July 2011
« Jun   Aug »


  • Karrie E. Alms: Amazing insight into the world of politics awaits any reader at pibgorn … from a Demon’s...
  • Tony: Homefield is Dynegy. Dynegy is Ameren. There Charging You twice for the same energy. Do you really thihk $.04...
  • SouthEnder: Also does anyone remember the Velvet Freeze located on Jefferson St, up the street from the Warner Homes....
  • Eric Pollitt: I flew economy class to Hong Kong for Christmas vacation, which is a 14 hour flight. When I got back...
  • Mike: Homefield has been sold to dynery. Google dynegy scandal to see who your new parent is. If this upsets you give...
  • mortified: Fun while it lasted. Godspeed!
  • aaron: your blogging will be missed but i know that your spirit of fairness will remain alive in your other...
  • Jon: CJ, your blog was a revelation and an inspiration. You have a wonderful talent that is an asset to the...
  • Billy Dennis: Of course the Chronicle is done: Screw you. The Chronicle is one of the best researched blogs...
  • Paul Wilkinson: CJ, am sorry you have ended your blog. It was well done. It seems many have given up as we keep...
  • Sharon Crews: Your voice is definitely needed in this community. Thanks for all your insights.
  • emergepeoria: Your blog is great resource to research Peoria issues. I hope you leave it up.
  • BucketHead: I was not suggesting that, I believe the both of you had very strong common sense and that lead to your...
  • C. J. Summers: Without anonymity, there is no courage among my detractors. Take a look back at the wide variety of...
  • Of course the Chronicle is done: Without Sandberg to give stores to the Chronicle there is no Chronicle.

Blog interrupted

I’ve closed the comments on my previous post because it looks like any constructive discussion that might have taken place there has been exhausted, and now I’m getting a number of racist comments. I’ve tried to delete the worst of them; if I missed any, I apologize.

As you all know by now, the previous post was picked up by The Drudge Report, and the increased traffic to my site led to my blog being shut down. Just so you know, there was no government conspiracy or censorship going on. My blog is hosted on a shared server, meaning other websites and blogs are hosted on the same computer, and when I got over 300,000 hits that first day I was on Drudge, it used up all the network connections to that server. That meant that I was hogging the whole server and not allowing any traffic to the other sites, which is technically a violation of the terms of service. Thus, my hosting company shut down my site.

I could have gotten the site back up sooner if I had moved the site to a virtual private server or took some other action to increase my bandwidth. But let’s face it, my blog is a local blog, not a blog of national interest. So I just waited it out, and within a couple of days my traffic counts were pretty much back to normal. My hosting company was very understanding and got the site back up as soon as traffic died down. It took a few days; thanks for your patience.

I’ve been taken to task somewhat for publishing the previous post. All I can tell you is that I consider Paul a reliable source. He was an eye-witness to the event; police radio traffic confirmed that there were calls about a disturbance on Thrush that evening, and so I went with the story. Despite subsequent attempts to discredit Paul, his description of the events that night have been corroborated. True, not all neighbors heard racial threats being yelled, but some did.

There is no dispute from anyone that there was indeed a large group of kids going down Thrush, stopping traffic, running on lawns and porches, and making a lot of noise at 11:00 at night. I would submit that this is unacceptable behavior regardless of what they were yelling. It is not “kids being kids,” and I don’t believe we should condone it, even tacitly. If you had a family with small children, this would be very disturbing. It certainly does not make anyone want to move into the area and raise their family there. This issue needs to be addressed, not swept under the rug or brushed off with unsubstantiated accusations of exaggeration.

As far as the national exposure, I did not seek it out, and I didn’t find it particularly helpful. It appears that there are some who are claiming that there are race riots going on throughout the country, and my post was supposed to be proof that it’s happening here, too. Nobody locally has said or intimated such a thing. My interest in the story was purely local. My regular readers know that I’ve expressed concern over the City Council’s cutting of police protection and other basic services while raising taxes for expensive, needless capital projects. This story was relevant to those concerns.

46 comments to Blog interrupted

  • CIberbully

    Final score from the school board election :

    4 donuts to 2 donuts.

  • CIberbully

    Instead of the School Board they should call it the Smorgasboard.

  • Sharon Crews

    Thanks, C.J., for your explanation. Although I hate reading all the racist comments, we probably should have that reminder that bigotry is still out there. My own opinion (because the names were unfamiliar) that many of the most racist comments were not from Peorians. I am grateful for that. Now we can’t forget we have several problems for which we as Peorians (or West Peorians) need to push for constructive solutions.

  • pffft

    It’s a sad commentary that someone with Paul’s credibility and history of service to his neighborhood should be so villified for doing what he did. He probably won’t report a crime now if a decapitated head rolls onto his front porch. COP’s loss, one up for the hoodlums. Pffft.

  • The Mouse

    Good commentary, CJ, as usual. I would only take issue with 1 thing: This is part of a national story. There is a rising wave of gang crime (for lack of another term) around the country, and the response of the so-called authorities is “IGNORE, DENY and COVER-UP”. Drudge picked this up to show it is not an isolated or big-city only occurence. As for those who attached Paul’s credibiltiy, you wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) print my thoughts about them.

  • Dennis in Peoria

    Again, welcome back CJ. Thanks for the explanation. Some of us that are technically-challenged as far as how blogs and how host servers work together appreciate it.

    Those that are criticizing the way you blog lately need to remember that you 1) have a full-time job besides Peoria Chronicle, 2) have a family, & 3) deserve a good vacation from time to time. Just a coincidence this incident happened just as you went on one.

    Keep up good work, looking forward to meeting you, Billy Dennis , and Emerge July 13th!

  • conrad stinnett

    Thanks, CJ. I appreciate Paul coming forward with the story. I hope we will do whatever we can to convince our leaders (or the majority of them) that their priorities have taken us down the wrong path and now it is time to re-examine them and get back on the right road. We need police more than hotels.

  • Bull. A bunch of kids left a party at the same time. This is white fear. Nothing more.

  • Karrie E. Alms

    So Billy … you calling Paul a liar without using the word ‘liar’? Were you there? Did you see it? Libel? You willing to go under oath to back up your ‘bull’ claim? You takin’ BVA’s back too? Double bull back at you!

    Denial is getting us absolutely nowhere! We absolutely need to engage in positive dialogue to solve the challenges instead of ignoring them!

  • No, I’m calling Paul a chronic exaggerator and a person prone to Great White Panic. I’m convinced Paul believes every word, but the fact’s do not add up. 19 out of 20 home owners write this off a a teenager thing. ONE person who witnessed it says that he felt menaced. The only people who write NOW that they felt menaced are those wh read Paul’s letter.

    For crying out loud people. Get over it.

  • EB Voice

    Okay, I’ll say it. Paul Wilkinson is a LAIR!

  • mama

    EB– You might have more power if you could actually spell the word correctly. The word is liar, a lair is an animal’s home.

  • And Karrie: Are you calling the 19 other homeowners who disputed all or part of Paul’s tail a liar?


  • You know, sometimes I have to wonder if these comments are being made just to vent and not to actually accomplish anything. Or is it that most of us feel as powerless and disenfranchised by our governments and neighbors as that crowd of kids getting out of the party or menacing the neighborhood (depending on which explanation you believe)?

    The fact of the matter is that there is White Panic and there is a growing unrest regarding the economy, the lack of police presence, and the apparent lack of any reasonable solution to any of this. On one hand, we have the pontificating members of the City Council who are hell bent on defending the rights of the money people on the north end, and on the other hand we have the diehard residents of the older communities who refuse to acknowledge that they no longer have the political clout to dictate what behavior should exist in a growing area where “minority” peoples are becoming the majority. What no one wants to admit is that we all want to blame “those people”, whoever they may be, for all the problems in our neighborhoods, instead of sitting down together and working on a mutual solution that would serve us all.

    Until we realize that we are all “those people”, we will never fix a damn thing.

  • Karrie E. Alms

    Billy: Nope … not calling anyone a liar …. just asking you …. and everyone, including Paul is entitled to what that individual saw and heard that night.

    Recently we had an incident in our neighborhood with loud music and defecation in the public right of way … two neighbors saw it and other neighbors did not … so who would be telling the truth and or not telling the truth in that situation? Just saying that a group of people, large or small or some other size can be in the ‘same’ vicinity and hear and see different things … just think of eyewitnesses to any event.

    One of my childhood memories is being at my grandparents house and they were relating a neighborhood incident …. you would have thought they had been at two different events from the two versions told. It was hilarious. I can still remember that visit after 45 years.

    Meanwhile, as Fred writes and many others … we haven’t solved anything because of a variety of reasons … and so it goes.

  • Leslie Smith

    Billy – so assuming your version of the incident is correct and the kids were just leaving a party and didn’t threaten to kill the white people, do you you think it is acceptable for them to stop traffic and run through people’s yards and otherwise act uncivilized? Or is this acceptable behavior in your opinion? Do you live in that neighborhood? Do you live in the North Valley where this type of behavior is prevalent? Where hollering at all hours and blocking traffic is commonplace? It’s rude and a control issue in my opinion. Gotta show ’em who’s boss! Sadly what it will take is one of them getting run down and then there will be an uproar over the poor baby who got ran over. BTW – this is NOT specific to any one ethnic group but more of mindset of our misguided youth of all ethnicity who think that the rules of civilized society do not apply to them.

  • Cameron

    Billy has national attention envy.

  • Anon E. Mouse

    19 of 20 people agree that Wilkinson is exagerating, according to the former PJStar intern (Bill Dennis).

    So, you can name all 20 of these people? Or are you the one exagerating?

  • Anon E. Mouse

    Let’s be honest – there is a double standard that exists.

    If this had been a large group of white youths and even ONE of them had uttered racially offensive phrase, there would have been an unimaginable firestorm from the NAACP, PUSH, Rainbow Coalition, Black Panthers ad infinitum.

    The bottom line is respect. Doesn’t matter your color.

  • Kohlrabi

    No not 19 out of 20 people – Billy said 19 of 20 “homeowners.” Now that may me an exaggeration.

  • A Preservationist Who Cares

    Like every other human being there are times when I’ll agree with someone an disagree with another, then times when those views are reversed. I disagree with Billy on some things but with this one, I’m on his side. On far more than one occasion Paul Wikenson has exagerated on this blog, just go look at some of the disputes we’ve gotten into recently over his misunderstanding of Historic Preservation Ordinances and the lies he spreads about that. Paul is a smart guy who does much good for his neighborhood and Peoria, but he is also the perfect example of the Boy Who Cried Wolf because of the many times he’s exagerated on this blog and in conversations in person. I would say that makes him an unreliable source.

    Paul, I believe you’re a good guy underneath. Start using your powers for good and not for evil. If this really did happened the way you said, show us the photos! We all know what a camera nut you are. I find it impossible to believe you wouldn’t have captured images of this.

  • Sharon Crews

    Most of us do not want Paul’s account to be true. I remember when many did not want to believe the stories about the problems created by large numbers of students leaving Peoria High and blocking traffic (but the reports were true). These events are momentary–usually in the time (sometimes drawn out because of minor fights, etc., that might break out enroute)it takes for the kids to move from one place to the other. My own opinion is that if Paul heard any racial comments, he would have been much better off not to repeat them–and so would we all. I thought he said that he heard only a couple of such comments–at least, in some account–maybe even when he responded to comments on this blog. First of all, if most residents were inside their homes (and at 11 p.m. they probably were), they could not have heard clearly any of what the kids were saying–and they couldn’t give clear or comprehensive accounts of what they were doing.

    The fact still remains that young people should not be disturbing the peace of neighborhoods at 11 p.m. and they should not be blocking traffic. Face it–these events do happen and attention needs to be given to the problem. I do have problems with those who have called Paul a liar. I don’t know Paul and, if he has written on this blog before, I didn’t notice. Also, because of all the criticism that Paul has taken, how many of his neighbors want to go on record with agreeing him, at this point? Many people in the neighborhood most affected by the problems of wandering teens are afraid to speak out anyway. Discreding Paul won’t make the problem go away.

    And we all know that these problems don’t get the attention they deserve because of the location of the neighborhoods. Let this happen in other neighborhoods and there would be immediate attention given to the problem.

  • skeptical1

    More and more we migrate to a reactive society. COP and the US need to become more pro-active or we will have worse than unruly teens running wild at all hours. Remember 911, The Holocaust, genocide in Darfour, the Watts Riots… etc. When the so called educated people are constantly bickering amongst themselves how is this educating those with less knowledge on improving themselves and societal issues. We reap what we sow. Let us learn from our past so we do not repeat it. Together we can improve our society. Start by impressing on our local politicians that we want and expect better and let them know what we intend to do to help. One step at a time. It took a long time to get here it will take us a while to get better. There is no “easy button” we all need to work.

  • Cameron: Yes. I admit it. I YERN for all those hits from frightened Drudge readers.

  • 2 Cents

    Don’t repeat (racial) comments? Lift the rug and sweep. sweep. sweep.

  • Sharon Crews

    2Cents, how many times have you heard the N word bantered around–or other inappropriate racial comments or jokes (or comments or jokes about any other group of people)? What I am saying is that if we take offense at one group’s comments, we should take offense at those spewed by the group to which we “belong.” Of course, when any kinds of racial comments are made at school, there should be consequences. I am currently compiling data for referrals written and suspensions meted out for the categories of inappropriate and/or abusive use of language. Literally hundreds of such referrals and a fairly significant number of suspensions are recorded at the high school level. Many teenagers, in general, are in the habit of being very careless about their use of language. In that respect, I do believe we have a huge societal problem. In general, civility is hard to come by.

    As in the case of the Thrush Street incident, there was really no way to mete out consequences for verbal comments–so that isn’t exactly sweeping them under the rug. (Also, only person claims to have heard such comments).

    I might add that during my 43 years of teaching at Roosevelt and Manual (a majority of black students) I can count on one hand the number of times any student directed any derogatory racial comments at me or in my presence about other students, etc. That says much to me about the many students with whom I came in contact. My main reason for concern about this whole issue is that the bad behavior of a few places a stigma on all the well-behaved, polite young people. That’s what stereotyping and bigotry is all about.

  • 2 Cents

    Sharon–how many times ever—few, if ever. F words and N words were not part of the vocabulary. Regardless of race, color, or creed…everyone was the same—poor. No excuses for ignorance, though.

  • 2 Cents

    P.S. Sharon–try as you may to label me…I don’t “belong” to a group.

  • Sharon Crews

    2cents–I apologize. I realized too late that my wording about “groups” left much to be desired. I didn’t mean to direct my comments “at” you–sorry.

  • A Preservationist Who Cares

    Sharon, Paul W. posts on this blog quite often. I am in no way condoning the wild behaviour from people. This incident could have occurred the way he said it did, but I mentioned in earlier response that I live across the street from some loud drunken idiots that make noise and have street parties w/ 20-30 people and cause trouble amongst themselves till all hours of the night, nearly every weekend! They get the cops called on them all the time, but I’ve never felt threatened by them, just annoyed.

    All I’m saying is it’s easy for me to see how, if someone wants some quick attention to a problem, it’s easy to yell “fire” in the packed theater then give your reasoning to the news reporter later.

  • Chase Ingersoll

    There is a level of rhetoric against a class of people of a specific gender, who generally have jobs, homes, businesses and children who do well in school.

    There is a class of people that is making money off of this rhetoric, and then there is a class of people that actually starts to believe the rhetoric and who has and will use it to commit violence against the people who are the subject of the rhetoric.

    I’ve witness the psychology of a mob that has been primed with that sort of rhetoric. It is the rhetoric of lynching and gas chambers. It is the rhetoric of the stoning of Steven. But the mobs don’t know or recall that history. To them it is a very simple case of black and white and whatever they do is immediately justified by – their own mob mentality.

    You can only confront and scatter the mob with absolute force. Don’t try and reason with it. Run as fast and far as you can, or use absolute force. Individually the people in the mob are not strong enough, have not the will, nor the ability to do much of anything. But give them a few slogans, get them chanting and they will torch the world.

  • Awh, the “N” word. That is the word I heard almost every single time I was in the hall ways of Manual High School. And it was used by blacks. If used by any other race, it is cause for arrest. No wonder things are out of hand in our society today.

  • Sharon Crews

    Emtronics, I do realize that the “N” word is more often used by blacks today. And I wrote referrals for use of the word no matter who was using it–no double standards. The absence of the “N” word in white circles doesn’t mean the absence of bigotry, however. Preservationist, a loud party in your neighborhood and large groups of people running the streets are two different events. The police can go to a house and force them to quiet down or arrest them if illegal activities are occurring. However, a group in the streets is more threatening and more fear about property damage, etc.–and it is more difficult to catch the culprits who run in all directions when the police come. Of course, much of this is a summer problem, so many will just endure the problems and wait for snow.

  • No double standards is right Sharon. The if I am called a “cracker”, then it should carry the same weights as the use of the “N” word from any other race?

  • Sharon Crews

    Emtronics, I am probably still thinking as a teacher. By the way, absolutely no one has ever called me a cracker (and if someone did, I would make a joke out of it) and I can’t remember even hearing that word very often, if ever–and I don’t care how you want to spin it, “cracker” doesn’t carry the sting that the “N” word carries. As for thinking as a teacher in a classroom, it depends on whether or not you want to punish the behaviors or change the behaviors. In the early years of my career (during race riots, etc.), I found that my willingness to discuss these issues with middle school and high school students did change their classroom behaviors because the discussions helped kids to express their feelings in a constructive way, etc. Frankly, cuss words, etc., were always more of a problem than racial names. Hallway and cafeteria behaviors are much more difficult to control–and on the streets. As for adults, I don’t have the faintest idea of how to change those behaviors and/or attitudes.

  • Wow….Sharon, you have hit the nail on the head with that last statement. I would love to find that key to unlocking this legacy of racial bigotry and hatred. I guess the first thing to do would be to stop teaching and preaching this to others. Which leaves me with an interesting question. Let’s say for the moment that Paul was 100% right and the crowd was in the early throes of a riot. Now I wonder who wound them up like that? Who were they listening to? Who was inciting them? If Paul was right, it certainly does beg the question, don’t you agree?

    And as far as being called a “cracker”? I have a response to that, but it isn’t printable in C. J.’s blog, or among decent people. Calling people names is something I left behind in the 3rd or 4th grade. I personally find the behavior offensive, and an indication of a lack of education and manners.

  • Sharon Crews

    Frederick Smith, you just introduced a whole bunch of “ifs” for which you have absolutely no basis for speculation. I don’t think Paul ever suggested mass name-calling. Am I wrong, or didn’t he specify just one or two? Isn’t it “South Pacific” that taught us the song that spoke a truth, “You have to be taught to hate.” I am not going to argue which side–black or white–does the most teaching of hatred. That’s irrelevant. However, as a teacher, I felt it was my duty–even privilege–to help kids (black and white) unlearn those attitudes. The only way to “unlearn” bigotry is with positive experiences–I was fortunate to have had many of those experiences–I hope I provide them, as well. Frankly, I was taught to hate or, at least, distrust black people (and Catholics)-that was part of my early upbringing. However, thanks be to God, I had many good experiences that knocked all that early stuff completely out of my head and heart. You may have left calling people names behind in the primary grades, but there are certainly considerable examples of name calling on blogs.

  • Thank you for the reply

  • Hmmm. Sharon, I do believe Paul’s original report was of a “mob action”, which indicates a large group of people acting in unison. That, I believe, would be the basis for such speculation. And you are correct, there are a “whole bunch of “ifs””, but they are based on the assumption that Paul’s original report was accurate.

    Seeing as you called me on a speculation based on Paul’s statement, I believe this would indicate that you believe Paul’s account to be less than accurate. Is this correct?

  • Sharon Crews

    Frederick Smith, I guess it’s time to beat that dead horse. And, unfortunately, the words “mob action” are being used on WMBD with reference to the incident at Taft Homes last night.

  • Huh?

    Did Webster change the definition of “mob?” Seems to me the reporter was calling last night’s uproar exactly what it was. Sharon, what wording do you think they should have used, “A large group of boys whose parents simply could not be found?” PJStar was so politically correct by calling it a “major incident” and “unlawful assembly.” No one has even mentioned color, as if that is a sin now.

    This is not the first time there has been trouble at a downtown event. Steamboat Days has definitely had trouble in the past, though I do not know about this year.

  • Sharon Crews

    Huh–I understand–it’s early–I meant it was unfortunate that mob action did occur last night–I see why you misunderstood my comment. I have no objection to the use of the word mob to describe last night’s “event.” I agree that the PJS was being too cautious in calling it a major incident. Also, the PJS has yet to mention that a policeman and a fireman were injured. Why do we need any more description than Taft Homes?
    I was sitting by the GateWay building on the side closest to the Riverplex. We did see some rather impressive looking fireworks behind us–the kids thought they were the main event. Now I realize it was the Taft Home fireworks. Also, I wondered why the police had on their sirens, headed in that direction. We were routed past Taft Homes on the way home from the fireworks. Everything seemed OK then (of course, I didn’t know what had happened earlier). However, there were large groups of people standing around at Taft. I say “large group” now because they weren’t engaged in any mob activities.

    Also, there was no trouble “at” the downtown event. I was there and the crowd at the official fireworks was extremely orderly. The crowds around us walking to and from the fireworks were very orderly, also. Everyone sat in awe and relative silence watching the fireworks.

  • Dennis in Peoria

    Steamboat Festival has not had any trouble since 2008, thanks to the many volunteers and youth of Carl Cannon’s ELITE program.

  • Norb Mudr

    .It’s has been verry little done from and for our politicians to do something about it,since the are worry about their position.I am sure that if the police force as they are paid from our taxes,there would not be any incidents like this.I am wondering if the (Europian American),”white” kids would do such a thing,there would a TV,media and African American,(black) community reveran Jackson and other African american polititicians involeveIt’s very interesting how hate crime turned around and so liitle has been done.This is going on all over the world. Muslims in England and all over the Europe,here in NY a so forthd and the whole world media would spred this inscidents.Right now it’s condsider as an isolated incident.What is Mayor of the City do about it Let’s hear the world about this insident.What’s good for the goose,it’s goo for the gander.

  • idiotwatcher

    Norb please tell me that you are not a former student from district 1500. You skipped too many english classes. I have no idea what you said or mean. Can you read back what you write before hitting the post button?

  • Anon E. Mouse

    CJ must be on vacation.