Stephen E. (Steve) Foster
         
ALDERMAN WARD 7
 
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Danville Illinois 1869

 
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OPINIONS

On this page are various Opinions on our Danville Area Community
 Issues written over the past few years

INSERTS BEST VIEWED IN MS/Internet Explorer!
Commercial News Quotes 2000-200
9

1-19-09 Reply to Letter to the editor, Commercial News

12/2008 2009 Property tax levy vs Budget cuts

2/2008 Fire Fighter & Budget cuts

2/2006 - From City Newsletter - Alderman's Corner

4/2005 The One vote margin in Danville Ward 7 - 2005 Elections

7/2000 Sonny Lane (At odds with Mayor)

7/2000 Sonny Lane Position (letter to CN & Council)

3/2001 Elections (Loss of Sen. Myers)

4/2001 Leaf Burn Ban Transcript of address to Council

1/2003 Endorsement of Aldermen seeking election

2/2003 Endorsement letter for Mayor Eisenhauer

3/2003Supporting local businesses Cooketech or Soltec?

10/2001 Why we Built and Maintain the Danville Area Internet Portal

7-12-04Reply to CN My Turn comments about the City Council and my statements on the Gas Tax

RE: Property tax levy vs Budget cuts

December 2008 - I oppose the increase in property tax (or any other new tax-fee sources) Please read this recent letter to the editor explaining my positions for the past years and my solution…..

 

A recent letter to the editor rather challenged my credulity, as to my numbers in a recent report to the City Council suggesting they are “fiction”. I write this reply because all tax paying Danville citizens should know and understand what their tax dollars provide in services and what the ACTUAL COSTS are to them. I spent some time (along with City Comptroller Gayle Brandon) in accumulating the facts of the tangible expenditure of the largest part of our budget. The Mayor stated that more then 81% of our budget is for employee salary and benefits. I believe that this is where we should look first for expense reductions and that was the purpose of my report to the Aldermen.

 

The  report I presented was the average COST for EACH  Police, Fire, and non-public safety employees, breaking the three groups down further into command, department heads, & managerial staff costs. I suggested that we look at every department employee on a needs basis. The report did not specifically call for the reduction of police officers or fire personnel but did suggest we look a the Command personnel very close. The writer’s letter, (her husband is a city policeman), claimed that average police wages were much lower than I reported and called for no police cuts. First, no proposal is forthcoming from me or any other alderman, that I am aware of, to cut officers on the street.

 

The letter speaks of two different wage numbers from my report and one other newspaper. Let’s see how this is so. My report illustrates what is factually important to all of us, the COST of the average employee to the  city and the taxpayers. Using her numbers, (as her letter and one newspaper did), the average base pay for one police officer IS $58,022 (as stated in her letter) – But the COST paid by the city are this PLUS Health insurance $13,162 + Pension contributions $9,667 + Medicare $841 + Workman’s Comp $1,897 + Clothing allowance $250 which cost total = $83,839 (the “fictional–comics” number as the letter suggested). Using the same formula the average Fire Fighter’s Base is $54,410 but total costs are $84,995. All other non-public safety employees average cost each totaled $59,146. Management averages were considerably more in each department.

 

The real shock was the projections for the next 20 years for EACH employee. The non-public safety employee each will cost $2,431,926. Each Police $3,095,463 and Each Fire Fighter $3,119,682. I stated in my report that I am not questioning the worth or value of each employee but presenting the “cost to retirement” estimates. At the conclusion I offered the same challenge to the Aldermen that I now offer to you who care enough to read this reply: “The Questions are…How many (non-public safety) employees, police, or fire personnel are essential? How much are the taxpayers willing to pay this year and in each year to come to maintain that number?”

Some of the Aldermen will vote with me against the property tax increase in the proposed levy. Contrary to statements of some other aldermen we DO have choices on the levy, other then closing the Library, etc. We can move the shortfall of $511,000 pension fund contributions to pay from the general budget – of course this will create an additional $511,000 on top of the present short fall projected, taking this total number to over one million in additional cuts needed.

If we want to keep all these people on the payroll in a city with declining population, then we must be willing to pay for it. About safety; I feel safe with the Police & Fire as they presently are. I would feel safer if we had Police. I would also feel safer if I had a $60,000 SUV with side airbags and all the safety electronics, but I had to comprise my safety a little with my Sebring to keep within my budget. Ponder this a little. What we want in life is not always what we should get - but what we could afford – now we see the economic results of millions not applying this basic principal, but living for today, in debt far beyond their income ratio, little thought about the future. There is no one to bale us out! In view of what’s happening everywhere how should we run the city next year and the years after? What do you want us to do? Call your alderman and tell us – please come to the Council meetings the next few Tuesday evenings at 6pm and inform us…

Stephen E (Steve) Foster, Alderman Ward 7

 

 R   Reply to Letter to the editor, Commercial News 1-19-09

EDITOR
In reference to the letter from Mr. Mark New Sr. and his remarks. Your comment about the CN article and the statement on campaign sign costs, plus your personal assessment that “...About all (I am) good at is trying to figure ways to increase everyone’s taxes” necessitates a rebuttal. First, note the CN article was not a “quote” but an encapsulated portion of a multi topic dialogue with the reporter. I commented the disadvantage of not having opposition is the inopportunity of debating my positions and creating public awareness of some issues; and as to any advantage I stated that for someone to run for Council costs can run to $500 or more in expenses for such things as signs alone at $250 or more (I already have signs from my previous campaigns, but was speaking in general); additionally newspaper ads, flyers, mailings and postage, etc.  So when unopposed, a candidate obviously can save some expenses, (although when unopposed before, I still put out a few signs, etc.).

Second, it is the insinuation on my new taxes voting record that is disingenuous.  I was one of only four alderman that voted AGAINST the recent properly tax levy increase, and was very vocal in offering alternative cuts suggestions (and will continue to be in the upcoming budget sessions); see CN articles of 11-26-08 and the “My Turn” article on 12-14-08 – evidence of all these positions and all previous letters to the editors and other articles are on my website at  www.sfoster.info . The only new tax I pushed for over the past years was for the small gas tax to fund our streets, and I had a high percentage of support from citizens for that greatly needed revenue source and it’s purpose. Third, historically the majority of this current Council and administration is extremely hesitant to increase any tax or fees and do so only in the greatest of needs and caution to cut any service they believe essential.

In summary, I would agree with some of your other statements, Alderman need to make every effort to maximize council attendance, in some cases health and emergencies are preventatives, as for my self, on my website I have clearly stated that if my health or circumstances caused continued absence I would resign. Fifth point, it takes at least three years of budget experience and involvement for an alderman, to even begin to understand the complexities of our government and how to best represent the people, so replacing all incumbents could greatly impede the process. Sixth comment, regarding donating wages to the city, the Aldermen’s net monthly stipend of about $200, is fixed by city and state law, and can not be changed for current Aldermen until after the next (reelection. We prepare for and attend a minimum of three council meetings, plus the other committee and sub committee meetings, and special closed sessions, additionally some attend neighborhood associations, city events, special training and seminars, gas/travel expense, and of course with additional campaign expenses, many of us already donate considerable time and expenditure to serve. Last, the city has NO input on the assessed evaluation of property.

 

Stephen E Foster, Alderman Ward 7

RE: Fire Fighter & Budget cuts:
Feb 25, 2008 From Steve Foster Ward 7 -EMail to Mayor & Aldermen
Since this will go through the city mail, I include copies to the media.

In response to email requests for a count of calls (the calls pursuant to the question of FIRE Dept personnel reductions) I offer my tally to date & my position. Thru Mon Evening I have received eight phone calls and two emails.  Of the eight, six were strongly supportive of the Mayor’s proposed cuts of fire department personnel. One wanted to maintain what we have, but “wanted no new taxes to pay for it’. One said no cuts & he “would pay more taxes”, and two were firemen.

As regards the two letters from the Danville Firefighters Association: Historically the council has been very unreceptive to threats, implied or blatant. The recent letters are substantiation of how out of touch some fire personal are and their extent of self-centeredness to which their union’s leadership has evolved. The attitude over the years of “meet our demands” and “just raise the taxes” to pay for pensions and benefits, (which taxes would only affect a portion of the fire personnel living in Danville anyway [38%] ), is just one more example of their historic mind-set. The letter’s threats of law suits, arbitration demands, union endorsements of elected officials who will vote their way, and threatening to run special interest-single issue candidates against fiscal conservative candidates in the Wards are old tactics. Before the budget is voted we also will likely see full page ads, mailings, phone campaigns, and more. All this is to cloud the issues.

The issue was never the entailment or daily duties of fire personnel, or (misperceptions of their value. Their performance in the “line of duty” is not questioned. It is simply the continued rising expense to the taxpayers in supporting the number of personnel vis-à-vis the minimum need – especially in light of our declining population and revenues.

I have held the position for many years that we need to reduce the department and I would not support a reactionary tax or fee increase that would be implemented just to maintain the department at its current level. In fact I do not believe we can or should maintain the level of personnel regardless of unexpected revenue increases to the city, even without new revenue sources. If a revenue stream for the public is suddenly “found” by the fire department, great. But the proposed reductions should be implemented regardless.

The risks perceived or actual (which are always less) to the community by the reduction of fire personnel are part of life’s compromises. We are all at risk each day from personal injury to death. We also are at economic risk each day we live. Poor health and raising care costs, plant closings and economic downturns for the work force, loss of value of retirement income for seniors. Rising taxes, declines in investment values and home values, are often life’s factors. We must understand the need to balance security vs costs, and work together to determine an acceptable equilibrium.

 


A commentary on the Ward 7 - 2005 Elections

The One vote margin, what happened & how it happened. An insight into Understanding  Statistics & the Work, and Time required to run for public office

The numbers in this opinion-commentary, and a single vote’s value are worth considering  when one becomes a major aspect. A number of obvious conclusions can be made in the City Ward 7 Aldermanic Election - and some less obvious elements are worth considering.

First, no one could hardly fault a candidate, losing by one vote out of 874 cast, to not consider a recount of the votes. I telephoned my opponent Wednesday morning and told him that all I talked with in our area, that knew him, had nothing but nice things to say about him and his children. I congratulated him on his great effort. I we discussed future community involvement and other personal topics. 

As the declared winner I would like to share my views leading up to the election and the results. I will start by looking at what did not happen. There were 3,884 registered voters in Ward 7 eligible to vote, a net increase of 44 since the 2003 elections. The 873 valid votes cast represents 22.5% turnout and 77.5% did not vote. 

Having followed the voting precinct by precinct in Ward 7 since 1993, you can develop a good idea of what to expect, assuming normal issues, and average opponents. I was first elected in 1993 with a margin of well over 50% of approximately a 25% turnout. In all years but one I had to first win a primary of 3 or more candidates. In 1997 I won by 19 votes with a turnout out of less than 25%. In 2001 I was reelected with a turnout of  around 10% (unopposed).  

The off year elections (non Mayoral elections) are historically low turnout. So in the two elections 1997 and 2005 with an opponent I won both elections by only 20 votes collectively. The Council is supposedly nonpartisan, but well organized opponents backed by a political party, or likewise - a special interest group, or ethnic group could and did have a strong chance of winning an election, especially in the odd year’s elections. In fact the same candidate, backed by a political party that lost  by 19 votes in 2001 also lost by 19 votes in a Mayoral election year running against the other Ward 7 Alderman (in 1999). Understanding that once again this was likely a close race, I anticipated a heavy turnout of certain newly registered voters and previously registered voters, generally not voting in off year elections, to vote this time - mostly as a block in one of our ethnic communities. This is nothing, on my part, to be construed or implied as wrong, all  minorities need representation and the right to work and support a member of their community to be elected to public office is recognized, commonly done, and applauded.  

On Monday April 4th - by that evening, I and my wife had finished walking over 60% of Ward 7 and talked to a large number of potential voters. I had examined the voting trends precinct by precinct comparing the 2003 precincts to the new 2005 reorganized precinct’s records. I considered all comments made to me personally, and other factors, and I believed that in normal years and with an unknown candidate I should expect 55% to 57% of the votes cast.

On Tuesday before the polls closed I showed these following special factors revision of my election projection numbers to several people at the scheduled City Council before the 6PM meeting. I  worked in the special factors for this year and concluded with a projection that anticipated a turnout of 832 voters or 21% turnout, which included the voting block factor and projected that I could receive 419 votes and my opponent would receive 413 or a 6 vote margin equaling 50.03% to 49.97% for my opponent. Everyone doubted it would be this close that saw these projection numbers, but my opponent had campaigned hard, had good support, and an incumbent of 12 years accumulates some dissenters - since you can not vote both yes and no on various issues in order to please everyone

 

The actual certified election results was 873 votes cast – 437 or 50% to 436 or 49.89% for my opponent (there was one write in). I won five of the seven precincts and lost two precincts that contained most of the ethnic group residents, (which I anticipated I could loose). In reflection, I  can count scores of people I talked with that made that one vote, and my wife and I literally went the extra mile (walking the Ward streets). By Monday evening we were worn out but I walked one more street. The last person I talked to had not generally voted in off year elections but said she would this year. The first person I talked to was on Thornhill. He said that he was going to “vote for the other guy”. I asked him what I did wrong in case I should be reelected and might correct in the next four years. He said “nothing wrong”, but he was “voting for the other guy because” ( I had) “been (serving) long enough”. That last person four days later that committed to vote this year, counts as one vote gained to offset one vote lost - and elections are won or lost by a number of one votes added together. The only number needed to break a tie is one. 

Returning to “looking at what did not happen”, all who voted are to be commended and whether or not your votes represent everyone who did not vote, we can never know. My opponent’s votes of 436 do imply that 11% of voters are in opposition to me, but is this 50% total disapproval in Ward 7? I know, of course, that many persons that voted for my opponent do not in fact disapprove of my record and efforts on the council but wanted to vote for a friend or acquaintance (and some told me so). So while the one vote margin is no mandate, neither is the 11% not voting for me.

The unexpected endorsement by a local newspaper for my opponent seemed to have little or  no bearing on the race (5 votes?). The factors I used were arrived at before the paper came out Monday afternoon. Speaking of this newspaper, I was asked for comments late Tuesday night by a reporter for this paper. When asked my opinion - and then how I understand the results. I told her I was happy with the victory. And mentioned the dissenter's comments on my first stop and the voter’s intention to vote for my opponent (as an example of uncertainty of voter's opinions). I said that so few people call me on issues it is hard to determine which way to vote on some things and could not always know which way the people want me to vote since I get little input, and would like more. The quote in the article the next day is in error and is phrased in such a way that it implies ignorance and arrogance on my part. The “quote” and the implied conclusion follow:
    [Foster said he’s happy he came out on top, but realizes “I have to pay more attention to the people”]
 First, I did not say this. I “pay” very close “attention” to each call or contact. And second, I “realized” nothing new - as I am well aware of what the few that take the time to contact me are concerned about - and my responsibilities to the people I represent. I have never dozed off and fallen into unawareness on my watch, and work hard to be aware.

In conclusion: If the Courts and Election Commission find errors in the recounts, and my opponent is seated on the council, then I can accept this. But I am not ashamed of my work for and in this community for the past 20 plus years. There is much to be done and very soon we plan to aggressively address some of our cities mayor needs - and I hope to continue to be a part of solving these problems, but if is not to be - I still live here and will likely die here, and I will always care about our city and fully support those who will sit on the Council this May - and all the years to follow. I thank those who voted for and supported me this year and in the past, and I thank those who voted for my opponent too. You have my respect, and you alone spent the time to care and express your preferences. I now address the 3,011 citizens that did not vote. I understand that for various reasons it was impossible for some to vote, like my dear neighbor that was ill in a hospital and never fails to vote in every election, but to many I ask: Do you now believe that every single one vote counts? I can not believe that you do not care.....Steve Foster

Replies and comments are welcome and will be posted - with your permission


3/6/2003 Cooketech or Sol Tec? A BIG difference. This recent Internet Service Provider (ISP) question provides a good example of why this Portal (AllAroundDanville.com) was created. We will state our opinion and hope to help alleviate the confusion. First, we have no interest or investment in either ISP and hope only to demonstrate the expressed purpose of this website. Namely to encourage consumers to do business in the Danville area as opposed to sending our money out of the area for anything, when we have it here. When we send our money anywhere else is will not recirculate and contribute to our tax base which pays for the services we need locally.

If you are savvy enough to get to this page from your desk at home or office you should know and understand the facts about Internet Service Providers (ISPs). First, they simply provide a link from your computer to the internet via a phone number or cable, etc, and second, they provide a place where your email is stored until you retrieve it. Like your post office does until they delver your mail to you.

If you live in Danville your address will be followed with your zip code. If you move your zip code changes. Same way with ISPs, your prefix address still is “MyName’ but your suffix address may be @aol, @msn or @ soltec or @cooketech, etc, and to change your address is not the end of the world. Danville has several ISPs available for both home and office, in addition to the national companies like aol, msn, yahoo, to name a few we also have egix, mclead, insightbb, soltec, and now cooketech. The BIG difference is cooketech is the ONLY company that is locally owned and your charges for internet service STAYS in the community when we use them.

I do not have all the details but you may conclude from the newspapers that the Cooke group wishes to avoid raising charges and being under the thumb of an out of town (Champaign) franchise type arraignment, (and now begins a turf war). Kudos to the Cookes for braking away and risking customer loss to keep costs down and trying to make their service a LOCALLY OWNED home and office service provider. Why should we send our money to Champaign, Indianapolis, NY or anywhere else when we can keep it in our community?

How difficult is it to advise your email recipient of your new address? When cable went from @home to @insightbb.com we all changed addresses without a whimper, When @FSPconnect and another ISP went to Indianapolis based @egix we changed and accepted it.

Why people pay so much more to use cluttered and slow AOL or any of the other out of town services is beyond me. They (big national ISPs) rely on our ignorance of the internet, and now we will send our money to Champaign, and maybe more money soon, for the same service we can get from our only Danville area owned company. How about giving cooketech our support and not only stay with them, but leave your high cost aol type providers and support our own ISP right here in danville and save money besides.

Webmaster, AllAroundDanville.com

 

 

 

2/11/2003 The upcoming elections are critical for Danville. I believe that, except without my sincere frankness, any endorsement letter for any candidate will be of little avail. With a plethora of candidates running, the two winning primary candidates will not need that many actual votes to put them in the General Election. The number of votes between winning and losing the primary, separating these top candidates, may be less than one-hundred out of over 18,000 registered voters in Danville.

 There are four or five candidates relatively qualified in many of the requirements one would expect of a Mayor. While perhaps none surpass in all areas, most of the five excel more or less in one or more areas over the other. Based on my personal experiences, I could work with, and support either of four, if they are elected.

 However, I am greatly concerned with one candidate’s objectivity, and I have serious unease about any bipartisan conduct of the City’s business, which is the core of our governmental structure. In my, and many other’s opinions, this candidate, having a well organized political machine, may well emerge as one of the two primary winners.

 It obviously requires that we strongly support a candidate that has a high possibility of (1) winning the other primary berth, AND (2) be victorious in the General election.

 Having worked with all four top candidates, some since 1988, on various boards and three within the council, and having respect for all four, I nonetheless sincerely believe that Scott Eisenhauer offers the best possibility of meeting these critical requirements of 1 and especially 2 above.

 I have seen Scott take the lead and implement a number of programs and ordinances in effect today, chairing sub-committees of the Council, making difficult votes - not ducking the issues, and voicing convincing reasoning in debates. Scott is fiscally conservative, and an articulate speaker. He offers an excellent image as the representative head of our City.  He understands teamwork in administration and is people oriented. Finally, and of importance, Scott has many friends throughout our community and will be able to win many votes in every ward. However; he still needs our support to assure his primary victory, as he undoubtedly will then offer the best possibility of any candidate to win the Mayoral competition over the other primary victor.  

Please consider your future, and our City’s future, and vote for and support an electable candidate, Scott Eisenhauer, in the Primary and in the General Elections. I urge you to support Scott Eisenhauer and protect our future. Please vote in the February 25th Primary.

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JAN 13,2003 Endorsement of Aldermen running Next week the citizens of Danville have an opportunity to affect the next four years of our City Government’s direction. If you are satisfied or unsatisfied with your alderman's performance only your vote will express your opinion in a productive manner. 

I would urge all citizens to vote in the upcoming election. In the past so few do make the effort to vote that a very small number of votes, and a very small margin, can retain or lose highly dedicated and effective office holders.

 Historically Aldermen have avoided indorsing Aldermanic candidates in elections years, but I believe the current status of our city and its future requires that I speak out. When considering the outstanding progress of the city, with the current council, in many areas of development over the past few years,  combined with the apparent slow down of the economy and need for budgetary restraints, I believe it is in the best interest of all citizens that we retain the existing Alderman since we would be going with a known quality and quantity.  

Alderman Steve Nichols has served during some very difficult economic and budgetary times and has consistently exhibited restraint, conservatism, and thoughtful input into the cities many difficult decisions. Nichols has not always agreed with my views and we have occasionally voted opposite, but never without strong counter points on his part. He is known for his alternative views and suggestions to save the taxpayers and city money. His opponent appears to be a fine gentleman as well, but at this time Steve Nichols, with his business acumen and track record, is greatly needed on the Council to continue to work for all the people of Danville. Ward Six’s citizens I urge you to make the effort to get out Tuesday and show your support for Steve Nichols by reelecting him your alderman.

 In Ward three Dave Sprouls has consistently demonstrated strong economic views, and has been a strong "watch dog" for the public moneys. Sprouls has often taken a minority view and has voted opposite of the majority out of strong convictions. A governmental body needs these kind of leaders to speak out and serve well as a check on other’s positions, especially monetary, before each vote.  I am not acquainted with his opponent and do not know what kind of leadership he could bring, but I do know Dave Sprouls is needed on the Council and I hope the fine people of Ward Three will demonstrate their support by voting to retain Alderman Sprouls.

 In the Ward one race George Jimson is quite and thoughtful on issues, spending most of his time behind the scene working for Ward One residents with their problems. Mr Jimson has strongly supported the mayor and the administration on most of the important issues, while remaining mindful of the needs of his Ward. I have known his opponent for several years and  know that he has the best interest of the city in mind as well, but at this time in the city’s course I believe that it in the best interest to retain Alderman Jimson.

In the Ward Five race replacing Alderman Charles Long after three terms will not be simple. Long’s input will be missed by the Council. Fortunately two fine candidates have stepped up. Candidate Mike Puhr is one of only a very few persons that have regularly attended Council meetings for the past eight years. He consistently has offered thoughtful input on a variety of issues, and has demonstrated leadership on other agency boards. I do not know the opposition in this ward’s race but am told he is a strong candidate and fine person. However, again, Mr Puhr’s abilities and concern for the city are well known to the Council and under the present circumstances I believe would make the best replacement for the loss of Alderman Long. I strongly suggest the voters in Ward Five turn out and show their support for Mr Puhr.

 I am pleased to be, along with Jean Davis and Nancy O’Kane, one of the few unopposed Aldermen up for reelection (1st time ever). But I know we uncontested candidates would greatly appreciate your voting for us as show of support for the work we have all done to advance the causes and well being of Danville.

 Please get out and vote for these fine citizens and have your part in Danville's future.

 

7/20/2000 Since the Sonny Lane issue, or at least the principals involved, have not been squelched, as some hope, I am obliged to comment via the time-honored forum of a letter to the Editor. I write personally in defense of many of us in opposition to the special use permit granted by the city for the Mettam property on Vermilion. 

Most of the issue has been covered in the press, but I believe the public should know that those in opposition, from the residents to the aldermen, were unfairly characterized as emotional and divisive, one Alderwoman charged publicly that in a letter from two of us (Alderpersons) to the council that we were attempting to split the Council, when it should have been clear we were trying to unite the Council. We needed twelve votes just to overturn the granting of the permit. Regardless many clearly saw the crux of this  issue in spite of the Administration attempts to, minimize, and delude some in order to impose this, to exemplify this single point I communicate the following:  

When one Alderman asked the city’s Legal Counsel what the special use permit had to do with truck traffic on Sonny Lane his eighty-five dollars an hour reply was ambiguous and went on to imply that he didn’t understand the connection. When a second alderman suggested that perhaps the permit, (the site being on Vermilion), has nothing to do with Sonny Lane traffic, the Mayor immediately replied to this in the affirmative stating this special use permit has nothing at all to do with truck traffic. This was a classic example of one of the Mayor’s non sequiturs. 

Since another alderman then immediately called for the vote, I was not given the opportunity to reply in Council, but wish now to offer the simple truth for the record and to make the point.

 Anyone remotely familiar with the whole issue, (and especially the Mayor and Legal Counsel), should know that the Mettam-Fleming- request had a “small caveat” attached that required the use of a second loading dock at the site, accessible only through a residential lot on Sonny lane. It follows then that trucks must drive on Sonny Lane to get to this access thus creating truck traffic on residential streets. The Mayor’s final line before the vote was  blatantly deceptive and misleading. Those that opposed this did so with honest conviction and concern for the rights of several residents, and at least me personally, the increasingly questionable demeanor of this city’s Administration.

 

Follow-up Letter to CN and Council on my position on the Sunny Lane Issue
July 13, 2000 To: Mayor Robert Jones & All Danville City Council Members        
From Steve Foster & Bette Brown Alderpersons Ward Seven
 Subject: Special Use Changes at Mettam Safety Supplies Site, and Ordinance 8073 as amended:  Dear Council Members :
We write you all to express our disappointment in a situation which we consider to be a complete misapplication of our intent in amending the ordinance governing truck deliveries on residential streets. Additionally, the manner in which the entire matter was handled leaves serious doubt as to the fairness to the residents involved. Further, this obviously establishes the apparent penchant of our current administration. 
The following report of comments by myself (Foster) and others reflect the essence and may not be verbatim, but it is to the best of my recollections: For my first time ever, as an Alderman, I attended a Zoning Committee hearing, (at the request of constituents), concerning the request for a special use permit to change the use of the property at 3817 N. Vermilion to light manufacturing (Chris d.b.a. Creative Cabinets, the potential buyer and co-petitioner). Attached to the petition was a caveat for the use of a residential lot, (lot number four in Sonny Meade Subdivision), to be paved and adopted for access to the rear loading dock at the Vermilion Street site, with access by using Sonny Lane. As you know, this street has an improper truck supporting construction of a chip and seal road surface, and a five-ton maximum load limit, so posted. No one spoke in opposition of the use change for the Vermilion Street building, but several spoke against the use and paving of the residential lot, and subsequent heavy truck traffic continuing on this residential street. Supporters, (with Mr A. Fleming as designated agent), argued that the use of the rear access was absolutely necessary for the “deal” to be consummated. That the use of the residential land plot in this subdivision “was the best use of the lot.” Mr Fleming pointed out several times that “...they only followed the new ordinance as amended.”
 I attended this meeting to give the Zoning board a history of the use of this site and more recently the lot and street use for truck traffic, contrary to the existing Truck traffic and Load ordinances. I explained how and why the Council amended the ordinance, i.e., the administration told the Council that “this was occurring all over town and could not be enforced, etc.”. I told the Zoning Committee that many on the council were (and are) genuinely concerned where residential areas are affected by businesses due to increased traffic, truck use and parking, to drainage run off. I told them of our rejection of the first ordinance changes proposed by the administration, (striking the words about “deliveries at addresses other than the business address”). That when the second proposed amendment was presented which suggested that the City engineer “would exclusively make the decision as to use of streets in residential neighborhoods”, that the majority considered this left too much authority with one person, and indirectly the administration, and at least the Traffic Committee should have the final say with the engineer making recommendations.
The Council then amended the proposed amendment to reflect this intention. Further, I said that it was my understanding that the amended ordinance would allow for a fair and impartial hearing by the Traffic Committee, and that after what I thought was assurance from legal council, and the administration that, expressly, the Sonny Lane residents would get fair treatment, I voted in favor of the change.
 I intended to point out at the Zoning Committee meeting that the application may be premature, as under the new special powers given to the Traffic Committee perhaps they should have their hearing first, since if they objected there might be no need for this application to go before Zoning. (I then pondered aloud as to which Committee actually would have authority to override the other). However, Mr Fleming, said in his presentation, that “they” (the Mettam-Fleming- group) had attended the Traffic Committee meeting (at the invitation of the administration, via G Waterstradt), and had obtained approval for the use of the residential street and lot. The residents of Sonny Lane, B Brown, and I were shocked at this obvious omission resulting in not providing means for the Traffic Committee to hear any opposition, or testimony before deciding in favor for the petitioner. I asked where the item appeared on their agenda and why we, (residents, and the other Ward 7 Alderwoman, B. Brown, also present), were not notified of the meeting and hearing, I pointed out that these people have followed all our suggestions and rules of recourse and we, (the Administration and Ward seven Alderpersons), have run them through many hoops, including the Traffic Committee in the fall, (where they ruled in favor of these residents and agreed to a compromise to allow the Met tam's to continue to use the street and lot until Fall of 2,000, the assumed move date of Mettams to their new site). G Waterstradt replied the agenda item would come under the “Zoning if Any" part of the agenda. I said this was not a zoning issue but a special use request with drastic potential consequences to residents of this area, even to their safety and value of their properties. That I visualized giving this special power to the Committee would result in their taking special care to assure a fair decision, and the meeting especially to be a single agenda item PUBLIC hearing as to the use of a residential street for trucks. A hearing to which at least all those directly affected would be notified as to time, date, and agenda subject. 
As to the notification question, Waterstradt replied that the “meeting dates are posted on the public bulletin board in the basement of City Hall,” and in later questioning he replied that only the M-F-W group were invited to give their facts to the Committee as “their information was pertinent to the Traffic Committee ruling.” He apologized to the residents present for this oversight but later recanted the apology. I then stated that this was not the intent of the ordinance to be executed in this manner, and at least this councilman regrets voting for this change, and I apologized to the Zoning Committee’s and the residents for my naiveté and being deceived, never realizing that this ordinance would be used in this manner. And that “I felt that the residents were also deceived and not treated fairly at all”, (and B Brown concurs). Mr Fleming then correctly pointed out that if you (the Council or I) “have a problem” with the Ordinance this was not relevant and that you (the Council) could change it, again pointing out to the Zoning Board that “we merely followed the law,” and went on to try to convince those present that the site could end up “another vacant building” if this is not approved. This was countered on two occasions that it was ludicrous to assume that someone could not find use for this prime site and still use Vermilion street for the loading entrance, and that such prime property should have no problem selling. One person present suggested that Herr, (who owns the residential lot in question and the property adjacent to Mettam on Vermilion), “could allow access space on their (Herr's) property on Vermilion for deliveries, if more truck loading access was so vital to this particular deal.” Mr Fleming also argued that while Mettam had some twenty-five trucks use Sonny Lane in one period of count”, (an admission of heavy use for the first time), that “ would only have five”, if this period was a month, a week, or a day was obscure. It was meant to show a decrease in use as a plus for these residents, but fell short of solace to them.
The Zoning Board was tolerant and admirable allowing debate until their vote. Ostensibly being caught up in a potential legal and moral struggle, they first voted to send it back to “the Council or Traffic Committee,” obviously wishing it was not before them. G Waterstradt forced the vote by pointing out “this was not one of their options, and they reluctantly withdrew the vote and voted, (but not unanimously), to approve, they having no other recourse, since the new recently reworded ordinance was technically abided with by the applicant.
 Therefore, we believe that the Zoning Committee had no choice under the conditions. That the responsibility for, and affect on, these residents and life investments in their homes, and likely subsequent diminution of values, and their ability to sell their homes, or to build future homes on the remaining lots, the safety of their property and children, and the destruction of their streets, all fall clearly on us as elected officials. 
Let’s look at our, and this administration’s, history. The council has done a great job in the promotion of business and industry, bringing many needed jobs and progress to Danville. This ordinance in question in reality gives the administration a clear choice to decide in favor of business or residents without specific guide lines or even due course for affected parties, and in retrospect we can explicitly see this. So the essence is, which is more important to the City and the City’s future, our businesses or our residents? This is clearly subjective, and the tendency has been evident for some time. Depending on one’s philosophy, the Mayor and his administration can hardly be faulted, and we have approved most projects.
 Recently there has been a surprising number of denials and rejections of some propositions sent by the administration for our concurrences of their intentions and objectives. This is encouraging to many as in most cases the denials curtailed new restrictions and genders toward protecting individual rights as well as majority interests. The trend is paradoxical because restrictions are removed where they are clearly needed, and restrictions are urged where they are not needed. The council can and does have a part in curtailing this trend and in directing our future policies, especially in the areas of business verses residents, and special interests effecting restrictions on the majority..
The predicament is, I for one have to rethink a number of my positions as future votes come up. Further we need eight of us to stop anything we consider is untenable and a super majority to overturn Zoning Committee recommendations. Regardless, this is the purpose of this letter. Many of us are distressed about this type of action and the results as addressed in this letter, and ask we the Council to consider our subsequent actions, especially in these matters that will set the policy and trends as we expand our business community. The question is, can we do so at the sacrifice of our residents and their life investments? Should the interest and temporary profit to a few be served at the cost of permanent loss to several? We urge you all to consider this serious question and act forthrightly regardless of political power and influences of prominent persons in our community.
 What we can do?: Vote not to concur with Zoning Committee and take them off the hook for our actions. I doubt if most of their members would object under the circumstances.
 Rescind the ordinance amendment, or, add language by an additional amendment that clearly states a public hearing must be held when residential streets or property could be affected, and that all affected parties shall be notified of the hearing, and that the time and date are set that would be logically convenient to all parties (not at noon as is the case for the Traffic Committee). In fact since most of the Committee is made up of administration staff, it might be best to name another committee to hold the hearing, perhaps an ad hoc committee of the City Council with at least one Alderman form the affected Ward. These procedures should and could be clearly stated in this ordinance.
 Remember, even if we correct the ordinance but fail to overturn the Zoning Committee’s vote, the Mettam-Fleming deal may be the single legal exception to our good intentions, with them alone benefiting from this revision and amendment to 8073, and with many residents suffering potential long term losses
 Please, once again, let’s do the right thing, demonstrate our genuine providence for all our citizens, confirm clearly our real intentions, and stay an obvious inequity with a no vote on the petition, and again revise this ordinance for the future welfare of our city and it’s citizens.
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Tues 4/10/2001 Leaf Burn Ban:
Transcript of Oral Statement to City Council:

Mayor recognizes Alderman Foster:

 "THANK YOU YOUR HONOR, THE TALLY OF MY CALLS AND PERSONAL CONTACTS ARE: THIRTY- 16 AGAINST CALLED EARLIER- 14 FOR BAN HALF CAME TODAY. = 53% AGAINST A BAN

MANY OF MY FRIENDS WERE FOR THE BAN AND ABOUT 45% IN MY WARD WERE FOR THE BAN,-- THEY ARE NOT EASY TO OPPOSE

 THE PRO BAN GROUP WAS ORGANIZED WITH GOOD SUPPORT MATERIAL–   AND

STRONG LOBBING FROM THE HEALTH CARE GROUPS WAS AS EXPECTED.-- AND ONE SENIOR WITH LOTS OF LEAVES SAID SHE SUPPORTED THE BAN BUT MOST SENIORS I HEARD FROM OPPOSED IT.

 SOME CONCERNS FROM ANTI BAN CALLERS ARE:

PEOPLE WILL RAKE INTO STREETS

STOP UP STORM SEWERS

CATALYTIC CONVERTERS WILL START GUTTER FIRES

MANY WILL NOT RAKE, MORE BLOWING.

DUMPING IN RURAL AREAS WILL INCREASE

PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO BAG AND CARRY SO MANY LEAVES-

           RISK OF INCREASED EXHAUSTION AND RESULTANT HEALTH PROBLEMS

                                                                 AND

VOLUNTEERS TO RAKE AND BAG FOR ELDERLY WON’T LAST, ..LOOK AT THE FEW THAT COME OUT FOR COMMUNITY CLEAN UP DAYS, AND SIMILAR CALLS FOR PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT.

 THERE IS A  LARGER QUESTION FOR ME (AND SEVERAL OTHERS THAT CALLED)

MOST HUMAN ACTIVITIES CREATE SOME RISK FOR OUR SELF AND OTHERS

I.E. DRIVING AUTOS, BURNING LOGS IN FIREPLACES, GUNS, DRINKING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. ETC, 

 WILL WE BAN AUTOS?-- FIREPLACES?-- GUN OWNERSHIP (AS SOME NOW WANT) OR ALCOHOL (WE TRIED THAT ONCE AND IT WAS A DISASTER BECAUSE IT WAS A SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP’S WILL WORKING ON AN UNWILLING MAJORITY)

 NOW WE ARE TOLD NOT ONLY WHAT WE CAN’T DO, BUT HOW TO THINK. –

WE MUST NOW BE “POLITICAL CORRECT”.

 THE MINORITY GROUPS OFTEN FORCE THEIR OWN AGENDA ON THE MAJORITY BY USE OF GUILT. ---WE FEEL BAD IF WE DON’T CAVE.

 THIS COUNTRY HAS CHANGED RAPIDLY AND I FEAR FOR THE WORSE.

 EVEN IMMORALITY AND LYING IN THE HIGHEST PLACES HAS BECOME ACCEPTABLE THRU THE SPIN EFFORTS OF A SMALL NUMBER OF PEOPLE-- SUPPORTED BY THE MEDIA--CHANGING THE RIGHT WE ONCE STOOD FOR INTO “EVIL AND POLITICAL INCORRECTNESS..

FOR THOSE THAT TAKE A STAND COMES VILIFICATION,-- EVEN LOCALLY–

ONE CALLER SAID HE WOULD SUE ME AND THE CITY IF HE DIDN’T GET HIS BAN.

 PERHAPS I AM USING THIS PROPOSAL TO EXPRESS A DEEPER CONCERN BUT I AM GREATLY TROUBLED BY SOME OF THE UNDERLYING ISSUES HERE-- OF INFRINGEMENT ON ONE PART OF SOCIETIES RIGHTS - TO PROTECT ANOTHER PART OF SOCIETY.- ALL ACCOMPANIED BY THREATS AND SCORNFUL ACCUSATIONS

 WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONCEPTS OF FREE SPEECH, OR THE RIGHT TO OWN FIRE ARMS, –OR PROPERTY UNENCUMBERED, AND ABOVE ALL.... THE CONCEPT OF THE WILL OF THE MAJORITY RULING IN THIS NATION AND ITS GOVERNMENTS?...                       

 WHY THEN WILL WE COUNT OUR VOTES TONIGHT TO DETERMINE THE OUTCOME?-- WHY NOT LET THE LOUDEST, OR MOST ORGANIZED, –OR  MOST IMPASSIONED RULE?

 I RECEIVED A HEART RENDERING LETTER FROM A FAMILY THAT LOST A CHILD TO ASTHMA. I WAS ADMITTEDLY MOVED TO RECONSIDER, SINCE IT WORKED ON MY EMOTIONS, AND I PERSONALLY WISH PEOPLE WOULD NOT BURN ANYTHING IN TOWN -- I AM GREATLY AFFECTED BY ALL SMOKE FROM ANY SOURCE. SO THIS WOULD BE AN EASY VOTE.

 BUT THEN I WAS JOLTED INTO REMEMBERING THE BIGGER ISSUE.-- THE RAPID DEGRADATION OF WHAT WE ONCE WERE-- AND THE POLITICIANS- SUPPORTED BY MANY IN THE MEDIA- IN THEIR UNRELENTING ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE WHAT  WAS TRUTHFUL, FAIR, AND RIGHT, INTO “MEAN, CRUEL AND POLITICALLY  INCORRECT CONDUCT”-- AND BRAZENLY CRITICIZING THOSE THAT STAND FOR THE BASIC RIGHTS OF THE MAJORITY AND OUR WAY OF GOVERNMENT:

 SHALL WE DARE BE RIDICULOUS?-- WILL THE MAJORITY RULE TONIGHT??

 WE DON’T HAVE TO LOOK TO WASHINGTON OR SPRINGFIELD FOR OUR LOWERING OF STANDARDS AND DISCARDING OF BASIC RIGHTS. IT STARTS IN OUR OWN COMMUNITIES. THE BEST COMMENT FROM ANYONE THAT SUPPORTS MY ORIGINAL VIEW IS FROM A LOCAL SOURCE AND I QUOTE...........

 “BUT FOR FOSTER TO REDUCE THIS TO A MAJORITY VOTE IS RIDICULOUS”

 MAYBE IT IS ONLY ABOUT LEAVES–BUT WHAT WILL WE DEMAND OF EACH OTHER NEXT? –AND WHAT OTHER VALUES WILL WE ALL COMPROMISE TO BE POLITICALLY CORRECT?

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION........"

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3/2001 Opinion on March 2001 State-Local Elections:

Senator Myers lost the district wide election by 572 votes. Any one Ward's registered voters in DANVILLE ALONE could have re-elected Senator Myers WITH THE VOTES NOT CAST. Are you in this count?

We, in our Danville Area HAD have an opportunity Tuesday March 19th to vote in the primary election to retain as candidates two very important assets to our community. Senator Judy Myers and Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman are both seeking to be retained in there respective elected offices.

Justice Garman won in the primary, with heavy support in Champaign County. CONGRATULATIONS Rita!

Senator Myers lost the district wide election by 572 votes. Any one Ward's registered voters in DANVILLE ALONE could have re-elected Senator Myers WITH THE VOTES NOT CAST. Are you in this count? Judy you have our gratitude for the fine Job the past five years, and the hard work you, Mel, and your staff did. Thanks to all that did vote...IT COULD BE A DECADE BEFORE OUR DANVILLE AREA HAS A SENATE SEAT AGAIN!

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Recently Harsha Gurujal, one of my constituents, wrote a “My Turn” letter published in the CN. I would like to reply at least in part to some of his comments, and comments by others that were – or should have been in letters to the editor. I agree with Mr Gurujal – elected officials should listen to the voters. In my eleven years on our council I think that is exactly what I have done and will continue to do. I do not believe, however, that I have ever met or heard from this person personally. He is welcome to call any time to discus any issue and how he would like for me to vote on them. Speaking of calls, after the city removed the original three cents a gallon gas tax from the agenda, I received numerous calls, mostly from my constituents here in Ward 7 asking why we “buckled under” to big oil’s full page ads. Considering the revenue was for an aggressive street rebuilding program, most that called supported the increase to fix streets, (which year after year seems to be the number one complaint at ward meetings).

At the time the proposal was first made I said the three cents a gallon would not make that much difference considering the large changes in fuel prices - almost daily. I will state that I still consider the one cent that did pass has an even less impact. In the letter from Mr Gurujal it was stated “the (increase) might only mean $1.60 more”. Per what? The one cent a gallon on a twenty gallon fill up is .20 cents. Yes, gas in Covington is usually less, (sometimes we are less), but the Indiana State Tax is a little less too. Prices in C-U likewise are often the same or higher, not always less. I drove to Champaign five days a week for six years and I kept up with price comparisons. The truth is - enormous price changes weekly are everywhere in the country, but the tax per gallon income to the city remained the same for years until we increased it .01 cent. The more appropriate concern may be – where does the other 24 cents go on a 25 cent overnight increase?

More about missing pennies: Since it’s “my turn” to reply I will address some of the other negative letters regarding council actions. The liquor tax is another example of my point. On a $1.75 beer the total increase was around 7 cents, some of the bars put up signs saying their customers should call their alderman and complain. Yet, most bars raised their price per beer or drink .25 cents. Again where is the .18 cents difference going? On each 10,000 beers sold the city gets $700, now lets see if we can figure who gets the balance of $1,800? Or does alcohol rally fuzz our minds that much? Why is it we talk about pennies and ignore dollars. I agree “a penny means something”. To this day I never fail to pick up a penny off the ground when I see one. My grandmother used to say “..if you won’t bend over to pick  up a penny you don’t deserve to find dollars”.

Retuning to Mr Gurujal’s comments - about citizens paying more for less - this is unfortunately more and more the case. We don’t have to point to Washington or Springfield either, one good example closer to home, and rarely complained about in print, is you and I pay .64 pennies out of every dollar of real estate taxes to the District 118 coffers. Salaries for some of their ‘directors’ are nearly twice that of the four city division directors and the mayor. Yet most of the complaints and letters to the newspapers seem to be against the city council and our actions. The average citizen in Danville can not name one member of the school board – or the directors, yet they spend many times more of your dollars then the city does. Having said this, I will likely now hear from teachers, whom I do not fault, their hands are often tied, and by the same people you voted for when you elected the Council and Mayor. So this is my last public comment about gas and a penny tax when dollars are ignored. Scripture is right… “we strain at gnats and swallow camels”. Anyone who thinks we can find five-million dollars by cutting out paper clips or part time employees needs to consider what are our biggest expenses. Around eighteen million annually is spent on police and fire protection including fringe and retirement fund contributions. Mayor Jones (and Eisenhauer) were not making “threats” We had to cut personnel & payrolls and you look at the highest payroll costs first, so departments were reorganized and some department heads had to go, and some police and fire jobs were not filled. Not one policeman has been removed from the streets since the cuts and reorganization, (and each firehouse remains with the same numbers on call).

Regarding the balance of the writer’s comments, we have not had a Parks Commissioner since the government was reorganized twenty years ago, city services do not include Education - you should wish it did, speaking of “swallowing camels”, the city director that gets the ‘$69,000’ you mentioned is responsible for the entire public works of the city - that’s streets, sewers, parks, garbage, buildings, the golf course, and more. And he was paid $33,000 LESS then the ‘director’ who purchases pencils and paper for Dist 118 in 2002-03.  (See http://allarounddanville.com/MiscHTMLpages/D118_salaries.htm). 

The last camel we swallow without consideration is the five or ten dollars spent on gas to go buy in Champaign “for less” which only hurts our businesses, our government, and your city.

 If I run again and do not earn your vote, that’s your privilege. At least I know I am not afraid to speak my opinions publicly, state the obvious, and vote the way the majority of my constituent have directed, occasionally angering friends, customers, and loosing future votes; but I will continue to do what I believe is best for our city. If you fault me, it’s your right, but please give the rest of the Council and the Mayor a little credit – we are addressing a very difficult situation while carefully considering the impact of our actions on all our citizens. We will not forget you or forsake you. We will work it out – it will just take a little time.

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Why we Built the Danville Area Internet Portal AllAroundDanville.com
NOTE: In 2006 the AllAroundDanville web was bought by the Commercial News and officially ended May 2007. The Archived Portal remains intact at http://www.aadarchive.beamsco.com/
 BEAMSCO (the parent company) maintains three new directories for area businesses. See http://beamsco.com or http://danvilleareabusinessdirectory.com/

Helping Meet Economic Development Objectives Through use of Business Websites: The purpose is to create the habit of checking our Danville Area businesses FIRST for our consumer goods and services needs, gradually establishing the custom of shopping Danville FIRST, ultimately spending more of our income in our own community for the long range welfare of all. To contribute towards this goal a Community Portal or Directory of Businesses, Services, Agencies, Organizations, and current local news and events establishes a critical information source to facilitate this objective

 

AllAroundDanville.com  is the only Community Portal which emphasizes  the creation and preservation of traditional jobs, both old and new small to larger businesses on line, and retention of local revenues supporting the Micro Enterprise through the creation of virtual points of sales at the local level.  Creating an awareness of locally owned  Small and Larger Businesses and their products and services.

 

The prerequisite is knowing that such a business exits, and a means to find information about the business. See FAQs for answers to addressing this question and many other Frequently Asked Questions.

After three years of work we believe we have addressed an aspect of this problem such as the question of how do we keep Danville Area consumer’s dollars in our community? In the recent retail sales study funded by the EDC, (Now Vermilion Advantage), and the City, it stated that over twenty-five percent of area residents shop out of our community. The primary reasons were lack of selection, or perceived lack or selection, and local consumers were unaware of the many area businesses and services that could meet their needs.

 

In order to maximize the retention of spendable income and stop the flow of dollars out we have created a unique local Website that also address the problem of how can a consumer find you, or even know about you, without knowing your name or Web address. This Web Site is the Danville Area “Portal” developed for all around Danville and Vermilion County exclusively, which provides important daily information from local news, weather and stocks, to local fuel prices, public polls, and special announcements. There is also an extensive list with links to all area agencies and area promotional sites such as our natural assets and community organizations; but of greater importance to you, we have provided scores of individual pages featuring all local businesses with a Web Site. With more than 9,000 local links, this website brings our community to the world.

 

Economic Development Objectives

Creating and promoting a stable and prosperous economy at the local level, is a paramount priority for AllAroundDanville.com. 

We understand that an economically strong community is the fastest route to overall well-being. This in turn contributes to lowering crime rates, higher health levels and well being among the members of our community, as well as raising social and family values.

This is accomplished by our Program as follows:

  • Encourage re-investing proceeds from your internet business income back in your community; 
  • Activating the sale or exchange of locally made goods and rendered services among the community; 
  • Creating new non technical home operated business and new Jobs among those who need it the most; 
  • Re-distributing among community neighbors, the passive income generated by our various services and programs;
  • Encouraging the interaction and participation of community members
  • Creating Current Income through Internet Business

INCOME IS DERIVED THROUGH SEVERAL PROGRAMS SERVICES & SMALL BUSINESSES:  Entrepreneurs can have their own inexpensive  Business Website and in many cases, work out of their home! Small businesses can place online via our Program, whatever it is that they are able to do, or a service they are able to provide, (in most cases turning their hobbies into Micro Businesses), meaning they are able to collect fees for their services or revenues for goods they can manufacture through our Portal which works as a Hub. 

 

Locally owned businesses, creative individuals as well as the under-employed, the unemployed, the home worker, unskilled youth, retired, and all of those entrepreneurs with plenty of energy and enthusiasm, can now look at AllAroundDanville's Portal  to find the tools which will help them prosper and get involved in projects which give them not only an additional stream of income but a wonderful feeling of accomplishment knowing they are helping oneself and others and contributing to the welfare of our local community.   We at BEAMSCO are willing to advise and  provide tools to help local citizens start their own businesses  or increase their current levels of sales.

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Alderman's Corner 2-2006 Why run for public office?

When you run for public office, the Media always asks first: Why are you running? What would you do if elected? I think most City Alderman aspirants have similar intentions; they care about Danville, their neighborhood, and the general welfare of the city, our citizens, and ideas of what might be done but unclear as to how. I was no different.

Having served Danville in various capacities  - with such organizations as:
Board of Directors, Danville Symphony Orchestra 1989, President 1992 and 1997, - Board of Directors 1990-1994 Boys and Girls Club, Vice President 1990, -Board of Directors DSO Foundation 1992,  President 1993. -A Founding Director Vermilion Heritage Foundation 1984, Board of  Directors 1984-1998, -Board of Directors Danville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 1992-1998, -Danville Noon Rotary 1985 -1997, Board of Directors 1993-1994 . A Paul Harris Fellow and President Elect in 1995, and -Danville Boat Club, Board of Directors 1989-1993 Elected Commodore 1991-1992.

I first became directly involved with the city when Mayor Jones appointed me to the City of Danville Historic Preservation Commission and I was elected the first Commission Chairman. Later I served on the Oversight Committee for  the first Danville City Strategic Planning Project 1991-1993, and review 2000-2001.

But, one thing was lacking. While all this may have had some impact on making a better community for all of us, I realized that out of the 35,000 or so folks that live here, only fifteen can actually have a direct vote in determining the present state of our city. And what we do in the present affects everyone’s future.

So with hopeful intentions I decided to run for our City Council. I was elected to the Council in 1993, reelected in 1996, and reelected again in 2000. I was appointed to the public Services Committee and was elected-Vice Chair Public Services Committee 1993-1996. I was a Candidate for Mayor of Danville in 1995.  I was appointed to the Public Works Committee in 1996 and in 2005, was elected Vice Mayor 2000 - 2002. I then was elected Chairman Public Works Committee 2003-2005.  

Perhaps, at last, I can ask myself,  again, the same (good) questions the media asked for the past thirteen years, Why do you want to be an Alderman, and what would you do if elected? In 2005 I was elected to a forth term on the City Council by a one vote margin of 437 to 436  votes cast out of 3,880 registered voters. This was a record close margin in an historically close ward, ( I won by only 19 votes in 1997).  On May 2, 2005 I was sworn in after a recount earlier in the day, initiated by my opponent, sustaining the one vote margin. Later I was to be in Court for another Election Challenge for another recount. I am now the only Alderman to have been elected to the same office in one year and confirmed three times in  three months. With these experiences the questions and the answers takes on new meaning. The first answer is I apparently am supposed to be serving. And one vote can get your attention.

Of all my previous community involvement, it all gets down to answering once again, those old questions with a fresh perspective: Since the beginning of this term I having made proposals, debated the state of our city, (and especially the streets problem, for months) - how we might find the means to pay for it, - and to see public reactions to any suggestions,  - and hours of examining scores of other proposals, debates, and countless phone calls. A  good study was made on streets and what we the costs would be over the next ten years but the funding remains a question. Three standard sources are New Bonds, New Taxes, or New Income from new businesses and new building activity. The Mayor and Council will likely go in the latter’s direction as a primary solution and
answer.

Why I continue to remain an Alderman is to do whatever I can to help create a positive progressive community. Every vote I cast in the past fourteen years had this objective in mind. This much I can also  answer, and from genuine experience,  it can be done and will be done, but I think a great emphasis must be made  on finding new means to achieve our objectives. We need thirteen other alderman, a strong Mayor, and above all the good will and help of our employees and our citizens. We need to be aggressive but flexible. The new program of retail incentives introduced to the council this month can be one of the answers, and is an example of the kind of changes necessary to win. Like a battle or a race there is always a winner. Why not us?.  I want to remain Alderman to continue with an objective goal of great improvement and prosperity for our city and each of us individually - with the help of all the others - one challenge at a time - I will continue to do what I can, when I can, and while I can.

Stephen E Foster, Alderman Ward Seven

 

 

Created by for Alderman Stephen E Foster Ward 7 Danville Illinois