By Ulysses Arn -
An extremely troubling assault on the Freedom of the Press is taking place in Bloomington, IL with Mayor Tari Renner at the center of an attempt to silence a local talk radio station and its morning show.
The mayor is unhappy with the station questioning a plan to have the city of Bloomington use some $8 million in taxpayer money to help finance the purchase of a block of buildings downtown. A developer reportedly has plans to turn the buildings into a hotel. In the meantime, the city has and is raising taxes on everything it can to cover a $3 million budget deficit while also giving the city manager a pay raise.
Last Friday Josh "Fistbump" Schmidgall, a reporter with Cities 92.9 FM's morning show hosted by Ian Bayne, was served with a restraining order, filed by Bloomington's Communications Director Nora Dukowitz. Earlier in the week, Schmidgall sought to get answers from Dukowitz at her apartment about the hotel project and the recent pay raise given to the city manager. When Dukowitz didn't answer the door, Schmidgall placed his business card on the door and left the premises.
At Tuesday night's city council meeting during public comments, Mayor Renner let slip that may have had some role in the restraining order, which seeks to bar Schmidgall from City Hall and to forfeit his Illinois Firearms Owner Identification Card (needed in IL to even touch a firearm legally), as well as his shotgun.