Wednesday, November 28, 2007

3rd Street Mark Liquor License Revoked,
Business still open

Shelley forwarded me this ruling about the 3rd Street Mark liquor license. You can read the decision here, if you're into that sort of thing. I'll post the good part:

The Administrator hereby ADOPTS the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and the Decision and Order proposed by the administrative law judge in this docket.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and the Decision and Order in this docket are hereby AFFIRMED in their entirety. The application for renewal of liquor license number LE0001172, issued to F & S 3000, Inc., d/b/a 3rd Street Mart in Davenport, Iowa is hereby REVOKED.

Unfortunately, as of 5:15 or so this evening, the place was still very much open for business.

Update at 7:15am: Here's the QCTimes article

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The downtown Davenport progress slideshow

Davenport Progress -a slideshow of before and after images

I'm sure that many of you saw this either at the Downtown Stakeholders Meeting or on QCTimes.com, but if you haven't, its definitely worth seeing. I may post more of the images later for those of you who may have problems with the slideshow website. Its basically a collection of stuff like this before and after shot I made a couple years ago during one of the many battles over whether the Crescent Lofts are a good thing. When viewing the slideshow, keep in mind how many of the changes have happened just since 2000.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Infill Standards: A Reminder

I know others have posted this info, but I'm going to throw it out there as well. This could be an important move in the city's pro-neighborhood efforts. Check out more info about this, including some of the proposed standards, here on the city website. (Click the link down at the bottom of that page for the proposed standards.) Hope everyone had a great weekend, and for those in retail, I hope you survived.

Neighborhood Infill Design Standards - Public Informational Meeting

Infill development refers to new construction of residential buildings in established neighborhoods. In response to community concerns about the quality and design compatibility of infill development in Davenport, the Staff of the Planning/Land Use and Design Center of the Community and Economic Development Department has been researching alternatives on addressing the issue.

Staff has developed a preliminary set of standards and has ideas on how they might be applied. The challenge remains establishing a set of criteria and approval process that protects the character of established neighborhoods while promoting infill development at the same time. Questions also remain concerning the level of detail and how the review and approval process might work.

Prior to specific proposals are shared with the Plan and Zoning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission and City Council, a public informational meeting will be held to share ideas. The meeting will be held:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
5:30 p.m.
City of Davenport Design Center
102 E. Second Street (Across from the Radisson)

If attendees have photographs of infill development in their neighborhood, both good and bad, please bring them to the meeting. Everyone is invited!

For more information contact:
Matt Flynn
326-7743
mflynn@ci.davenport.ia.us

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

If you haven't looked outside this morning...


... it doesn't look like this. However, it may look like this outside later today, so don't forget your hats, gloves, and ice scrapers.

If I don't manage another post, have a good Thanksgiving everyone. I'm thankful that in the Quad Cities, despite our flaws and problems, we have been fortunate enough to be free of wildfires, earthquakes, typhoons, bridge collapses, invasions, and other catastrophes that happen around the world. I'm also thankful that Davenport and Rock Island have made it another year without declaring the first Iowa-Illinois War. You never know.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another new blog, and an open thread

Another new QC-related blog has started up. Its continuing the tradition of long-dead historical figure running blogs, we now have Thomas Paine, and his Davenport Growing Paines blog. His first two posts are very well-written, so hopefully we've got a keeper here.

I've added a link on the link bar, but otherwise the blog can be found at http://davenportgrowingpaines.blogspot.com/


The QCTimes had a few things that made me laugh last night.

Rogue cell phone in Iowa continuously calls 911 -QCTimes
As you can see in the screenshot to the right, this used to say "rouge cell phone." A commenter pointed it out, and it was changed.

Iowa's three biggest cities are fairly according to analysis -QCTimes
For one... fairly what? The title of the article(at least as of 1:13am) is missing a word, and I assume the missing word is "safe". When you read the article, you find out that the AP has somehow forgotten the existence of Davenport, and refers to Sioux City as Iowa's 3rd largest city. Unless 15,000 people moved into Sioux City yesterday, or some horrible catastrophe lowered our population by over 10%, I don't believe that's correct.

Don't worry though QCTimes.com, you're still my favorite local newspaper website.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Holiday Parade 2007 Images

It was a great day for a holiday parade. The sun was shining so brightly that I actually wished I had dressed less warmly at one point.

Some returning favorites from last year, the Soldier and Bob the Builder.


Rhythm City may be screwing us in every other way, but they at least sponsored the coolest balloon in the parade.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Get ready for balloons!

Ice skating Santa and Mr. Spaceman are ready.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Davenport: 100 Years

I got a chance to walk through The Davenport apartment building downtown today, on its 100th anniversary. She's definitely looking great for her age.The Davenport, as seen in a 1922-postmarked postcard from my personal collection.
The Davenport: Today
Like urban views? Here's one. I wish the people reading about pigs running the streets could see this view of Iowa.


The view from the apartment featured in the QCTimes article, and the former fountain in the lobby. As you can see, and as the article mentioned, its been converted into a seasonal planter.

This building is often overlooked as part of the downtown housing rebirth, as it was rehabbed a decade and a half before any of the recent stuff. Much like the market-rate units in the newer projects, it has pretty much no vacancies. According to the staff, none of the 70+ units stay available for long at all. This makes sense to me, because if people are willing to spend a grand a month on the Alexander properties, I'm sure there are even more people willing to spend less to live in a beautiful historic building across from the library.

The apartments that were shown as part of the open house were extremely well-decorated, and seemed in great shape as well. I hope a lot of you folks got an opportunity to check them out if you're into this kind of thing like I am. Thanks to the staff of The Davenport for showing me around and helping keep residents in downtown Davenport.

New blog for QC bar enthusiasts

I got an email telling me about a new blog, QuadCityNightlife.com. It appears to be just starting out, but so far it has a good collection of drink specials from around the QC for any given night. I'll add it to the link bar, so check it out next time you're going out for a drink or two.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Weekend Events

I'll resurrect my practice of listing weekend events, at least for this weekend. There are a bunch.

Friday

Annual Downtown Davenport Stakeholder Meeting
7:30AM at the River Center North, Iowa Rooms

100 Year Anniversary Open House
11AM-2PM at The Davenport, 324 N. Main St

Festival of Trees
12PM-4PM in the River Center

Saturday

Festival of Trees
9AM-9PM in the River Center

Festival of Trees Holiday Parade
11AM in Downtown Davenport

Tours of the new Scott County Jail
10AM-2PM at the Jail, 400 W. 4th St

Great Train Expo
10AM-4PM at the QCCA Expo Center

Lighting of the Commons
3:30PM-6:30PM on the John Deere Commons

Quad City Symphony Holiday Pops Concert
7:30PM at the i wireless Center

Sunday

Great Train Expo
10AM-4PM at the QCCA Expo Center

Festival of Trees
10AM-7PM in the River Center

Monday, November 12, 2007

Downtown Davenport: 2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

2 Steps Forward (more like 5)

The cement plant at 4th and Iowa is slowing being demolished, as seen at the right.

The old building at 2nd and Ripley that Bill Wundram calls "Willie's place," is being renovated into a "tavern restaurant." As far as I know this is without public funds. Hopefully it's a bit classier than some of the bars downtown. Its already looking better than I remember it during my lifetime.

The QCTimes articles from this weekend point out that work will be beginning soon on even more downtown residential, in the form of the former Salvation Army building. Having this occupied should really make the under-renovation Freight House seem less isolated. One of the articles also mentioned that the Alexander Company is looking at starting on Phase 3 of the Crescent Warehouse District. More residents downtown means more chance of retail taking a chance on the area. Which brings us to...

The Putnam/Parker buildings renovation and remarketing as One Putnam Centre. This is also being done with private money, and the QCTimes article states that they're looking for the type of retail that downtown residents need.

1 Step Back (More like 2)

And now the negative. My favorite restaurant in the QC area, Centro, is closing at the end of this year. I will have to go a couple last times by New Year's. While all the articles say how it wasn't failing, we all know that if the place and been a great success it wouldn't be closing. I do agree with some of the quotes in the articles that they weren't hurting that bad for customers. It seems like whenever I was in there, weekend or weeknight, it was decently busy. Unfortunately, I also never saw it overflowing to where anyone had to wait outside. Why this is, I have no idea. Olive Garden is packed constantly, and I know I'd rather pay a couple extra bucks per meal (and that's all the difference is) to eat at a unique, Iowa-based restaurant rather than the image of corporate dining.

Savitri's also bit the dust, and the planned "Red River Steakhouse" never made it past the "Coming Soon" stage. This one isn't that much of a surprise, as the one time I was in there I only saw one other table in use. The only way I ever heard people describe Savitri's was expensive, and if you're looking for fine dining downtown we already had Duck City. If only a Mexican place would go into that building! Downtown has a variety of food, but that's one of the missing pieces.


Still moving forward:
So a couple of restaurants didn't make it, and a new one's already replacing one of them. According to some, its one more indicator that downtown is a failure. According to most, its something that happens, and is more than balanced by all the progress happening down there. One thing that Centro's failure demonstrates to me is that downtown has an image problem. People are willing to fight Kimberly traffic and park over by Office Max to go to Olive Garden, but not willing to park diagonally across the street in the free parking lot for Centro? Are some people still holding onto the false feeling that downtown is dangerous? Come on folks, 2nd and Main has got to be one of the safest and cleanest intersections in town. I hope that the incoming Woodfire Grill is supported at least as well as any similar NoLo restaurant.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday Morning Open Thread

I drove down to Wildcat Den earlier this week to see what was left of the fall colors. I knew I was late in the season, but had hoped for some good images anyway. I got a few, which I may post later, but it was clear that I was a couple weeks late.

I also swung through Muscatine, and was very impressed with some of the progress happening in their downtown. I'll have to return (possibly in the Spring) and take a walk around to see more.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Some election tidbits

The highest turnout in Davenport was in Precinct D63 (35.80%), which is the area from Kimberly to 53rd, and from a mixture of Eastern and Jersey Ridge over to the Bettendorf border.

Riverdale, the only place around here with more of a city hall circus than us, had 61.56% of their registered voters come to the polls yesterday.

The only precincts with lower turnout this year than in 2005 were D21 and D53. In a true demonstration of consistency and stability, if not voting for the right guy, D52 had the exact same number of voters (188) that they did in 2005.

Overall in Davenport, voters increased from 15,548 in the 2005 election to 17,031 this year.

The ward that increased turnout the most was the 1st ward, followed by the 6th and 2nd. Sadly, the 3rd Ward had the lowest rate of increase in voter turnout.

Within the 3rd Ward, the D33 Precinct (Downtown Davenport) increased by the highest percentage and highest number of additional votes. This doesn't really explain Keith's 126-vote deficit, however.


Possibly more to come, but for now I'm going to bed. Consider this an election rehash open thread.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Your 2008 Davenport City Council

The results, as of 9:45PM

Courtesy of the Scott County Auditor's Election Returns site
Winners are in bold, and the candidates are listed in order of my endorsements.

Mayor:
Bill Gluba 62.35%
Phil Yerington 37.07%

At-Large:
Ian Frink 30.59%
Gene Meeker 29.36%
Jennifer Olsen 28.36%
Tina Gillispie-Clawson 11.31%

1st Ward:
Nate Brown 61.95%
Pat Gibbs 37.91%

2nd Ward:
Thomas Carnahan 25.11%
Shawn Hamerlinck 74.61%

3rd Ward:
Bill Boom 56.09%
Keith Meyer 43.40%

4th Ward:
Lisa Lewis 48.18%
Ray Ambrose 51.7%

5th Ward:
Doug Cunningham 42.07%
Bill Lynn 57.93%

6th Ward:
Jeff Justin 60.15%
Dale Gilmour 39.72%

7th Ward:
Barney Barnhill 64.48%
Marcia Patch 35.40%

8th Ward:
Mike Matson 59.51%
Becky Schabilion 40.31%

Some Results Already!

It looks like all precincts are reporting for the 3rd Ward, 5th Ward, and 6th Ward.

From what I can tell, winners in these wards appear to be:

Bill Boom
Bill Lynn
Jeff Justin

It also appears that turnout is up over 2005.

Absentee Ballot Results

The QCTimes pointed out that the Absentee Ballot results are up for Scott County, although the County website doesn't identify them as such. They call it the November 06, 2007 Municipal Elections Summary, which makes it sound like the final results. Its kind of strange really.

If these results match the final in-person voting results, my predictions are spot on. We will see.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Davenport Election'07 Endorsements

Just for reference, here are Cruiser's preferences, the QCTimes endorsements, and my endorsements from 2005.

Mayor: Bill Gluba
I'm not 100% in favor of either of these candidates. Yerington just brings too much history, and I disagree with much of what he would like to do as Mayor. Let's not forget the witch-hunt group, Citizens Against Political Abuse, which is much more recent evidence that Yerington will not shy away from controversy. Unfortunately, Gluba seems to be using the same kind of feisty speech that you would expect from a partisan politician. Hopefully he can settle down and run a (relatively) calm council.

At-Large: Ian Frink
I'm only endorsing one candidate for At-Large, for two reasons. I think that Jen Olsen or Gene Meeker will do an alright job, but I have some issues with each of them. Frink is a clear choice, as he's done his very best to stay above the fray of our current council, as difficult as that has been. Aside from his (and others') recent screwup on the rent-to-own consent agenda item, he does his research, travels to learn more about things that could benefit Davenport, and asks the important questions of staff in private instead of grandstanding on TV.

1st Ward: Nate Brown
After endorsing Gibbs in '05, I learned that his personal life hasn't been so great since being Mayor either. Obviously he would have been better than Van Fossen, but fortunately for us a new choice has arrived. Nate Brown is very well-spoken and thoughtful, and he's doing his best not to be on either "side" of the council. He's someone that I believe even people who disagree with his vote will be able to respect.

2nd Ward: Thomas Carnahan
Unfortunately, this is pretty much a vote-against. Shawn Hamerlinck is also thoughtful and well-spoken, but he also tells people what they want to hear rather than what may be the right thing for Davenport. His desire to micromanage city staff concerns me, as I shudder to think of 10 elected amateurs trying to run the day to day operations of a city of 100,000. We have this system of government for a very good reason. Our current 1st Ward Alderman demonstrates it well.

3rd Ward: Bill Boom
Both a vote-for and a vote-against. Can't ask for an easier choice than that. Alderman Meyer has been scaring away not only potential residents and businesses, but potential council members. As I've said before, a council meeting should not be awkward and uncomfortable to endure. Bill Boom intends to create a mini-council, or a 3rd Ward Council, made up of people from different areas of the ward. He's well-spoken and able to understand the way cities work in the real world.

4th Ward: Lisa Lewis
This ward could really use a change, but I don't know if they know what they're missing out on. As the Times and others have said, any candidate who shuns computers doesn't have a place in sitting on a Davenport City Council in 2008. Lisa Lewis brings the new perspective of someone who has recently returned to her hometown, hopefully with equally new and helpful ideas.

5th Ward: Doug Cunningham
Bill Lynn is probably the only person on the existing council who I sometimes wonder if he really has Davenport's best interests in mind. Hamerlinck, Meyer, Ambrose, etc... even when I disagree with them, as I frequently do, I know that they just have a different idea of what's best for our city. The sneaky ways that Lynn has been doing things over the last 2 years, and the shady people he is so strongly defended by, should give anyone pause before reelecting him. As Cunningham has said, if you feel that the 5th Ward has improved lately, vote for Lynn. If not, vote for change.

6th Ward: Jeff Justin
I like Dale Gilmour, but I don't think he would vote in a way that I would like. It seems like he's shifted away from his place between the two sides where I felt he sat in 2005 when I endorsed him. I must say that he would make an excellent and I believe honest spokesperson for the Lynn/Hamerlinck side of the council. Jeff Justin has been in this community for decades, and will be a professional and intelligent member of the council. He seems to represent the feelings of the 6th Ward better than his opponent.

7th Ward: Barney Barnhill
While he may come across badly sometimes on TV, if you actually listen to what Barnhill says at council meetings, much of what he says is good stuff. My opinion of him has actually increased over the last 2 years, and I've heard that he provides good service to those living in his ward. I'd like to see Marcia Patch stay involved and maybe gain some name recognition and participate in local politics a little more before she runs again.

8th Ward: Mike Matson
He actually believes that Davenport is a good place to live already! I agree, and I think that more people in Davenport feel this way than we hear on the blogs. Either of the candidates for 8th Ward sound like they would do a good job, but I'm going with Matson because I know he will keep pushing for a higher quality of life in Davenport.

Who I think will win tomorrow

These are my predictions of who I think will actually be elected tomorrow for Davenport City Council and Mayor. They have nothing to do with who I think should win, which will be my next post. Hopefully I do better than the 6 out of 11 I got right 2 years ago.

Mayor: Bill Gluba
Our last Mayors have been Charlie Brooke, and Ed Winborn. I feel that the city as a whole recently has been voting for dignified older businessmen more than the younger, feistier cops we elected in the 90's. I think among people who don't follow city hall that closely, Gluba has less of a negative connotation. Its strange to go from two Republican candidates to one definite Democrat and one (current or former?) Democrat. I would say that goes to show that it doesn't matter what national political party you belong to in local politics.

At-Large: Frink and Olsen, in that order.
I know she came out and dominated in the primary, but I think Jennifer has a good following among the types of political junkies and involved people who vote in primary elections. I pretty much feel that both of these are definites; its just a matter of which order they go in. Obviously the only potential upset would be Meeker squeaking in.

1st Ward: Nate Brown
I think this will be one of the closer elections, but I wouldn't be shocked if either of them runs away with it. Nate has been getting out there and meeting people like crazy, but Gibbs has lots of name recognition and people probably feel bad for picking VanFossen over him last time.

2nd Ward: Shawn Hamerlinck
This one's easy. He tells the folks in the 2nd ward what they want to hear, holds ward meetings, and votes the way they seem to want. One of the few races I'd be willing to bet some money on.

3rd Ward: Bill Boom
Yes, I said the same thing last year and he lost, but Alderman Meyer has had some troubles recently, and the primary results didn't look good for him either. Some of this will depend on how much Boom has gotten out the vote among the young professionals moving into downtown.

4th Ward: Ray Ambrose
Maybe Jen Olsen just rubbed the 4th ward the wrong way last time, but I feel like if a longtime neighborhood activist can't dislodge Ambrose, a relative unknown like Lewis is going to have a tough time. On the other hand, it does seem like she has been out there trying to win people over, and we have no primary results to base any guesses on.

5th Ward: Bill Lynn
In the 5th ward we do have primary data to go off of, and more people voted for him than against him. The recent illegal attacks against him aren't going to help Cunningham's side, which brings out the tinfoil hat theory that they came from Lynn's own side... but I doubt it. There are definitely some rabid anti-Lynn folks out there (and who comment around here) who are probably capable of the foolish attacks. Looks like another 2 years of Lynnomics.

6th Ward: Jeff Justin
Come on... its the 6th ward. Despite Gilmour's activism, participation in dozens if not hundreds of meetings, and decent name recognition, I just don't see this D1 stronghold going for someone like Dale. The primary data pretty much confirms this.

7th Ward: Barney Barnhill
He never loses! Seriously though, this could be a close one. Barnhill only got about half the votes in the primary, so it seems to me that half the people who voted felt it was time for a change. Of course, I used that theory in the 3rd ward last time to little success.

8th Ward: Mike Matson
I don't know all that much about either of these candidates, or what efforts they've been putting in out in the 8th ward. Because of that, I'm just going to go with the Primary winner.

For those among us who worry about council voting strategy, this would leave Frink, Brown,
Boom, Justin and Barnhill as at least a bloc of 5 on one "side", with Matson/Shabilion potentially being the 6th. Either way, if Gluba is Mayor that would give us (at least) the familiar 5-5 with the Mayor breaking the tie. I think the side I generally disagree with is going to be angry after this election. First and Third wards will be the ones to watch.

Coming later today: Predictions and Endorsements

Where have I been? Having fun with Halloween, visiting friends in Indiana, upgrading my computer, taking it easy... Pretty much everywhere but here reading all the nasty comments, rumors, and other pre-election junk that's been flooding the local blogs. Its the kind of stuff that makes me want to quit doing this, so I've just been sitting this week out. Reading some of the attack comments on the other blogs bothers me enough without having them on my own.

However, I'm not completely giving on up election discussion. Later today I should have both who I think should win and who I think will win in Davenport Election '07 posted.