Don't suspend the rules

The following speech was given by me at the Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006, meeting of the Rockford City Council.

After the speech, Ald. Joe Sosnowski (R-1) said he was disturbed by my usage of “medieval peasant” and “political suicide.” Good. He should be disturbed, because these concepts are becoming reality in this city.

Sosnowski said the rhetoric should remain civil. I couldn’t agree more, and I don’t see how pointing out reality is uncivil. The truth is grating to some.

Politically correct or not, I am trying to influence the council as a citizen and a journalist to protect the public interest, not special interests, which is my right and duty. City council bypassing the petition process is not in the public interest, and in fact disrespects and damages fair process that applies to everyone.

I urge you to attend the city council meeting Monday, Jan. 9, 2006. Be there by 5 or 5:15 p.m., because seating is limited.

I urge you to call your alderman. Today. Their phone numbers and e-mails are provided at the end of the speech text.

Thank you for reading The Rock River Times, and please participate in your democracy.

I’m Frank Schier, Editor & Publisher of The Rock River Times.

Your honor and council members, without petitions, home rule is certainly the wrong tool. Without petitions, home rule is certainly an unfair and frightening tool. A surgeon would not use a chainsaw for obvious reasons of quality, nor a chainsaw for obvious reasons of patient comfort and contamination of the operating theater.

Doctors for the political health of Rockford, putting home rule on the ballot is as misguided as ordering an amputation for a nosebleed. Please kindly prescribe Empower Rockford to hold their noses and stop by any store that sells paper for petitions.

The stink about this proposed home rule operation is starting to passionately divide our city, and the new hope of the Morrissey administration is damaged. Keep our hope alive, don’t be patsies for Empower Rockford. Years of hard work and friendship are being damaged. Stop it.

People say to me, their opinions and efforts don’t seem to matter anymore compared to the power of the money and access of many special interests. Will regular citizens be degraded to the level of medieval peasants—needed for labor and taxes—but ultimately rejected from the process—with no respect?

It would be very disrespectful to put this questionable, question on the ballot without having its supporters go through the same process of gathering at least 8,000 signatures—just like this question’s opponents did. Fair is fair, and chainsawing that process is not fair, or safe.

Do you have respect for the people those 10,000 signatures represent? Do you have respect for the hundred or more petition-gatherers’ hours and hours of volunteer effort and money spent? Do you regard them as just “the little people”? Such a disrespectful vote would unsafely threaten the character of this council as being the only one in state history to bow to such pressure.

Each and every one of you gathers petition signatures for your races. You know how crucial and hard that process is. You are the first to challenge any irregularities.

Empower Rockford discovered the difficulty of this challenge at their rally Nov. 14, when they began handing out petitions and asking for circulators. Suddenly, the question was before you.

Diagnose that irregularity.

You wouldn’t euthanize yourself. But that’s what you’re doing if you unfairly put this on the ballot. Don’t commit political suicide. Opposition is building. Votes will be lost. 10,000 petition signers won’t forget. Let Empower Rockford do their own work, fairly. Such a challenge would be fairly healthy for everyone.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak freely.

Joe Sosnowski (R-1) 332-5872

Pat Curran (R-2) 398-7504

Doug Mark (R-3) 962-2058

Carl Wasco (D-4) 494-1739

Victory Bell (D-5) 963-1075

Leonard Jacobson (D-6) 874-9299

Ann Thompson (D-7) 968-8389

Nancy Johnson (D-8) 226-0673

Bill Timm (R-9) 962-7592

Frank Beach (R-10) 399-3737

Jeff Holt (D-11) 967-0542

John Beck (R-12) 961-1954

Linda McNeely (D-13) 987-9978

Dan Conness (D-14) 397-2236

From the Jan. 4-10, 2006, issue

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