Normal needs better priorities.
Running for Mayor of Normal, IL in 2021 to promote smarter growth, lower taxes, and improved roads.
NewsFriday, September 4, 2020 1:06 AM
An edited transcript of Marc's recent interview with Ryan Denham on WGLT
"I welcome a diversity of thought on the council. I welcome those tougher dynamics. It's a lot messier, but there needs to be give and take. That's why our government is set up the way it is. It takes longer to get through a meeting. It's a messier process, but it's far more healthy."
Saturday, August 29, 2020 1:08 PM
The Mayor's Executive Orders Deny Due Process
Regardless of whether the new restrictions on gatherings and establishments are the right solution, there is a much bigger problem in how those actions were taken. The real issue is that the Chris Koos has deprived the community of due process. Citizens can now be issued a citation and a fine in which they were not given representation or a voice. This is not how our system of government is supposed to work. It is not how I would operate.
Leaders from ISU, the city, town, and county all met behind closed doors on Tuesday to craft the latest orders. That means there were several days in which a special meeting of the council could have been declared, even with giving the public 48-hours notice. The mayor could have followed established representational procedure and still had his restrictions by Friday afternoon. Better still, the result would have been a full ordinance and not the legally ambiguous entity of an executive order.
Illinois law requires the people’s business to be carried out in public (5 ILCS 120/1). Having to resort to closed door meetings and emergency powers displays ineffective leadership. It violates our principles of open government and demonstrates an inability to get the job done within the resources of a representative democracy. Normal deserves better.
The emergency powers that the mayor initiated back in March—actions that I vehemently disagreed with—were conceived for a duration that would be measured in hours, not months. They were designed to handle fast moving threats such as riots, not slower crises where there is sufficient time to convene the council. It is long past time to end the emergency declaration and restore our town to representative government in the way it is intended.
Friday, August 7, 2020 11:35 AM
Interview with Steve Seuss on the Scott Robbins morning show on Cities 929
Marc talks local politics with Steve Seuss.
Friday, March 20, 2020 7:48 PM
Link to Information on the Town's Emergency Ordinance
The Town has now updated their emergency meeting post at a different link. The change: public comment will be by email only.
This is wrong.
The problem is that the provisions of the Open Meetings Act allowing direct public comment are still in effect. In light of COVID-19, Illinois’ Public Access Office recommends email comments as a way to reduce the size of the public presence, but email alone does not satisfy the law’s requirement that the public be allowed to speak at a meeting. The Town could easily comply by following the office’s other recommendations such as a public conference call or by holding the meeting in a large venue to allow distancing, but they have chosen not to. As such, the Town is violating our rights while at the same time asking us to trust them. I have a hard time doing so when they were found in willful violation of the Open Meetings Act in the past, and have two other reviews pending now. This is the authority that is asking everyone to give up fundamental rights and freedoms, and confer all power into the hands of one man. Let’s start by properly following the law so that we can get to the business at hand in a more trustworthy manner.
Thursday, August 15, 2019 1:18 AM
Sports complex will Significantly Raise Prices
Last year, the $43 million sports complex idea was dead on arrival, yet some in the Town of Normal keep trying to resuscitate it. There are many reasons why this project should not be pursued, but for now, I will focus on just the price of access.
Right now, municipal fields are free and program access costs are reasonable. These prices will have to increase significantly if a sports complex is built. Here’s how it works:
In the article, Normal Parks and Recreation director Doug Damery states that the proposed project “would likely force some sports programs to raise their own participation fees.” In the consultant’s report last year, an admonition was given that free access and below market-rate pricing would have to be eliminated in order to drive business to the new facility. Team memberships would rise significantly in price. Fields that are currently free would jump to $40 or $50 per hour. This is ironic since the consultants began their presentation by explaining how low-income youth are already at a disproportionate disadvantage in accessing recreational sports. They highlighted how lack of access to organized play is a significant factor for childhood obesity and disparities in achievement. This proposal would widen that gap and exacerbate the very problems the study decries. It makes no sense. Much more manageable and less risky opportunities already exist and are being pursued to serve the needs of our youth. A large, tourism-driven venue is not needed.
In short, our community is currently well served with what we have. Where aspirations are higher, progress is being made towards private ventures to meet those needs. By trying to reach outside for tourism, a sports complex would put an end to informal recreational facilities within our community. People at all levels would be forced to pay much more for the activities they are already pursuing and further stratification based on household income would be the result.
All this from their own data, yet somehow, they do not see it. This is why Normal needs better priorities. This is why I will be running again in 2021.