A couple of proposed swaps have been talked about in recent days here in the bustling metrop. that is Bloomington, Indiana.
One I touched upon the other day: some folks put up a petition on change.com suggesting that the city trade its Certified Tech Park land for Habitat for Humanity’s wooded tract just to the west of it. The idea being that the several dozen planned HforH homes should be built on city-owned land and that the wooded tract be preserved. Proponents of this solution say, by golly, it’s so simple any child should have been able to figure it out. You get to preserve one of the last remaining green areas of the central city and HforH gets to put up structures on land already prepped for development.
The other swap is one I’ve heard many an Average Citizen talk about ever since that big Public Works Department scandal broke last week. You know, the one where a heretofore well-liked, trusted PW project manager allegedly conspired with an out-of-town concrete outfit to bilk the city out of $800,000. Again, the proposed swap is so simple a kindergartner could have come up with it: Just recoup the 800 Gs and use the swag to pay for all those things the revenue from B-town’s downtown parking meters were supposed to finance.
If only the affairs of gov’t could be so simple. I chatted with a city official yesterday who provided the following caveats about that land swap idea:
- “It’s impractical” at the very least.
- The plans the city has already spent tons of dough on for the Tech Park cannot be switched over to another tract of land just like that. Similarly, HforH’s plans would have to be re-drawn as well — also at a significant cost.
- The topographic and ecological conditions of the Tech Park area cannot easily accommodate a single-family-homes development nor can the wooded area adequately underlie the mixed-use Tech Park structures.
- Some folks avoid the northwestern end of the B-Line Trail, the part that curves through the wooded area, because it is isolated, lonely and, frankly, a little scary for those who fear unexpected head-clunkings. Should homes be built around that end of the trail, it’ll be visible to a lot of neighbors. “Eyes on the trail is a good thing,” the official said.
The Bloomington City Council will vote on zoning variances for the Habitat project Wednesday, March 26th. Expect a quick okay.
Now then, what about that $800,000 windfall the city will get just as soon as Justin Wykoff and his pal, the concrete contractor Roger Hardin, turn their ill-gotten cash over to the proper authorities? (That is if they are indeed guilty of skimming said lettuce.)
This one’s as childlike as any scheme concocted by a kindergartner. It assumes Mayor Mark Kruzan is emptying out one of his old sports bags so he can stuff it with the cash the alleged embezzlers will tote over to him once they get sprung from the federal joint in Indy. The assumption is Kruzan will simply dole out the dough and every dept. head in the city will be fat and happy and city-workers will then go about the business of sawing down those damnable new parking meters.
Okay, Boys, We’re Square
Kids, it ain’t gonna happen. Let’s not even concern ourselves with the probability that the cash — or most of it, at least — is long gone. The city can’t just spend found cash like a drunken sailor. It’ll have to go through channels, return the money to its original funding source, and then go through the whole process of re-allocating it. It’s not as though the $800,000 was sitting in a pile in some city safe somewhere and the bad guys (allegedly) swiped it in the middle of the night. It’s all too complicated for a straightforward reimbursement and redistribution.
Much as we wish it, spending a city’s money is not child’s play.
My Homestate Blues
Personal to the voters of the great state o’Illinois: y’all had better kick the crap (at the ballot box, natch) out of the newly-crowned Republican candidate for Guv this coming Nov.
Dem. Gov. Pat Quinn (left) Faces Rauner In The Fall
Bruce Rauner is a plutocratic, union-busting “right-to-work” advocate, health care profiteer, low-tax fetishist, and social-service expenditure slasher. He’s a Me Party dreamboat and will accelerate in his own small way this holy land’s headlong rush toward a cold, uncaring, bottom-line-only society. Assuming we’re not there already.
Anyway, Illinois voters, if you do elect this guy to be the state’s big boss, I’ll lose all respect for you. Assuming I haven’t already.