Thursday, October 29, 2009

QCI Endorsements: 2009 Edition

I'm going to try to keep this short, as all of my picks are surely unsurprising to anyone who reads this regularly. I also think that its worth mentioning that the lack of challengers really does send a message that Davenport residents are satisfied with the direction the city is headed. When controversial items like the stormwater fee pop up, everyone wants to run for city council. When things are smooth sailing, people are content to stick with the status quo. Here are my picks, including quick blurbs about the uncontested races as well.

Mayor - Bill Gluba is a bit too much of a politician for my tastes, but he certainly is an enthusiastic cheerleader for Davenport. He deserves reelection.

At-Large - Gene Meeker and Jason Gordon. Meeker has done a good job of being the voice of experience and dignity on the council, so he certainly deserved reelection. Ian Frink has been my favorite Alderman during his time on the council, and I am sorry to see him go. He appointed Jason Gordon to the Parks Commission, and recommended him for city council as well. I'm going to trust Ian and believe that Mr. Gordon will be the most similar successor. Despite the crazy conspiracy theories about his political connections, if he can gain the respect of liberal Shelley, he can't be much of a right wing activist.

1st Ward - Nathan Brown has been a great alderman, both in representing the wishes of his ward, and being open to both sides of the amenity/infrastructure debate.

2nd Ward - I don't really know much about either of these guys. I wish Cooper was running again. For an endorsement, I will go with Bill Edmond, just because he's done a reasonable job during his partial term. I may not agree with some of his votes, but his ward probably does. At least he talks less than Hamerlinck...

3rd Ward - Bill Boom, of course. I've been a Boom supporter for years, and he's done an excellent job in his 2 years on the council. His supposed lack of responding to service request-type issues is more than made up for his big picture and teamwork skills on the council.

4th Ward - Nobody? Ambrose is a product of his time, but that time is the past. Its disapointing that he didn't have a challenger.

5th Ward - Audra Cornwell. I was able to meet her a few weeks ago, and she seems to have a good grasp of the issues facing Davenport. Bill Lynn has been considerably less terrible these past 2 years, but that doesn't eliminate the things he did in the past. Getting rid of the rental inspection department, bringing in slumlord-friendly ordinances, and consistently siding with the anti-downtown crowd aren't signs of a good Alderman. I don't know that his Libertarian agenda truly represents the wishes of the 5th ward.

6th Ward - Even though I sometimes forget his name, Jeff Justin has done a fine job on the council.

7th Ward - Barney Barnhill just keeps hanging in there. His years of experience on the council and good voting record have earned him another term.

8th Ward - Mike Matson, who recently received an award for his work with the ROTC, has been an asset to the council. With the importance of the Arsenal, hopefully his military connections can benefit all of us.

Complete Un-Endorsement: Keith Meyer. While he may well have been one of the best Alderman ever at responding to requests from his constituents about graffiti, potholes, etc, there is a lot more to being on the city council than service requests. Actively working to derail development, constantly speaking negatively about his city, arguing with city staff, and turning the council chambers into a circus are things we do not need from an Alderman. Give him a job tracking down potholes and graffiti throughout the city and maybe we can all be happy.

As far as Predictions, I will take all of my picks except for Cornwell. I hope she wins, but Lynn has been reelected when he deserved to lose too many times already. That will be the race to watch Tuesday, in my opinion.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

QCTimes Davenport endorsements are up

Times endorsements: Davenport Council -QCTimes

Some pretty surprising ones here, including Lynn for 5th Ward and Ortiz for At-Large. I'm planning to put together my endorsements today or tomorrow morning, but I can reveal that I certainly won't be in lockstep with the QCTimes.

Maybe I'll surprise everyone and vote for Keith?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Drive 2009

I've been busy lately with a lot of stuff, but we managed to get away yesterday for the annual fall drive. Last year was Mississippi Palisades State Park, so this year we headed south to Wildcat Den State Park, and the Pine Creek Grist Mill. Back in 2007 we got there after most of the leaves had fallen, and sadly this year the results were similar, despite going almost 2 weeks earlier. After leaving Wildcat Den we went south through Muscatine, and crossed over to the Illinois side for the return trip, including a swing through Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. In addition to missing the fall colors peak, the cloudy afternoon started to get too dark for photos. Here are the few I took that I felt were worth posting.

Wildcat Den State Park, a perennial fall drive favorite.

The Pine Creek Grist Mill, in Wildcat Den State Park. There's a bit more color than my photo from 2007, but I'm sure things really looked good before all the rain helped bring the leaves down.

Looking downstream from the Grist Mill area.

I'd never been up to the Mark Twain Lookout above Muscatine, and that was definitely worth seeing, but by then it was getting too dim out for good photos. Here's the view, anyway. Maybe I'll dust off PhotoShop and try to brighten some of these up.

I have several posts I'd like to get done this week, including some stuff about the election, the first Mallards game, and the trip to Omaha and South Dakota I took last weekend. We'll see if I get them written and posted!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Google Maps meets the Wayback Machine

Here is the website that I used to find the 1930 aerial picture of the intersection of Kimberly and Brady seen in the previous post.

Iowa DNR Interactive Map

It works mostly the same way as Google Maps or Mapquest, or even more similarly, the Davenport GIS system that I linked to a while back.

In order to find an old aerial picture of an area, just zoom in on the area, and then over on the left hand side, scroll down to the bottom, check the box for the year you want to see, and uncheck the box for "Air Photography (CIR) 2002." Then click the "Redraw the Map" button and the map will then update with whatever version was chosen. Some of the areas have better photos than others, but overall its a fun tool to play with.

Here's an image of the website, with the area surrounding Vander Veer selected, in 1930. You can see that there was still plenty of farmland south of Duck Creek in those days.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where in the QC is this? #25

It feels like I just did one of these, but it turns out #24 was all the way back in July. This one's a little bit different.
(Click on image to enlarge it)

Monday, October 12, 2009

27 Homes not quite on death row

A few years ago I did a post titled "8 houses on death row," with a list of the 8 homes that the city was forced to hire a contractor to demolish.

This year I'm posting the list, which can also be found here on the city website, of 27 homes that aren't quite slated to be demolished yet. The city published this list, with the following statement:
The following properties are being proposed to be demolished as part of a code enforcement effort by the City of Davenport. The goal of this procedure is to make the public aware of buildings that are being considered for demolition by the City of Davenport in an effort to locate interested investors that are willing to rehab the buildings and return them to code compliant condition and as active, tax producing properties.
As anyone who has seen some of the homes sitting vacant around Davenport knows, it takes quite a bit to get on the demo list. Only 3 of the homes are North of Locust, although that's a similar ratio to the 1 in 8 that were NoLo in my 2006 list. The city link also includes additional info, such as who owns each of the properties, where they live, and how long ago they were last inspected.

And here's the list:

1320 W 3rd St
1412 W 3rd St
421 W 6th St
502 E 7th St
912 W 8th St
314 E 9th St
1012 W 9th St
714 W 13th St (Owned by Scott County??)
1530 W 13th St
533 W 14th St
1408 Christie St
1411 College Av
2416 Davie St
1017 Gaines St
1019 Gaines St
1015 Grand Av
2126 Iowa St
2326 Jackson Av
1609 Judson Av
1222 Leclaire St
1223 E Locust St
1202 S Nevada Av
517 Ripley St
705 Spruce Ct
1223 Ripley St
222 Washington St
1005 Western Av

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

3rd Ward Primary + Megafault trailer

In honor of the 3rd Ward Primary today, I've posted a video from the upcoming TV movie Megafault, which was filmed around here. It will be airing on SyFy this Saturday night at 8pm, and definitely includes some local landmarks. In a scene that Keith Meyer or Mark Nelson could only dream about, the trailer shows downtown Davenport crumbling and collapsing during an earthquake.