Guest Column: Remember the ‘Logli-Meyers Show?’

Guest Column: Remember the ‘Logli-Meyers Show?’

By Jim Powers

Not long ago our jail referendum received decisive regional voter approval, despite dire preliminary polls and odds maker predictions. States Attorney Paul Logli and Sheriff Dick Meyers did not merely sit back and hope the polls were wrong. They cancelled frivolous items on their calendars. They got out and led, telling our regional citizens why their “yes” vote was important. They exercised leadership.

We need that type of leadership now, to harness resident support of an attractive scheduled airline opportunity, made available because of coordination and negotiations by Airport Executive Director, Bob O’Brien. O’Brien put this attractive opportunity on the table. But Rockford has a history of not seizing opportunities. We must seize this one!

The same community leaders who have made themselves available for some previous airport “initiatives,” must now get out in front of our residents and exercise Logli-Meyers type of leadership. This is a real opportunity! It is not the “fluff” or symbolic “opportunities” that have dominated recent media stories about our airport:

n On March 12, 2002 a delegation of Rockford leaders went to Washington to demonstrate support of putting “Rockford as a reliever airport” language in an O’Hare reconstruction bill. The bill never got out of Congress. But what if it had? And what if our leaders had successfully inserted language to the effect that “Rockford is not only the Mother of all reliever airports! It is the single designated reliever airport!”? Political fluff! Carriers will decide where they locate to do business, not our Congress. Everybody knows that!

n Prior to March 12th, Rockford had a succession of highly-publicized “events” visibly attended by our regional leaders. They all followed a familiar scenario: a Washington official would coordinate a meeting with or visit by the CEO of an airline; there would be a press conference, luncheon, smiles, and some words by the CEO about what a nice airport we have. Post-event results? None! The truth is that any Airport Director worth his salt would have already been in constant contact with all potential airlines. Except for the distraction of such events with their “formula” press conferences and luncheons, the Director might have been doing more of the same—the daily grind that gets little media attention, but eventually leads to an opportunity.

O’Brien’s daily grind has resulted in an extremely attractive opportunity for our region. It expires in 17 days! Now it is time for our leaders to lead—Logli-Meyers type of leadership! Our regional community is running out of time!

Remember the “Logli-Meyers Show”?

Jim Powers is member of the Greater Rockford Area Transportation Coalition. (check accuracy).

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