Monday, January 29, 2007

"Beware Drunks" - Davenports New Slogon???

Time to take a break and say enough is enough. In this upcoming cycle for our Davenport alderman, they’re more liquor (new and renewals) applications then zoning, rezoning or anything that indicates a whiff of economic development.

The newest cancer for South of Locust is another Liquor Mart. This one called “The Liquor Outlet” at 512 N. Brady Street. Unfortunately, County Records doesn’t show this address, but I think enough folks know the area. And for those very thirsty, the “1st Stop” located at 1139 Brady Street is renewing their license as well.

And for those that really care, I see Blue Port is again renewing their outdoor service permit. Remember (right or wrong), when some alderman actually fought for what they thought was best for the community.

I think it was then 5th ward alderman Hean, which pushed a moratorium on the location and number of “adult” places. From what I recall, the theory was the ability to show a necessity of need as well as the appropriate zoning. Can’t we all agree we have enough businesses out there selling cheap liquor! Can’t we agree, that we shouldn’t allow these “Marts” to target junkies and the poorest of the poor?

George

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Colonels Solution (And Action) To Local Crime!

I believe the cause and effect of most of the Quad Cities crime problems can be summarized in today’s Quad City Times. An assistant professor of a local University summarizes the realities of the day; by saying “The kids are raising themselves”!

As a community, we cringe at a 17-year-old girl getting shot by a former boy friend. But according to the local newspaper, the guy is 27 years old and the local school district has classified the girl as a “non-attender”.

And has anyone noticed the lack of news regarding the number of arrest in the North Park Mall riot of 2007. By all accounts, police officers arrived with-in a minute of the call, but witnesses indicates the event went on for nearly 30 minutes with some 30 to 60 “kids” participating.

What we need here is a strong does of common sense and adults acting like adults. Even when some adults don’t know how! So the Colonels plan to deal with crime:

1. We have age restriction curfews. They will be enforced immediately.

2. Iowa law specifically defines truancy, and the local school and municipal entities will immediately invest (insert dollar) for more officers to deal with this issue. If you’re not at school, your breaking the law.

3. Davenport City Code specifically deals with Parent Responsibility. Not only will it be enforced, but also local staff will work with County and State members to seek criminal charges of neglect and endangerment.

4. Local businessmen will collaborate, and buy the old ST. Vincent’s Home presently in the midst of bankruptcy with the Catholic Dioceses. Scott County will agree to take it over, and with assistance from State funding, open the Scott County Boys and Girls Home.

5. Private Schools, will agree to take the troubled boys and girls into their system as long as the public school funds transfer with them. The Catholics, Lutherans, Baptist or whomever can mold troubled 17-year-old girls that think a 27-year-old boy is “hot”. Maybe then, the schools that have since closed can reopen and save the surrounding neighborhoods. Maybe these kids could thrive in an environment where the students are afraid of the teachers and not vice versa.

6. The names of juveniles as well as their parent(s)/guardian will be published in local papers and scrolled along public access channels.

Let’s do this in the first six months. If it sounds familiar, it was Davenport in the 1930’s to early 60’s. It was a system that saved young boys and girls, some like our own Mark Freise who grew up at St. Vincent’s and became a contributing member of society.

It’s time to stop blaming the city council and start acting like responsible adults. So here is my solution. In fact, I (The Colonel) will find private money to acquire St. Vincent’s if you the bloggers get the County to take it over. I (The Colonel) will work with any and all private schools, if you the bloggers can convince the State to allow public funds to follow the students.

Lets go folks; there is work to be done.

George

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Containing the Un-Containable??


The local blogs have been itching to make Crime THE issue for the upcoming City Hall elections. And two shootings and a small riot at the Mall are playing into the hands that want to cast the outcome of the next election.

I tend to agree that a prevalent thought in the community was these issues aren’t important as long as they stay in a certain part of town. But we have seen home break-ins, vandalism and assaults spread from Blue Grass to Bettendorf. And the Iowa Quad-Cities isn’t alone. Cedar Rapids and Des Moines are struggling with the crime as well.

A friend of mine asks a good question, that I will put out here for your consideration. Are the solutions to crime achievable by any City Council? Or, is the reality of crime directly related to the economic and social realities of the day?

For what it’s worth, I believe a city council has some opportunities to effectuate change; but not to the degree that most seek. In reality, a large part of crime is a direct result of drugs (hard drugs or alcohol). Limiting the number of liquor licenses and adding more enforcement to the drug trade will move some of this stuff away from Davenport.

But real change needs to come from with-in the culture. Parents responsible for the kids. Marriage that means commitment! Faith that brings community activism. And judicial sentencing that requires prison for those that break the law.

Until then, we tend to try containing the uncontainable.

George

Monday, January 22, 2007

Girl on Girl Violence - "Its Not Sexy"

Given the "riot" at Northpark mall being linked to a fight between two girls, I thought this would be relevant. Actually, Chicago is having a huge problem with this and it looks as if it's working across I-80. WGN radio spent an hour with this subject today, and the info below is from a relevant web site. QC Parents should follow this issue. According to an expert on WGN, bullying can be both physical as well as mental, from e-mail to texting. Schools and guidance counselors have failed to deal with this issue. Hope you find this informative -

George

1 out of 4 violent episodes are being perpetrated by teen girls, up from just a generation ago when it was 1 girl -10 boys. As can be seen, girl violence is increasing from 1-10 and now 1out of every 4 violent episodes involves girls carrying it out. According to the Justice Department, it is not just boys any longer, violence among girls is on the rise. Schools report a similar pattern in the number of girls suspended or expelled for fighting. Around the country schools, polices and teachers are seeing a growing tendency for girls to settle disputes with their fists. They are finding themselves breaking up playground fights in which girls are going at each other at an alarming rate.

· In the last month more than 10 arrests were made at Dyett Academic Center in Chicago, after violence that included a group of girls who allegedly walked into a classroom and choked a student, pushed her to the floor, and stomped on her face. Some parents at a south side Chicago public high school are refusing to send their daughters back to classes unless Chicago Public School officials address violent behavior by an alleged girl gang.

· In another allegation, a group of 17-year-old girls were walking down a hall, escorted by security officials, when a group of girls beat them.

· A 14 –year-old girl was standing in front of Allentown's South Mountain Middle School in Pennsylvania one morning last spring when another girl came up behind her, grabbed her ponytail and yanked her to her knees. After dragging her backward across the asphalt and tearing her jeans, the attacker then punched the 14-year-old six times in the face, bloodying her nose and lips. ''She didn't know my daughter,'' said the girl's mother. ''It was a problem she was having with one of my daughter's friends. She said she grabbed her because she was the closest one.'' Allentown saw aggravated assault arrests of girls nearly double last year.

· At a birthday party in Baltimore, Nicole kissed a boy on the cheek as a dare. At least 6 other girls ages 12-15 and possibly 2 adult women then savagely attacked the 12 year-old and put her in the hospital in a coma. "This is vicious, 'I-want-to-hurt-you' fighting. It's a nationwide phenomenon and it's catching us all off guard." Jansen Robinson, Former Baltimore School Police Chief.

It's not only happening in the inner city. The problem has bled into the suburbs where girls as young as 8 are getting into hallway brawls. In interviews with more than a dozen high school girls, all said they'd witnessed a girl fight in the last year, and many admitted (with pride) that they'd been in one. One 18-year-old teen girl at Liberty High School, PA said, ''A girl was saying stuff about me behind my back, 'I had to confront her.'' This means popping the girl in the face. In Benton Harbor, MI the Chief of the Benton Harbor Police Department said, “There have been some problems in the high school and amazingly it's been primarily with the young girls fighting each other.” "By 5th and 6th grades it's no longer put-downs and yelling,'' said a Medical Director of a mental health treatment center for children and teens. He went on to say, ''We're seeing more and more overt physical confrontation among girls. It can get pretty nasty.'' One in four high school girls in the nation reported they had fought at least once during a one-year period, according to the latest statistics, and arrests of teen girls for assault are off the charts.

The same can't be said for boys, who posted a decrease in aggravated assault arrests in the same time frame. In another organization similar stats are coming out. The Center for the Study of Prevention of Violence in Boulder, Colo., reports that in the last decade, the number of female juveniles arrested for violent crimes (murder, robbery and aggravated assault) increased 25 percent, with no percentage increase in arrests of male juveniles during that same time frame.

* I am sure the Q-C Times will run a full story on this, after reading my post!! :)

Friday, January 19, 2007

The End Of Officer Friendly & Why Bladel Is Right!

Let me be blunt, if I may. Police Chief Mike Bladel and the Davenport City Council are right to use technology to best serve its citizens. And yes, I truly believe the enforcement cameras are about safety and not a sophomoric brainstorm to raise buckets of money for more "bridges to no where". I listen to folks that believe these notions, and conclude they have no real understanding of the responsibilities of local government. As important, the honest intention of it’s elected and staff members that oversee the services carried out.

The real Mike Bladel was seen yesterday. A tea totter, polished politician that is fighting for what he believes is the right thing to do. His crisp, yet fiery sermon would create envy amongst most local ministers. He understands the elected officials are under fire by those that are looking for a good fight. An in reality, it’s the elected officials that are on the upcoming ballot and ultimately accountable.

I am told a handful of council members are willing to suffer any consequences, because their vote to support the system was never based on money. Others like Ambrose, who truly is the “father” of this issue, believes cameras should be on every corner. But a slim majority understands what most reasonable citizens understand as well….

The Cameras Work

Notice all the talk radio blab, blog speak and general rhetoric never takes on the effectiveness of the cameras. We all have noticed the reasonable speeds along East River Drive, 3000 block of Division Street or Harrison and 35th.

Yesterday, I listened to Jim Fisher wrap the speed camera issue around the death of a prostitute; "forget about speed and work on drugs, prostitution and the important issues". And I believe the elected that support this system actually agree with Fisher.

With our judicial system allowing bad guys to go through the “turn-style” so quickly, our force is becoming over whelmed. A typical cost of a cop has surged over $80,000 a year and the department is trying to become more specialized in gangs, drug trade trends, immigration challenges and the federal bureaucracy surrounding terrorism and the like. The era of “Officer Friendly” is quickly transforming into “The Enforcer”.

I may be in the minority, but I would rather have the cop shop slowing down the bad guys and a camera and a computer reminding me to slow down, be good and let the cops do their real job.

George

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Redmond Jones, Ethanol & The "WRONG" Editorial

Davenport’s own Redmond Jones has a published editorial in today’s Des Moines Register. You can read it here. Rumor has it, Mr. Jones is in the running for the Clinton City Administrators position. Maybe other folks know more….




Some CNBC know it all is calling for the Ethanol Crash of 2007. With oil down below $50 a barrel and the mad rush of investors creating more Ethanol plants then Iowa has counties, he might be correct.
Todays DMR, announces a Texas firm investing in three more (new) plants in Iowa. Iowa farmers are starting to talk about shortages in corn and escalating land values.
Pressures to enhance corn production will also impact Iowa cities. With the property tax roll back based on some funcky equation, agri productivity will continue to pressure the roll back downward and thus robbing cities of existing monies.
Let's not forget the impact on Iowa's watersheds and Aqua-ducts. Ethanol plants need lot's of water. It's time the State Legislators and Counties start talking about these issue's.

And I really don’t want to debate the war, George Bush or any of that other crap. God only knows there enough blogs for all of you to vent. But I can’t help but question what dribble the Quad City Times will actually publish on their Editorial page. Read at your own peril the “WRONG EDITORIAL” here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gaming Dilemma’s

Rumors have been flying since Isle of Capri’s President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Hinkley “stepped down” last week. A few weeks prior, the Isle announced plans to halt on-going development in Davenport and hinted the Bettendorf project would be scaled down. Iowa Gaming Authorities have also expressed frustration at the lack of progress made in the Isle’s Waterloo project.

First, Quad Citians should know that Tim Hinkley never liked the Quad Cities. Old man Goldstein is the only reason the Isle continues to have a presence in this area. He saw the greed of the Iowa Legislature coming with lotto “slot machines” and talk of expanding gaming. Iowa was and still is a bad investment.

I am told the board pushed Hinkley out, and rumors have it the company is seeking merger with another entity. I am also told the Rock Island project continues to have problems, mainly from a financial feasibility standpoint.

Not sure if any Isle employees out there have heard anything else. I am interested in any comments..

George

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Clayton Lloyd To Retire....

The city has released the media announcement, that long time department head Clayton Lloyd will retire at the end of 2007. The media announcement can be read here.

I know a lot of folks don't really care for anybody at City Hall. But if you know Clayton, you know a really good guy that has a great deal of integrity. Modest by all means, the guy brings his lunch to work every day and irons his own shirts. Modest, frugal and a hell of a runner. He is the proud father of two boys I believe, one presently serving in the Marines.

I am not sure the position "Director of Community Development" was the best fit for Clayton. But as a skilled bureaucrat, Clayton lead a department that oversaw a great deal of day to day responsibilities.

As local governments continue to trend more towards the expectations found with-in private organizations, folks like Clayton are highly needed. Understanding the function and responsibilities of government and helping the private sector relate is no easy task.

It will be interesting watching the replacement process. Since Malin has been with the city, department head openings have occured in Police, Human Resources, Legal, Finance and Parks. And in four of the five, he promoted with-in. And if you look at Bladel, he was originally with the DPD, so you could make a case for 5 of 5.

Personally, with the changes going on in D1 as well as QC Development, I believe it's a great oppurtunity to bring someone from the outside well suited for the emerging realities of a community of our size.

Congrat's to Mr. Lloyd, your a hell of a guy that will leave a significant mark on the organization and community at large.

George

Monday, January 08, 2007

MAJOR NEWS FLASH…. Davenport City Hall

Verified by a good blogger friend, who verified via a local Davenport Alderman, there will be a HUGE Announcement tommorrow morning regarding a senior staff retirement with in the City of Davenport.

This change will significantly alter the direction of city hall and our local economy. As a man of honor, I will hold the specifics back.

BUT.... If you media smucks run with this, site your source.

Blogger Colonel Davenport...

Check Back LATE TEUSDAY Morning....

George

Little Chicago we are not.. .But with a little work??

Listening to WGN radio this morning, and being reminded by local bloger “Just Cruising”, a few local events in the world of Chicago politics should spread warning to our local councilman and county supervisors. Please read the entire post to see how it relates to our little part of the world:

According to the Chicago Tribune:

Alderman Troutman (20th Ward) has been arrested. Troutman's attorney, Sam Adam Jr., said his client has been charged with bribery related to the placement of a strip mall in her ward. He said federal officials will allege that Troutman accepted payment in order to get the development in her ward, and allegedly took a kickback in the form of a payment and an agreement for office space. (Please read it here)…

And

The son of a corrupt former Chicago alderman has received a major promotion into a $103,000-per-year job in the new administration of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. Personally, this is a great story, so read it here.

So How Does This Relate?

Well first, understand I am never the person to buy into “appearance of conflicts”. It’s either a conflict or not. At the end of the day, I believe it’s the elected officials responsibility to decide. But they better be damn willing to take the heat.

So it’s typical of politicians to appoint friends, supporters of family members to commissions and such. Maybe in the past, a job or two! But present day realities of openness and transparency make this a really bad idea. So it should surprise many that the Quad City Times could have reported in the last three weeks that Mrs. (Bill) Fennelly has been appointed to a commission and Larry Minards wife’s nomination (for another) is pending.

Would it surprise you that the Compensation Board (that sets the pay scale for the commission and all county elected) comprises of Jay Ingram, Bill Wilke, Howard Harkins, Stephen Schalk, Patt Zamora, Gary Koos and Al Hite.

And we only need to look at the appointment of Mr. Howard (Jamie’s Husband) to Davenports Civil Service commission that created such a controversy. To have a spouse of an elected official sit in judgment of fired employee’s (Hello Phil), probably wasn’t worth the heat. And I am sure folks would quickly point to allegations of former alderman like Engelmann and McGivern.

So What’s my point?

The latest news out of Chicago reminds me how good natured our local government entities are. Allegations of self appointed raises, family members to non-paid commissions or even putting your good development buddy on the compensation board is nothing compared to bribery charges or getting your nephew a $105,000 job. Our local political blunders are typically of ignorance, stupidity or the inability to understand the difference between the two.

So breathe easy Davenport; Little Chicago we are not!!! But comparing ourselves to the Big City has never been the standard. And from my perspective, we are starting to get a little sloppy in the State of Scott.

Yours truly,

George

Friday, January 05, 2007

More Foolish Talk At City Hall

You got to love this time of the year. Folks making New Year resolutions, plans to lose weight and of course in Davenport, the start of City Council Elections. So a balanced budget with a slight surplus appears to be the platform of stability the Mayor hopes minimizes any unnecessary controversy for early 2007.

But is the mayor aware what his council is actually talking about? Is the Mayor aware of talk in City Hall Chambers that will modify the meeting and committee structure? Is he aware a majority of alderman is talking about ending the Committee Structures (Public Works, Public Safety, Finance and Community Development) and transform to a more streamlined Community of the Whole process. Is he aware of talk about restructuring the meeting process, moving “Public With Discussion” to the end of the meeting and not televise it?

It’s the stupid talk that comes up every two or three years, and it’s in full gear. It’s stupid, because it will never happen.

Now understand, I am the first to admit the Committee Structure is a dated hangover from an era of partisan politics. It was a time when a Chairman of a Committee actually meant something. It was a time when the committee could stop controversy from coming before the full council. So from that perspective, present day committees are fairly lame. But the committee process is also the first opportunity for action items to be presented to the community in a semi-formal process.

And in all honesty, this public with comment issue has been turned over enough times infrequent observers understand this will never happen. If you can’t take a little Suzie Bell, then you shouldn't be sitting behind the dais.

And for those that believe this is a Howard, Brooke, Frink and or Dumas thing, try again.

Have a great weekend,

George

PS. – Please see the Des Moines article about the e-mail conversations between the public officials that comprise the Iowa Board of Regents (here). An upcoming question, but what public disclosure process does our elected city officials follow regarding e-mails between each other?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Perspectives - Recent Davenport Events

A quick post this morning, and more later today.

First, the fuss over the cameras should be minimized. A court challenge was always in the cards as well as an appeal to the State Supreme Court. Hopefully the alderman will allow this to proceed. Davenport was the first city in Iowa to take this issue on, and four other cities have since followed. Somewhat like Des Moines IMPACT Fee issue, the State Courts need to rule on this. And I wager the legislature as well.

Illustrating my theory no one person is irreplaceable, Dan Huber leaving Davenport One is a loss and yet a great opportunity for Davenport. Dan is an extremely talented individual, who has had job offers from other very large chambers over the last few years. But like many who work every day to make Davenport know, it’s a lot of heavy lifting. The change will be best for his family and ultimately the D1 organization.

Go Mike Loos, go.

Congrats Larry Minard, Roxanna Moritz and Chris Gallin. As well as Chairman Hancock! It will be very interesting to see Moritz rock the boat. Too bad the county doesn’t televise its meetings.