Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Flames, Trains, and sparse blogging

Saturday night was the first home game for the Quad City Flames, and I'm happy to say they won 3-1. I'm not as happy to say that they only had a bit over 5,000 people show up at the game, with only around 2,000 coming to Sunday night's. I think they need to contact Main Street Baseball and ask them for some pointers on increasing attendance at minor league sporting events. Growing up I was never into hockey whatsoever, but whenever I go to a game at the iWireless Center or Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, I find myself paying more attention than I do in nearly any sport. So if any of you out there haven't been to a game, and feel that hockey on TV doesn't do anything for you, I would absolutely recommend going to a live game to see the difference.

Iowa Interstate Railroad wants to raise $75K for flood relief -QCTimes
The steam engines are coming back to town! Well, two of them at least.
When they were here in 2006 for the RiverWay celebration, I deeply regretted that I didn't get the chance to take any of the excursions that were offered. I'm hoping to make it on one of the $40 trips to Walcott and back this year. The fact that its for a cause that we all know first hand is deserving makes it ever harder to pass up. I especially look forward to the view from the upper deck of the Government Bridge. Check out Rock Island's city website for tickets.

Finally, I want to say a few things about my lack of posting. I feel there are a few reasons behind this. One of them is that frankly, city politics are less interesting since the new council came in. Suddenly we're not talking about awkward confrontations, DUIs, near-fistfights, sexual harassment, restraining orders, or lawsuits. Its kind of nice, actually. One thing I miss are the Council Updates being posted on the city website. I'm not sure why that practice was stopped, but if they're still being written, and are now secret, that's the opposite of transparency. While the decisions being made still concern me, its harder for me to jump on the computer and type out a post about rental policies surrounding St. Ambrose than it was to write about some of the various dramas with the previous council.

The second reason for my lack of blogging, and the more recent one, is that I've been following the 2008 election closely. As always, this blog isn't the place for national politics, but as someone who loves the strategy and details of politics, this election is an exciting one to watch. So instead of reading through the upcoming "requests for bids" on the city website looking for interesting tidbits, I find myself reading through polling data and doing electoral college calculations. If November 5th rolls around and I don't start writing more, then I suppose this excuse is a bunch of baloney.

I certainly miss some of the in-depth and fiery discussions that used to rage back and forth in the comments, so I'm hoping to get more involved in running this blog again one way or another.


Anonymous said...

Land of the brave, home of the free, the less you know the better off you be. rock lyric.

Robbie C. said...

i was disappointed in the attendance for opening weekend as well. to be honest, what the bandits did was just talk about how great they were and eventually it tricked people to come out. i was at several games early in the year and no one was thee. then after a month or so of the newspapers talking about how great the games were and attendance stats that were way overestimated, people started coming.

for the flames, people just complain about how expensive it is, how no one shows up, and how we never win. yet when i think about the bandits season, i often paid similar amounts for tickets as i do at hockey, i went to many games with pathetic crowds, and the bandits stunk up most of the season.

yet i dare you to compare the tone of stories in the media about the two teams. bandits are all peppy stories and flames are all doom and gloom. somehow, i don't feel the marketing department can do much to end this.

Anonymous said...

The people on the council who were interesetd in subjects other then good governmnet were voted off, or just plain did not run again. Thats why it is so quiet.

Anonymous said...

1. The Flames will pick up if they start winning games and garner positive attention. The Bandits have YEARS of nostalgia that helped push them over to the "popular happy story" realm of the paper. It shouldn't be surprising that the Bandits did better, because there was quite a ruckus to return to our former name. The Flames are new, and as such, will take time to build a fanbase.

2.I absolutely cannot tear myself away from the national election either. There are so many incredible websites to read through and news stories breaking HOURLY that it really can pull you in (and kill your productivity at work!) I feel your pain, but I'm sure you'll return to form once the election is over.

3. I'm GLAD we we aren't hearing about the council, because that means they're doing their job. Civil politics in Davenport are such a new phenomenon, that we almost don't know how to react. I for one, am happy with the job they've done. A few missteps? Sure. Overall though, I'll take a civil group that makes good decisions most of the time and a bad decision once in a while to a the pile of garbage we had before.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you QCI on the City Council issue. We used to post the updates on our blog, and a lot of people read it there. Now nobody knows anything and assume it's going great. What is the Council hiding that they no longer want the open govenment premise they campaigned with?

Anonymous said...

When public comment was changed to the end of the meeting I believe it discourage people from coming. Many people have concerns, but have children, spouses, elderly parent, job, ect & can not wait for the end of the meeing. Often when a citizen spoke at the beginning they could find out what direction to take on an issue, or someone in the city was assigned to follow up on it. Now it seems that when public comment takes place the mayor and council are just giving polite nods, as they know it is the end of the meeting.

Anonymous said...

You can thank people like Nicky Bowels (sp?) for why the public input was moved to the end. Nut-jobs like her would get up and spout nonsensical and often rude complaints for 15 minutes and ate up so much time that the people with legitimate issues barely got a word in.

By moving the comment section to the end, I'm sure they've weeded out a lot of hot-air blowers that don't have the patience to get their TV time all the way at the end of the meeting.

I think moving it to the end is less to do with secrecy, and more to do with keeping the meeting's prompt. I guess I agree that it makes sense to have them at the beginning, but not unless they were much more harsh on keeping people to their time limit, and tossing out people that just rant and are wasting everyone's time.

I'm not sure if it's right or wrong to have it at the end, or if it just needs tweaking, but I gurantee you they've shortened the marathon meetings from a couple years go.

pioneer98 said...

I often don't think the Flames get a fair shake from the local media all the time, either, but the Bandits' attendance surge was very real. I always had a good time at the Bandits games, except for the two I was at that were so crowded it took 3 innings to get a soda.

The Bandits' new owners seem to recognize that minor league sports often need something more than just the game to attract people. The Bandits put a ton of effort into making sure something was always happening. They had some kind of promotion every single game, and they had something going on between every inning. Yes, some of the things the Bandits did were cheesy, but net result was that it created a much more fun atmosphere.

Right now, the Flames have promotions planned for about half of their games, but their game time production is far, far behind the Bandits'. Sorry, but lame trivia questions during breaks in the action aren't going to get it done. Is there any reason the Flames couldn't have bands perform after games like the Bandits did several times? Is there any reason they couldn't get creative with their concessions like the Bandits did? Is there any reason they couldn't show a hockey movie in the iMark on an off day, or after a game like they did at JOD? The Flames just need to get a little more creative. We're only 2 games in, so we'll see how things go.

Robbie C. said...

yeah i agree with you for the most part pioneer. i think the advantage that the bandits have is that in baseball you get lots of small breaks. in hockey you get 2 big ones. so between innings you can do a trivia question but that can't be the highlight of the between periods festivities at hockey.

though the thing that is also different at hockey is so many people go straight for concession/bathrooms at hockey. so many times between period festivities are not as popular. i do agree that maybe some after game entertainment would be nice.

gonna cut this short as i started this comment a couple hours ago when i was on a roll. got called into a meeting and lost all my momentum!

Anonymous said...

If you have a council that doesn't do anything, discourages citizen comments and slows information on what was a good public/city web site, then this is what you get.

Gluba and crowd was smart, they took the play book from Bettendorf. And it appears citizens are happy with this.

But lets remember, nothing is getting done. P & Z agenda's are empty, and this council is left moving chess pieces of projects of past councils.

Give me a little fire, a little controvesry, if that also provides some progress

Anonymous said...

Don't you think the economy has something to do with not having full P & Z agendas? I work in a city planning agency in a larger city with traditionally more development than Davenport has and 'progress' is a very slow game right now in the development world.

Kudos to Davenport for finally installing a professional, business-minded city council. Having a circus with public elected officials is distracting and a black eye to a city.

Anonymous said...

The current council can't think for themselves, and whatever the Mayor or Malin puts in front of them for consideration, they just vote yes.

The council is elected to run this city, and keep an eye on the tax dollars it collects.

If this is the way you want things run QCI, why not just fire the 10 BobbleHeads, and save the salary that they are receiving?

Nathan Brown said...

The council updates are a good point. I am not sure why they are gone. I will check into it. I liked them. The other thing is that we are working out our concerns and oppositions before it comes to the council, so it may seem like a bunch of yes votes, but I can assure you it does not start out that way.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's very important to note that they've had very effective Committee of the Whole meetings so that council meetings DON'T become marathon bitch-fests.

This is the way it ought to be done, and it clearly is working. A lot of those "yes" unanimous votes are because they already hashed out their differences and changed legislation at Committe of the Whole, which is why COW exists.

Anonymous said...

The comment on 10 bobbleheads goes right to the point.Doubt Alderman Brown even missed the Council updates. Checked his blog lately. Duh.

Anonymous said...

I just explained why the "bobbleheads" comment is unfair due to how well C.O.W. is parsing out differences before the actual council meetings.


I'm sorry, but I refuse to overtly chastise a Council that's civil, making predominantly good decisions, and utilizing the meeting cycle to the benefit of everyone's time and energy.

You'd rather there be throw down dissention every week and get nothing accomplished? Didn't we already try that? I'm happy to have moved on.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget Gluba's attempt to do an end run around Davenport Citizens by adding another cent to the sales tax last spring for Davenport Promise.

QuadCityImages said...

He never tried to do that without the public voting on it. You could argue he went around the council by having the state legislature pave the way for it, but it would have always required the vote.

Anonymous said...

A silent and incompetent Senate and House got the country into a financial mess that has QCI so busy bee in the first place. Sure there were voices being raised, but most were either not listening or not doing their homework.

Anonymous said...

This council has been neither silent or incompetent.

Anonymous said...

Keeepp telling your self that and make sure you take your carrots in tonight of they will freeze.