Monday, October 31, 2005

3 Cops, 2 Real Issues

This article is somewhat in reply to Fly's un-comment-able post regarding today's Quad City Times article.

The article lists 3 cops and what their "problem" was with the police. In their defense, I don't know as much about VanFossen and Swanson's incidents, as they were before I was born.

Here's what they did according to the QCTimes:

Swanson: fired from the Davenport force in 1978 for allegedly lying about the shooting of a suspect who had been stopped for a misdemeanor traffic offense
VanFossen: indicted in 1973 for embezzlement while serving as a Scott County sheriff’s deputy in an investigation that eventually resulted in a guilty plea and the resignation of former Sheriff William Strout.
Gibbs: a series of suspensions, including one in which an alderman witnessed him delivering a bag of ice, while on duty, to a downtown ice cream parlor Gibbs owned.

Lying about shooting a guy, embezzlement.... dropping a bag of ice off to his wife. You pick the one that is the least serious.

The issue with Gibbs was extremely bad blood/vendetta between him and also former cop/then Mayor Yerington. The alderman who "caught" him was actually following him in his car. He delivered the ice to his wife on one of his allowed breaks. Police Officers in Davenport are allowed to drive to their home for their breaks, but driving somewhere to pick up ice and drop it off to your wife is clearly corrupt...? According to some, Phil Yerington may have run for mayor simply to get the power to fire Chief Lynn from the police department. He then tried to get hired as Police Chief himself while still Mayor. Instead Chief Bladel was hired, who later fired Yerington.

As someone who's interested in both, its would be hypocrtical of me to say that Police and Politics shouldn't mix, as Fly did... but when you lay it all out like that it does seem like there's a lot of controversy. Or maybe the problem was just Yerington.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hotels, Streetlights, and Skybridge Sleepers

I've always thought the old-timey lamp post street lights along 2nd and other downtown streets were just for looks. However, as I walked from the east part of downtown that doesn't have these into the area that does, I noticed a big difference. The blocks with the street lamps are much brighter and the sidewalks just seem safer in general. Having a couple street lights at the intersections doesn't do much to light the middle of the downtown blocks. Now I see why Alexander Company wants the same kind of streetscaping in the the Crescent Loft district.

The Radisson was clearly having some sort of John Deere meeting or event over the last 2 days, but it was certainly a happening place. It was quite a difference coming from the desolate downtown streets into the bustling lobby/courtyard of the hotel. I heard many languages and accents, and there were people coming and going constantly. Groups of people were sitting at tables and standing around talking. It felt like a big city hotel. I doubt the Radisson is always that vibrant, but if it is... I'd say they have nothing to worry about from any casino hotel.

After I'd had my fill of spin and fence-sitting at the candidate forum, (around 9pm) I walked over the skybridge to check out the Halloween light programming. It was cool to listen to things like the Halloween theme and Monster Mash while walking down the strobe-flashing orange-lit walkway. However, a few yards from the south tower, there was a young man sleeping on the floor. I didn't roust him, but it occured to me later that I just assumed he was sleeping. I nearly walked back to the skybridge to check that he was actually alive. Hopefully he was just tired, and not dead nor homeless.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Candidate Forums and the Colonel

I have no idea why I haven't put up a link to fellow DDP-alum Colonel Davenport's new blog, with which I am associated in a small way. Its fixed now.

I attended the first 2 and a half hours of the candidate forums held by the police and fire unions at the Radisson last night. I assume it ended as scheduled at 10, but since I left early, I couldn't say if it went long. It seemed long already at 9:30. I decided I was going to pretend to be a true CNN style blogger and take my laptop and actually take notes at the meeting. In addition to possibly annoying Bill Boom with my keytapping, I've decided that I don't get paid enough ($0) to be a real reporter. I took 5 pages of what I would call decent notes, but it took me a couple hours last night at work to assemble my gibberish of typed shorthand notes into something remotely readable. I'll post them in their boring entirety later today for those of you that have a lot of time on your hands. I did manage to write an article for the Colonel's blog about it, but it got so long that I split it into 2 parts.

If I go to tonight's forum, I don't think I'll even take my laptop. Also, 3rd ward candidate Bill Boom pointed out that since my exit from DDP, my email address is nowhere to be found in cyberspace. I'm throwing it over there on the right with the new link to the QC Backstage. For the 4 or 5 of you that might have tried to email me, I'm sorry.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Question #6 Below Answered

6. Speaking of that (historic hotel buildings), whats the Mississippi hotel developer up to? Still trying to work out financing? Construction is started on the Adler expansion, so to avoid having 2 seperate construction periods for that block, they should begin soon on the Mississippi.

The October 24th Council Update had this to say about the Mississippi Hotel development.

Extension of the Mississippi Hotel purchase agreement to J & T Development - On November 18, 2004, the RCPA Development Co. LLC (managed by the City) executed a real estate option contract with J & T Development, LLC for the purchase of a portion of the Mississippi Hotel. J & T Development was selected by the City to redevelop the south wing of the Mississippi Hotel into apartments. It was anticipated that the closing would occur by August 15, 2005. Earlier this spring, the developer's application for 9% tax credits was denied. The developer then structured alternative financing to allow construction to begin later in the fall, but as a result, needed more time to secure the funding. Staff granted an extension until October 15. By early October, the developer had secured the financing for the project. However, the City's surveying and abstract work was not yet complete, in part due to the complexities involved with selling a portion of a single structure. As a result, staff has asked the developer for additional time for the completion of this legal and title work. It is expected that the property will be transferred in early November with construction to begin in December.

So that's good news for future downtown residents, but its never good to hear that the city is the cause of delays. Better delayed then abandoned though.

Museum of Abandoned Armories?

Looking across the river at Rock Island, their riverfront skyline is dominated by our own local building that looks like Katrina tore off its roof, the RI Armory. They can't seem to decide what to do with it. Condos? Commercial? Tear it down? Demolition seems to be one option that has been deleted from the list, so I guess they've managed to decide that its worth saving. I would say it would be a good place and building for a museum, but what else can we make a museum to? We've already got a museum to Roots music, one for John Deere, an arsenal/small arms museum, a planned chiropractic museum, and possibly a museum about the first bridge over the Mississippi. Maybe a museum about the planning and construction of museums? I'm not actually against any of those museums, especially if they draw visitors, but its fun to list them all out. I would have suggested an IL National Guard museum, but there's already an IL Military Museum in Springfield. National Barge Traffic Museum? Maybe us Davenporters can think of something RI should use the Armory for.

As far my opinion, for once I'm not necessarily opposed to tearing it down. If they leave it there, I hope they get started soon on painting it anything but white, and gluing its roof back on.

P.S. I took a picture of it out my window, but it wasn't even up to the mediocre QCI standards, so use your imagination today.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Good Blog Stuff

While I'm sure the few readers of this blog all probably read SoLo Davenport, I'd like to direct you to a pretty good discussion about Prairie Heights and New Urbanism. As Alderman Meyer points out in the thread, there's no name calling, or personal attacks. Its good stuff.

Here's the link.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Sunny Happy Day

Find somewhere north of Kimberly with that view and I'll give you $1.

As I haven't received any answers from readers about the things I'm wondering about, I'm going to start bugging the people "in the know" about those issues next week.

I'm also going to add:

#7 Why has there been no news articles about the fact that the Courtland has supposedly been bought and is being renovated into non-slum apartments?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Dreary Day Open Thread

There's a view that's sure to cause me to spring into action when getting out of bed. Open thread? Like I really need one of those. Let me know if there's anything you want discussed on here, or changes I should make that don't start with "go to h..."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Stuff I'm wondering about

Before I go emailing anyone important to bother them with these questions, maybe I should ask on here. I was always impressed with the collective amount of knowledge about local goings-on over at DDP.

1. What's the status of the Rhythm City hotel? Is the EPA/Corps of Engineers looking it over? Is IOC worried about other things? (Mississippi) Bettendorf's project is moving forward, but I haven't heard an update on Davenport's in months.

2. How is Davenport PD's "test" of Chevy Impalas going? Is the DPD going to begin switching over to smaller cars, possibly against officers' wishes? Are they going to also test a Dodge Charger squad car? Is the plan still in place to switch Davenport's cars back to white for more "professionalism?"

3. I haven't actually looked at it in a few weeks, but is the former Trinity North still being converted into a long-term acute care hospital? Last time I saw it there wasn't much activity. I haven't read anything about it since this. Any of you NoLo people see signs going up there?

4. Why can't we do SOMETHING, ANYTHING with the former Showcase Cinemas and Ramada/Wicliff/Rat-matress hotel on Brady? Niky listed it as a large concern, and I certainly agree with her on that. Visitors coming into Davenport from I-80 are welcomed with blight. Even an empty field is better than those buildings. In addition to our high school's having on the job classes that teach building a home, we could have one that teaches demolishing a hotel/cinema.

5. Any interested parties for buying the Blackhawk hotel, assuming Question #1 is answered by progress on the IOC issue? If we can find takers for the Mississippi hotel, I suspect we could find people who'd be willing to accept an 11-story historic building for free.

6. Speaking of that, whats the Mississippi hotel developer up to? Still trying to work out financing? Construction is started on the Adler expansion, so to avoid having 2 seperate construction periods for that block, they should begin soon on the Mississippi.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


The handful of you that read this might notice a couple things appearing today in the lower right corner. Ads... evil, evil, ads. Even without "writing for" DDP I still spend a decent amount of time per day reading all these blogs, and I plan to have daily posts on mine. I figure if I can make $1 a week from ads, I might as well. As long as they're compltely unobtrusive. Google knows how to do ads, and you've probably all seen Google ads on millions of sites without even noticing them.

Fly spoke several times about how ads would cause bias. I completely agree. However, using a giant mega company like Google possibly helps to alleviate this. I don't see the Google corporation being discussed in city council meetings very often. If they decide to build an office in Davenport someday, I will admit my bias, and encourage the city to welcome them with open arms. However, I don't think that's all that likely.

Call me a sellout if you will, but they're here to stay.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Not Exactly a Scoop

Quad City Times article about DDP

Only 4 months after the Leader ran an article about Daily Davenport Politics, the QCTimes got around to printing one. I don't blame the author at all though, as when he called me he too seemed to believe that an article was overdue. I'm not really one for conspiracy theories, but maybe DDP is seen as competition by the Times high-ups?

Whereas the Argus/Dispatch/Leader article was based almost entirely off of an email interview with Fly, the Colonel, and myself, the QCTimes didn't allow anonymous sources in their article. Instead there's a wide cross-section of people quoted about DDP, and blogging in general. Its a different perspective than the previous article, and hopefully renewed publicity will get Fly enough clout to get all of the required folks into his Rule #3 Party. Being above the fold on the front page of the Quad City Times is nothing to sneeze at, no matter what you think of the paper. Also thanks to the author, David Heitz, for not making me sound crazy.


I've returned from my journey to the Garden of the Gods in southern Illinois. I see that its quiet around the new blog. I don't have a stat counter, and I don't know if I'll set one up. I'm not sure if I even care. The fewer people read this the less I have to worry about being remotely diplomatic. The Colonel has something in the works, but that's as far as I'll go about that. SoLo invited me to join their blog, but I don't think the posse of negativity I seem to attract is needed over there. If I start writing for them it will be in a very minor role.

P.S. Yes, that's me in the picture. Although I've done a decent amount of traveling within the US, I had never before been to Shawnee National Forest, a mere 6 hours away from the QC. Its an amazing place, and I recommend everyone check it out, especially if you enjoy scampering around on rocks.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Away message...

Enough of this blog stuff for a while. I'm off to Bloomington, and then down to Shawnee National Forest for some camping. I'm sure the blog can administer itself while I'm gone.

Lofts Phase 2, Before

Yesterday I was able to tour the next phase of the 4th Street Lofts, Davenport Lofts, Crescent Lofts or whatever its called. The building I went through was formerly Roederer Transfer. My parents were able to go also, as my dad worked in that building in the late 70's. I was immediately struck by how similar all the floors were, except for the 5th. In the Crescent Building, every floor is a different height, and somewhat a different arrangement. This makes for 30-some different floor plans in a 73 apartment building. The next phase looks like it will be easier to have similar floor plans on each floor. The concrete ceiling has extremely easy to see impressions of the wood plank forms that were used when it was poured. The 5th floor was divided up sometime before the 70's into essentially the original Mini-Storage. Each of these small lockers or rooms has heavy iron doors that hopefully will be used in the final product. The freight elevator is quite functional still, and an adventure to ride. The pile of bricks and concrete is where a "test window" was cut through one of the walls to determine how easy this would be to do. They've also done test floor polishing, as parts of the building may have polished concrete floors. Estes Company should be starting to tear into things over there within the next few weeks, and soon we'll have another 50+ downtown apartments.

I want to give a huge thank you to Alexander Company for allowing this tour to happen, and Lisa and Scott for walking us through and operating the elevator controls.
Click these for bigger pictures

P.S. I had these all lined up so there'd be two next to each other all the way down, but Blogger apparently wouldn't have that..

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Looks like I'm gonna be cleaning out my desk over at DDP.

Maybe I'll run this instead.

More news to follow.

News: Yeah, I stole Fly's links. Actually he gave them to me... I swear.