The Davenport Promise Referendum was defeated by voters 61% to 39% at the polls, Tuesday March 3, 2009.

The Promise program was modeled after the pilot program started in Kalamazoo, MI. Organizers wished to reallcoate 30% of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) from the capital improvements fund to a new scholarship fund as an economic incentive for families to move to Davenport. The fund would be used to pay for up to $20K in college tuition for students that lived in Davenport and went to high-school in Davenport 9-12 grades.

The program in Kalamzoo was funded by private donations. The Davenport Promise, as proposed, would have been funded by a portion of the LOST.



Opponents of the Davenport Promise rallied around a new PAC formed by Mark Nelson, called Opt4Better. Opt4Better produced detailed financial analysis refuting the proponents proposed benefits. Opt4Better hosted several news conferences, launched a website www.nomorepromises.com, produced a slide show, recorded presentations, and engaged in a Quad City Times sponsored debate. The over arching theme of Opt4Better's counter campaign was that the proponents over estimated the benefits and underestimated the risks to taxpayers.

The Opt4Better volunteers gathered at downtown Dvenport's Front Street Brewery to watch the election returns. KWQC's Erika Cervantes interviewed Mark Nelson live for the 10 o'clock news cycle.

 



Over one hundred volunteers turned out from 3-8 pm at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, IL Tuesday March 3, 2009 to help prepare sapling oak and pecan trees to be distributed and planted throughout six states this spring.

The effort is part of Living Lands and Waters 1 Million Trees Project started in the fall of 2007, with goal of growing 1 million trees in the next 5 -10 years.

Education Coordinator, Tammy Becker, stated, "The main motivation behind this effort was to plant trees to create a food source for wildlife. Because over the years we've lost a lot of our hardwoods that produce nuts and fruits. Trees also help clean the air we breathe and when planted near water they help reduce erosion and clean the water before it hits the waterway."



These trees were grown from seeds at a LLW nursery in Beardstown, IL and included six varieties of Oak and one Pecan tree.

According to Programs Coordinator Denise Mitten, organizers and volunteers were working on bagging and sorting close to 100,000 trees over two days.
Volunteer efforts continue on Wednesday March 4 from 3 to 8 p.m. and organizers say the advance volunteer call ins for Wednesday's second shift are not as full as they would like.

Volunteers can show up to the QCCA Expo Center at 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island, IL or call 309-236-6279. More info can be found at www.livinglandsandwaters.org

Kirwan Cox and a crew from EyeSteel Films (www.eyesteelfilms.com) visit Hunter's Club in Rock Island, IL. The Canadians were here to film a portion of a documentary they are producing for the Canadian version of History Channel about John Vincent Atanasoff. Atanasoff testified in the seminal 1970's Rand Sperry patent trial over the rights to the fundamental elements of modern computing. Atanasoff, a mathematician professor from Iowa State in Ames testified that he conceived of the four principles of the modern calculator as it was known at the time.

1. Binary arithmetic 1's and 0's rather than decimal arithmetic.

2. Use regenerative memory to store information.

3. Use logic instead of enumeration of numbers.

4. Use vacuum tubes to count.

Using vacuum tubes meant electrons which became resistors.



The invalidation of Sperry IBM's patent claim 30 years after Atanasoff conceived the ideas allowed innovation to prosper and changed the world foerver, says producer and historian Kirwan Cox from Montreal, CA.

His crew filmed a visit from Intel researchist Dr. John Gustafson, who built the replica of the BerryAtanasoff computer. Dr. Gustafson had never been to Hunter's. His first visit to the hallowed ground of where modern age computing concepts were born was captured on film for the documentary.



In this clip Kirwan Cox talks about how Atanasoff came to Rock Island in the winter of 1937, the importance of his stop at Hunter's, and how he feels he has proven Hunter's is the famous "roadhouse" Atanasoff testified he conceived the basics of modern day computers.

Hunter's owner Brad Emmert talks about Paul Fessler who explained the intent of the film makers. Fessler is cited by Cox to have recorded an audio interview with Dr. Atanasoff who shared with him the details of the route he took across the Mississippi River.

A diverse crowd of protesters gathered at the corner of Brady and Locust streets in central Davenport today, unified in their contempt for last year's bailouts and this year's stimulus bill approved by Congress and signed by Obama last week. (The bill is the H.R.1?American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and can be read at http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h1/show.  The following story includes a 4 minute video log of interviews at the protest.)

Between 60 and 75 people, in all age brackets from 10 years old and up, gathered with handmade signs signifying their disapproval of the recent legislation that they believe seriously threatens and undermines the country's future. Protesters came from Davenport, Bettendorf, and Buffalo, Iowa, and from as far away as Hampton, Silvis, and Rock Island, Illinois, to participate. The protest signs ranged from "Bailout is Robbery" and "Commander in Thief" to "Teaser Mandates" and "I Love My Country But am Afraid of My Government." Many people stressed that this was the first time they have ever attended such an event.

Between noon and 1pm, many drivers and passengers in cars honked and waved to the cheering crowd who were making their presence known on this sunny, but cold February Iowa. Occasionally, passing cars rolled down their windows screaming "Obama, Obama!" One Davenport Police officer appeared briefly to remind people to stay off of private property and out of the street. Protesters were present on all four corners with the majority on the southwest and south east corners.

Anti-stimulus protest rallies have been popping up nationwide ever since CNBC's Rick Santelli's harsh criticism of congress' out-of-control-spending was heard around the world last week. He unleashed his rant from the Chicago Board of Trade floor, calling for a Chicago Tea Party ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEZB4taSEoA ) to protest the bailouts in July.

Susan Frazer, a Scott County resident, said she had planned to go to Chicago in July for the Tea Party, but was excited to hear that communities were already organizing their own Tea Parties this weekend, including one in the Quad Cities. Word about the protest was primarily spread via blog postings and email networking. When asked what she would have happen other than the bailouts and stimulus bill, Ms. Frazer said, "I would like a return to the Constitution."

One Rock Island man's sign read, "Braley Hare Out in 2010", referring to Bruce Braley, Iowa's First District congressman and Phil Hare, Illinois' 17th District congressman. "I see several long time democrats I know here. They have had enough too," he observed.

Chris Sweatman recently moved here from South Carolina for a new job and had only been in the Quad Cities for a month. He held a sign that read: "Obama Stimulus Destroys Dollar." "I think the economy has proven that it will rebound on its own, if the government stays out," said Sweatman. He encouraged people to read the book The Forgotten Man as evidence of Roosevelt and Hoover's mistakes and their prolonging of the Depression. "To say that we need to do what Roosevelt did is a big mistake," he warned.

Iowa Senator David Hartsuch, Davenport 5th Ward Alderman Bill Lynn and 2nd Ward Alderman candidate Bill Edmonds were the handful of politicos present amongst a mostly non-partisan protest.

Local artist John Bloom said, "All my so called Liberal artist and musician friends... they think they're all liberal. But they know this is wrong, they're really moderates." Bloom pointed out his friend's sign as a good summation of how he thinks most people feel. It read: "I love my country, but fear my government." "That's true," said Bloom. "I do. Right now, I really do."

One protester stated, "The lean towards socialism is so obvious. To not respond in some way [is wrong]. The irony is at my age, I retire and then do this? I got money, I don't need to be here. There's something wrong. To not see it, to not smell it?"

His friend stated, "I look after my kids and grandkids. I can't see them having this burden on their shoulders. They say no taxes, but you know it's coming. Somebody's got to pay for this. There's no free lunch."

Many people questioned out loud if there was going to be another Tea Party protest and how could they find out when and where. James Getmann and Mike Angelos shared with several attendees that their local group, SuperLiberty.com, meets the first and third Saturday's of each month to educate citizens about the Constitution and encouraged Tea Party protesters to come to the next meeting.