VERMILION CO. (ECWd) –
Aug 12th, 2014. Vermilion County Board Meeting.
The August meeting began on time at 6 pm. Chairman Weinard started the meeting with 22 present, 5 absent. The 5 absent were A.J. Wright, Barney, Davis, Johnson and Marron.
Under audience comments this week Darrell Cambron from Vermilion County is the first to speak. He makes note of and objects to comments made last month by Chairman Weinard that most people are in favor of industrial wind turbines and that those opposed are a small vocal minority. Mr. Cambron states that in April of 2013 he attended the Potomac wind forum and that based on testimony from that forum people were 2 to 1 against wind turbines located near their homes. Also noted from that conference all persons speaking in favor of the turbines were either directly or indirectly getting paid by the wind industry.
In that same year, Mr. Cambron visited the site of every turbine in the Invenergy cluster. Based on the people that signed up for the project, it was estimated that there were over 100 family homes within the footprint of the project that did not sign up for the complex. Using the responses from the Potomac forum, it can be expected that all 100 families that are non-participating are also not in favor of the turbines being located near their homes. It has also been reported that of the 249 people that signed up, only 41 live within the footprint or about 16%. This year, Mr. Cambron drove to every wind turbine site in the new IKEA complex near Rossville. He stopped at every home that was near a wind turbine site.
About 70% of the people that were spoken to were NOT if favor of the wind turbines near their home. This included several people that had signed so called “Good neighbor agreements” that binds them from speaking out against wind turbines by buying their silence. When they were informed of the truth about wind turbine issues, the common comment was “Why didn’t someone tell me about this sooner?” This comment was also made by one of the project land owners. They were not aware of the full bearing of this development on their home and their neighbors. They wished that someone had told them the truth sooner. One land owner that was interviewed that had land in the IKEA complex said that he did not have a problem signing up his land near Rossville. But he lives several mile south of Potomac and said that he would never sign up his land around his house.
According to the IKEA land owner contact list, 57% of the land owners signing up for the IKEA complex DO NOT live within the footprint of the cluster. Mr. Cambron noted that he had spoken to a realtor that had a house for sale in the middle of the IKEA complex. They said the listing price of the home had been REDUCED to compensate for the house being located in the middle of the wind cluster. In addition, they were authorized to inform the buyer that the wind company would offer any buyer the “Good neighbor agreement” to offset any issues with the wind turbines. Why would IKEA offer this type of “agreement” if they were not aware that many of the family homes within the project would be negatively impacted in some way?
The owners of the home for sale have already moved out. Mr. Cambron believes, based on his research that a majority of people living within the footprint of the two county board approved wind cluster DO NOT approve of the turbines being near their family homes. Cambron also speculates that most of the board members would not approve of a project if it were located 1200 feet from the foundation of their homes or the homes of their mothers or daughters.
I wonder how they would vote if the turbines were not going to be located near a board member’s home? I guess we already know the answer to that question.
Next to speak under public comments is Dave Miles, a wind turbine victim from the Vermilion county approved Invenergy project in Pilot Township. Mr. Miles questions why last month Chairman Weinard accuses him of having zero credibility. Mr. Miles has only come forward to describe what it is like to live within a wind cluster (the county board approved Invenergy complex).
Mr. Miles has also spoken out on the illegal no-bid GIS contract, the lack of enforcement of the ordinance and the illegal free land give-away by the county. Mr. Mile thanks the board members that voted no on the free land and did the right thing and feels sorry for the ones that were forced to vote yes knowing it was not right. And now Mr. Miles is questioning why Chairman Weinard, Mike Marron and Bill Donahue portray the wind victims in the media as bad people and when they are not. Mr. Mile also questions the false police report submitted by Mike Marron (Marron’s family is receiving thousands of dollars from the wind industry).
He believes this is a deliberate attempt to stop people from filing freedom of information requests about Invenergy and the county strategy with Invenergy against the wind victims. Mr. Miles believes he is being called out by an elected official (Chairman Weinard) for merely speaking as is his 1st amendment right. Mr. Miles also explains his objection to Chairman Weinard’s pension and the amount of tax we will need to pay for that pension.
Who is the person that lacks credibility? Mr. Miles who is a concerned citizen that has come forward to legally speak before the board? Or Chairman Weinard, who has done everything he can to shut-up and stop the wind victims from speaking out on the issues that they are experiencing from industrial wind turbines that the COUNTY HAS APPROVED! And now that the wind victims have started looking at the county board practices, they are finding other questionable activities. And the leadership of the board doesn’t like it.
The next to speak is Kirk Allen from Edgar County. He speaks to establish his credibility since it was questioned by Chairman Weinard when he used his bully pulpit to talk down to the citizens of the county when they were exercising their right to question their government. The chairman made out-right attacks against the person not the message they have a right to express. The Chairman continued with his tyrannical tirade to the point where a claim was made that their credibility is no more.
Mr. Allen explains the definition of credibility and states that is being known as doing the right thing at the right time. If you make a mistake, you own up to it and take action to correct it. Mr. Allen points out several examples were the county board Chairman lacks credibility in his actions including:
- The Chairman tried to intimidate the Edgar County watchdogs about where they were sitting at a board meeting, demanding that they move.
- Chairman Weinard created bidding rules that excluded potential bidders instead of opening the bidding process thereby creating questions for that action in the community.
- The Chairman created excuses for not putting a $600,000 dollar project out for bid instead of finding a reason to bid out the project which raises questions about motives and credibility.
- The Chairman violated the law by appointing a vacancy to the board without board consent.
- The Chairman asked the board to approve an inter-governmental agreement a month after it was signed by the county board chairman.
- The Chairman has allowed an attorney from a wind farm to come before the board and out-right lie to the public and the county board.
Mr. Allen goes on to outline the activities of the Edgar County Watchdogs that greatly contributed to the public service of shining light on the operations of Illinois government. He states that he is only asking for honest open government that follows the law for the good of the people, not for the good of established relationships. Mr. Allen goes on to announce that Chairman Weinard can only re-establish his credibility be resigning from office because the chairman is an embarrassment to the principles of public service that our founding fathers envisioned.
At this point, Chairman Weinard cuts off Mr. Allen, tells him that his time is up and demands that he sit down.
The next speaker is John Kraft. He continues with Mr. Allen’s comments where he was cut off. Mr. Kraft reminds the audience that this county board violated the open meetings act (as determined by the attorney general) and then downplayed it by treating it as a piece of toilet paper. This chips away at the county board credibility. When the board gives away land instead of accepting offers (which is a breach of public trust), it chips away at credibility. Mr. Kraft also asks if the receiver of the free land will get an IRS tax form to declare the land as a gift or income?
Mr. Kraft explains the definition of corruption as dishonest, illegal behavior or misuse of power by a group of people. This type of behavior can lead to a public mistrust of the government such as is happening in Vermilion County. Apathy by the public is the culture of acceptance. They assume that government systems are broke and there is nothing they can do about it. The public should know that they all have a voice to stop corruption in local government.
They need not accept any corruption to any degree at any level of government.
Mr. Arthur Cronkite is the next speaker and as he begins he is harassed by county board member Bob Fox. Mr. Fox asks Mr. Cronkite his name and repeatedly asks his occupation. Someone from the audience asks if it is against the rules to have the question and answer session during the public comment portion of the meeting. Chairman Weinard finally declares Bob Fox out of order. Mr. Cronkite questions the board leadership credibility.
For example, the Cambron’s were led to believe that they could give the board information, fill out forms with personal information and participate in committee memberships. This turned out to be a lie. A highly influential board member (Mike Marron) continues to be on the structural-safety committee that over-sees the approval of industrial wind turbines in the county while is family is making thousands from the industry. A wind victim is falsely charged with an incident to intimidate him to watch what he says. The counties states attorney has made claims to the Illinois attorney general that one of the wind victim is violent.
Mr. Cronkite also notes that there has been a few times where the county board chairman and assistant state’s attorney have side meetings where they have a discussion on county board business outside of the public view in violation of the open meetings act. For some reason board member Bob Fox finds this funny and laughs out loud. Mr. Cronkite also questions the personal attacks by the county board leadership on those that come before the board pleading for them to do their duty. Mr. Cronkite ends by asking: What is more credible, the lies, deceits of this county board or the truths that we speak?
The next speaker is Ted Hartke of Pilot Township. Before he can speak, board member Bob Fox continues a county board policy of harassing the public speakers by interrupting and asking the chairman if the public comment part of the meeting is over. The chairman advised Mr. Fox that there is still some time remaining. Mr. Hartke begins by stating that nobody truly believes that the county does not have the power to change the wind ordinance.
The lack of zoning is the current lame excuse by board leadership for not changing the wind ordinance. Mr. Hartke asks Chairman Weinard if his contempt for the wind victims going to be his legacy? Will it be your inaction, ineptitude and disservice to the county which will be remembered? Mr. Hartke states that the Cambron’s have been right all along about the wind turbine issues. Mr. Hartke is embarrassed that Vermilion County is referred to as “Meth Valley”. Hartke is mostly disappointed that the chairman is failing by missing the opportunity to do the right thing and fails to allow open discussion and resolution to the harm that is being done to the families. Are you prepared to be the one that failed to protect the health and safety of the public?
Hartke asks the county board members if they are prepared to be the ones that failed to protect the health and safety of the public. Are you going to sit by and allow this to happen to more families? Are you still willing to go along to get along? What is your legacy going to be? For a while now the game has been to blame the victims. The blame lies with the ones that did not do their jobs (county board), who did not do their due diligence and failed to protect the rural residents of the county. Mr. Hartke feels that he has not done enough to help my neighbors and their children here in Vermilion County.
Until Mr. Hartke feels satisfied that he has done enough against these injustices, he will continue to follow through with his work in both public and private settings and continue to correct the tall tales told be leaders of this board. Is it too much to ask that you provide answers to our questions without attacking and belittling and blaming the person that is looking for the answers? Mr. Hartke is asked to end his comments and he ends by asking the board to please help the wind victims, please? Before he can sit down, Hartke is asked by board member Bob Fox want he thinks they should do?
As Hartke is about to respond, chairman Weinard tries to cut off Mr. Fox, but he continues to state that he is tired of being disgraced and all of that bullshit. Chairman Weinard explains that Mr. Fox can comment under the board comment section of the agenda. At the conclusion of the public comments, Chairman Weinard notes that there were very informative and interesting and he thanks everyone for participating.
Executive & Legislation – the resolution for delinquent taxes and line item transfer for election supplies for the county clerk’s office pass.
Finance & Personnel – resolutions for Investment of combined working cash and an ordinance for Law Enforcement (grant money for over-time), and an EMA ordinance all pass.
Transportation – resolutions for a county bridge in Carroll Township and a low bid resolution for annual county striping both pass.
No Executive session was needed.
Chairman’s comments – security update for the courthouse bids will be opened on the 13th. Courthouse 4a 7 4b now have new seating. A plaque will be presented for the acquisition of the Hazel street property to recognize the donor. The budget was put together and will be presented to the Finance committee on the 28th. Renovations continue at the Health Department. The road salt situation was discussed with the price being almost double over last year. A new policy for the use of road salt will be presented to the board for approval.
Board member comments – Bob Fox states that he is tired of being called corrupt. He disagrees that he has been corrupt. Board member Kevin Green states that it has been a couple of years since the county wind ordinance has been reviewed and since that time the board has received a lot of information. He would like to see a committee formed to review the current wind ordinance. Mr. Green would like to be the first to volunteer or chair the committee. Mr. Miller verifies that a committee will be formed to decide if a committee is needed to review the wind ordinance. Mr. McMahon would like to see county zoning added to the process. Chairman Weinard adds that if that is the feeling of the board it can be considered. Mr. Knight states that zoning is not the sentiment of some board members and that thought is seconded by Mr. Mockbee. The chairman states that zoning is not the answer to everything.
It is very interesting that the board is now deciding to take a look at the extremely weak county wind ordinance. Board member Kevin Green’s opinion that the county wind ordinance should be reviewed is very refreshing and he is to be commended speaking up and asking for change. It is hopeful that other board members will back him up and see that a fair and balance committee is formed. We don’t want to see another biased Potomac wind panel again. No one was fooled by the outcome of that group.
Next meeting will be September 9th at 6PM at the Danville Courthouse annex.