Sunday, March 20, 2011

Joliet City Elections and Splash Station

Joliet's looming budget deficit has become a huge issue in the upcoming April 5th City of Joliet Consolidated elections.

City Council and Mayoral candidates have been asked to take a stand on various projects in Joliet that cost the city money, such as the Rialto, the Historical Museum, and Slash Station.  Some candidates say Splash Station should be sold.  Some say its sale should be on the table.  Some say that before it was built, the taxpayers should have had to pass a referendum approving the building of Splash Station.

Here's what I want to know: Why haven't I heard anyone say they want to improve Splash Station?  I'm not saying no candidates have advocated for improving the water park, but I am saying that in all of the websites and papers I've read, I haven't heard any creative ideas for improving Splash Station.

So, in the spirit of the song "Try" by The Lisps:

Maybe the candidates could focus on:

--Trying to increase attendance by forming more partnerships with local summer camps which might increase attendance.  

--Trying to reach out to community centers who run summer programs for kids in Joliet.  Maybe they wouldn't be able to pay full price, but I would be okay with taxes going to Splash Station as long as it provided a fun, safe, and healthy place for all Joliet kids to play in the summer.

--Trying to reach out to communities south of Joliet for whom Splash Station might be the closest water park.

Maybe all of these ideas have already been tried and still Splash Station loses money.  Then I think the candidates need to "try to be in the place they're already in", Joliet.  I think Joliet needs Splash Station.  Families and kids need access to fun, healthy activities in their own community. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gov. Scott Walker's Budget Bill Passed in Wisconsin Senate

Shouts of protest as Gov. Scott Walker's Budget Repair Bill passes Wisconsin State Senate:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Joliet Mayoral Candidate Dale Vollmer: "540 Million dollars came in from two gambling casinos and there's none of it left. We're Broke."

Responding to a question about term limits at the Plainfield Township Republican candidate forum, Joliet mayoral candidate Dale Vollmer considered that Joliet may need term limits, saying:  "I believe that not having term limits got us into the position that we're in today.  We have councilmen that have been there year after year after year after year and I could say that 20 times.  I think they get a feeling where they have a right to the office and they don't have to do what's right.  That's why we're broke.  540 million dollars came in from them two gambling casinos and there's none of it left, we're broke.  Maybe we do need term limits.  I'm not for them.  But I think that's why we're in this position.  If we get new blood every four years, we might not be in the situation we're in now.  But that's where we're at, that's the reality of it, there's no money."

I think Vollmer has a point.  

Warren Dorris responded to Vollmer's comments: "Let me defend the city.  We did get a lot of money from riverboat gaming. What did we do with it?  We cut our property tax 42%,  we eliminated city stickers, we built a west side library, we helped build a ballpark, we did some wonderful things.  We gave most of the money back to the citizens.  And right now we have some issues.  No one saw the downturn coming in 2008. No one.  We did have a reserve.  Why did we have a reserve?  Because we put the money away.  It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, but it's not time to turn this city over to someone who's a trainee.  We need people who really know the system, who can put a plan together, and make change.  We spent the money. Where did we spend it?  We gave most of it back.  We've got issues now, we need to come together and address them."

See for yourself: