Ross Perot was correct about the so called “free trade” as practiced by the United States. He forecasted that it would cause our manufacturing jobs to be rapidly exported. Now that corporations have sent much U.S. manufacturing abroad, firms such as Walgreens are exporting white collar jobs to India. Multi-national corporations exploit the cheap labor and non-existing environmental standards of poor nations to increase profits.
The U.S. had no net job creation in the last decade even with our increasing population. This has reduced the government revenue, increasing deficits. Our lack of a coherent trade policy and corporate regulation threatens the American middle class and our standard of living.
Thanks to the five Republican appointed Supreme Court judges, foreign owned corporations will have the right to spend unlimited sums in our democratic elections. This court values corporate “free speech” above our functioning democracy.
Mad as Hell
A week or so ago, a gentleman from the Quad Cities wanted to set up an appointment with one of Savanna’s elected officials. The official told him that the only time available was on Thursday, because he had a business to run all of the other days. Maybe if an “engineering study” was done on running for an elected office, that official would have discovered that being elected is not a popularity contest, but a tough thankless job that certainly demands more time than one day a week. The people of Savanna deserve more than that.
A city official was overheard saying that he never had a skateboard when he was young, so why do the kids need a skate park now? Most of the city officials never had a cell phone when they were growing up either, but at least one of them has capitalized on that. What we did have when I was growing up were two (2) movie theaters, an outdoor swimming pool, a bowling alley, a roller rink, a youth center, and a couple of soda fountains. Today, the youth have nothing and it seems no one cares.
Now, the City is saying that the concrete pad on Portland Ave. where the original Skate Park was supposed to be located, has a basement under it. It probably isn’t a basement, but simply a void.
Remember, I grew up in this town. Back then, steel beams were sunk below the frost line to support concrete slabs. There was usually a void between the pad and the ground that was filled with straw. This would prevent the slab from shifting slightly if and when the ground froze and thawed. Even if there is a basement, however, the concrete managed to support three stories of the brick and steel ice house containing tons and tons of ice. I’m sure that if it was to be capped, it would still hold a few thousand pounds of skate equipment and a few kids.
If the City Council can come up with several thousand dollars to pay for a refurbished boat ramp that was a mistake in the first place, they can certainly put in a skate park that will cost them little or nothing. The Council seems to forget the youth of today will be the adults of tomorrow. Savanna will continue to lose talented individuals if the City doesn’t have something to offer them and/or their children.
Does the Council realize that when they separate the fire and police departments they could be putting a police officer in jeopardy? Currently, there is only one officer on duty at night. If the activities at the new police facility are being monitored through closed circuit TV by a person located with the 911 equipment at the fire station observes the officer getting into trouble with a prisoner, what can he do? At least now, there are always fire personnel that can help. Believe it or not, it has already happened. I used to be on a Fire and Police Commission. I know what I’m talking about. Fire and/or Police personnel should NEVER be left alone with a detainee.
Savanna has had businesses move out or close because of the parking problems. I have nothing against bikers; I used to be one myself until a couple of years ago. They bring a lot of revenue to Savanna, are always welcome and are great people if you just get to know them instead of feeling intimidated. However, they are only here 4-5 months a year. Why not at least do something about the parking for those that are here 12 months of the year? What business is going to want to move to Savanna, or what business is going to want to improve their curb appeal, if people can’t park to shop there anyway?
I’m sure most of you wouldn’t put new carpet over a rotten floor. Sooner or later you’re going to have to tear up the new carpet and fix the floor. The same thing happens when you blacktop a street containing antiquated sewer/water lines. Sooner or later the new blacktop will have to be torn up to repair a ruptured water or sewer line. I wonder if am “engineering study” was done on that project? If so, what were they thinking?
It’s a shame that the Army Depot and the railroads closed, but Savanna can’t just roll over and die. It has to re-group and go in a different direction. Sooner or later, if enough elections are held, maybe a city council will be elected that will represent the people and at least try to make Savanna into the jewel that it can be. If today’s officials don’t want to do anything and the residents are happy with the status quo, this town is going right down the sewer. Oh, I forgot! The sewers are in such bad shape, Savanna can’t even go down there.
If you want to see improvements in Savanna and you’re not happy with the status quo, step up to the plate and say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
By Jim Sacia, State Representative 89th District
Returning to Springfield on February 3rd, will not be business as usual. We are facing a staggering debt load with no clear answers, angry constituents demanding a fix and a lack of will by many legislators to make the hard decisions. No, I’m not talking about voting for a tax increase, I’m talking about reducing entitlements. I grow increasingly frustrated with those who believe “the government owes me.” Yes, we need to talk about entitlements.
My absolute favorite of the entitlement program is the free rides on mass transit for all senior citizens. I’ve talked about this one before. It was one of Rod Blagojevich’s “last hurrahs”. Legislators passed a bill bailing out the Chicago-area mass transit systems-the CTA, Metra, Pace, etc., at great expense to you, the taxpayer. Then Governor Blagojevich decided that all senior citizens would ride for free (not a part of the original bill, but an add-on that quickly breezed through the General Assembly.). That add-on cost you $70 million per year. One of my colleagues actually said to me “Why are you so upset, Sacia? It’s only $70 million.” He was serious.
I guess when a budget is more than $6 billion out-of-whack what’s another $70 million? That’s the very point. Many of my colleagues are simply out of touch. After all, it’s an entitlement.
Do you see the issue here, folks? Many feel the government simply owes them. Well, here’s the deal: WE CAN’T AFFORD IT!
There you go again, Sacia. This is a Chicago issue. Worry about your own district. Ok. A bus ride in Freeport on Pretzel City Transit costs $2.00, unless you are a senior. Then you ride for free. You got it. Even in the high rent district where most folks can afford a $2.00 bus ride, they still ride free. Now if that doesn’t upset you, I don’t know what would.
Two years ago no one uttered the phrase “tax increase”. Recently, even conservative businessmen are suggesting that I should consider some sort of a tax increase. Well, when we get rid of free rides for seniors and a multitude of other ridiculous “perks” I’ll give it some thought.
Don’t get me wrong, I support the previous policies of half price rides for seniors. That makes some sense. After all, I order a senior coffee when I drive through Mickey D’s and give the clerk the 54 cent discounted price. My barbers don’t even ask anymore…they see my bifocals and realize that there isn’t much hair to cut anyway and just automatically take $1.00 off of the regular price. What bothers me about free rides for all seniors (apart from the $70 million program cost) is that it’s not means-tested. If there is a low-income senior who needs to get across town to buy groceries and truly can’t afford even the half-price fair, then I’m all for helping. What about the 18 year old on the east side of Freeport working two jobs and taking night classes at Highland College? I would much rather subsidize his free ride than a senior who can easily afford the fare.
To sum it all up, we need to quit spending money we don’t have. Free rides for all seniors, including those who can afford to pay, are just one example of many. Simply put, even a massive tax increase won’t help unless we get ridiculous spending under control.
As always, you can reach me, Sally or Barb at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at email@example.com. You can also visit my website at www.jimsacia.com. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.