My name is Paul, and I'm an employee at the Bettendorf Hungry Hobo. I have to say I was very disappointed to see that our stores didn't make number-one deli (see "Best of the Quad Cities 2004," River Cities' Reader Issue 518, February 23-March 1, 2005), but the people have spoken, and we never give up. I will say, though, that probably not enough people have come into the Bettendorf location. We do our very best to keep our customers happy and make them feel welcome and at home. We enjoy seeing our regulars as much as we enjoy our customers who have never heard of a Hungry Hobo before. I guess my message is: Next year, Quad Cities, before you vote, go back to Hobo one more time and visit me in Bettendorf.

Paul Clough

City Should Allow Investment in Lieu of Taxes

I've accused the city of spending tax money faster than any amount of new development can cover. As the tax base increases, the amount of money that you pay in property taxes should be decreasing, but it's not.

In response, Mayor Charlie Brooke claims that the state-imposed residential rollback is eating up the possibility of lessening the tax burden on the citizens. Any elected official making such a statement should be hooked to a lie detector and corruption meter, and fitted for a dunce cap.

There is the way that things are, and the way that things should be. The way that things are is that the city sacrifices hard-working citizens' tax dollars to accommodate new development, allowing the two largest real-estate developers in our area to benefit immensely on the backs of the existing citizens. Furthermore, the residential rollback was in place long before the corporate welfare out on 53rd Street got out of hand, or the occupation of the mayor's office by Mr. Brooke; thus it should have been a factor in any projections of the city's cost/benefit ratio of public funds. Also, the rollback was established to assist the state freeze on property taxes to help residential property owners pay a fair share of taxes, and to offset a fictionalized overvalue of at least 20 percent.

I've participated with Mr. Brooke and others in various candidate forums in the past; the most intelligent, insightful thing that I've ever heard him say regarding economic development in new areas is: "I like Todd's idea."

That philosophy is investment in lieu of taxes, which means the company pays for streets, sewers, and any other basic infrastructure needed to operate its business; in exchange no property taxes would be paid to the city until the amount paid for infrastructure equals the amount of taxes that would otherwise be paid to the city, after which the property owner starts paying taxes just like any other business. The city's investment would consist of on-site inspectors, and minimum in-house legal and administration costs without major upfront expense to the community in the name of progress, also eliminating any consideration of residential or commercial TIF districts being established. If the developer can't obtain needed financing for this type of project, it would more likely invest in existing available property in other areas of town, rather than abandon plans for market-share goals, unless failure-based tax write-off options were a strong Plan B from the start of the new business or franchise venture. I have consistently stated this philosophy ever since I first ran for the city council in 1997.

Todd Allen Pirck

Davenport Mayor Should Focus on Real Problems

It seems Mayor Brooke has too much free time on his hands. Several days ago, in the news, I saw the mayor's verbal attack on ex-alderman George Nickolas and the Veterans Party of Iowa. I have several thoughts on this situation.

Perhaps the mayor could address problems within our community. Here are some possible suggestions. Improve overall city services, reduce crime, and implement aggressive planning for real economic growth. We need small businesses that are more than part-time employment ($6.50 to $8 an hour and no benefits). Focus on long-term employment opportunities, something besides tourism. This is seasonal at best. I would like to see all city elected officials maintain a high degree of financial accountability, and responsibility, other than passing new fees (another form of taxes); let's prioritize city spending.

Lyle Wiggins

Enough Outrage to Go Around

I write to respond to the recent letter written by Janice Josephine Carney. (See "Where's the Outrage?" River Cities' Reader Issue 515, February 9-15, 2005.)

President Bush has no shame. He regularly demonstrates his shamelessness when offering a carrot in one hand while taking the apple with the other. He appears to have zero problems with his tactics.

Under President Bush the United States is not a cradle of freedom; along with Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft, citizens of the United States have seen personal liberties decline to all-time lows.

Most conservatives in Washington, D.C., are not concerned about your or my civil rights. Neither are most liberals. They will also strip them away; just by other means.

A lesson can be learned by reading George Orwell's novel Animal Farm. That is, the oppressed when granted too much power and authority will become the oppressor. Having watched the social liberal pendulum swing far to the left, conservatives will not seek balance or equity. What conservatives will pursue is revenge and attempt to push the social pendulum as far right as possible. To behave in this manner is human in nature.

There will be little outrage because most Americans accept what is given by those who possess power and control. Much like the powerless animals in Orwell's novel, Americans will sit back and say, "Oh well, life isn't really that bad. We deserve what we get."

Genuine outrage should not be limited toward elected officials. Outrage should also be expressed at the American people for eating the garbage politicians feed us. Maybe when pigs begin to fly, Americans will wake up and take notice of the scam against our freedoms that has been evolving for the past 250 years. Reducing American rights is not new under George Bush. Just ask those who remember Woodrow Wilson.

The people of the United States own power and control of this nation. We are obligated for its safety. When Americans display intolerance toward governmental abuses of our civil liberties, the political nonsense will cease.

To return power to the people will be over real ownership in American society. It will not be the false promises offered by President Bush. Genuine freedom is the right to be oneself, make personal choices, contribute to others, and seek personal wealth and prosperity free of governmental intervention.

President Bush states he wants freedom for Americans and the world, but remember: It will be on his terms.

Maurice Jaime Delevere
Rock Island

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