Morrison held a Special Meeting on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. Part of the meeting included accepting a gift of money to purchase the Market Street parking lot from ComEd/Nicor for $25,600. I am surprised this did not happen before this, since the Morrison Area Development Corporation helps to make Morrison a better place for businesses to call home.
City Administrator Wise will be applying for an extension on a grant from DCEO for parking lot improvements of up to $75,000. If that is okayed, he will then be asking to redefined the “scope of work” to be done on the property.
After an executive session, Mayor Drey announced the reappointment of James Wise to be the City Administrator for another year. I guess I misunderstood, that there would be possible action after the closed session….I thought the council members would have a vote on this matter. City Attorney stated that it is written in his contract that he can be reappointed by the Mayor’s choice as long as it is the same Mayor in office when the contract was signed. I only hope that this was a good choice for the city of Morrison, since there has been so much negative upheaval since the arrival of Mr. Wise. I know that many residents contacted me and advised the council not to rehire Mr. Wise. I do relay the messages for the residents….
If anyone has any issues, comments, or compliments they should contact any city council member –my number is: 815-590-2378, the city hall by phone or by email or in person. The next council meeting is May 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm at the Whiteside county board room. Please get active in the city functions…hope to see you all there. Everyone is welcome!
A Morrison Taxpayer
Homelessness: How Government Policy Makes It Worse
By Dr. Tracy C. Miller
During a recent trip to Chicago, I couldn’t help but notice the large number of homeless people in the downtown area, including one homeless man pushing a child in a stroller. Homelessness was frequently discussed during the 1980s, but seems to receive less media attention now. And yet, the number of homeless today is approximately twice as large as it was in the 1980s.
Homelessness, like any other social problem, is influenced by incentives. Unfortunately, government policy may actually be making the problem worse, particularly government-subsidized housing for the poor.
Many cities have constructed homeless shelters to provide a place for the homeless to stay out of the cold. By the late 1980s, governments created a network of shelters and soup kitchens to feed and house between 200,000 and 300,000 people per day. Between 1988 and 1996, some 275,000 permanent and transitional housing units intended for homeless persons were added. By 1996, roughly 607,000 beds were available as part of the homeless service system in the United States.
There is little evidence to suggest that government-provided shelter has in any way solved or even reduced the problem of homelessness—to the contrary, as noted, the total number of homeless has risen. While advocates for the homeless recognize this, many believe that providing other forms of government assistance will help people avoid homelessness or escape it. In their view, helping people get government-funded rental assistance, food stamps, and welfare checks is integral to preventing homelessness. Some contend that supplying the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless with permanent housing at government expense will get homeless people off the streets so they can live stable lives.
In truth, lack of affordable housing is not the main reason that people become homeless, although it may be a contributing factor in some cities. People sometimes become homeless due to habits or addictions that lead to mismanagement of their finances, unstable family relationships, and the inability to keep a regular job. According to Martha Burt of the Urban Institute, three quarters of those who are homeless report having problems with alcohol, drug abuse, or mental illness.
Oftentimes, providing government-funded services to the homeless with no strings attached only makes it easier for some of them to continue their bad habits, whether the problem is substance abuse or an unwillingness to accept responsibility for personal behavior. This explains why homelessness did not decline but increased between the early 1980s and 2007, even though the economy was booming and unemployment and poverty were declining. Christopher Jencks argues that shelters made homelessness less painful; this meant that the homeless were “less willing to sacrifice their pride, their self-respect or their cocaine fix to avoid” homelessness. For many people, the availability of shelters seems to increase the incentive to become homeless rather than (if possible) choosing to live with a relative or friend.
Not only does the availability of temporary shelters frequently encourage homelessness, but so does federal housing policy. Many single-parent families would like to move into government-subsidized housing. Because it is in short supply, they would have to wait years for a subsidized apartment to open up. By becoming homeless, a family who was living in someone else’s home can move to the front of the line for government-subsidized housing.
Likewise, another form of government assistance is problematic: Government programs that try to provide people with skills and treatment to overcome addictions and psychoses are expensive and have low rates of success. The success rate of some private programs to help the homeless is much higher than government programs—as high as 85 percent. While government programs continue to be funded even if they are ineffective, private charitable organizations’ long-term survival depends on getting good results. Successful private programs usually continue to attract donors and volunteers, including former homeless people who themselves have been helped.
It is only natural to feel sympathy for the plight of the homeless. The solution to homelessness, however, is not more handouts from government. Homelessness can be prevented or overcome when a caring community helps those at risk to develop self-discipline and a good work ethic. This is not easy to do, but some private organizations are already doing good work in this area. Those organizations might grow and multiply and also be more effective if government programs, which often interfere with private efforts, were scaled back or eliminated.
- Dr. Tracy C. Miller is an associate professor of economics at Grove City College and contributing scholar with The Center for Vision & Values. He holds a Ph.D. from University of Chicago. “Always invest in a good bed and a good pair of shoes because you’ll always be in one or the other.”
Those prophetic words were shared by former DuPage County State’s Attorney, now Justice, Joe Birkett as he credited them to the man whose funeral we were attending, Roger Cole Marquardt. He was a man dearly loved by me and so many others, and his passing stunned all who knew him.
All of us lose friends and loved ones throughout life, and the mark of greatness is those who leave a legacy of admiration by all they left behind. Roger was such a man. He possessed a humor that was somewhat of a cross between W.C. Fields, Will Rogers, Johnny Carson, and Jerry Seinfeld. He had the charisma of a Ronald Reagan and the work ethic and tenacity of a Walter Payton.
His life accomplishments are as enviable as anyone I have ever known; column space would not allow me to list them all – former Chief of Police, Head of Aeronautics in Illinois, former State Representative, Chairman of the Jo Daviess County Republicans and most importantly, loving husband and father. The city of Lombard even has a day in his honor.
“Sacia, how can you devote an entire column the last nine days of session when so much is happening?” It couldn’t be simpler. Here is a man who was all about relationship building and creating a consensus. Roger’s lobbying firm, Roger C. Marquardt & Company, Inc. is as well known as any in Springfield. His son, Scott, now runs the firm.
If there were ever a time when all points of view must come to some merger – it’s now. It’s amazing the amount of people who believe the way to resolve an issue is to take shots at one another.
Roger could grab those bullets in mid flight and before you knew it he had both sides at least agreeing to disagree and often smiling if not laughing out loud. It’s a gift. It’s like common sense, it can’t be taught. He understood that much more is accomplished with honey than with vinegar. If all of us could just reflect on his legacy we would solve the worst financial crisis this state has ever seen.