Guest Column: Rockford needs action, not talk

“A Voice in the Crowd”

It’s been a long time since you’ve seen “A Voice in the Crowd.” One reason is that things on the national scene have been so contrary to my beliefs that I couldn’t think of much positive to write about.

However, March 22, I watched the well-organized and presented mayoral debate aired on WREX-TV. It and Mayor Scott’s hour-and-a-half presentation made in our home to some of our neighbors and friends the afternoon of March 20 have led me to conclude that right now, in Doug Scott, Rockford has the very best leadership a city could hope for.

First, Doug has experience. He was a city attorney for 10 years, often in charge of and leading others to completion of large projects such as the updating of waste management and introduction of recycling. Then he spent several years in the state Legislature, where he became chairman of the Urban Revitalization Committee. While he was there, he built friendships and made connections he now uses to obtain funds and other assistance for city projects. For instance, the state is now well into planning and funding the development of the West State Street corridor from downtown to Meridian Road. The benefits of those friendships would likely become unavailable to a novice mayor.

Second, and more importantly, Doug Scott has integrity such as I’ve seen in few politicians. John Anderson and Paul Simon come to mind as examples. And he loves his job. He claims, “It’s much tougher and challenging than being a legislator, but then, it’s also far more satisfying.”

Third, this mayor has a handle on the job. He is fully awae of what is and what’s not happening in Rockford. He knows what the city needs and is taking steps to obtain whatever it is. One candidate talks of appointing a city education coordinator. What for? Mayor Scott is already in touch and working with the leaders of Rock Valley College, Rockford College and NIU to enhance the availability of educational opportunities for everyone. Under his direction and leadership, the city has acquired the Barber-Colman plant on Rock Street for eventual use as a facility to fulfill educational needs not met elsewhere.

Lastly, Doug Scott is a visionary. He has plans for his city, but he is also practical and realistic. He knows quick fixes, if there are any, usually don’t last. He has the willingness, determination and patience to bide the time it takes to plan, design and build projects that are long-lived and truly improve quality of life. His work with Senator Dick Durbin and the Airport Board has brought in much commercial airline service with more to come. The mayor is also working hard to bring about the return of passenger rail service. He says that it’s not if Metra comes to Rockford, it’s when.

Though I’m not a native son, Rockford has been my home for 44 years. It’s important to me, and hopefully to most voters, that we don’t lose the leadership we now have and the progress it’s made and will continue to make. My vote on April 5 will be cast for Mayor Doug Scott, a man of action, not just words.

Jim Spelman is an attorney and is former author of long-time column “A Voice In The Crowd” in The Rock River Times.

From the March 30-April 5, 2005 issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!