Editorial: City Council should reject home rule supporters’ lobbying efforts

All Rockford residents who believe a double standard should not be applied to the issue of home rule should immediately voice their concern to members of the Rockford City Council. At issue is whether home rule supporters should get their question on the March 2006 ballot by gathering thousands of signatures, or by just politically twisting the arms of seven aldermen on the City Council.

Republicans on the Rockford City Council were being heavily lobbied the evening of Dec. 5 by Peter Provenzano and other members of the political action committee who want the city to return to home rule authority. The committee, called Empower Rockford, tried to persuade the Council to vote for a resolution that would put the home rule question on the ballot.

In effect, this means that home rule advocates would not have to gather thousands of signatures for their cause. In 1983, home rule opponents were required to collect thousands of signatures to get the question on the ballot. They received no such help from the City Council then, and home rule supporters should have the same standard applied to their efforts.

As John Gile, a home rule opponent, aptly stated at the Nov. 28 City Council meeting: “Running it through the City Council would establish a double standard of citizenship—one for ordinary citizens and one for a privileged class—and would give citizens the impression that you, the City Council, are mere puppets of the privileged rather than servants of all the people.”

We urge Rockford residents to counter Empower Rockford’s lobbying effort by joining Gile at www.fixhomerule.com, and contacting aldermen.

What was fair and required for the home rule opponents should be fair and required for home rule proponents. This shortcut effort is our first taste of home rule. The normal process of citizen input may be eliminated, and only a few rule. While we support solving the problems Mayor Morrissey and Empower Rockford are emphasizing, we do not want to damage the democratic system in the process.

Rockford aldermen

Below is a list of Rockford City Council members and their telephone numbers:

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

Editor & Publisher Frank Schier contributed to this editorial.

From the Dec. 7-13, 2005, issue

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