Saturday, November 22, 2008

2008 Festival of Trees Holiday Parade

Here are a few images I got today down at the parade. I wanted a different perspective than I'd been getting the last few years on 2nd Street, so we spent most of the time in the Skybridge.

As always, click the images for an larger version.

It wasn't a bad day parade compared to some we've had lately, and I felt like there were more balloons than last year. This is just one more event that the QC should be proud to have.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Promise will be decided in March

Davenport Promise program headed to ballot -QCTimes

People have asked where I stand on this, and I have made various comments about it in the past, but when it really comes down to it I'm undecided. I have several thoughts on both sides of the issue:

My biggest criticism of many of the people who oppose this idea is their frequent repeating of this idea that college shouldn't be publicly financed. For one, it already is. But even more importantly, why is the space between 12th grade and "13th grade (Freshman year in college)" inherently important? Its a completely arbitrary line to draw between one type of school that people apparently are ok with taxes going towards, and another level of school where the idea of taxes going towards it seems to enrage them. When trying to get a job in today's market, a college degree is the equivalent of a high school education 40 years ago. Modern times require more education, yet our attitudes towards how college is paid for haven't changed.

Another criticism is that this is only going to draw students away from other schools, like Bettendorf or North Scott. I'm fine with this, because they've been doing their best to steal away our students and residents for years. If all the QC-area communities end up doing this, it will put the QC as a whole on the map.

On the other side of the issue, I very much disagree with the study that was commissioned to prove that the Promise must be done. The idea that Davenport will lose 9,000 residents without the Promise is bizarre to me. We're on an upswing without the Promise, and our downtown is being revitalized and re-populated without the Promise, so why would these things suddenly reverse? The Promise may very well help Davenport, but I can not agree that we are doomed without it.

Finally, there's the money. People say that private money is unwilling to invest in this, and that's untrue. However, it doesn't appear that any person or company, or group of people or companies, is going to be able to come up with the large amount of cash required to fully fund the Promise. So we're left with some form of tax money. I don't care for temporarily (hopefully) gutting the capital improvement budget to pay for this. I think I'd actually rather see a partial-cent increase in the sales tax rather than a partial-cent decrease in capital projects. I would suggest that putting $1 million into the skatepark may have attracted as many new residents as $1 million in college tuitions. Others will say, to hell with amenities, its all about sewers and roads! I have never in my life met a person that moved to a town because it had smooth streets and free-flowing sewers. People move for quality of life, and that includes parks and amenities. And potentially, free college tuition.

One more thing I want to point out, is that Promise only pays tuition. When I went to WIU in Macomb, tuition was a small part of the cost compared with room and board, books, and meals. My point is that the idea we're giving people a free ride to go off to college is simply not true. A free ride to stay here and go to Scott Community , maybe.

This ended up being longer than I intended, but its a pretty important issue for our community. I'm currently undecided, so I'm hoping one side or the other can convince me with well-thought out and reasoned arguments.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Where in the QC is this #20 Answer

Ok, the winners anonymous at 9:07am on the blogspot comment area, and Mayor Melissa at 11:33am over at Quadsville. It is indeed the LeClaire Park bandshell. While I'm guessing this is similar to what LeClaire Park looks like today, it was taken back in March of 2007. I hadn't noticed the odd seat staggering myself until looking at the image I used for the contest. It seems like every 3rd row would end up staring at the back of someone else's head...

Thanks for playing, folks. Hopefully I'll do another one of these in the near future.

Where in the QC is this #20

I haven't done one of these in a while, so I dug through my 12 gigabytes of QC images for something I could use. The only clue is that its somewhere located within the circle made by I-80 and I-280. It may be too easy, but I never can tell.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Post-Election Open Thread

I suppose I'll allow political comments on this post as well, but then I should be returning to more local issues. In that vein, here's a picture I took this morning of the new lofts getting finished up across from the Freight House at River Drive and Scott Street. I like the color scheme. It definitely looks a lot better than it did as the Salvation Army.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election 2008: QCI Off Topic

I'm going to suspend my "No National Politics Rule" for this post. I generally avoid getting into the deeply partisan world of Democrat vs Republican contests, partly because I don't want all that I have said and will say to be judged against my political views. I feel that what I want to say today is important enough to risk that.

I'm an Independent. I've stated many times before that I don't believe political parties in general are good for America. I won't get into that now. I am not and have never been a fan of George Bush, so I did not vote for him in 2000 or 2004. Many of you will say that he's not running today. To them, I put forth the parable of the house-sitting companies.

"The Parable of the house-sitting companies"
Lets say you're going away for a number of years. You want to hire a company to maintain your home and yard, and basically house-sit for you while you're away. When you return 8 years into your absence, you find that the crew sent out by the company did a terrible job, burning down part of your home, flooding another part, and somehow turning all of your neighbors against you. Unfortunately, you still need someone to take care of your place. The company you hired before (We'll call them "Grand Ol' Property Maintence") says, "Hey, don't think about the last 8 years; we'll send a different crew out for the next 4. They're totally different from the previous bunch, we swear." Do you give them another try, or do you maybe say "No, you've lost your chance at earning this job for a while. I think I'll try the other company in town." The end.

The Republican candidate needs to be defeated in this election to show the formerly-honorable GOP that they've strayed far from their roots. When Bush won 4 years ago, I was saddened by the results but also by what I saw coming in 2008. I have been a fan of John McCain, and I correctly assumed he would be the Republican nominee to succeed Bush. Unfortunately, I knew I would have to vote against someone who I respected because I believe that the current administration has done so much damage that the pendulum needs to swing back the other way. Unfortunately, John McCain has made it all too easy to vote against him this time around. He's not the man he was in 2000. Actually I believe that he is that man somewhere deep inside, but he's sacrificed his character to win the election.

I am an Independent, but the Republican Party keeps trying to make me a Democrat. When I opposed the Iraq war, they called me a traitor and said I didn't support the troops. Apparently they don't remember opposing nearly every military action taken by Clinton. When I was outraged by the United States of America using torture, I was told that I was sympathizing with terrorists. I hear Republicans accuse Barack Obama of being a terrorist, a Muslim, a socialist. Since when do others decide what religion we are? Now we have to prove what religions we aren't? I'd like to see John McCain prove he's not a Dark Lord of the Sith. As Colin Powell said, even if Obama was a Muslim, so what? Has religious freedom been eliminated as well? I hear Republicans shout "off with his head," "traitor," and "kill him," at rallies, yet there is no national outrage. During this election, several McCain folks have called Obama supporters "un-American", "unpatriotic", and said they're not part of the "real America." I am not some raving Democrat activist, but I am still deeply bothered by these things. I don't see Barack Obama questioning people's patriotism or love for this country.

To me, all of these things are deeper than politics. On a purely political level, I agree and disagree with some of both Obama and McCain's policies. I lean towards Obama's economic and diplomatic solutions, but I also value McCain's experience as a veteran, war hero, and long-time Senator. I would have loved to see a clean election about the real issues facing America. A real discussion about taxes, health care, diplomacy, etc. Instead we've had a race to the bottom of garbage campaigning, led by former Bush campaign strategists. Barack Obama could be a great President. The John McCain of 2000 could have been as well. However, since he seems to be once again Missing In Action, I'll be voting for Obama today.

Whoever you vote for, I'd urge you to remember that both sides are trying to do what they believe is best for this country. Neither side has a monopoly on patriotism or love of this country.