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  • 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.

Woodmancy’s criminal record cannot be easily set aside

I’ve been getting press releases from a Democrat candidate for the 18th Congressional District, Matthew Woodmancy. They invariably include a disclaimer that goes like this:

Matthew Woodmancy has a criminal record for a foolish act and is paying his fines and has moved on with his life. He is ready to serve, ready to [...]

Rewind: History of City Council election process

Back in November 1987, the last time the City Council’s election process was changed, then-Journal Star reporter Paul Gordon wrote a very interesting story on the history of the process.

I’ve reprinted the complete article below, but here’s the summary, with some additional information to bring us up to 2011:

Years Election Process
Before 1845 Governed under township system, with a board of trustees and a board president
1845-1953 Mayor and, initially, eight aldermen elected from four wards, with elections held annually. The council grew with the city, and by 1951, there were 11 wards and 22 aldermen.
1953-1960 Council-manager form of government adopted; one mayor and all council members elected at-large.
1960-1972 In a special election, voters decide to reestablish the ward system. Ten wards are established with one councilman elected from each; terms are not staggered. There are no at-large seats.
1972-1991 Under new state legislation, a binding referendum was held that established five districts and three at-large seats (total of 8 council members, plus the mayor), with staggered terms.
1991-present As a result of the 1987 Voting Rights lawsuit settlement, our current system was established with five district councilmen and five at-large councilmen elected via cumulative voting. The first at-large election under the new system was held in 1991.

Now in 2011, there is talk of doing away with the current system and returning to possibly ten districts and no at-large councilmen, which would be essentially what we had in the 1960s. It’s also the resolution originally sought in the voting rights case of 1987.

In 1987, a lawsuit (Joyce Banks, et al. v City of Peoria, case number 87-2371) was filed against the City of Peoria, District 150 Board of Education, and the Peoria Park District, alleging that the method of electing at-large members “prevented minorities from getting elected to the boards because the number of white voters outnumbered minorities.” The suit originally sought to abolish at-large voting completely from all three boards. But in a settlement before the case went to trial, plaintiffs agreed to eliminate at-large voting from the school district and park boards, and develop a different solution for the City Council: a total of five at-large members (an increase from three) plus the implementation of a cumulative voting system.

Why? According to a Nov. 1, 1987, Journal Star article, one of the plaintiffs, Joyce Banks, stated “their original demand for across-the-board district voting was dropped because blacks reasonably could be assured of one seat on a district-only council…. With the agreed-upon changeover to cumulative voting for at-large seats on the City Council, Banks said a well-organized black community could capture two or three seats on what would become a 10-member council.”

That’s more or less how it has worked out. Today, there are two black members on the council: first-district councilman Clyde Gulley and at-large councilman Eric Turner. If the council were to change back to a ten-district system, it’s hard to say how minority representation would change. Minority population has increased over the past 24 years, so presumably more than one district could be made up of a majority of minority voters. Plus, it’s not as if white people only vote for white people or black people only vote for black people. For instance, Turner lives in the fifth district of the City, which is predominantly white, and he received a large number of votes from that area in the last at-large election. There’s no reason he couldn’t continue to win a seat in that area of town even under a district-only process.

It is interesting that changing to a ten-district council would be a trip back to the future, so to speak. One wonders if, in another ten or twenty years, there will be yet another group vying for a return to the good old days of cumulative voting, or perhaps a strong-mayor form of government. It seems we’re never satisfied with whatever process is currently in place.

Continue reading Rewind: History of City Council election process

City to comply with HB3785

You may recall that the State passed HB3785, which says political signs can be displayed on residential property at any time. The law takes effect January 1, 2011, but the City of Peoria will be bringing it sign ordinance into compliance this coming Tuesday. The text amendment leaves intact size restrictions for all political [...]

Attention Tea Party participants: Change happens at ballot box

From the Journal Star:

A crowd estimated at more than 500 gathered outside the Peoria County Courthouse during the noon hour Wednesday to protest what they believe to be out-of-control government spending during a tax day “TEA (taxed enough already) party,” designed to echo the rebellion of the Boston Tea Party.

I don’t disagree [...]

Beth Akeson to run for Third District council seat

I just received this e-mail from the vice-chairman of the Heart of Peoria Commission, Beth Akeson:

I have gathered the required signatures and completed the necessary paperwork to run for Peoria’s third district council seat.

These documents will be turned in tomorrow, December 15, 2008. I look forward to a positive campaign as [...]

Council to consider keeping elections the way they are

State election law has changed, but the city council has a chance to override the changes and keep everything in Peoria status quo. Here’s the skinny:

The state legislature last year changed the requirements for when a primary election has to be held in municipal nonpartisan elections — things like mayor, councilman, clerk, etc. [...]

Primary election results and comment

18th Congressional District (Republican)

Aaron Schock 55,576 71% Jim McConoughey 13,307 17% John Morris 9,108 12%

The only thing surprising about the outcome of this race is the margin of victory. Schock was expected to win with at least a plurality, but most likely a small majority of votes. Instead, he won in a [...]

Early voting not without risk

Did you vote early? Is your candidate still in the race?

In Peoria County, registered voters could cast a ballot between Jan. 14 and Jan. 31 for the Feb. 5 primary. The trouble is, since Jan. 14, several candidates have dropped out. If you voted for Fred Thompson, John Edwards, or Rudy Giuliani, sorry, [...]

Spain’s election could be contested

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I mean, the guy got a ton of votes, came in third place, and bested one of the three incumbents. What’s there to contest?

Answer: Whether state law will allow him to serve.

There’s this part of Illinois law called the “Prohibited interest in contracts” clause (50 ILCS 105/3) that [...]

Park Board President Election Results

Incumbent Tim Cassidy easily won reelection as president of the Park Board over sitting board member Robert Johnson. The vote wasn’t even close:

Tim Cassidy 9,200 72.46% Robert Johnson 3,496 27.54%

There wasn’t a lot of controversy surrounding Cassidy; he endeared himself to many voters by voting against the land-sharing deal with District 150 [...]