Mayor Jim Ardis has announced he will seek another term. He made it official, by the way, on our morning radio show, “Breakfast with Roger and Friends,” on WAZU-FM 90.7. His announcement included a list of Democrat and Republican supporters, all community leaders, and all popular with voters. If anyone was seriously considering opposing Ardis, the list had to be devastating. Frick and Frack, the two newspaper writers of “The Word,” tried feebly to mount opposition by rehashing the “fry cook” incident, but failed. Rumor is Beth Jensen, a council member, had some desire to give it a try, but Democrats threw cold water on her, figuratively speaking. Someone will probably give it a try, but Ardis will be easily re-elected with or without the newspaper’s endorsement.
It’s football season even as we Cub fans hope for the best especially with the continued demise of the Chicago Bears and the University of Illinois on the gridiron. Many of us remember when Bradley played at the Peoria Stadium and the city came alive for the sport with fraternity and sorority house decorations and a parade during homecoming. It was exciting, but Bradley hasn’t fielded a football team since quitting the sport in 1970. Too bad, because the memories of games and players remain for many of us as does the question, “Why doesn’t Bradley play football?” The stock answer is, “It’s too expensive.” I guess that explains why schools like Eureka, Knox and Monmouth can afford to play the game. Or can it?
Recently, a reliable source said two Bradley donors have pledged $1 million each to the university if it decides to bring back football. Obviously, a Bradley team could not compete with the likes of Illinois State or Western, but how about Illinois College, Millikin or Elmhurst? It would be fun and I think fans would support it. Maybe such a university decision would help breathe new life into the Peoria Stadium.
CIVIC CENTER NAME
Speaking of a sports venue, the mystery remains why officials of the Peoria Civic Center have been unable to sell its naming rights as has been done for the Peoria Chiefs’ field and Bloomington’s U.S. Coliseum. When asked about this several times, the answer has been, “We’re not going to give it away.” Apparently, no revenue is better than $20,000 to $50,000 a year. Such logic is illogical. Taxpayers, who help underwrite annual operating costs, deserve a more aggressive effort to better brand this community gem. And, how about seeking a new name for Carver Arena. With due respect to former Mayor Dick Carver, he hasn’t lived in Peoria for decades and hasn’t attended a Bradley game or event like former Mayor Jim Maloof did or current Mayor Jim Ardis. Gosh, Maloof, an avid supporter of Bradley basketball, had floor seats for years. Plus, many others, such as Warren Reynolds, were as responsible for the Civic Center as Carver. I may be living in the past, but so are others who want to retain the name.
QUESTIONS FOR QUEST
Those who live in School District 150 need to watch a new video titled, “Killing Ed.” Ed as in Education.
It’s about charter schools, corruption, and the Gulen Movement in America. District 150 taxpayers pay over $5 million a year to support the Quest Academy, a charter school that had a contract for over five years with Concept Schools, allegedly connected to the discredited Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen. Turkish principals at Quest arranged field trips to Turkey for some three years. After FBI agents carried away boxes of papers and files from the Peoria charter school, the unelected board members voted to end the relationship with Concept Schools. Meanwhile, there have been no answers why the FBI raided the Quest offices.
The video is about one hour and 25 minutes long and features former charter school teachers, students and parents, along with school board members and leaders in several cities in Texas, Ohio and Louisiana. There are interviews with supporters of charter schools organized by Gulen, who lives in a secluded and well-protected compound in Saylorsburg, Pa.
The Wikipedia account of Gulen is filled with inaccurate accounts of the Turkish recluse if one believes the video of Turkish journalists and some former Turkish employees of his charter schools. Critics provided a laundry list of educational and ethical violations by the Gulen schools, saying it’s a huge scam and is part of a worldwide movement. One critic, a Muslim journalist, calls supporters of Gulen schools “falling into his web.” In one Texas school district, opponents to the Gulen Movement ran a slate of candidates and removed school board members who approved their charter school. Shades of “Change 150.”
Gulen charter schools are located in 160 countries. Only in the United States are his schools funded by taxpayers as in Peoria’s District 150 at one time. Efforts are being made
to show the video on local television. Stay tuned.
Congratulations to Republican and Democrat elected officials in the Courthouse! At their own expense, they held a cookout for their employees on Courthouse grounds over the lunch hour last month. Former restaurant owner and now County Clerk, Steve Sonnamaker, was supervisor of the cooks.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”