs - thousands of people see the value clearly. There is no ownership of an appreciation of the arts, history and science. The only commonality that was shared, and I noticed this last night, was a vision and a hope that we can do better for Peoria.

Although I don't want to understate my pleasure, I do want to acknowledge the disappointment of the opposition. Their strategies were remarkable, and I respect their opinions and their efforts for the most part. Every night I will add an extra bedtime prayer - Dear Lord, please don't ever let me be on the opposite side of an issue with Karrie Alms again.

Please allow me to share this thought... Imagine for a moment Chicagoans in the 1870's immediately following the Great Chicago fire. Chicago had just been devastated and it's residents left with nothing. They did not give up. They did not slink away in despair. On the contrary. They started dreaming. They started planning. They started building. Out of nothing rose the 3rd largest city in the United States. I guess you could say they were Block- heads too. Being a block head really isn't that bad. A big thank you to all of them for their relentless hard work.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Election Day!

We've heard it all and it is now time for us to exercise one of our country's greatest rights - the right to elect our leaders!

I would like to wish all candidates the very best. Each and every one of them has my respect and admiration. It is one things to take pot-shots at people and issues from the sidelines (myself included)- it is quite another to actually put your life and your reputation on the line and go out there and do it.

Thank you to all of you for stepping up answering the call of the greatest system of government on the planet - democracy. My very best wishes to each of you (some more than others heh heh) and may the best ideas prevail!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Official notice to all parents of children who play at our house...

As of 12:00 midnight central standard time on April 5, 2009, I will no longer return the hats, gloves, mittens, socks and shoes that have been left at my house. No longer am I willing to trip over the perpetual stack of stuff on our stair landing. I will remind your child before they leave to gather their belongings, and the rest is up to them. Any items remaining in our home twenty-four hours after their departure will become the official property of the Vespa household. Thank you.

OK I'm kidding. Sorta. Guess we'll find out how many of my friends, neighbors and family members read my blog ;)

The perfect home staging colors

In an increasingly competitive real estate market, it is more important than ever that your home is priced properly and staged to sell.

Here is a link to a pallet of colors most recommended for "home staging" by Sherwin Williams. These colors are warm and inviting and appeal to a wide range of tastes.

I have always advised my Sellers that painting is the cheapest, easiest way to add value to your home and prepare it for sale. Many of the new loan programs will disqualify your home if there is any chipped or peeling paint. Egg-shell whites are OUT, breezy earthy tones are in!

Hat tip: Bobbie Jo Ward, RE/MAX Unlimited

Free Tax Credit Seminar Saturday, April 18

If you haven't owned a home in the last three years, you most likely qualify for the new $8,000 tax credit that you do not have to pay back! Learn more at this free seminar. Here are the details:

Saturday, April 18, 2009
10:00 AM - Noon
Peoria Association of Realtors Building
7307 N. Willowlake Court
Peoria, IL

Learn more about the Tax Credit, Available Financing and Receive a free credit report with your score.

Call 309-688-8591 for reservations. Then call me at 645-8608 and I will help you find the perfect home!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Peoria Times Observer endorses Regional Museum - Vote *YES* on public utility tax.

The following endorsement for the Peoria Regional Museum by the Peoria Times Observer wins my vote for best articulated position. It is so well put, I'm re-posting it in it's entirety here:

Vote 'yes' on tax, vote for vision

“Every great work, every great accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement,” said Florence Scovel Shinn.
No quote seems more appropriate to start a discussion of why we support the sales tax referendum for the downtown museum on the Riverfront.
Vision can be suppressed by people whose only goal is to peer through the looking glass darkly.
For months, we have seen this phenomenon in those who have criticized the “It’s Better Here” campaign.
The non-stop critics of the museum project make some valid points, but nothing that can move this city forward comes without risk and cost.
We are talking about a 25 cent increase on every $100 spent.
Granted, the costs may not end there.
The on-going costs could be an issue.
But, if we demanded more of ourselves and less of government, the funds to support a museum — over and above what memberships and entry fees bring in — could likely be covered.
If we banded together as a community to resolve some of the pressing issues we could likely trim the size of government and lower our taxes.
Instead, we often wash our hands of it and say,” Let the government handle it.”
The argument, however, cannot be all about money.
Vision has to be the primary factor.
Or, do we allow fear about the cost to cloud our judgment?
The question is: Do we have vision, or do we sit on our hands for every good idea that comes along and might cost something?
This country and this city were built on an idea that, together, we can make great things happen.
Have we come so far only to fall back into a state of fear?
Peoria is the mecca of Central Illinois.
We have the hotels, the educational facilities, the parks, the restaurants and the attractions that draw people for miles.
And, yes, we have the taxes to sustain those things.
But, the money it takes to sustain all those things is money well spent to live in a city that is safe, clean and full of things to do.
Those factors both attract new people to Peoria, and retain those citizens already here.
Peoria is a great city.
It should act like a great city.
Its citizens should be proud of this city and the visionaries who try to move it forward.
We are not saying the critics of the museum plan should be ignored or scorned.
We have respect for their point of view, and, we, too, feel the effects of the recession.
But, vision requires looking past today and toward tomorrow.
“The old ways are dead. And you need people around you who concur,” Hugh Macleod, in “How To Be Creative,” said.
“That means hanging out more with the creative people, the freaks, the real visionaries, than you’re already doing. Thinking more about what their needs are, and responding accordingly ... Avoid the folk who play it safe. They can’t help you any more. Their stability model no longer offers that much stability.”
Your vote next week will reflect faith in the community, or a lack of it.
Vote with vision.

This resounding endorsement comes right on the heals of a similar endorsement from the Peoria Association of Realtors. Businesses and industries that have significant "skin in the game" realize the importance of this project to our community.

Also, I have been talking with people that have early voted. It seems that despite efforts to educate the public on the wording for the referendum, many voters when alone in the voting booth are not realizing that the very last item on the referendum regarding the *increase in public utility tax* is indeed the BUILD THE BLOCK project. Please get the word out to your voting friends and family. Vote YES on the public utility tax, the last item on your ballot. Election Day is April 7th.