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April 20, 2024

Atlanta Public Library District Electioneering to pass Tax Referendum – free ice cream for votes –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 29, 2017


On review of past Atlanta Public Library District meeting minutes, it is evident the board was electioneering “using public funds, property or credit” in order to get the necessary votes to pass a tax referendum. How does the public feel about their own tax dollars being used to convince you to give up more of your tax money?

The Ethics Act, 5 ILCS 430, defines “Prohibited Political Activity” as any activity … planning, conducting or participating …for or against any referendum question. Surveying or gathering information from potential voters…for or against any referendum question. Soliciting votes for or against any referendum question or helping to get voters to the polls. Assisting with petitions on any referendum question.

According to meeting minutes from September 2, 2009 (click here), Bill Thomas presented ideas and steps for passing the tax levy, and they listed specific tasks for board members to do in order to get the tax levy passed, which included: weekly articles, posting yard signs, lists of voters, open houses, speaking, weekly letters to the editor, and free ice cream to elementary classes.

According to the meeting minutes from October 7, 2009 (click here), the board discussed ways to get the tax referendum passed (we assume it failed because another referendum was put to the ballot in 2013), including gathering information on voters, having visitors and volunteers write letters to the editors to promote passing the referendum, have yard signs made and placed, work on a phone campaign, and conduct a meeting in the Palms Grill (on the referendum).

In the February 6, 2013, meeting minutes (click here), the board members were told they are to give a list of at least 25 voters to Cathy to reach their goal for votes. Cathy developed a “Referendum Calendar” outlining meeting dates, advertising dates, board contacts and final mailing to voters.

During the March 13, 2013, meeting (click here), Cathy reported that information will be posted on Facebook and she encourages board members “to be using our voter contact list.”

All of this presents a picture of a public body using public funds and resources in an effort to pry more tax money out of your pockets. They used your money against you – They used your children against you (if they gave away the free ice cream) – and you are supposed to be happy about it.



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1 Comment
  • Atlanta Taxpayer
    Posted at 16:17h, 29 September

    Somehow I’m not surprised! The Olympia School district did something similar but worse on their last referendum. They gave a telemarketing firm the emergency contact information for every child enrolled in school and then had a couple of teachers and coaches pre record a message and then let the automatic dialed loose! It was reported to the AG and the county States attorneys (Olympia covers 5 counties) got together and decided to sweep under the rug. Not sure that breach of personal information would fly today. Since then the school has purchased an automatic dialer. So nothing surprises me. Trustes, please resign and stop the madness!