Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dumb comments of the year, so far

Church says it can't rehab historic home -QCTimes

Here are the two quotes I found humorous.

“The issue here is whether government can tell you to take your dollars and put them into a building,” he said. “The city would be forcing the church to take money from its congregation to preserve the property. This is an issue of basic private property rights.” -Alderman Hamerlinck

“It’s easy for us to sit here and tell people what they can and can’t do,” he said. “But unless we are willing to cough up the bucks, this is really a form of condemnation.” -Alderman Lynn

O.... K.....

So now the city can't tell private property owners what they can and can't do with their property? Well, I guess that means that residents can build an addition that goes right to their property line, stop shoveling their walks or mowing their yard, start storing rusty cars in their backyards, build a 10 story building with bare 22 gauge wiring for all electrical outlets, have unmarked doors that open into 50 foot chasms, and of course tear anything down that they own, no matter how historic. They also can't be forced to maintain property they have bought, because that would be "forcing them to spend money." Strange, but I think Shawn just insisted that we do that to Menards.

Wait a second, none of that's true, because we very much DO tell people what they can and can't do. Its called codes, zoning, laws, etc. Historic properties are just one more of the many ways that communities do indeed control what people do with their private property. I guess neither of these Alderman teach that class.

As far as Shawn's comment, I don't see where the city is forcing the church to spend any money. If their plan to renovate the house has failed, they should sell it. If I bought 20 acres in a residential area to build homes, but it turned out I didn't have the money, I couldn't just build a factory instead. I would have to bite the bullet and sell the land. It seems clear that the church either made a mistake by buying this home, or planned all along to use it for much-needed parking for their large new sanctuary. I really don't want to accuse a church of lying, so I'll assume they just made an unfortunate mistake. I don't see why this historic home should suffer for it.

59 Comments:

At 2/21/2008 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dumber than "WE voted for it."?

 
At 2/21/2008 9:09 AM, Anonymous BeanCounter said...

There is a church here in Peoria doing the same thing. They can't rehab it because it costs too much to fix, yet they are the ones who haven't done any preventative things to it in over 8 years. They call it demolition by neglect. I love a church crabbing about property rights; I might be a little more sympathetic if you paid any taxes.

 
At 2/21/2008 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QCI -
The reality is this is a political problem. St. Pauls Luth. is the largest religious congregation in town. And the spineless alderman know this to be the case.
The Church bought this day one, for a future parking lot. Everyone knows this, and thankfully Historic Pres. did the right thing.
What will the spineless alderman do??

 
At 2/21/2008 10:22 AM, Blogger Robbie C. said...

you are right on with this. it baffles me how people over here in illinois react the same way to the new smoking ban. they instantly shout out oppression and shout hosannas about the freedom of america, yet they forget that everyday they abide by other laws which are meant to keep us safe, healthy, and happy.

it is indeed funny when people find a law they don't like and cry foul.

 
At 2/21/2008 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same church that just completed a 2 year/ couple million dollar addition onto their exsisting building? Now can't "afford" to put a new roof on a house......please.

 
At 2/21/2008 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would seem they are acting pretty shady for a church. I'd be a little ashamed to be a parishioner there. It's pretty obvious they bought it for other means than they are stating.

Shame on Lynn and Hamerlink for not protecting the gems of our city.

 
At 2/21/2008 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave it up to Lynn and Hamerlink and their dumb comments!

 
At 2/21/2008 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is nuts. This church is wealthy and they cannot afford this renovation. Give me a break. I love the comment that they bought it to prevetn rental property there. Why? Do we have problems with rentals in this town? It is a sign of the times. I am happy the mayor and the council finally did something right related to preservation.

 
At 2/21/2008 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am on Lynn and Hammerlinck's side here. Yes we have codes and all of that, but that is different then a property owner being allowed to take down their own property. That is a basic right. If I buy a property and want to knock it down, if I paid for it and I demolish it in accordance with the codes, then I should be able to level it. That is why we have these codes. The hysterical preservationists believe that if somebody took a crap in their yard one hundred years ago, its important just because its old. News flash, Davenport Iowa isn't THAT important and every old home is not a gem from the past. Unless the hysterical preservationists want to assist financially, then the church should be allowed to chart its own destiny and knock it down.

 
At 2/21/2008 8:57 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

That argument would have a lot more sense behind it if the Historic Preservation folks were just now trying to list it as historic. In reality though, it was already known to be historic and difficult to tear down when the church bought it. They should have known better.

 
At 2/21/2008 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way I see it is that the church can afford it but it wouldn't be a wise long term investment. Next Sunday, take a drive by the church. No place to park and many walking blocks for the service. By the way, Lynn and Hammerlinck are tools.

 
At 2/21/2008 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QCI ... Apparently you see that your dopey pictures and downtown Davenport flag waving aren't drawing any attention. Way to stir up the pot and draw the cretins out of the woodwork!

 
At 2/22/2008 12:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QCI, your wrong. It was NOT on the list of historic register homes, the hysterical preservationists are trying to put it there after the fact.

 
At 2/22/2008 3:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is in a historical district. Were it not, it would never have gone before the HPC to begin with.

And the above poster who said "News flash, Davenport Iowa isn't THAT important" shows something that I have said in the past - Davenport's biggest problem is a low self esteem that causes them to not properly value their largest assets. TBPH I think it is a relative minority who believe this, they just tend to be loud about it.

 
At 2/22/2008 6:50 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Well, I know that Riverdog, AKA Keith Meyer, doesn't believe in anything the QCTimes says, but in the article it said that the home is on the national and state historic registers, but not local.

 
At 2/22/2008 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it true QCI, that you moved out of your downtown apartment?

 
At 2/22/2008 9:18 AM, Blogger pioneer98 said...

I agree totally with 3:37AM. Other cities didn't get to be successful and internationally known by complaining about everything and saying how crappy their city is. It's a perception = reality thing. If you continually tell everyone about how bad our city is, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But if we stress the good things our city has to offer, maybe perceptions will change and things will get better.

People say Davenport lacks culture and history. If you take a step back, we actually have quite a bit of both. But how can we continue to have culture or history if we don't preserve it?

 
At 2/22/2008 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Sacred Heart Cathedral have the samef issue a few years ago? I believe they ended up keeping two houses they had intended to tear down when they found they were on the historic registery. If St.Paul's is allowed to tear down this house are all the other demolition permits that were denied in the past to be rethought? Perhaps the issue is different for St.Paul's because they are wealthy have have many wealthy people and politions that attend.

 
At 2/22/2008 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

culture and history are one thing, but saying everything that is old is automatically culture and history is quite another. Davenport is known as a tough town to do business in. This is a church for God's sake, not a liquor store. This was not an important old home. I challenge anybody to tell me what this old home has that no other old homes have. Nothing will ever be considered culture and history if every old piece of junk has to be saved without regard to its significance. Church is a good and noble cause, support it and tear this old mess down!

 
At 2/22/2008 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This house is very much not junk. And churches do not have a free pass to do whatever they want in the name of their god. Churches are very often NOT doing the right thing. Catholic priests anyone?

The leaders of this church need to look into their souls and ask themselves if they are setting a good example here. What is the difference between lying and flouting the laws over a house and lying and flouting the laws over dealing drugs. Shame shame on them for being such a poor example of moral standards.

And I hope everyone who voted for Meeker, who (SURPRISE!) is for demolition is rethinking their decision.

So tell me, what reason should give this church the ability to tear this down in spite of the laws? Because they are a church doesn't cut it. Neither does Davenport isn't so great. Any real concrete reasons or just whining?

 
At 2/22/2008 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok poster, first of all, give me ONE good reason why this house is special, other then it is old. People took shits 100 years ago, does that mean we should save their crap?

Secondly, it is not against the law to tear this down. Comparing it to drug houses is ridiculous. That is why Meeker one his race, he appealed to reasonable people.

Finally, it is the hysterical preservation idiots that are trying to interfere with the law and make it illegal for people to tear down things they own.

 
At 2/22/2008 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That should be won, not one, in the last post. I may have common sense, but very little ability to spell.

 
At 2/22/2008 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And I hope everyone who voted for Meeker, who (SURPRISE!) is for demolition is rethinking their decision."

And what about just about EVERY OTHER alderman that is for the demolition? You seem to be holding a grudge. He won..get over it.

 
At 2/23/2008 6:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why go after Meeker only? Hammerlink and Lynn were the biggest voices. They are the ones that we are supposed to count on to protect the central city. It is odd that Lynn and Hammerlink were all for curtailing rental inspections for landlords, but are ready to demolish beautiful houses in much better condition then the ones they protect in the central city.

 
At 2/23/2008 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone knew Meeker was on demolition davenport but gave him the benefit of the doubt he had seen the error of his ways. The other ones - lord only knows why people voted for them.

 
At 2/23/2008 11:53 PM, Anonymous Moe said...

The "rules" regarding zoning, etc. that restrict our ability to manage our own private property are generally the exception to the rule. Generally speaking, we do, in this country, have pretty inviolate property rights. We can do what we choose with our property. In the few instances where we can't (shoveling snow or restricting people from placing "rusty cars in the front yard"), we are actually preventing OTHER people from getting injured or from having their neighboring property values diminished. Very rarely does the state or city simply have the right to tell you what to do with your property. I'm guessing that's what Hamerlink was getting at. Unless someone is going to be injured, or someone's property value is going to be detrimentally affected, the city should normally butt out.

Of course, we run into a problem with this bedrock "general rule" on property rights when we give cities and states the right to control property, not because some other life or limb or property value is at stake, but simply for the sake of saving "a historic building." Reap what you sow, I suppose. If it becomes too easy to list houses, you end up with property that is too expensive to be livable, but too "historic" to be made into something more economically feasible.

And that's exactly what has happened here. It's the absolute definition of economic waste and inefficiency to require anybody to hold on to a property with a fair market value of roughly $160,000 simply because the building is deemed "historic," when modest estimates show that it would take $500,000 of investment just to make the house livable - and even then the property would only be worth $250,000! How many of you would be willing to buy a home and spend money fixing it up, only to have a house worth less than 1/2 of what you've put into it? Zero.

The fact is, every historic building simply can't be saved (and every building that is old isn't automatically historic). No developer will dump money into this money pit, and none of our tax dollars should go there, either. There are better things to preserve, and better things to spend money on.

Bottom line: some old properties are too decrepit to fix up. It would simply cost too much. If there is no way we can fix them up and make them livable - or at least usable - then, honestly, what good do they serve us by "sitting there"?

 
At 2/24/2008 3:00 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

#1. The church should have known ALL that, and gotten estimates on what the "renovation" would cost before buying the home.

#2. Do any of us really believe this $500,000 figure? If they seem like they're being dishonest about their original intentions, is it that much of a stretch to imagine them inflating the renovation cost?

#3. Having a large parking lot in a residential neighborhood probably isn't exactly good for the property values that Moe mentioned.

#4. No one is stopping them from selling the home. If they lose some money on the deal, maybe they'll learn their lesson about buying without knowing the renovation costs.

 
At 2/24/2008 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As soon as I read the article in the Quad City Times, I knew the sole purpose of the church was to have a parking lot. If they want a parking lot, why not offer the house free to anyone that wants to move it at their cost. I bet they would get a lot of takers. I really don't know how they can sleep at night; doing that to a beautiful old building! My house at 6th and Pershing is 152 years old. I purchased it in 1984 much like the church property, saving it from the wrecking ball. Mine was less than a month from demo. The church property is a jewel compared to what I had to work with. I have read all that is supposed to be wrong with the property. I would like to compare what is wrong with the church property to what I had to work with at 6th and Pershing. I think after the comparison, they would realize what a jewel they have!

 
At 2/24/2008 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An increase in crime was mentioned on the blog by one of the parishioners. I don't think an increase in crime has anything to do with the beutiful building they want to tear down but has more to do with the construction of the gaudy new addition to the church. That addition says more like "look at us, we have so much money"!
The original St. Paul's Church is the beautiful mansion facing Brady, once home to the Edward C. Mueller family. It certainly is a good thing that those in favor of tearing down the beautiful mansion neighboring the church today weren't here in the beginning of St. Paul's. If they were, my guess is that they would have torn down the beautiful home of Edward C. Mueller too.

 
At 2/24/2008 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The $500,000 figures sounds absolutely bloated. At this point I wouldn't believe anything that church said. It's sad to see church's forget what they are supposed to stand for.

 
At 2/24/2008 7:49 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I can't believe it would cost $400,000 for lead and asbestos abatement... and it seems like $100,000 could do an awful lot for that house. The article doesn't mention if it has foundation or structural issues... anyone on here actually been in this house? I know the SoLo folks are experts at renovation, so they'd know how crazy this $500k quote is.

 
At 2/24/2008 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your all a bunch of Nazis. How dare you dictate to the church what they can and can't do. The church is a wonderful addition to a neighborhood, and a parking lot that will help out the parishioners is a wonderful thing; much better then an old piece of crap. News flash: There are no shortage of old homes in Davenport. Lets help out the church and do Gods work!

 
At 2/24/2008 10:37 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Like lying in the paper?

Or as someone recently said to me, "they don't lie, they have their lawyer do it." The fact that they're (apparently) being less than truthful causes them to lose all goodwill that their being a church would gain with me.

 
At 2/25/2008 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but a church lying about the cost of renovation, lying about the reason for purchasing the property, and then to stating that they bought the house so it couldn't be rented doesn't say much for the church. Please if a church worries about keeping the rift-raft out the neighborhood, how welcoming are they as a church?

 
At 2/25/2008 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That makes no sense at all. First of all, you are ASSUMING they are lying: they are not! They have the paperwork to prove it.

Secondly, yes, keeping crack dealers away from our children is a very noble addition to our neighborhoods. Apparently you think otherwise...?

 
At 2/25/2008 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hysterical preservationists think it is more important to have yet another old building laying around Davenport then to bring people to God. And, they want to trample private property owner's rights to do it. When you criticize them they cry. "Boo hoo hoo, we want to save every old thing that ever existed".

 
At 2/25/2008 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, there are two sides to this, and as usual, the middle ground should prevail. Should the church have purchased the home without clearence from the historic preservation commission? No. Should the historic preservation commission give a pass to a church, considering their altruistic nature? Absolutely. This is not worth so much space on this blog. The church should apologize to the historic preservationists for not doing their due dilligence, and the historic folks should let a house get demolished for a good cause.

 
At 2/25/2008 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally some common sense! That poster could have saved 37 comments and come to the right conclusion in ten seconds had theirs been the first post!

 
At 2/25/2008 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, they don't get a free pass for thinking they are above the law.

 
At 2/25/2008 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:55 pm is correct, the hysterical preservationists should not put themselves above the law!

 
At 2/25/2008 6:37 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

If the church had owned this for years, and decided to do something with it now, it would be a different issue to me. Instead, they bought the home, KNOWING that all of these issues were going to be a barrier to demolition. The church is more wrong here than the preservationists.

I'm also hearing from knowledgeable people that the $500,000 number is pretty absurd.

 
At 2/26/2008 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

qci, thank you for at least acknowledging that the preservationists are wrong.

 
At 2/26/2008 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A parking lot is hardly a "good cause"

 
At 2/26/2008 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the church has any credability at all, we can assume they need a new realestate agent. What kind of an agent would allow the church to spend $150,000 without a housing inspection before the purchase, if they actually were planning on rehabbing the home. Would a church lie to the public?

 
At 2/26/2008 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who, or what organization, would purchase ANYTHING for 150,000 and not know what it would take to fix it.......or did they have no intention to do so in the first place?
It is not like this organization has never bought real estate in the past. From info i'm getting, (not confirmed) that they possibly own the property across the street. Yes, the Outing Club!
Broke? Hardly.

 
At 2/26/2008 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you idiots1 The outing club is owned by the outing club organization. If your going to talk about real estate, at least do it in a semi intelligent manner. It took twenty seconds for me to type in its address, 2109 Brady, at www.scottcountyiowa.com. Secondly, it is not common knowledge what is or is not in a hysterical district, and the City, if they want to force the issue, need to require that notice be given prior to a sale, because innocent buyers can be sucked into this. None the less, nothing in the hysterical preservationists arsenal of weapons should prevent the church from tearing this down. And so what if the sacred heart tears down a couple of old wrecks. The biggest problem that Davenport has is too many old pieces of crap anyway. There is NO DANGER of an old home shortage in Davenport Iowa.

Hammerlinck will prevail. Viva la property owner's rights!!!!

 
At 2/26/2008 2:57 PM, Anonymous Snarky said...

Wow - Hamerlink's viewpoint has really changed since the Pedcor project was being built in his ward. Ok, now that I know if someone owns property they should be able to do whatever they want, it clears things up for the future.

 
At 2/27/2008 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hamerlinck has always been for property rights.

 
At 2/27/2008 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:34 - the answer to your question is an organization that never intended to rehab the property.

 
At 2/27/2008 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I support QCIs proposal from solo.

The church should donate the amount they would otherwise spend to demolish to anybody that would want to move the home.

 
At 2/28/2008 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the perfect example of what is wrong with this town and this county. We make rules (i.e. commissions) for the purpose oforder and regulation, but then we go against the recommendations. This has happened so many times I can't count. Recently, the county when against thier own rule and allowed rezoning or ag land. The city has done this too many times.

Shame on us. No wonder no one knows what end is up in this town. We can't follow the rules to save our lives.

 
At 2/28/2008 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why QCIs idea rocks! It is middle ground and a great idea.

 
At 2/28/2008 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QCI for Mayor!

 
At 2/29/2008 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The preservationists should become a volunteer board. They have great ideas and can give great advice, but we need to take away their ability to impose their will on others.

 
At 2/29/2008 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, that is a great idea and it would remove all of this controversy!

 
At 2/29/2008 5:59 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I'd say the city council has already taken away their ability to impose anything...

I disagree with this, but wonder why we have them if the council is going to ignore their unanimous decisions.

 
At 3/01/2008 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly QCI. Maybe it is for different reasons, but we all agree that the Preservationists should become a group of volunteers!

 
At 3/02/2008 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This makes me laugh. People commenting on things when they don't even know the history of the issue. The church bought the property (if it was for a parking lot or to prevent rental housing it doesn't matter), the property is in a NATIONAL AND STATE HISTORIC DISTRICT, and the National Historic Preservation gives the authority to a local Historic Preservation Commission to make decisions on demolition in historic districts. The only explicit reason a Historic Preservation Commission will allow demolition is for economic hardship. The Commission looked at the estimates of the rehabilitation, gave recommendations, and pointed out potential sources for funding the rehab. The Church never had any intention of rehab-ing the house and didn't listen, but instead went to the next higher level to try to get their way. It is like asking you mom if you can go to you friends house to play, but when she says no you go ask your dad. The different Commissions and the Council need to work together in upholding the laws previously established.

 
At 3/03/2008 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are wrong, but you don't make me laugh, you make me feel sorry for you. Alderman Hamerlinck did his research. The "money" you spoke about is not really there. The home is not a historical landmark. This idea that the church never had any intention of rehabbing is ridiculous, you don't know what was going on in their heads. Its time you dropped your bitter and angry ways and became brothers and sisters in Christ. May I suggest Sunday services? Pastor Marty is a wonderful man who welcomes all.

 

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