We keep hearing from the mayor that Davenport is the city that has momentum. If that is true and we have invested millions of dollars in downtown, where are the high-paying jobs? The more we hear about momentum from the mayor, the less evidence we have of momentum in our community. Concrete and stone are not momentum; good-paying jobs are what is needed. We have buildings going up with nonunion labor that is paid nonunion wages. Where are the good-paying jobs that were promised during the election campaign for Vision Iowa funds? Who is getting rich from the Vision Iowa projects? What are we finding?

• Jobs moving from offices in buildings downtown to newer offices downtown (no new jobs). Increasing vacant office space in downtown Davenport. Some offices and businesses leaving altogether.

• Parking ramps not being used, funds not be generated as had been planned, and somehow and somewhere the monies to pay the bonds that financed those ramps will have to be found. Will taxpayers have to foot the bills?

The following are suggestions for a balanced budget:

• Sell off city-owned property (scattered-site housing) and pay down some of the debt.

• Charge the not-for-profit corporations a fee for each call that is responded to by the police and fire departments.

• Prioritize city services and spending. Some development should be placed on hold until times improve.

• Eliminate the two aldermen-at-large and save their salaries and related services.

• Obtain quotes from private insurance carriers to provide health insurance. We already contract for review and payment of medical services. With insurance provided, this would be included in their premiums, saving the city money.

• Perform a top-to-bottom review of the mission of the city and departments against the positions that have been established. There is overlap, overtime, and excess personnel.

• Review the payroll of city employees and supervisors against what is paid by the average area employers and adjust payroll accordingly. Maybe we need a full-time mayor and can get rid of the city administrator.

The city council and mayor must consider, in their city budget deliberations on the funding shortages, the plight of many of our citizens. We have working poor in our area and others on fixed income. Their wages and benefits do not increase annually like city-employee wages and benefits. Many of the working poor work two jobs at $6.50 to $8 an hour with no benefits just to make ends meet. Please keep this in mind for the sake of our citizens. Don't run the elderly out of their homes with a garbage and storm-water fee. Consider our 100-percent disabled veterans who exceed the current guidelines for exemption from the recycling fee and are having a hard time supporting their families in our economy with increasing gasoline, natural gas, and other costs.

Lyle Wiggins

Nader's Practical Damage

What in the world is Ralph Nader thinking? More importantly, what are the folks who might contemplate voting for him thinking? The 2004 presidential election is not some academic civics exercise. The results of this election will change the face of America and profoundly impact the entire world.

The typical Nader voter might very well think as he does, that both major parties are too beholden to special interests. However, I assume they also share his views on other significant social, economic, and foreign-policy issues. On nearly every major issue in contention this election year, Nader is against the policies of George Bush. If a potential Nader voter shares those views, why would he or she cast a vote that would help President Bush stay in power?

In 2000, Nader voters in Florida and New Hampshire might very well have voted their consciences, but how can they look themselves in the mirror today when they know that their votes put Bush into the White House?

I implore Nader sympathizers to examine the practical damage a vote for Nader causes. We are not electing a high-school class president here. We are electing the leader of the free world in a time fraught with danger. President Bush has lied to us and led us into an unnecessary war that has not made us safer. He has squandered our wealth and given it to his rich cronies. He is ruining our environment. Cast your vote in November in such a way as to stop this insanity. Do not cast what may be a morally righteous vote for Nader that practically serves to keep Bush in the White House. Hold your nose if you must, but vote for the Democrat. If Nader's ego were not so enormous, that is what he would undoubtedly do.

Virgil Bozeman III
Moline High School, Class of 1968
Augusta, Maine

Eliminate Corruption and Apathy

Please allow me to introduce to you the Democracy Rules Web site, a proactive community dedicated to the original democratic principles espoused by our nation's forefathers. Democracy Rules is a free, not-for-profit, nonaffiliated, issue-orientated political action committee. Each month, we enable members to affect more than 350 important issues regardless of who is in office, which party controls Congress, or when the next election occurs. Democracy Rules has the potential to eliminate both the corrupting effects of the special-interest lobbying groups and the apathy affecting America's voters. Each month, our members vote to prioritize their most important issues, pledge resources to affect these elected issues, and, finally, vote for the recipient of their pledges.

Please take a minute to inspect our Web site: (http://www.democracyrules.org).

Ray Cashman, Executive Director
Democracy Rules

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