Sunday, September 30, 2007

Don't Forget! Promise Meeting

Davenport Promise Meeting
7:00PM
Thursday, October 4th
in t
he Genesis East Heart Institute auditorium

Whether you're for it, against it, or for or against various ways of funding this potential program, you should try to attend one of these meetings. People around here have a history of not going to the meetings where things are decided (RiverVision comes to mind) and then getting all upset later when the results start coming out. If you don't go to any meetings, you lose your right to complain later.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Two quick pieces of good news from the city website

1. After much complaining by Bill Wundram and many others, the city is going out for bids on the Dillon Fountain renovation. At this point we'll be lucky to see it working by next spring, unfortunately. Its about time the city got on this. I might have to update my signature picture if they get it up and running again.

2. Trick-or-treating will be from 5pm-8pm on October 30th. According to the US Naval Observatory, (the authority on this kind of stuff) sunset will be at 6pm that night. So 2/3rds of the trick-or-treating will be in the dark, as it should be. Thank God they aren't trying that daylight hour junk again this year.

Consider the rest of this an Open Thread.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Crackdown

Score one for the DPD last night.

Of course, after I typed up the following, I went to QCTimes.com and found this excellent article that summarizes what happened better than I did. (Score one for the mainstream media) According to the article over 70 law enforcement officers were involved.

Police arrest 12 in Centennial Bridge sting -QCTimes

I don't know if it was related to the pizza delivery guy getting shot last night, but there were more cops on the street last night than any time I can remember. In addition to the usual beat cops, I'd say I heard at least 15 other cops referred to by badge number. There was a checkpoint set up at the bottom of the Centennial for a few hours, which nabbed a ton of people. I heard them say one car was going 71 over the bridge. The DPD had a OWI team set up to process drunk drivers, and I heard at least 3 people get nailed for that. One person told me they saw at least 20 law enforcement officers near the bottom of the Centennial, including Iowa State Patrol. The jail must have had to bring in extra people too, because a lot of folks were getting sent there.

It would cost a fortune, but imagine the message it would send to the thugs and career criminals if we did this every night for a month or two. Good job to whoever was in charge of last night's operation.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Downtown News: Davenport and Moline

Moline project announcement planned -QCTimes
The blurb linked to above says "A news conference has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at the Bass Street Landing Plaza Stage to announce an economic development project for downtown Moline. The announcement involves a project that could bring more than $50 million in investment to the community, officials said in the announcement."
Hopefully this is related to the highrise tower that was in the news back in April. I also had a small blog post about it back then. It sounds like we'll know by this afternoon. (Oops, I mean Thursday afternoon)


Isle of Capri offers to give Blackhawk to city for restoration -QCTimes
This SEEMS like good news, but I'm waiting to see all the details of the offer. IOC has lost all trust and good will I ever had for them long ago. I'll believe it when I see it.


Between the Blackhawk restoration, the Putnam/Parker renovation mentioned yesterday, and Bill Wundram's revelation that the cement plant at 4th and Iowa is going to be torn down, we've got several pieces of good news for downtown Davenport in about a week's time. Hopefully the streak continues. Downtown is getting closer all the time to really taking off, and more people are starting to wake up and notice it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Random Snippets

Major renovation on tap for former M.L. Parker store -QCTimes
Obviously this is great news for downtown, although not as great as when they start announcing that tenants are moving in. I hope they're willing to go after the really big fish, and maybe offer them very discounted rents to get people coming down to the area. Bring in Hollister, Crate and Barrel, just something that would be a first in the QC. As I posted in the past, they have a website at OnePutnamCentre.com. Unlike last time, its up and running now. This is a very important building at arguably the most important intersection of downtown Davenport.


WIU's plans for Q-C campus on hold -QCOnline
Of course they mean for the RIVERFRONT campus, since WIU already has a Q-C campus. This project is simply a no-brainer, but lately that seems to be an accurate description of Illinois politics.

Yard sign shenanigans -Me
Fourth ward candidate Lisa Lewis dropped me a line a couple days ago to say that some of her yard signs had been disappearing. This seems to be a growing problem, and really doesn't it fit right in with our city council? Childish behavior like this is one of the main problems we're having, both in the council chambers and now in people's yards. On the other extreme, this person placed a Frink sign in their yard, only to have it magically joined by a Gluba sign. So while some people are having signs stolen, others are having them placed in their yards without prior consent. Lisa promised that signs will be replaced wherever dimwits steal them from. (dimwits is my word, not hers)

Davenport Promise teams with police in attempt to reallocate tax -QCTimes
I'm mostly in favor of the Promise idea, but not at the cost of giving a beat-down of Davenport's budget for the next few years. I'm not dissing the project itself Pioneer, so don't jump on me, but you guys need to hold out for a better funding idea. Tin-foil hat theory would be that D1 pushed for these ideas to be lumped together in order to kill off the police idea. It seems so out there that there almost has to be some weird explanation.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

2 Examples of Police Cooperation

Last night, as most weekend nights are, was a busy one on the Police radio. There were 2 events that struck me in particular.

#1. A lady was spotted leaning out over the river outside the railing on the Centennial Bridge. Rock Island and Davenport PD cooperated in closing the bridge, and the Davenport Fire Department deployed several vehicles and got the rescue boat in the water very quickly. DPD officers were able to communicate directly with DFD personnel in the boat. The police worked quickly to find out who the potential jumper was, and contact people that could help them talk her down. After less than an hour's time, the woman got off the railing and the incident was ended safely.

#2. Word comes out on the radio that Scott County Sheriff's Deputies and Clinton officers (Sheriff or Clinton PD, I don't know which) are pursuing a drunk driver into Davenport. The chase had already reached speeds over 100+mph according to the dispatcher, and they were coming in on Welcome Way towards 53rd. A Davenport officer asked his supervisor something very similar to, "Should we get ahead of them and block off side streets so they don't crash into anyone?" That's definitely a leading question, as it is very much directed at a yes answer. The response was, "We're not going to get involved." The officers weren't able to easily communicate directly with the other departments, although I believe several DPD units saw the chase go past them, as it was called out when they went through a few intersections. It had to be frustrating for all agencies involved to have Davenport units (who know the city best) forced to sit by and do nothing. It would have been nice if they'd been able to deploy stop sticks, considering that the chase stayed on 61 South for several miles. The last thing I heard was that the chase continued east on Kirkwood. I don't know what the resolution was.

So in the first case, we have an example of everything and everyone working together for the best outcome possible, and succeeding. It also provided a glimpse into how well consolidate dispatching could work, in theory. In the second case, the other departments were basically on their own, probably due to Davenport's misguided chase policy. If the drunk driver had waved a gun around and jumped into a car, DPD would probably have been able to pursue. Yet driving 100+ miles an hour in a small SUV isn't dangerous enough to warrant chasing? What happens when officers keep letting these criminals get away, and later they kill someone? Will that be safer than chasing? When did we get to the point where all you have to do to get away from the police is try?

This is priority #1 for me when choosing a new police chief. After all, in order to fight crime, you actually have to catch the criminals.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Almost Fall Open Thread

This image comes from last Saturday's Fall Festival at Vander Veer.

This is a wide open thread, except I'd prefer people keep the rental talk on the appropriate thread a few posts below.

Anyone going to the AARP forum/debate tonight at the Adler feel free to send me some images, and I'll probably post them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Aiport news


Q-C Airport sets new passenger record for August -QCTimes
Its pretty cool that its becoming "normal" to have passenger records on an almost constant basis lately. It seems like a real indicator of the health of the area.

Compass building a $9.85M project at site in Louisville -QCTimes
This headline seems to have nothing to do with the Quad Cities, but the article reveals that the "QCI Airport" was nearly selected for the project. Losing out to Louisville and DSM, especially Louisville, is nothing to be ashamed of.

I also posted about these news items over on the AbsoluteDSM.com forums.

Monday, September 17, 2007

From under the radar to front page above the fold

Updated at 6:45am Tuesday:

Rent-to-own ordinance faces revision -QCTimes

So Lynn wants to "fix" the ordinance himself, now that he was caught in the act. Unfortunately, his "fix" doesn't fix any of the real problems with this ordinance. It only requires that these contracts be recorded, so now there will be proof that they can't be inspected as rentals. I don't see how this really makes the situation better at all, but I'm sure some landlords will be on here to attempt to explain it any minute. If they had honest intentions here, they'd just add contract sales to the inspections without subtracting rent-to-owns. Unfortunately, not many of us think there are honest intentions involved here.

Original post:

Rent-to-own homes avoid inspections under ordinance -QCTimes

Thanks to Tory Brecht for bring this out into the open for the non-blogging public to read about. The letter to the FD with a list of properties that no longer need inspecting is VERY telling. This seems to have a high rate of disapproval from the people who know about these things, police and firefighting rental inspectors. From what I'm hearing it was slipped past into the consent agenda without all Aldermen knowing the implications. Shame on some of them for not reading closely, but shame on Alderman Lynn for bowing to landlords once again.

If the ordinance was really to "increase inspections" as claimed in the article, why not just add contract sales without eliminating rent-to-own inspections?

Also, I'm going to ban any accusations of being Dan or Wally on this thread. I don't know if I'll really delete violations, but I'll definitely consider it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Goodbye to the old Police Station
(and good riddance!)

My dad and I went down to the auction preview at the old police station and snooped around. I wish I had taken more than the 20 or so pictures I took, but I was doing more looking than photographing. I know my way around it pretty well, but with so much stuff moved out it was a challenge even for me to navigate the maze. Here are a few images:This is pretty much the standard hallway in the converted car dealership that our officers called home for decades. If you want to pass someone in the hall, you have to turn sideways and shuffle past each other.This was something I was kind of surprised didn't make the news. From the looks of it, the entire south wall of the station sank several inches sometime during construction of the new station, which is mere feet away. I wouldn't want to have been working in the old station when that happened. All the offices on that side of the building now have a slope to their floor. Fortunately the whole building will be gone within weeks.


On the left was the Tactical Operations Bureau, which consists of undercover detectives and gang officers, and on the right is the Detective Bureau. Imagine trying to deal with a witness or suspect on the phone with another officer doing the same only 2 feet away. The TOB offices were formerly a closet.


For you CSI fans out there, these are the 2 tiny rooms that the DPD's civilian evidence techs had to work out of. I don't watch the shows, but I doubt theirs look like this. The DPD techs don't drive H2's either. For those of you that took the tour of the new PD, these were replaced by that spacious basement room with the counter around the outside and 3 or 4 long workspace islands. They also now have several cubicles, whereas in the old station they shared one desk seen in the lower right of the 2nd image above.

Here are all 20 of the pictures I took, hosted on Flickr with small descriptions. You really can't get the full impact of these unless you took the tour of the new Police Station.

If anyone can look at those images and say a new Police Station wasn't needed, I certainly can't understand how.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Not necessarily a Friday Open Thread

Just a few disconnected items:

  • I read somewhere that a stoplight is being installed at Elmore and Dexter Court (the dead end street between Best Buy/Lazy Boy and the medical offices. It should help slow down traffic coming around the curve there, and also make it a lot easier to get out of Best Buy. Lets just hope they get it in by the day after Thanksgiving.

  • Don't forget all the stuff happening this weekend, such as Riverssance, Brew Ha Ha, and the Vander Veer Fall Festival. I've cut back on posting upcoming events since it seems like the papers cover them, but I've gotten complaints about people not hearing about stuff. Maybe I should go back to posting "What's happening this weekend" more often.

  • Davenport police to auction leftover items -QCTimes
    I am sure they don't want people doing this, but this would be a good time for those folks who took the tour of the new PD to snoop around the old station and see how bad they used to have it. And hey, if you are starting your own police department, this auction would be right down your alley.

  • Check out this random guy from St. Louis's images of the Figge on Flickr. Its pretty interesting to see what him and the people commenting on the images have to say, including a lot of "Where is that amazing building?" questions. We're on the map for architecture nerds, at least.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Deja Vu: Blogs at City Hall?

Davenport city workers' access to blogs is questioned -QCTimes

Once again, folks are wanting to make sure city employees aren't blogging on the clock. This was the topic of the first QCOnline article about Fly's blog back in 2005 or whenever that was, as Craig Malin had DDP banned from city computers. Blogs also came up during the Webb controversy, when the city hired folks to make sure no city employees were doing the posting about her.

As I've said before, it depends on what these employees are posting. If they're posting anonymously saying who to vote for, etc, that's clearly not work-related. If a city employee clarifies a procedure or answers a question, then how is that different from answering a citizen's question in the office? Some of this is outdated pre-internet thinking, while concerns about employees posting politically-motivated comments may be valid.I've previously suggested they ban the blogs, after all. I hate to see the city spend a lot of time and effort combating blogs though.

One thing the article doesn't address is how the QCTimes.comments fits into this? Would access to the QCTimes website be monitored as well? Are there times when posting something work-related on city time is ok?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rebuild

Today, I'm just going to rerun a post I made last year around this time.

"One of the biggest tragedies of 9/11 to me personally is that we are accepting defeat in that battle. We're taking the attitude of, "they won this time, but we will prevail in the long run." I truly believe we will prevail in the long run, but I don't see why we have to let them leave a hole in NYC. Instead of rebuilding the World Trade Center, we are building an enormous monument to terrorism. Instead of putting back what terrorists tried to destroy, we are leaving it destroyed.

If terrorists had knocked down the White House, the Capitol, the Statue of Liberty, or other Washington monuments, I would like to think we would rebuild them just as they were. Why, then, are we throwing in the towel on the Twin Towers? What makes a better statement then having the World Trade Center rebuilt stronger than before, so potential terrorists will see that NYC has been restored to the way it was before September 11th? It would show them the futility of the mission to destroy the United States through murdering civilians. The hijackers would still be dead, and the towers would stand again over New York.

Instead we're building an ugly spire, and leaving 2 empty sockets in the ground of NY and calling them memorials. They will be a perfect place for future terrorists-in-training to come and see what their kind have done before. Imagine them instead coming to the site and seeing it looking essentially the same as it did on September 10th? If I had been killed working or visiting a national symbol, I would most certainly want it rebuilt. Replacing what was lost gives a big "F You" to terrorists everywhere.

In fact, I have come up with 2 rules I'd like to leave behind in the exceedingly unlikely chance that I'm ever killed in a terrorist attack.

#1. Don't use my death as justification to kill anyone not directly involved in my death. I'm not going to get into this one.

#2. Rebuild. I don't care if I was killed by terrorists in the Statue of Liberty, the Sears Tower, or a Kwik Shop in Davenport, Iowa. Build it back the way it was, and find another way to memorialize the people lost besides leaving a gaping hole.

More info can be found on rebuilding at makenynyagain.com"

Monday, September 10, 2007

Late Summer Busy Weekend

Even though it seems like the Summer of 2007 is wrapping up, there are still a ton of events, happenings, and festivals left this year. I managed to make to a few things, and next weekend is Riverssance , Vander Veer's Fall Festival, and the QC Marathon.

This first two are from the Quad City Symphony Riverfront Pops Concert. All you need to avoid paying for the $20 ticket is a $50,000 boat and a couple hundred bucks of fuel. Seeing the Contours play with the Symphony backing them up made me really wish I'd been able to make it to last year's Beatles-oriented concert.

Here's a movie I took of the Contours doing "Higher and Higher"

Here's a shot of the Beaux Arts Fair, which definitely had beautiful weather for a change.

I also stopped by and saw the Nina, which I plan to check out in depth later, and Friday night I went down and watched the movie filming again.

I'll get back to some "real" content eventually, but QCImages has to post images after all...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Another Friday Open Thread

I went down for 90 minutes or so to be an extra for the baseball movie. Apparently the people who went Tuesday were told that if they stay the whole time Tuesday, last night, and tonight, they get $100. I guess I missed that in the paper or on the news. However, that works out to like $5 an hour, so I don't think I missed out on much.

I'm pretty worried the movie is going to end up being "Dominican baseball player comes to Iowa after watching Field of Dreams and finds out that Midwesterners are racist hicks." Obviously this isn't true, but when the casting call for teammates comes out and they're only looking for white guys, its not a good sign. I know they filmed in Burlington also, so maybe it will be "Progressive QC metro welcomes Dominican player, but small town Burlington isn't as receptive." Let Burlington be the bad guy...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Bye Bye Swing

Unless the Swing of the Quad Cities pull of a miracle and win both games in Beloit, John O'Donnell has seen its last Swing game. Vote for the new name at SwingBaseball.com, by the way. It appears the poll is being hacked, so we'll see what happens. Somehow I doubt that the "Quad City Talons" would be winning by such a huge margin. I doubt the Napoleon Dynamite vote is that big.

The game included half-off admission for Davenport residents, so I had hoped to see a packed house. Whether it was the weeknight game, the impending storm, or a lack of publicity, they had less than 1500 fans in attendance. Here I had been hoping that a big crowd would send a message to the new owners that cheaper tickets equal bigger crowds, more excitement, and more income in the long run. Oh well. It was nice to sit in the 3rd row Club Seats for only $6 each. It was also nice to sit in the Mediacom Sports Lounge and watch the Dodgers game while the tarp was being unrolled and rerolled.

Here's hoping the Swing win the next 2 games (after losing 8 in a row) and we can all pack JOD Saturday night for the next home playoff game.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Go-Karts and Shootouts

Here's a video I shot over at the Rock Island Grand Prix on Sunday. This is uploaded through Blogger instead of YouTube, so we'll see if it works better.
video
Edit: It appears that Blogspot's video embedding code is complete garbage, so here's the YouTube version as well.

And here are a couple of images from the Pioneer Village Fall Festival.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Coexistence , DPD Tour, and Lighted Boats

Lots of good stuff going on around here in the last few days.


I went down to the opening ceremonies for the world-traveling Coexistence display last Thursday. They had a number of good speakers, and also Vietnamese dragon dancers, and the Quad Cities Ballet Folklorico doing traditional Latin American folk dances. Despite the decently low amount of publicity, this exhibition is a pretty big deal. The QC area is the smallest stop out of all the world cities the exhibition has visited. Cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, and Jerusalem. And Davenport. The Des Moines Register has even had several articles about it. Hopefully media from Chicago will take note, as the display hasn't even been there.

I went with a group of friends and family to tour the new Police Station on Saturday, and I was very very impressed. Having spent 4 months at the old PD, it is really like night and day. One of the tour guide officers said they would have liked to show people the old station before giving tours of the new one, and I definitely agree. Before you had stuff like all 15 Patrol sergeants sharing one office smaller than most people's bedrooms and one or two desks total. Now each shift's 5 sergeants have their own office together, and each of them has their own personal desk/workstation. The Patrol areas were easily the biggest change from the old station. While the new station is three times larger than the old one, I'd estimate some of the patrol areas were 5 or 10 times larger than before. Everything was done with the input and discussion of officers, crime scene techs, and other experts for maximum efficiency. I think that the new station will save so much time and effort through efficiency that it will be like hiring several more officers.

And last but not least,
Glitter on the river: Venetian Boat Parade delights -QCOnline

I was glad to see this event resurrected, and its probably a better location for really seeing the boats up close. Only 16 boats participated this year, but hopefully numbers will go up next year now that people see its happening again.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

QCI: Cynic?

Anonymous posted this last night on the previous thread:
Hey QCI - I have noticed that your cynical side is showing lately. You are becoming rude and kind of a smart ass. What gives? You always criticized people who act that way.
You're right, Anonymous. My cynical side is really my main side (ask people who know me in real life), but I'm normally an optimistic cynic. Unfortunately, sometimes I get tired of it all..

Lately I'm just sick of the circus.

I'm sick of Alderman that should never have been elected drinking, driving, harassing, etc.
I'm sick of landlords being the unseen 11th Alderman.
I'm sick of 10 minute discussions on friggin garbage stickers.
I'm sick of conspiracy theories, and actual conspiracies.
I'm sick of Aldermen who can't think for themselves.
I'm sick of being younger than everyone on the council yet wanting to tell them to grow up.

Some of these folks on the council treat it all like a big game, but the circus atmosphere at City Hall is doing serious damage to Davenports reputation, and ability to attract new businesses and residents. As good as Davenport is doing now, which I believe is pretty good, think how much better things would be if we had a council that acted like professionals.

Unfortunately, the circus is a self-perpetuating problem. The pros that we need on the council are too smart to throw themselves into the center ring. Some are brave enough to think they can change things, and I applaud these people.

Other than try and vote for people who can stay above the fray, what can we do? If you've got a blog, you can start getting angry and smart-assed until someone points it out, and then realize you're only contributing to the problem.