Thursday, April 19, 2007

An experiment

In the past, I've ranted and raved about how people think only in absolutes. A few threads down on the Battle of Bill Lynn thread, I've been accused of this myself.

Here's the problem as I see it. A blogger says something positive or negative about something, and is then categorized based on that. For example, I have defended Craig Malin on some issues. Because of that, I'm instantly labeled as a Craig Malin-lover. People speak as though I don't see any mistakes or faults of the man. Its not true, but since I defend him, I'm lumped into that "black or white" category. Sometimes there's no need for me to point out mistakes he's made, such as the recent Judge sneaking-around, because there are already 2000 people pointing that out. Other times, like with his whole "I'll give the raise to charity" thing, I've come right out and said it was foolish.

Another recent example is the Guardian Angels. I've been fairly critical of the idea because of the physical interventions. So of course I must hate Guardian Angels. However, I do not hate the GAs. In fact, I see some positives to it, and I've even mentioned them. They have energized people about protecting their neighborhoods in a way that the existing neighborhood groups have been unable to do, which is definitely a good thing. I'm not going to claim that I'm a GA supporter, but that doesn't mean I'm cheering for them to fail either.

There IS a middle ground on nearly every subject, but it seems to be missing from most online discussion.

Here's the experiment for this thread. Long time readers will recognize that I've tried this before. If you comment on this thread, no matter what you say, you need to include something from the other viewpoint. If you point out that the Skybridge is stupid, you have throw in something good about it, such as its popularity among visitors. If you want to post how much you like French Silk Pie, mention a negative (zillions of calories) as well.

I will delete posts, on this thread only, that do not follow this formula, so if you insist on being all negative (or positive, rare as that is) I'm posting an Open Thread above this one.

I'll start things off:

I have been generally displeased with Bill Lynn's words and actions since the last election, but on the other hand, he was one of the first Alderman to have a website. He was online long before Frink and Hamerlinck were even Aldermen, much less had blogs. Even better, he has an archives of his past newsletters available there. Online access is a step towards transparency.


Anonymous said...

I am not a supporter of the old NEO, but they did lay a foundation for the fire department to build on. With twenty years of history under their belts, there were good records of who the actual bad landlords in this town were, and it was based on their inspection records. Using this data, it will be possible for the fire department to do a much better job at cleaning up the bad landlords, because they will be willing to do what the old NEO was not; namely go in and focus on band landlords and force these bad landlords to fix up their properties.

pioneer98 said...

You pretty much hit the nail on the head when you said each issue has a middle ground. The people who generally read blogs, however, tend to be the ones at the extreme of each side of the spectrum. I have a theory as to why the vast, vast majority of citizens don't speak up more: because they are generally happy with the state of things. They only get really riled up if something comes along that may disrupt it, like, say, a hog slaughterhouse.

Anonymous said...

I generally favor investment in our downtown, even if it includes some taxpayer dollars, as a necessary thing to improve our quality of life and thus attract more people and businesses.

However, I agree with the 'againsters' that building a multi-million dollar art museum that caters only to a tiny elite slice of the population was a very, very questionable investment.

Why couldn't we be like Dubuque, and invest in a resort/indoor water park or something else that would attract families and "real" people?

The truly sad thing is by doing that, it turns a large section of the community against any and all downtown amenity investment, which in the long run, is going to prove disastrous.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we do both?

Anonymous said...

"Why can't we do both?"

Good question, but none of our elected officials seem to feel there's any middle ground.

According to their rhetoric we must have either cops on every corner and the most pothole free streets in the western hemisphere and no cultural ameneties, or rampant crime and expensive white elephant projects confined solely to our downtown. There is no middle ground.

QuadCityImages said...

2:49 and 4:27... you're kind of breaking my system, but your comments are good so I'm not gonna delete. To the rest of you... don't you wish all threads were like this?

Ambrose Fulton said...

anon 10:47

After the disorganization has settled, the fire dept. may be an OK choice for NEO. I'm still befuddled as to the real reason for this change. Initially, it looked like a lot of corporate knowledge would be lost - many of the inspectors were just getting to know their assigned 'hoods, which was a better system than prior.

Now that some have been retained, this knowledge/stability seems to be there - it's good as a landlord to know what to expect of an inspection.

However, it seems like crappy landlords were never sanctioned, and the FD seems serious about implementing this ordinance. The nuisance ordinance (where a landlord loses their license for several months, thus losing income) could be a great tool, used judiciously.

It's a key to the crime problem - I firmly believe in the "broken windows" theory, or as I prefer, the "horse without a shoe" analogy.

And as for QCI - he's probably the most flexible of bloggers, and willing to truly listen to both sides. Ideally, that's what community blogging is about - attempting some consensus/airing of alternate ideas.

Anonymous said...

I can personally tell you that the NEO department would have loved to work under the umbrella of the F.D. The inspectors, and management, of that dept. needed and wanted support from strong upper management, and they knew the F.D. would provide that. What the true disgrace about the whole thing is how it was conjoured up by Lynn and his special interest cronies as saving Peter to spite Paul.

What many people fail to remember is how the manager of that department was personally attacked with false allogations when he attempted to crack down on one of the worst landlords this town has known, and everyone allowed it to happen. Tha sacraficial lamb to keep the QCRPA off of the F.D. back.

The positive is, most of the inspectors are back, and now have management that will not back down from the special interest group. And that will make Davenport a better place.

Anonymous said...

While the previous poster makes a good point, he is wrong about the old NEO manager being unfairly attacked. He failed to go after the worst landlords, only beating up on the good ones. But, he was a nice guy, even though he did not do his job. The new inspectors will not be able to hold grudges, because the fire department is a fair group, and vendettas will not stand.

QuadCityImages said...

Some of you guys are just squeaking by here... positive doesn't mean backhanded compliments.

Anonymous said...

Strong management is what the doctor ordered for the CSD under the fire department. I am sure that most if not all of the old inspectors will be back online and helping the original four to get caught up. One would think, as an inspector, to be able to go to work and accomplish your duties without interference. Refreshing!

pioneer98 said...

to 2:06: Why can't "real" people and families enjoy or appreciate art? I'm certainly not part of the elite, and I barely know anything about art. But whenever my wife and I go there, we always have a pleasant experience. I truly hope a whole gob of "real" people get out and see the "Coexist" exhibit when it comes. I have a feeling those will be the people who get the most out of it.

I'll concede that the Figge came off somewhat elitist when it first opened, especially with such an expensive restaurant insdie. I think they've realized they need to change their strategy. Their success will depend on it.