Ramblings from Reggie: Election’s important lesson: Citizens need to continue to be involved

Congratulations to Brian Brown and the Paving the Way Committee for their grassroots campaign success. The opposition also put up a heck of a fight. Don’t condemn the backers of the opposition for opposing—they exercised their right and responsibility as citizens.

It was a very informative campaign from both sides. It got a little ugly in the end, but not too bad. This is how America is supposed to work. Now that the tax election is over, we, as Americans, are supposed to continue to question how governments spend our money. As a concerned citizen, it gets very tiresome having people who question governments to be called NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) or CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything), among other terms. It is our duty to ask how OUR money is being spent. Let’s keep the heat on. No more government expansion!

The Virginia Tech murders are troubling. I cannot begin to feel enough how the loved ones of the victims feel. It’s not even something I want to imagine. God bless all of them. Our children are angry, and generally we are the reason for it!

I never agreed the sales tax referendum was about the mayor’s hopes to be re-elected. When the mayor was running for his job, he laid out a vision for the city that was out-of-the-box and aggressive. I am amazed the citizenry that elected him are questioning his leadership and vision. He is doing exactly what he said he was going to do. The mayor’s broken windows, Weed and Seed program, and others are all borrowed from other communities.

By the way, they all work. Crime went down in New York significantly because of Rudy Guiliani’s broken window program. I believe the number was 67 percent! We need to let elected officials lead and not continue to cut off their legs. We may disagree with a program or two, but don’t condemn the leaders based on a couple of disagreements.

We have intelligent leaders, including Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I), Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen (R), state Sen. Dave Syverson (R), Rockford Public School District 205 Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson, and the airport’s Bob O’Brien. They need to form a think tank and pave a path for the future of our region, including one county government. We can start with the police departments combining into one unit.

Hooray for Christiansen! In his State of the County speech, he actually broached the subject of reducing property taxes because of the excess jail tax. Scott, follow through on this, but let’s get more aggressive on the number—maybe a 30 percent reduction. I’m sure Ted Biondo will let us know what the number should be.

A politician talking about reducing taxes on a local level…WOW! Christiansen could be my new hero! I am applauding him now for his leadership on this issue, but take it all the way!

Early prediction: former U.S. Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina) and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) vs. U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tennessee) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in ’08.

The Belvidere School District, as I predicted, miraculously came up with the funds to not cut extracurricular activities.

Downtown is getting better. We have a new ethnic restaurant on Jefferson—The Adriatic. Good luck to them. And good luck to Michael on his new place opening soon.

Those are two new additions on the west side of the downtown River District.

Swilligan’s welcomes our new neighbors with open arms, and looks forward to more people coming and staying downtown to visit all of us.

And don’t forget—catch a buggy ride while you’re here!

Jenny is back from vacation, spring is here. Groove Walk happens May 12. All that means the “downtowners” are working hard to feed and entertain you. Winds of change are blowing—let’s embrace it.

Reggie Roberson is owner of Swilligan’s “The Pub,” 200 N. Church St.

from the April 25-May 1, 2007, issue

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